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Old 02-25-2009, 09:19 AM
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Steel i beams for supporting cars

Hi all, I recently purchased an old barn. I am in the process of making it the ultimate man cave for the car enthusiast. I have plans to make the first floor all concrete with no posts and mostly a storage area with one active bay for welding work. The second floor will be a paint booth and blast booth with cars being on that floor. The third floor will mostly be a relaxing area with some draft tables and small project areas, tv couch etc. I have purchased three used steel beams that are 20"x1/2"x6" x 40ft long to use. The barn is 34'x50sh feet long. Using the three beams on the shorter length I'll get about 12' or so between the beams. I am not going to use any posts with these. So my question is how do I support the weight of the beams and the weight they will carry? Alone they weigh about 2000 lbs a piece. On one end of the beam, the concrete poured wall is about 2' thick. I was thinking i could just set it on that wall (maybe notch the wall) and that would work. The other wall is block and is leaning maybe a couple inches out. I was planning on adding some bolts that stick out of the block and then making a poured concrete pillar of about 2'x2' to support the beam and help ancor the wall in place as well. Would this work? How large of a concrete pillar do I need for the weight? Would I need to go through the floor to below frost depth or is it okay since its inside the building? Thanks -Mike

Here's a picture of the beams:


Picture of the barn:

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Old 02-25-2009, 09:27 AM
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What you have in mind goes beyond the scope of what we can answer here..You will need a structural engineer to answer those questions..

Sorry
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Old 02-25-2009, 09:59 AM
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Hmmph

I'm sure other people here have had experience with this sort of thing. I'm not asking if the beams support the load, but rather how to support the ends. I am looking to double check what I am doing or get any other ideas you guys might have. -Mike
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Old 02-25-2009, 10:58 AM
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Barn

You will need an Eng. go out and at look, footings, projected loads, etc, three beams probably are not enough, but sounds interesting.
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Old 02-25-2009, 11:57 AM
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Steel i beams for supporting cars

how thick your concrete in floor near to placement of your support ?
drill into and when it gets to start dropping through fast mark bit .you'll need 12 inches at the least .
can dig out side and measure also if dirt there .
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Old 02-25-2009, 09:50 PM
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Man cave

I would not trust a block wall- especialy one leaning - to carry any load
of that nature. Get an engineer to look at it. Remember the footings under the wall were designed to carry the weight of the wall spread over a considerable area- put a point load on or near the footing and you could have a failure of the footing and everything above it. Asking how big a footing
you need would require local soil bearing knowledge as well as an estimate
of the load being carried- something no sane engineer would offer without
looking at the project in person. It sounds like a great project- don't risk it
for a few $ of a professional engineers advise. Jim
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Old 02-26-2009, 12:10 AM
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A fw questions enter my mind.
1. How are you going to get the cars to the second story?
2. Where are these block and concrete walls you speak of? I see a wooden barn.
3. Are those the beams in the picture? The photo looks a bit deceiving, the beams don't look to be over 20 feet long.
4. Why all this work to get so many cars under one roof? A barn 34 X 50 feet, ought to be able to put 5 cars in comforably. Use the upstairs for storage, a break room. This will keep you downstairs working on projects instead of trekking up and down stairs all day.
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Old 02-26-2009, 12:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lugog
[...]
The other wall is block and is leaning maybe a couple inches out. I was planning on adding some bolts that stick out of the block and then making a poured concrete pillar of about 2'x2' to support the beam and help ancor the wall in place as well.
[...]
Got your will made out? Plenty of "DANGER" and "Warning" signs completely surrounding the area? Lots and lots of liability insurance? Very good lawyer on permanent retainer?

What's the dead load you're intending to put on that concrete? What's the live load? Wind load? Snow load? What are the soil conditions under it? What kind of foundation do you need for that pillar? How will the pillar be tied to its foundation? What kind of reinforcement does the pillar need? What sort of attachment does the beam require to the pillar in order to carry all loads at the center? What forces will be acting on those attachments to bring your barn down around your ears? What's the bending moment of one of those beams? Shear?

Quick -- what's the radius of gyration about the yc axis? (Sorry, don't know how to do subscripts in vbulletin).

If you can't positively and correctly answer each of the above questions, better heed OneMoreTime's advice and consult a real, bonded, honest-to-goodness engineer. The universe loves chaos and lawyers love to hear the judge say, "... knew or should have known ...".

