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StructuralEng
StructuralEng, Consultant
Category: Structural Engineering
Satisfied Customers: 7087
Experience:  Structural Engineer
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I have a window header that has been compromised by water

Customer Question

I have a window header that has been compromised by water intrusion. I have a sketch of the layout and potographs of the damage/situation and would like repair alternatives.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Structural Engineering
Expert:  StructuralEng replied 1 year ago.

Hello. I can help. Please post the photos.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello,
Could you please acknowledge receipt of the photos
Thank you
Eddie
Expert:  StructuralEng replied 1 year ago.

I did receive them. Sorry for the delay, I was driving.

Expert:  StructuralEng replied 1 year ago.

Do you have an awl?

Expert:  StructuralEng replied 1 year ago.

Have you checked how deteriorated the wood is? If you stick an awl into where it appears rotted you can get a sense of the resistance. Do that again where you know it to be sound. This will give you at least a qualitative sense of how rotted the wood is.

Expert:  StructuralEng replied 1 year ago.

That will inform, to some degree, what we discuss here.

If you don't have an awl, try a fine tipped screwdriver

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I can get one but, I'm in San Antonio TX and the home's in Conroe TX ...
Expert:  StructuralEng replied 1 year ago.

Ok. Then let's assume the header is completely shot and needs to be replaced.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
ok, so I'll take a WAG and say 1/4" on the depth (2x) of the first 2x12 and 1/2" on the height, hard to tell on 2nd and 3rd...
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok. What would be the min. size beam required? seems to me 3 - 2x12 for a 7'-3" span is over sized...
Expert:  StructuralEng replied 1 year ago.

You'll need to shore the joists that are supported by the beam from the roof down to the ground. Then you can remove the existing beam and replace it with a new one.

Expert:  StructuralEng replied 1 year ago.

Is it supporting one floor or two? What about the roof and attic?

What is the joist length supported by the beam?

Will it support any ceramic tile?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I was hoping the pictures would have answered some of these questions...
to the right of the 3x3 post mostly attic, rafters at 12:12 w comp shingles; 2nd floor wall 1/2" drywall in 1/2" wood siding out sits 5" to right of 3x3 post (3/4" lays on post)
16' joists
carpet
Expert:  StructuralEng replied 1 year ago.

The pictures are very close up of just the beam and doesn't show any dimensions or lengths of joists. Or the number of floors supported. Or if there is ceramic tile.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Added notes to Sketch
Expert:  StructuralEng replied 1 year ago.

That attachment was some kind of invoice.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Expert:  StructuralEng replied 1 year ago.

Are the joists parallel to the header in question or perpendicular?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
perpendicular
Expert:  StructuralEng replied 1 year ago.

One floor, the attic, and the roof?

Will it support any ceramic tile?

What is the city and state so I can look at snow loading?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
er, as far as I can see, which is to the triple 2x12 at the 7'3" mark...(Also correction to my 1:29 comments the 2-2x12 under the 2nd floor wall is 11" to the right of the 3x3 post not 5")
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Conroe Tx, no ceramic.
Expert:  StructuralEng replied 1 year ago.

A triple 2x12 is a little oversized, but not by that much.

Expert:  StructuralEng replied 1 year ago.

That's an appropriate beam.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
for the 14'6" span?
Expert:  StructuralEng replied 1 year ago.

No. for a 7'-3" span.

Expert:  StructuralEng replied 1 year ago.

You said earlier it is a 7'-3" span.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
14'6" span with the 3x3 post midway = 7'3"to come back to your earlier question whether the joists are parallel or perpendicular - upon further reflection it seems most likely that the joists, where there is attic above, are perpendicular to the beam (it would be unlikely that the 16' 2-2x12's that are carrying the 2nd floor front wall would have any more load added to it) although aren't I right in thinking that that is immaterial as the load on the beam is the same? However, the joists carrying the live load (room above) are most likely being carried by the 16' 3-2x12's which therefore would make them parallel to the beam and that load then effectively being transferred to the 3x3 post...(Unfortunately I can only see through the 3' x 1' hole what's exposed and am trying to imagine what they would have built 40+years ago).
Expert:  StructuralEng replied 1 year ago.

I would go with the assumption they're all perpendicular and use the triple 2x12.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I guess that to is immaterial as it the does not effect the portion of the beam that's damaged.So then back to the original question
"I have a window header that has been compromised by water intrusion. I have a sketch of the layout and photographs of the damage/situation and would like repair alternatives."
Expert:  StructuralEng replied 1 year ago.

The beam needs to be replaced

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I'm looking for alternatives...
Expert:  StructuralEng replied 1 year ago.

To replacing?

You can't repair a rotted wood beam. Once the cellulose is destroyed, it's destroyed.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
what about, for instance, attaching a 7'3" x 14" #3 gauge (.2391") sheet metal plate to the beam?
Expert:  StructuralEng replied 1 year ago.

But you're attaching it to a rotted beam.

Expert:  StructuralEng replied 1 year ago.

The joists would have to transmit load through rotted wood into fasteners into the steel, back into rotted wood through other fasteners to bear on the supports and ultimately to the foundation. You're tracking load through fasteners in rotted wood twice.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
rotted beam?"
Expert:  StructuralEng replied 1 year ago.

The wood beam in question is rotted, correct?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
installing the plate between the members would require their removal, I'm not looking to save the cost of the 2x's I'm looking for alternates to having to take them down...
Expert:  StructuralEng replied 1 year ago.

Between the existing rotted beams?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
define rotted (they are still performing the job they were intended to)
Expert:  StructuralEng replied 1 year ago.

Well, they're holding up under the current load. They are not being subject to a full design load.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
well then define "rotted" so I can answer your question...
Expert:  StructuralEng replied 1 year ago.

The wood fibers are damaged from moisture. There are obviously varying degrees

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
quite; so with the assumption that we lost 1/4" on the depth (2x) of the first 2x12 and 1/2" (x12) on the height what alternatives can you come up with?
Expert:  StructuralEng replied 1 year ago.

That's a very bold assumption to make. If all you lost is 1/4" of depth, then you don't need to do anything.

Expert:  StructuralEng replied 1 year ago.

Assuming the rot is completely arrested.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
that's why I'm looking for alternatives, to cover my ass. I know the picture "beams - interior elevation looks bad but that's more a reflection on the photographer "the "beams - interior closeup" is a closer reflection of the situation
I will be in Conroe on Thursday and will take a wire brush to the loose fibers to know for sure how much has been compromised; I'll check moisture content and some bleach to remove the blackening... is the anything thing else you'll need to come up with some alternatives?
Expert:  StructuralEng replied 1 year ago.

But you can't cover your ass with an assumption that has no rational basis.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Why am I getting the feeling that you can't/won't help me, you advice has gone from "replace the beam" to "you don't need to do anything"
So I'll try one more time, seeing that I am your ears and eyes on the ground what is it that you need to know to provide me with alternatives?
Expert:  StructuralEng replied 1 year ago.

I need a very detailed and reliable understanding of the level of rot and locations on the beam.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
okay, I'll get that.
Expert:  StructuralEng replied 1 year ago.

Thank you. I'll look for it.

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