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walkereng, Consultant
Category: Structural Engineering
Satisfied Customers: 2800
Experience:  Over 30 years of Structural Engineering experience.
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I need to know the proper size of a header beam. It will

Customer Question

I need to know the proper size of a header beam. It will span a 12 foot opening in an outside wall. The joists and rafters rest on this wall. This is a one story house so no extra weight above the ceiling. I have room for a 14 foot opening which will allow me a 12 inch support shoulder on each side of the header beam. Just need to know how wide of a 2x?? I need to purchase. The plan is to use 2 of 2x12x14ft, with 3/4 plywood between the two, glue and bolt all three together and use that for the header. Just need to know if it is strong enough?
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Structural Engineering
Expert:  walkereng replied 11 months ago.

I can help

Can you take a look at the following link and answer the questions at the bottom of the sheet? Your answers will allow me to accurately model the loading and size your beam. Thanks

Expert:  walkereng replied 11 months ago.

From my sketch, if you assume the 2nd Floor is your 1st Floor, it sounds like you have a New Beam #5 situation.

If that is correct, can you answer the rest of the questions on the sheet? Thanks

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
it is a new beam #5.
1. opening will be 12 ft
2. None, this is a one story house
3. Not sure how to answer this one, house was built in 1958
4. Houston, Tx, no snow here
5. plywood with asphalt shingles
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Still waiting for an answer ...........
Expert:  walkereng replied 11 months ago.

Sorry for the delay.

I need two more pieces of information:

1. What is the distance between your exterior walls of your house (from Beam #5 to opposite exterior wall)?

2. What is the distance from Beam #5 to the closest interior wall (floor joist Span #3 on my sketch)?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
1. 25 feet
2. 14 feet
Expert:  walkereng replied 11 months ago.

I’d like to point out that a Professional Engineer’s standard of care typically includes a site visit to assess field conditions and get an overall understanding of the structure. This can obviously not be accomplished through the internet. The information provided here is meant for planning purposes only (general sizing and budgeting) and is based on the information provided by you. All loading cases considered are for vertical loads only, no lateral analysis has been completed. The information should be verified by a professional engineer who can visit the site to ensure that potentially important information has not been overlooked or omitted.

You are going to need to use a triple beam for your header, the double 2x with plywood will not work.

You will need to use a triple 2x12 Douglas Fir (#1 grade) member for your 12' span header.

You will need to have a local engineer detail your connections, determine foundation requirements, and check your structure’s lateral stability due to the fact that you are removing a large portion of exterior wall.

If you feel you have received a satisfactory answer to your question, click the Rating button that is appropriate. Experts are credited for each adequately Rated answer they provide. If you have additional questions, please let me know. Thanks

Expert:  walkereng replied 11 months ago.

Let me know if you have any more questions.