-----
Some selected quotes on engineering:

The great liability of the engineer compared to men of other professions is that his works are out in the open where all can see them. His acts, step by step, are in hard substance. He cannot bury his mistakes in the grave like the doctors. He cannot argue them into thin air or blame the judge like the lawyers. He cannot, like the architects, cover his failures with trees and vines.
-- Herbert Hoover

Engineering is the art of modelling materials we do not wholly understand, into shapes we cannot precisely analyse so as to withstand forces we cannot properly assess, in such a way that the public has no reason to suspect the extent of our ignorance.
-- Dr AR Dykes

Engineering ... to define rudely but not inaptly, is the art of doing that well with one dollar, which any bungler can do with two after a fashion.
-- Arthur Mellen Wellington
The Economic Theory of Railway Location (1911)
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Old 02-26-2009, 07:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lugog
...I'm not asking if the beams support the load, but rather how to support the ends.
I think you are in way over our heads here. But the simplest explanation is this. Each steal beam must be rated to carry the load (live + dead) it will be supporting and each steal beam must be held up by a column (post, wall, etc.) rated to carry the load on the end of that beam. And each column must be supported by a base, or footing, rated to carry the load on that column.

So far we don't know what loads you intend to support, the support ratings of your steel beams, the support ratings of the barn walls or the support ratings for the footings under those walls. I just don't think anyone on this forum is going to say your plan is "safe" without all the design parameters in hand. And even then, you should only listen to those with a proven record in the construction field.
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Old 02-26-2009, 11:31 AM
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I would echo the concerns raised above. I recently built a two story attached garage and wanted to include a steel I beam from wall to wall so that I could easily move my engine from one side of the garage to the other. The beam was going to be 1/4" by 8" by 22 feet long. It was going to rest on a steel post that rested on an existing concrete grade beam 8 " wide by 12" high that rested on a dozen piles that were 15' long in the ground. In addition it would be attached and anchored from side to side to movement to the walls of my house.
When I contacted a company to see about getting them to build the beam system for me, the first question they asked was "What is it going to be used for?". When I told them they said that due to liability issue they would not build it unless it had been approved by a structural engineer. The cost was too high to continue.
Doing so by myself without an approval would open me up to personal liability if anyone got hurt as a result of using it either directly or indirectly.
One thing they said to me was that if I told them that it was for a swing in my backyard, they could have built it. They would be off the hook since I lied to them but I would still have my personal liability issue.
Ron
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Old 02-26-2009, 05:16 PM
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I have replaced a load bearing wall in a house with a steel beam, and in my present house have installed beams to support the second floor, as it was built without them 100 years ago. Both times I consulted an engineer and would never do your job without one, even though I have a good idea what will and won't work. You need to do the same. My engineer is an instructor at the local technical school, who works on the side. He is well respected by the city engineering dept, makes drawing sets cheap, and is quick. He will also pop out for a free estimate, and give me a good idea of cost right off the bat, + a good idea of what the job will entail so that I know whether to even bother.

Even if you have to go to a firm, a couple hours time for a familiarization visit would be worth the money.

That said, if you are planning on putting cars on the floor above these beams you will be overloaded plain and simple. The concrete wall may be ample to support its side. The block wall may surprise you, I had to deal with a bulging foundation wall (brick), and it will surprise you how much bulge or lean is still sound. Irregardless proper supports can be built. The beams themselves will be ample for the span, however, you will need to build a floor on top of them. A span of 12' in between each beam, which could support a vehicle, would require some pretty big joists, I would suspect at least 2x12". 2 layers of 3/4 for sheeting may work. Doesn't matter, cause that floor gets pretty heavy. Since the beams need to support their own weight, the floor weight, and the load on top of the floor (3 cars @5000lbs ea) your are looking at a huge load on the beams and joists, which only an engineer will be able to calculate. I guess what I'm trying to say is that the supports for the beams is the least of your worries. Your floor alone will weigh close to 5000 lbs, + cars and equipment + beam weight..................

I think the old adage 'if you have to ask you can't afford it applies in this case. Spend your money on a nice shop and save the barn for the projects in waiting.
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Old 02-26-2009, 06:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cboy
I think you are in way over our heads here. But the simplest explanation is this. Each steal beam must be rated to carry the load (live + dead) it will be supporting and each steal beam must be held up by a column (post, wall, etc.) rated to carry the load on the end of that beam. And each column must be supported by a base, or footing, rated to carry the load on that column.

So far we don't know what loads you intend to support, the support ratings of your steel beams, the support ratings of the barn walls or the support ratings for the footings under those walls. I just don't think anyone on this forum is going to say your plan is "safe" without all the design parameters in hand. And even then, you should only listen to those with a proven record in the construction field.

Dewey, I hate to argue with you, but in terms of structure support, IIRC from my Mechanical Design classes years ago, the rated load isn't merely live plus dead. It is twice that. It's kinda like having a 1/4 " chain in the woods for skidding logs. It would likely work, but I'd sure hate to be anywhere near it when it fails (Notice that I said "when", not "if"). Better to go towards overkill than bare minimum. Even better would be to do as has been suggested multiple times and seek live, expert help from a real professional.



