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Old 05-28-2006, 09:46 AM  
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Default Sagging basement beams

I'm kind of a general handyman and carpenter. A customer told me over the phone that he has a sagging basement beam supported by laly columns. He says that he wants to change this instead to steel "I beams". Firstly, I'm wondering whether this is even the right course of action. why would I beams be any better than laly columns really? Do you think maybe the whole beam needs to be replaced? he says the basement runs the whole length of the house including the porch. He also says the porch sags and that water runs in from the porch to tha basement. So he wants soemthing donne about that too. I Just want to open discussion about this situation here. any thoughtsa appreciated. I'll see the job probably mon or tues so we'd be able to talk about it in soem mroe detail then, but meantime I just mainly want to hear what people think I should do about this situation. Also whether you think 2 or mroe guys would be needed for the job.

Thanks a lot,

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Old 06-02-2006, 08:46 AM  
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Laly columns used to be just empty steel pipe. It would rust from the inside. This makes them dangerous. New laly columns should be filled with concrete from top to bottom. I-beams can be used for support posts and would be easy to inspect for rust. Replacing the wooden girder with I-beams is also not a bad idea. The steel is less likely to sag or twist over time. The only disadvantages of steel that I can think of is the fact that steel rusts and in the case of a fire, it can bend and twist. These are preventable situations and wood may not survive the same conditions that would cause steel to fail.

2 guys? I don't know how long a span you are going to reach, but I-beams get very heavy, very quickly. Find out how much the beam weighs and then you will be better able to determine how many guys you will need. 1 man isn't going to get much done with steel beams.

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Old 06-02-2006, 02:50 PM  
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Hi Will:
May I add a couple of points about the sagging beam? First you need a good strong jack to get the beam back up where it belongs (a railroad jack or a budda jack should work fine). Use a very taught string line to work to and get the beam (and porch) in line horizontaly. You may need some temporary posts to hold the beam while you get the I-beams cut to length. Number the locations and get an accurate measurement on them; number the I-beams as they are cut. If you are going up against a wood beam you will need a bearing plate on top of each one; steel I-beams will cut right into the wood beam otherwise. The same applies to the floor if the old posts penetrated the concrete floor; where they rusted out there will be a weak hole in the floor that might cave in under the weight. I have a couple of sags held up with the thin pipe basement screw jacks but I read on here that a fireman hates them. I suppose they cave in too easy in a fire.
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Old 06-02-2006, 02:52 PM  
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Default Unless....

[ 1 man isn't going to get much done with steel beams.[/QUOTE]
Unless he has a pet Elephant....
What ever happened with the job Will?
I seem to have missed this post.
Sounds like some serious settlement issues with soil and water, not structural.
If it were column problems they will collapse and you would have big issues, like the first floor suddenly located in the basement, not settlement of beams.
Hope it went well.
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