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  #1  
Old 12/26/10, 07:27 PM
 
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steel I-beams as header

Trying to figure out what type of header to use. We have very limited vertical space for a header over the doors on the south side and 6" header would be perfect.

Would a 6" steel I-beam used as a door way header be sufficient for a 6 foot door way opening (double doors) for a single story house?

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  #2  
Old 12/26/10, 07:53 PM
 
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Would two nailed 2x6" do the job? 6' does not really seem like that big of a span, to require steel.

Especially if you will be using a framed door.

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  #3  
Old 12/26/10, 10:00 PM
 
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A contractor friend told me 1" per 1' of span so 2"x6" with 1/2" plywood glued and sandwiched between would be plenty especially since it's single story and you aren't dealing with feet of snowload.

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  #4  
Old 12/26/10, 10:12 PM
 
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Oops let me clarify, there is a snow load concern. I didn't think to post that, sorry. It's an earthen roof, but very shallow at 3.5 - 4" only of soil, no gravel and a light inkadrain layer. So it'll be much less weight than a typical earthen roof.

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  #5  
Old 12/26/10, 11:37 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sparticle View Post
Trying to figure out what type of header to use. We have very limited vertical space for a header over the doors on the south side and 6" header would be perfect.

Would a 6" steel I-beam used as a door way header be sufficient for a 6 foot door way opening (double doors) for a single story house?

..................Could use a 2x6 on each side , then 2 pieces of 7/8 plywood with a 1x6 in the center . Maybe a little shy of 6 full inches but IF glued and screwed should be very strong ! , fordy
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  #6  
Old 12/27/10, 02:33 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sparticle View Post
Oops let me clarify, there is a snow load concern. I didn't think to post that, sorry. It's an earthen roof, but very shallow at 3.5 - 4" only of soil, no gravel and a light inkadrain layer. So it'll be much less weight than a typical earthen roof.
I'm not sure what an inkadrain layer is, but this appears to be a non-tradtional build. As such, it would be foolish of us to give you an answer as we are not enginieers and don't know squat about earth house engineering. Well at least most of us don't have common dirt roof experience.

Since you left out the dirt, you might be leaving something else as well? Seems you'd like to hear the answer you want to hear, rather than getting the answer you need to get for this particular building.

Just saying, if you are fishing for an answer, this might be a case where you need to know a real answer, not just a guess.

--->Paul
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  #7  
Old 12/27/10, 08:32 AM
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If you've got the steel beam and want to use it I don't see why you couldn't. Nothing wrong with making a house stronger than necessary. But then I'm not a house builder and really know nothing about headers except you're supposed to have them.

Are you building this in MO? How much of a snow load do you expect there?

If the steel I beam is just in your way I've got a block wall where I could make use of it.

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  #8  
Old 12/27/10, 09:41 AM
 
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Originally Posted by rambler View Post
Since you left out the dirt, you might be leaving something else as well? Seems you'd like to hear the answer you want to hear, rather than getting the answer you need to get for this particular building.

Just saying, if you are fishing for an answer, this might be a case where you need to know a real answer, not just a guess.

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Not really, it was late and I had been working at re-drawing the plans for 2 days straight. It just didn't dawn on me that I left that out till someone wanted me to use wood for a header. There's not much else to tell about the roof.
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  #9  
Old 12/27/10, 09:45 AM
 
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We don't have the steel beam on hand, we just want something strong and with as small a profile as possible.

Snow load is 20#

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Last edited by Sparticle; 12/27/10 at 10:02 AM.
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  #10  
Old 12/27/10, 09:56 AM
 
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Is the header going to be on a bearing or non bearing wall? If it is non bearing I wouldn't be to concerned about using a double 2 x 6 with plywood sandwiched in between. If it is a bearing wall and a heavy snow load I would think you would need to beef it up a little and use a metal I-beam or investigate the use of a laminate beam as a header.

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  #11  
Old 12/27/10, 10:03 AM
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I agree with Danaus29 in that it is better to overdo something than worry about whether or not it is too weak to do what you want it to do.

I would be interested in "seeing" what you are talking about as I've never seen a house built with a "soil" top before.

