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walkereng, Consultant
Category: Structural Engineering
Satisfied Customers: 2831
Experience:  Over 30 years of Structural Engineering experience.
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Size of a lam beam or I beam to span 24 ft for a upstairs

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Size of a lam beam or I beam to span 24 ft for a upstairs loft,
JA: OK. Tell me a bit more about what's going on so we can help you best.
Customer: Will be in a event barn, approximately 16 ft wide loft area for the bridal party to get ready in. It would not support any of the roof load, the 6x6 posts handle that.
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Structural Engineer should know?
Customer: I can't think of anything else, small half bath in one corner but it's close to a outside supporting wall.

I can help. Do you have any pictures you can share with me?

There is a button on the Chat Window that allows you to attach files.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
No Sir, no pictures
The posts are a 2x6 4 ply lam. If that helps any.

So you need a beam sized to clear span 24'. The beam will support one end of the 16' span floor joists and the other end of the 16' span floor joists will be supported by the wall of your building?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
that is correct

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.

Let me run a few numbers for you.

I can give you an engineered wood option for your 24’ span beam:

5-1/4” x 16” Versa-Lam 2.0 3100 DF

This is a Boise Cascade product and you can go to the following link to find distributors in your area.!/building-materials-distribution

You will need to have a local engineer detail your connections, size your support columns, and determine foundation requirements.

I will also run some numbers for a steel beam option.

A steel beam option get pretty heavy, I would stay with the engineered lumber beam, it is much easier to work with in the field.

You will need to provide solid mechanical connections between each of your floor joists and the proposed LVL. This will provide the needed lateral bracing for the beam.

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walkereng and other Structural Engineering Specialists are ready to help you

Good Luck with your project!