The aim of this article is to introduce the designer to the broad range of long span, steel-based solutions that is available. Generally long spans result in flexible, column-free internal spaces, reduce substructure costs, and reduce steel erection times. This broad range of benefits means that they are commonly found a wide range of building types. The particular advantages and disadvantages of each individual solution are summarised below, so that a designer can assess the benefits offered by a particular solution in relation to the drivers for a given project, to identify the most appropriate and cost effective solution.
The use of long span beams results in a range of benefitsincluding flexible, column-free internal spaces, reduced foundation costs, and reduced steel erection times.
Many long span solutions are also well adapted to facilitate the integration of services without increasing the overall floor depth. For some types of beam this codified guidance is complemented by specific design guidance, such as that on the design of beams with large web openings see SCI Por manufacturers' information. Such specific guidance is normally based on extensive testing of a given product, and often presented in the form of design software.
The solutions described below are presented in order of increasing spanning ability, with some overlap between options. The aim is to present a wide range of solutions. By far the most common types of beam used today are plate girdersand beams with web openings be they cellularfabricated, or rolled sections.
Many solutions exploit the benefits of composite constructionwhich offers considerable strength and stiffness increases over a bare steel alternative.
Floor grids comprise two layers of fully continuous beams running in orthogonal directions. Services running in either direction can be integrated within these two layers, so that services passing in any direction can be accommodated within the structural floor depth. A further benefit is that, being fully continuous, the depth of the beams themselves is reduced without incurring the expense and complexity of rigid, full strength connections. The figure on the left shows a composite floor using the parallel beam approach.
Specific guidance on the design of this form of construction is given in SCI P This is based on BS  but the principles may be equally applied to a Eurocode design.
Web openings are typically formed in beams to allow services to pass through the beam. This enables the structural and service zones to occupy the same space, thereby reducing the effective overall depth of floor construction for a given spanning capability.Our calculator is designed to be easy to use but it does require some understanding of steel beams and structures.
For example, if the clear distance between supports is 3m and the beam has a minimum end bearing length of 0. Universal Beams and Universal Columns both have a distinctive "I" shape but whereas the depth and width are very similar in Universal Columns, the depth is always noticeably greater than the width in a Universal Beam. In contrast, Parallel Flange Channels have a C shape. Read more about these shapes. Once you have chosen the right shape of beam, select its dimensions Depth, Width and Weight from the Dropdown Menu.
If you're not sure what beam size to use, just allow the steel beam calculator to select the beam size for you. For details on how to calculate the load widths, see our Examples Page and Diagrams showing how to calculate load widths. We also have a list of Standard permanent loads for commonly used itemssuch as clay tiles and rafters. You do not need to add the weight of the steel beam itself, our calculator automatically does this.
If you need to work out the point load from a beam which is going to be supported by another beam, please see our How to design a beam which is required to support another beam guide.
Usually, the answer is no. It is only classed as fully restrained if it meets the requirements stated in SCI Publication Pan example being where a steel beam is cast into a concrete floor. If you need to know more, please call for help. This is usually the same as the beam span length. However, if another beam is fixed at right angles to the beam along its length, this will provide lateral restraint.
In this case, you should measure the greatest distance between lateral restraints and enter these details. Please call us if you need help. A Deflection Limit is the maximum amount you allow the beam to sag. You can set a limit for how much it can sag under Variable Loads — usually things that can change, such as people or furniture — and under Permanent Loads, such as the weight of the floor or a wall.
Our Calculator defaults to the recommended limits, but you may need to change these. For example, if you are using the beam to span above bi-fold doors you may need to set a lower limit, or if the beam is going to be used as a structural ridge beam the variable load deflection should not normally exceed 10mm. If you are using the auto select feature, you will be shown a list of all the steel beam sizes that are suitable for your requirements.
Buy Now. Steel Beam Calculator Ltd was set up in to enable building industry professionals to design safe and effective steel beams more quickly and affordably. This calculator was built to design efficient steel beams using the most advanced Eurocodes.
Is there anything else you would like it to do? Found any issues? Is something frustrating or difficult to use?The span of a beam is dependent on a few variables. The species of lumber, size of lumber and the load it carries.
