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I have a window header that has been compromised by water

Customer Question
intrusion. I have a sketch...
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: 2 years ago.Category: Structural Engineering
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10/9/2015
Structural Engineer: StructuralEng, Consultant replied 2 years ago
StructuralEng
StructuralEng, Consultant
Category: Structural Engineering
Satisfied Customers: 7,383
Experience: Structural Engineer
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Hello. I can help. Please post the photos.

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Customer reply replied 2 years ago
Photos and sketch attached
Wood damage.jpgWood da...jpgWood damage 2.jpgWood da...jpgbeams - interior elevation.jpgbeams -...jpgbeams - interior close up.jpgbeams -...jpgbeam - triple header.jpgbeam -...jpgext elevation - rear.jpgext ele...jpgExt elevation - front.jpgExt ele...jpgext elevation - diagonal...jpgext ele...jpg
sketch - post notated.pdf
sketch...pdf
Customer reply replied 2 years ago
Hello,
Could you please acknowledge receipt of the photos
Thank you
Eddie
Structural Engineer: StructuralEng, Consultant replied 2 years ago

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

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Structural Engineer: StructuralEng, Consultant replied 2 years ago

Do you have an awl?

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Structural Engineer: StructuralEng, Consultant replied 2 years 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.

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Structural Engineer: StructuralEng, Consultant replied 2 years ago

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

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

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Customer reply replied 2 years ago
I can get one but, I'm in San Antonio TX and the home's in Conroe TX ...
Structural Engineer: StructuralEng, Consultant replied 2 years ago

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

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Customer reply replied 2 years 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 reply replied 2 years ago
Ok. What would be the min. size beam required? seems to me 3 - 2x12 for a 7'-3" span is over sized...
Structural Engineer: StructuralEng, Consultant replied 2 years 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.

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Structural Engineer: StructuralEng, Consultant replied 2 years 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?

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Customer reply replied 2 years 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
Structural Engineer: StructuralEng, Consultant replied 2 years 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.

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Customer reply replied 2 years ago
Added notes to Sketch
Structural Engineer: StructuralEng, Consultant replied 2 years ago

That attachment was some kind of invoice.

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Customer reply replied 2 years ago
Sry.
Structural Engineer: StructuralEng, Consultant replied 2 years ago

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

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Customer reply replied 2 years ago
perpendicular
Structural Engineer: StructuralEng, Consultant replied 2 years 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?

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Customer reply replied 2 years 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 reply replied 2 years ago
Conroe Tx, no ceramic.
Structural Engineer: StructuralEng, Consultant replied 2 years ago

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

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Structural Engineer: StructuralEng, Consultant replied 2 years ago

That's an appropriate beam.

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Customer reply replied 2 years ago
for the 14'6" span?
Structural Engineer: StructuralEng, Consultant replied 2 years ago

No. for a 7'-3" span.

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Structural Engineer: StructuralEng, Consultant replied 2 years ago

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

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Customer reply replied 2 years 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).
Structural Engineer: StructuralEng, Consultant replied 2 years ago

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

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Customer reply replied 2 years 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."
Structural Engineer: StructuralEng, Consultant replied 2 years ago

The beam needs to be replaced

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Customer reply replied 2 years ago
I'm looking for alternatives...
Structural Engineer: StructuralEng, Consultant replied 2 years ago

To replacing?

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

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Customer reply replied 2 years ago
what about, for instance, attaching a 7'3" x 14" #3 gauge (.2391") sheet metal plate to the beam?
Structural Engineer: StructuralEng, Consultant replied 2 years ago

But you're attaching it to a rotted beam.

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Structural Engineer: StructuralEng, Consultant replied 2 years 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.

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Customer reply replied 2 years ago
rotted beam?"
Structural Engineer: StructuralEng, Consultant replied 2 years ago

The wood beam in question is rotted, correct?

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Customer reply replied 2 years 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...
Structural Engineer: StructuralEng, Consultant replied 2 years ago

Between the existing rotted beams?

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Customer reply replied 2 years ago
define rotted (they are still performing the job they were intended to)
Structural Engineer: StructuralEng, Consultant replied 2 years ago

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

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Customer reply replied 2 years ago
well then define "rotted" so I can answer your question...
Structural Engineer: StructuralEng, Consultant replied 2 years ago

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

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Customer reply replied 2 years 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?
Structural Engineer: StructuralEng, Consultant replied 2 years 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.

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Structural Engineer: StructuralEng, Consultant replied 2 years ago

Assuming the rot is completely arrested.

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Customer reply replied 2 years 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?
Structural Engineer: StructuralEng, Consultant replied 2 years ago

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

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Customer reply replied 2 years 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?
Structural Engineer: StructuralEng, Consultant replied 2 years ago

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

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Customer reply replied 2 years ago
okay, I'll get that.
Structural Engineer: StructuralEng, Consultant replied 2 years ago

Thank you. I'll look for it.

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