In a while, Chet.
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Old 02-27-2009, 01:34 PM
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Hi

Well thanks for all your responses they are helpful. The ground in the area is clay. The concrete footing is around 2' or more thick. If you look at the wall on the outside I can see a huge amount of concrete slab above grade. This is a very old barn and from what I can tell I see very little if any cracks in the wall. So the footing is sound for what it supports now. There is a cattle trough about 4' from the wall. It has 10" to the bottom and then there is concrete below that. So I'm no longer worried much about the footing for the beam. As for posts. I am not doing the steel posts because they are rated at less and also less stable than a concrete pillar. High strength concrete is rated at 5000 psi. I'll likely build a concrete column to support one end of the beam. The other end will sit on a very thick wall. I haven't decided on notching the wall yet or not. It looks like some of it has stone in it which might be a ***** to notch. The beams themselves are 1/2" thick H beams with a 20" height. I was planning on using 2x12" joists between the beams and using a ledger board if I can get away with that setup. I plan to weld pipe between the bottom of the beams to prevent twisting. The floor will be made of 2by planking and possibly finished with a lighter material on top or metal sheet for fire safety. I am not an engineer, but if you look at span charts you can figure out what will work. A car weighing 6000 lbs spread out over 128 sqft (16x8) is approx 50 lbs/sqft live load for that area you can then add up however much extra live load and a 2x12 should still be plenty thick. At a distance of 12ft a 2x12 can support a ton of dead and live load. Here are some charts for reference: http://www.southernpine.com/spantables.shtml So I really think the floor joists are not going to be a problem. The beams resting on concrete pillar (the pillar by the block wall will be reinforced w/rebar) should not be an issue as well because concrete has great compression strength. Accordingly 5000 psi concrete should support a lot even if I have just a small section of the beam on it. (3.5" is minimum I believe). If I load it up and it starts to sag a small amount I can always put a beam under the center. These are pretty damn big beams, a lot larger than your typical house beam. If I need to I could install metal posts at the center. Which would give me three posts to work around (not the end of the world). I work on kit cars primarily so having 3 5000 lbs cars is pretty unlikely. But I would like to build it so there isn't a question. I'll see about getting an engineer to look over it, but I have my doubts as it not being adequate for the use. Also I was planning on using steel plate on top of the pillar to help distribut the force across the concrete. I haven't figured out what is needed there yet.
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Old 02-27-2009, 01:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dinger
A fw questions enter my mind.
1. How are you going to get the cars to the second story?
2. Where are these block and concrete walls you speak of? I see a wooden barn.
3. Are those the beams in the picture? The photo looks a bit deceiving, the beams don't look to be over 20 feet long.
4. Why all this work to get so many cars under one roof? A barn 34 X 50 feet, ought to be able to put 5 cars in comforably. Use the upstairs for storage, a break room. This will keep you downstairs working on projects instead of trekking up and down stairs all day.
1. There is a hill going around to get in the second floor.
2. They are there. 8' tall walls. All you see is the door in that picture and the hill on the side hides one of the walls.
3) They are 40ft well...39' 8" is what i measured.
4) Heh, yes 5 cars okay if there are no beams. I have a lot of cars though and don't see my collection decreasing either. Just building for the future... I have 2 corvairs, 1 dune buggy, 2 avengers, 1 banshee, and 3 other fiberglass bodies for projects. So I could use a functioning second floor. Also the barn is 32 ft + a little maybe high. Seems a shame to waste that space and be limited on parts cars etc.
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Old 02-27-2009, 02:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grouch
What's the dead load you're intending to put on that concrete? What's the live load? Wind load? Snow load? What are the soil conditions under it? What kind of foundation do you need for that pillar? How will the pillar be tied to its foundation? What kind of reinforcement does the pillar need? What sort of attachment does the beam require to the pillar in order to carry all loads at the center? What forces will be acting on those attachments to bring your barn down around your ears? What's the bending moment of one of those beams? Shear?

Quick -- what's the radius of gyration about the yc axis? (Sorry, don't know how to do subscripts in vbulletin).
Hmmm... can all be calculated... living area above 40lbs is standard? live load is several cars plus whatever other things I put in... not too much else...snow load - gambrel roof so not much... concrete would be adequate for pillars... 1/2" rebar for reinforcing... steel plate with anchor bolts.... bending momement - you should be able to tell me based on the dimensions I gave you...radius of gyration - welded bar to the bottoms of the beams should counteract.... WAIT! Wait a second you sound like you are a g-damn engineer and instead of helping you sound like you are trying to intimidate me into getting advice from a pro. I know that's your opinion. But I go online and look at other peoples questions on the same exact issue- what size beam do I need and not one person brought up the radius of gyration. Give me a break.
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