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Old 04-01-2007, 01:39 PM  
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Default Hello from PA... need some ceiling beam help/ideas.

Hello all,

I am in need of some ideas. I have an older 2 story home with 3 walls (rooms) in the downstairs that I have been kicking around removing for a few years now and I think I am ready. Only 1 wall is load bearing with a 24' span. My ceilings are 9' high so I have some area for nice beams and stay around 8' from the floor. I guess my question is would you go with manufactured wood beams or steel beams and make coverings for them? I realize this is going to be a lot of work, but I just want to open up my floor space and make my downstairs an open floor space (max 1 post in center) but would prefer to not even have that. I am a steel fabricator by trade so I know what type of steel beams I will need to support the load, but the dead weight of the steel beams and getting them in place is my greatest fear. So if anyone knows much about wood beams I would be happy to hear some ideas. Have been looking into manufactured beams along with the old style such as 2 x10 (or) 2 x 12 put together then I could cover them however I wanted. If you have any ideas on this let me know... would like some feedback

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Old 04-01-2007, 02:41 PM  
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Welcome to the Forum Madcorle:
First, I would not trust a wood sandwich beam, unless it had a 3/8" thick steel heart in it. A glue laminated beam could be made for the situation using a 2 to 3 inch camber in it, 8"wide and at least 12" thick; now you are talking about a lot of weight again.
I think you should go for the steel beam and cover it since it is in your realm of experience. I would consider the least amount added to the beam possible; for instance, 1 X 1 nail strips along each lower edge and cover with 1/4" plywood. The ends should rest on as many studs as you can get under it. Please post back, maybe with pictures, and let us know how it worked out.
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Old 04-02-2007, 07:34 PM  
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Default Thanks for the reply...

Thanks Glenn I will keep you posted as we move along. I have the engineer at work figuring my weight and deflection of several beams we feel we can man handle into place. He also suggested the chamber style wood beams but he thought "like you" I would need more and larger sized beams than if I just went with standard steel I or H style beams. I also used to work at a composite fiberglass manufacture in which I could probably get to work, however after designing and manufacturing fiberglass first hand would prefer to stay away from them! lol I guess do it right the first time is the best way to go about it. The steel beams will be heavy to handle and set it place, but once they in and done should be good for the rest of my lifetime. I will make sure to post before and after pictures as we move along for anyone else looking to do this as well. Bye 4 now all and happy home make overs.
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