Replacing a cracked, sagging support beam
I have a very old house with one section of the support beam in the basement that needs be replaced. It's not an adequate beam, if you can call it a beam at all. There's really only one problem section that's about 8 feet long at the back end of my house. This portion of the beam isn't the same as the rest of the beam that runs the length of my house. Looking at it, it looks almost like two 2x4s stacked longways, with a 2x6 sistered onto it, one end resting on a 4x4 post, and the other end resting on a 4x6 post. And the sistered board is cracking right where it's sagging.
I need to tear out the whole section and replace it, but I'm not sure where to start. I've asked a structural engineer/home inspector to come look at it next week, but he's charging $320 just to come look at it and give advice. Should I just go with a general contractor type of person to look at it to fix it? Could a trust a non-engineer to give sound advice on this kind of a project? Or would they send me to a structural engineer to get plans drawn up first?
Does anyone have any experience with this kind of repair work to tell me if I'm on the right track?