Which beams are ideal for long spans?

Discussion in 'Building' started by Cordwood_Jacob, 28 Oct 2015.

  1. Cordwood_Jacob

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    Hello, I am new to this forum and hope to find some interaction and help here. Here is my project:

    My wife and I are going to be building a cordwood shop (with an upstairs apartment) this coming spring in Montana. I have a building and carpentry background, but have never built a structure this big before.

    The structure size is 35' long by 27' wide. The kicker is that we are striving to do this debt free. So, to me that means saving money wherever possible. However, I see no purpose in building an affordable structure if it means sacrificing safety or structural integrity. Here are my plans below.

    Shop / garage
    image.png

    Upstairs apartment
    image.png

    I have most everything else figured out except for the beams I'll need. I will need 3 beams total..

    (1) 26' & (1) 22' beams - equally dividing the length of the garage, & spanning the width.

    (1) 21' beam - upstairs vaulted ceiling running lengthwise from the right exterior wall to the center wall next to the bedrooms.

    My questions:
    What type(s) of beams are the most affordable / attainable without sacrificing structural integrity?

    What are the optimal dimensions and type(s) of wood that would be best for my application?

    Additional note: I am not opposed to using full logs. I also have an Alaskan saw mill, so I am able to mill whatever dimensions I need.

    Thanks everyone!
     

    Attached Files:

  2. This is a UK forum. We might do things differently.
     
  3. Cordwood_Jacob

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    Well, there are no building codes where I am building, so as long as you guys do things structurally sound (which I'm sure you do), then it's good enough for me. I'm open to ideas..
     
  4. Am I right in thinking that you want to span over the garage area without any internal supports, but use timber to do it? They are going need to be pretty enormous sections!! It might be cheaper to use timber, but I would go with steel for beams of that size. You might get away with timber for the vaulted ceiling.

    If timber you might be looking at something 20" or so deep by 18" wide. Not out of the question I guess if you can use full logs. They are some pretty serious sections though and you need to pay for a few hours' time from a local structural engineer.
     
  5. Cordwood_Jacob

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    Correct, I don't really want any supports under the beams. Just trying to do it balancing reality with cost. So the full timbers would probably need to be in the 18-20" diameter huh? Do you know where I can find a log beam span chart for length with load bearing capacity? I've been searching the Internet for a while and haven't really found what I'm looking for. That's why I posted on this forum. Thanks for your reply!
     
  6. What about a flitched beam? That will give the appearance of timber
     
  7. Cordwood_Jacob

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    That's awesome! I had not even heard of these before. Do you know what the span / load / strength is for flitched beams?
     
  8. A flitched beam would need to be calculated and different steel and timber sections would give different results. But it could significantly reduce the timber sizes and the weight for installation. Ronny above, may have a rough idea of possible sizes.
     
  9. FYI and just to add to what the others have said, this is what a flitched beam looks like.

    The steel takes most of the bending stress, and the timbers stop the thin steel buckling sideways.

    Yours would need to be bigger - and calculated. View attachment 87151
     

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