Fewer posts on upper level decks are typically more desirable to the occupants and this drives the use of larger framing materials for longer spans. Beam span maximums are based on a maximum anticipated live load. Building codes for residential decks only require 40 psf. The longer the joist, the more area of deck the joist supports, and thus the beam supports. For pressure-preservative-treated southern pine no.
When supporting joists that span 12 feet with no overhang beyond the beam, a double ply beam can span in feet a value equal to its depth in inches. A double 2x12 beam can span 12 feet; a 2 2x10 can span 10 feet and so on. The numbers in gray indicate the distance between the support posts. Numbers in blue are joist spans beam to beam or house to beam. In the article, it is stated that a 12' joist span corresponds to the double beam span a length equal to the 2x width; however, this seems to match the 6' joist span column of the table.
Do you think I can install one with some friends? How can you get the best steel beam prices as my budget is pretty tight?
If I find a used steel beam, do you see any problems incorporating that into my new home? Steve B. Beam Installation Basics - Be Careful! This video has lots of great photos of steel beams used in homes. You may get inspiration from watching this. It's worth it.
You can substitute, in many cases, a wood beam for a structural steel beam. If you desire to do this, be sure you have a structural engineer, or an architect, specify the material and the needed supports. If you do use steel, pay close attention to the connection details at the steel beam support. The connections between the beam and columns must be secure.
Watch this video to see how many men can lift a steel beam.
Don't rely on simple thin straps on top of columns that bend over the bottom flange of the beam. These tabs are just temporary measures until a welder shows up. I would never install masonry on a wood beam. There's too great a chance the wood will deflect and cause failures in the masonry.
Steel beams, as you might suspect, are heavy. Steel beam dimensions and sizes are not the same. You can have two different beams that are nearly identical in height and length, but one may weigh twice as much as the other beam. Usually this means the steel beam is very close to 8 inches tall and weighs 17 pounds per linear foot.
This is a very common size found in many residential homes. But you can get 8-inch-tall steel I-beams that weigh over 35 pounds per foot. I installed 10x31 beams in the last house I built for myself.
Deck Beam & Header Span Chart
The issue with the typical 8x17 steel beams you find in many homes is they require support columns about every 8 feet on average. If you go to finish a basement, these columns are problematic. You can avoid lots of columns by installing a taller beam. The taller the beam, say 10 or 12 inches rather than 8 inches, the greater the distance you can span between support posts. I had spans as great as 14 feet in my own basement using the 10x31 steel beams. Heavier beams can sometimes span greater distances between posts.
An 8x35 steel beam can carry more weight than an 8xThe theoretical size of a load bearing beam required to support a particular weight is easy to calculate, but the choice of the actual beam depends on taking into account the factors of the particular situation.
To address possible imperfections and weak spots in the wooden beams, it is common to install the required cross section by placing several smaller beams side by side. Beams on inch centers will also reinforce each other.
The theoretical calculation also usually assumes an even distribution of weight and that the ends of the beams are not only supported but held rigid.
Make sure that this applies in the particular case or use oversized beams. Calculate the weight the beam must support.
For a flat roof with snow loading, this is 25 lbs. For rooms which are heavily frequented, it may be 50 lbs.
Multiply the loading per square foot by the area in square feet of the surface which the beams will be supporting. Divide by the number of beams which will be installed to get the loading per beam. Calculate the maximum bending moment for the wooden beams. The bending moment is the length of the span times the weight to be supported divided by 8. For a beam spanning a foot room and supporting a weight of lbs.
Calculate the beam's section modulus by dividing the maximum bending moment by the allowable fiber stress for wooden beams. The latter is 1, pounds per square inch.
Multiply the maximum bending moment of foot pounds by 12 to get 10, inch-pounds. Divide 10, inch-pounds by 1, pounds per square inch to get the section modulus required of 9.
Calculate the section modulus for the different beams which you could use. The formula for the section modulus is beam width times beam depth squared divided by 6. A two 2-by-6 standard beam has actual dimensions of 1.
