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I'm working on a typical 1950's home with exposed ceiling rafters and a center beam that breaks at about 16' into the home and is supported there by a brick wall and a couple 4x4's. I'd like to pull out the beam, cut the sister beam that continues at this point into the rest of the house, back into the hallway and push a new longer beam through the living space and into the wall, with the goal of knocking out the brick divider/4x4s and opening up the living/dining/kitchen. My question is this: the span is approximately 25 feet from the front wall to the next support within the wall, what size beam should be used in order to ensure proper support of the ceiling, understanding that the beam will be supported at the ends (one end will run out the front house for an overhang and the other will be enclosed into the wall)? I've attached a picture of the home, the beam I'm referring to is at center.
Thanks!
 

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....I was hoping there was a scale or graph for size/span/support somewhere out there....
There are such things, sort of... They're the residential codes (as opposed to the building codes).

Taken in context - total project cost, property value, value of occupants' safety and lives, etc.- money spent on an engineer is well-spent, and if spent intelligently, is often considerably less than the inexperienced contractor or homeowner expects.

Over-engineered? If you mean that the solution will probably be more expensive than you'd like, yes, probably. But right now, I can think of only one case in my experience where an engineer couldn't or wouldn't explain an engineering decision; and it was a minor item.

Edit: You're going to need an engineer to give you a total solution, anyway. You're going to have to re-build a good part of that front wall to support the ridge (and probably the back wall, too. If wood, the beam's going to be bigger enough to make a difference inside; if steel you'll need a new approach to hanging the rafters. Do you expect to pull out that ridge without messing up the roof? Is replacing the roof in the budget (yours, or the homeowner's if you're doing this for a customer)? If you mess up the roof, is it going to be an unforeseen condition ("Hey, how could we have known that the roof sheathing was going to be nailed to the ridge?").

You're going to have to tear things apart a fair amount. Is this your house? Not every remodeling idea makes sense for every house.

The more I think about it, the less onerous the cost of an engineer seems. Easy for me to say, of course.
 

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There's tons of resources out there that will tell you what you need. By the time you figure out how to calculate it it's going to be easier to call up an engineer. On a side thing about engineers. I have a friend that's one and he will occasionally call me up asking if he's on the right track on where to start figuring out something. I find it funny when he does.
 

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Thom
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Your post indicates a lack of understanding of beam sizing.

It is not just the length of the beam, also the size (width) of the roof load (area) carried by the beam. A wider roof structure will impose greater loads on the beam.

Of course different beam materials will carry different loads. That applies to differing species of lumber and different grades of lumber. Adding to the complications are the capabilities of engineered lumber.

The answers are available but first you need a significant amount of education so that you first understand what it is you are looking for and at.
 

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Meh, they're always over-engineering stuff! I was hoping there was a scale or graph for size/span/support somewhere out there.

Thanks though, I kind of expected that...
over engineered or not, pay an engineer to make that call. :blink:
 
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