cracking, sagging garage beams

billupMarch 19, 2010

When we first moved into the house we did not know that just because a garage had a space in it, does not mean that it is an attic to store items in. I installed a 1/4" plywood floor in the space and begun to store items. The beams in my garage are parallel to a vehicle when it is parked inside and extend as one piece for 22ft. My garage is 25ft wide. After 10 or more years, the beam on the outer most (at the base of the roof) broke in two. My garage was very full of mechanical items, so I wedged a 4 x 4 under a 2ft 2 x 4 (T) under the beam with a bottle jack and lifted the beam to level and left it that way. Some months past and sheetrock began to fall off the ceiling. It was then I found that at least 7 beams had cracks in them at least 1/2 of the width. I removed most of the items in the attic. How can I fix these beams?

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You probably need to sister them with structural grade fir joists of the same size, jacked into place and well-nailed into the failed ones.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2010 at 9:29PM
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Are the "beams" also parallel to the rafters and what is the distance between them?

    Bookmark   March 20, 2010 at 9:24AM
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How big are the ceiling joists? 2x4? 2x6?

    Bookmark   March 20, 2010 at 10:41AM
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I would also check and see how many layers of roofing you have.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2010 at 8:11PM
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To support a code minimum storage live load of 20 psf and a dead load of 10 psf the joists would probably have to be 2x10's at 12" o.c.

Usually this kind of structure has a center beam in order to shorten the joist span (and therefore the joist size) or trusses are used.

An engineer might be able to design a bracing system similar to a truss using the existing structure (with damaged members replaced or sistered) that would allow limited storage.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2010 at 7:27PM
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