A 2-by-8 beam would be sufficient. Two 2-by-4 beams together would not be enough. Standard 2-by beams on inch centers are used to span 15 feet. Step 1 Calculate the weight the beam must support. Step 2 Calculate the maximum bending moment for the wooden beams. Step 3 Calculate the beam's section modulus by dividing the maximum bending moment by the allowable fiber stress for wooden beams.
Step 4 Calculate the section modulus for the different beams which you could use. Bert Markgraf Bert Markgraf is a freelance writer with a strong science and engineering background. He started writing technical papers while working as an engineer in the s. More recently, after starting his own business in IT, he helped organize an online community for which he wrote and edited articles as managing editor, business and economics.
Show Comments.Use the span tables below to determine allowable lengths of joists and rafters, based on size and standard design loads. You can also use the Wood Beam Calculator from the American Wood Council website to determine maximum rafter and joist lengths. The lengths and sizes of joists vary depending on the species and quality of the lumber used.ABCs of Structural Steel - Part 2: Beam - Metal Supermarkets
For example, you can span a 1 grade no knots southern yellow pine a greater distance than a 2 grade with knots southern yellow pine. The 1 grade material is more expensive than the 2 grade, but if you can use fewer or smaller 1 grade joists or rafters in your design, you may actually save money.
Rafter spans can be extended slightly beyond what the rafter tables suggest, when there is a cantelever extending beyond the supporting wall. Ceiling Joist Span Use this table to determine the maximum lengths of ceiling joists based on species of lumber, joist spacing, and joist size. Floor Joist Span Use this table to determine the maximum lengths of floor joists based on species of lumber, joist spacing, and joist size.
Walls have defined floorplans for centuries. Starting in the s, when the open floor plan style became popular, so many of those walls and doors segmenting the house suddenly fell into disfavor. Today, few homeowners want a highly segmented house. What if you want to eliminate some of those walls altogether? Opening up rooms by removing walls is one of the most coveted home improvement projects.
It's a project that returns instant value to the homeowner. As soon as the surrounding area is patched and painted, you can start enjoying your new open space. Larger, unsegmented rooms modernize older homes and nearly always result in greater home resale value. Like additionsit's a project that is uniformly liked.
Often with additions, their towering cost is not realized in resale. But when you open up a room and you do it on a do-it-yourself basis, materials are so inexpensive that resale usually will far exceed total cost.
As long as the wall you intend to remove is not load-bearing, you can take it down with little thought toward structural support of adjoining spaces.
Structurally, the wall exists on its own. Replacing a load-bearing wall with a support beam requires surprisingly few materials.
This project is more about labor than materials. If you live in a condominium, you may need to secure permission from the association board before you begin the work. It is nearly guaranteed that you will need a building permit to replace your wall with a support beam.
Is your support beam sufficiently sized for the opening? Plumbing or electrical services likely run through the wall. Shut off the electrical circuit breakers, then check with a voltage detector.
Electrical wires will need to be addressed. Most likely you will have at least a couple of outlets and a light switch or two that you will need to relocate. In many cases, it is a matter of moving existing wiring to a different portion of the wall or to a new wall. If you feel even the slightest bit uncomfortable with electrical work, hire an electrician. Costs can vary dramatically according to your area and local contractors.
Hiring a contractor means that you get multiple workers attacking your job, saving considerable time. The type of work is not complicated, but there is considerable lifting of heavy materials, especially when it comes time to fit the support beam in place.
The contractor will have immediate access to a support beam from a supply house or the contractor can build one from scratch. All of the other lumber is purchased off the shelf at your local home improvement store. Whatever you remove in a wall must be replaced temporarily. When you remove a load-bearing wall, you need to create an adjacent support system of equal or greater strength prior to removal that will continue to bear the weight until the beam is fully in place.
There are either of two ways to accomplish this:. In either case, provide supports at the ceiling and the floor for the posts to rest against or else these posts may punch through the ceiling. Use a stud finder to place the top of the support squarely under the joists. Light swings of the hammer will punch clean holes in the drywall. A line of these holes will allow you to pry back the drywall.