What Are I-Beams?
An I-Beam is a lateral beam that supports the internal weight, while a foundation supports the outer perimeter of a home. The internal load is carried by the central support beam that runs across the foundation, near the or at the top of the wall. One or several I-Beams can help support that main beam.
Why Do I-Beams Need To Be Replaced?
There are a few reasons why your I-Beams need to be replaced. In older homes, wood was the material of choice and had a lot of issues.
Wooden beams lose their strength over time and crack under pressure. When your basement is humid or has a water leak, wood will get damp and deteriorate over time. Steel beams, although more robust, can rust if located in a wet area and are not maintained. Other factors include:
I-Beam Repair Vs. Replacement
When deciding if you should repair or replace an I-beam, repair is like a band-aid solution, while replacement offers you brand new support.
Depending on the situation, I-beams may require different repairs:
- Replacement of I-Beam Support.
- Replacement of Concrete Footers.
- Replacement of both.
- Replacement of the I-Beam.
Sometimes, wooden supports are used and get rotted out at the bottom. This is usually due to consistent flooding in the basement and is most present in older homes. As these wooden beam supports get rotted and worn away, they start to sink/wear away. This allows the I-Beam itself to sink/sag, causing sloping floors.
It is easy to see the I-Beams in your basement and crawl space. The tricky thing mentioned above is determining if the supports are even appropriately spaced. If they are too far apart, even Steel I-Beams will bend and bow. We suggest an interval of no more than 11 feet, ten at optimal.
Standard Sizing for Homes
We use standard-sized I-Beam replacements for most of our single-family home projects. This size is referred to as “W6x25” in the metal world. This means the I-Beam’s width is 6”, and it is 25 pounds per linear foot. This means that our standard size 10-ft I-Beam weighs 250 pounds.
I-Beam Supports are then placed at the junctions of each I-Beam section. So, a 40-foot-long basement would have three I-Beam Supports, as the two ends of the beam are set into the wall. The footings for the Supports are typically 2’ x 2’ x 2’. These footings, which are a concrete pad with rebar, allow the support’s weight to be distributed over a larger soil area. This prevents settlement of the support and subsequent sagging of the floors.
Our I-Beam replacement supports are made of 3.5” diameter galvanized steel supports welded and bolted together with the I-Beam itself. These supports have steel brackets to connect the top and bottom while also embedding them into the concrete. The entire connection makes an embedded, welded, bolted, and secure connection to ensure the I-Beam stays in place.
The I-Beam Supports come with a 25 Year Limited Warranty. This warranty is valid only if we install the Concrete Footers as well. With Steel Supports and proper Concrete Footers, the Girder I-Beam will be adequately supported. The homeowner must maintain above freezing temperatures and power in the home. If the crawl space were to flood and freeze, the saturated dirt would expand, causing the footing to rise and make the I-Beam unlevel.
For an estimate on the cost of replacing your I-Beam can be found on our pricing page. For more information click the link below!
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