Placing a steel beam

Discussion in 'Remodel Forum & Blog' started by Lakee911, Jun 7, 2006.

  1. Lakee911

    Lakee911 I&C Engineer (mostly WWTP)

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    I need to raise two 150LB channels (C8x11.5) 8ft up to install as a beam for my kitchen remodel. There is no reason why they can not be lifted and placed seperately, then bolted together, so I will do that. My intial plan was to rig up some sort of hoist, maybe a come-along, hanging from my 2x8 joists, to lift them onto a step ladder before placing them on their resting point. I am worried about the joists supporting a point load like that through a hole. In addition, I'd have to obtain and rig up some sort of widget to accomplish that. Any other ideas for getting it up there?

    I plan on putting a couple of jacks under the beam once its in place and fastened together and lifting slightly to shim underneith it. Would I want to use steel plate/sheet for shimming or would wood be ok? I'm planning on using 4 or 5 vertical 2x4's under the beam for supports. I could also use maybe 2 4x4s, which would be stronger, more expensive and harder to fasten together. I don't want to use steel as it's not easy for me to work with at this location. I'd fasten a 2x4 accross the top and attach to the nearest studs for support. Any problems with this?

    The beam was sized by a structural engineer.


    Thx
    Jason
  2. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Messages:
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    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Plan on some help. Two people could do it but 3 would be easier. Beer buddies are good for this kind of job.

    The plan that I suggest keeps everyone above the beam during the lift so an accident is not likely to kill someone. It is your plan if you adopt it, so you can modify it any way you want.

    I assume that since you are remodeling the kitchen, a hole through the floor might be acceptable.

    I would bolt the channels together before lifting because you might have troubles lining up the holes; but your choice.

    Get some light chain (you are going to be lifting half the beam at each end) and put a hole through the kitchen floor large enough to pass the chain. One hole near each end.

    Fasten a chain to the beam at each end of the beam. Have two pins (maybe 3/8" rod) to put through the chain where it comes through the floor up in the kitchen.

    If you have two strong helpers, you can simply put a handle on the chain, have two of them lift, and put the pin through the chain where it comes out of the floor. It will be easiest if the pin rests on two pieces of 2x4 where the chain comes out of the floor.

    Lift about 6" at each end alternately so you don't get a lot of tilt in the beam.

    If you don't have strong helpers, you can make a lever with an 8 ft 2x4 with a hook that will easily connect to the chain. Put the hook about 18" from one end. Then one guy can lift while another inserts the pin in the chain.

    Leave the chains in place while you set the jack posts.

    It may cost a little more but I would use two of the adjustable steel jack posts to finally support the beam. They have pin adjustments and a screw adjustment for the final couple of inches. You will appreciate the jackscrew when the you have to adjust it. I would not trust 2x4s and shims to hold up my new kitchen. If you use 2x4s, get your structural engineer buddy to design the column.

    I assume that the beam is supporting the midspan of the joists. It is VERY IMPORTANT that the bottom of the beam and the top of the post be braced laterally to prevent sidewise motion so the bottom of the beam doesn't "kick out" and dump the whole thing on the floor. If one of your buddies has a welder he could weld the beam to the column when you get it all installed.

    The beam will provide the greatest stiffness and strength, and minimum sag, if the posts are located in from the ends by 20% of the length of the beam. If it is a 13 ft beam, the optimum point is about 2.6 ft in from each end.

    You must make sure that the footing is adequate. Some basement floors are less than 3" of concrete without reinforcing and a post could just punch through the floor. If there is no designed footing under the post, then you could put pressure treated plank under the column to spread the load.

    The adjustable posts will be useful when you get settling or shrinkage of lumber.
  3. Lakee911

    Lakee911 I&C Engineer (mostly WWTP)

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    Location:
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    Hi Bob,
    Somehow knew you'd answer. :) This beam is to support the upper story, which is finished space so a hole in the floor (kitchen ceiling) isn't going to happen. Any other ideas? Using cribbing to bring it up seems like overkill.
    Aligning the beam once in place could pose a slight problem, but I've oversized the holes and going to use some plate or fender washers to help things out.
    I was planning on using old growth doug fir for the supports, so shrinkage would be minimal. Even with new growth wood, along the direction of the grain, it would be neglgible anyways...maybe less than a 1/16 of an inch in shrinkage.
    My wood columns would be just 4 or 5 sistered 2x4s glued and nailed or bolted inside the existing stud cavity. For the column, using solid diminsional lumber would be stronger than sistering, but I don't have any of that laying around. The bottoms and tops would be laterally supported. These supports fall on top of the existing foundation (block).
    In new construction, this type of thing is done all the time. I'm planning on the 2x4 horizontally on top to prevent crushing/spliting along the endgrain and to get some lateral support. I've not seen that done before, but seems like a good idea to me.

    Thanks for the reply
    Jason
  4. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,317
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Here is an inside-the-room way.

    Put two 2x4s vertically about 2 ft in from each end of the beam, spaced so the beam is between, and fastened to a joist and to the floor.

    Raise the beam, one end at a time about 6 to 12 inches, and attach some kind of support for the beam. It could be a scab of 2x4 or a pin through two holes through the 2x4s.

    If you can get those strong helpers, I would still do the two together so you don't have to hoist the second one while the first if overhead, and then get the second past the temporary support.

    Your glued columns should be ok. I was thinking you were using freestanding posts.
  5. Lakee911

    Lakee911 I&C Engineer (mostly WWTP)

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    Location:
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    Ahh .. most excellent idea. I like that. I'll drill aligning holes in the 2x4's and then insert a piece of iron pipe through and through after we raise the beam above. Good idea.

    Thx
    Jason
  6. Lakee911

    Lakee911 I&C Engineer (mostly WWTP)

    Messages:
    1,328
    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    Well, we started in on the installation of the beam last night. One piece of the channel is done. We brought in the two channels and set them on the floor under the installed location. Then we built temporary wall and then started removing the studs to the outside wall, which used to hold up the second floor. Nothing really moved, no scary cracking or thumping. Cut them out and all was well. Cool Next we installed the supports for the ends of the beam. Again all went well. We built a U shaped "ladder" from 2x4s on each side, with the beam on the bottom of the U. They had 1" holes drilled every 8". Tops screwed to the joists, bottoms to the floor. Then we just walked one channel at a time up the "ladder." That part was piece of cake! We figured that'd be the hardest part.

    Now the tough part was once we got it to the top, we had to kind of man-handle it into position. We set one side on its seat and went to place the other side and it was 1.5in too low! The joists had sagged about an inch above where a door had been--bathroom above it w/ lots of holes/notches cut. They originally had two 2x4s flat on edge over a 36" span to hold up the 2nd floor and it's outside wall and the roof load. It is why the transome window above the door had been stuck and actually cracked. This was too much distance to jack up given that we had plumbing up there and a relitively new tile job upstairs. Ended up shaving a combination of the bottoms of some joists as well as the seat in which the beam sits. Got the jack under the beam and with some shimming and what not, it actually turned out perfectly level!

    Tonight we'll do the other half, bolt it together, remove the temporary wall and celebrate!

    Had I done it all again, Bob, I would have bolted the beam together on the floor, lifted it into position, jacked it up tight against the floor, built my supports, shimmed and let it down. Basically complete opposite of the way we did it this time.

    Thanks for the idear, Bob!

    Back to work...
    Jason
    Thanks!
    Jason
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