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  #12  
Old 12/27/10, 10:07 AM
 
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Originally Posted by retire2$ View Post
Is the header going to be on a bearing or non bearing wall? If it is non bearing I wouldn't be to concerned about using a double 2 x 6 with plywood sandwiched in between. If it is a bearing wall and a heavy snow load I would think you would need to beef it up a little and use a metal I-beam or investigate the use of a laminate beam as a header.
Yes it's a load bearing wall.
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  #13  
Old 12/27/10, 12:12 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Sparticle View Post
Yes it's a load bearing wall.
I didn't mean for my comments to sound rude.

Just without the whole design, it's really hard to say from across the country.

A building is a whole system, not just one header, so it's hard to give you a meaningful answer. Some of us will guess, but - donno if that is good enough for a house design?

There is live load, dead load, buildimg materials, etc. to consider.

Does the 20lbs snow load mean your dirt, soaked with rain, plus any snow in your location, will equal a total of 20#? Do we need to add the weight of the building materials, and will they be heavier than normal 5/8 roof sheeting and tar layers? Will your load be on 16 inch centers, or something different?

While small details, there are things hidden in there that make a person go, oh, no that won't work that way!

Then, there are different I beams,wide web, different wall thicknesses....

I'm over complicating it, you just wanna build it strong enough & more.

But on a house, sometimes you gotta prove your point, and it would be good to really know, not just guess.

But I understand, you are asking for advise & if anyone has been there, done that.

Hope you find some good info.

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  #14  
Old 12/27/10, 12:35 PM
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I'm really curious now. Is it going to be a sod roof with growing grass and short wildflowers? Is the building earth sheltered or out in the open? What will be your main building material for the walls?

Sorry about all the questions. I've been kicking some ideas around in my head for when we can find a decent size piece of land where we can have critters and not worry about zoning codes for a shed. An earth sheltered house with a sod roof so that no one knows it's there would be the coolest of cool, and oh so warm in the winter.

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  #15  
Old 12/27/10, 01:25 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Sparticle View Post
Yes it's a load bearing wall.

...................Look into the price of a junior beam , about one half the size of a 12 inch I beam . They are probably stronger than you'll ever need . , fordy
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  #16  
Old 12/28/10, 01:01 PM
 
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ugh, apparently my really long reply last night didn't post. I'll try again tonight.

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  #17  
Old 12/28/10, 01:35 PM
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I-beam is overkill...use a steel right angle beam.

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  #18  
Old 12/28/10, 01:44 PM
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RF, could you use a steel right angle beam over an opening in a concrete block wall? Sorry to go off topic but I've got the steel angle beams and I have a crawlspace opening I need to span with more block when I rebuild the wall in question. The steel angle is an option we never considered.

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  #19  
Old 12/28/10, 09:10 PM
 
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EveningAll,
To give you a real answer i would need to know the span of the roof and what your bearing wall is? Wood or masonry. either way a 2x6 wood header is not enough, For a framed wood roof it should be a 2x8 figuring you have a roof span of 22 feet or so.
The 20# I believe is your soil load the snow load should be 40# per sf for a low sloped roof it could be more. a 6" 12 pound beam should be enough. For a wood wall I would have 2 studs under each end for a masonry wall 4inch of bearing min. on each end.
If you can fill in a few more blanks i can look it up on a chart.
Our PM me with a email and I could email the charts
Steve

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  #20  
Old 12/29/10, 10:16 AM
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
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Ok, let's try this again... to make it easier, here is an email I sent my friend's Dad, she said he might be able to help....

We shortened the height of the North and South wall and are trying to make sure the doors on the South side will still fit under the sill plate when the header is considered.

In order for the doors to fit, instead of using the planned for wood, I'd like to try using a 6" steel beam over the 6' double door span for it's strength and low profile. The required minimum load here for snow is 20 #, but we're shooting (temporarily) for 100# because it's an earthen roof and to account for a freak soil saturation, then ice, then 500 year storm feet of snow. The earth on the roof is very shallow at 3-4" and the wet soil and other components for the roof come in around 70# to the best of my ability to calculate.

It is a load bearing header, but will only hold 4 joists as they are currently spaced (spacing may change, I"ll explain below) and is located on the South wall, which is a typical wood frame wall. The main support beam for the house will be on the East/ West walls and will sit on concrete filled blocks.

Either side of the 6' door opening will have 2 @ 2x8's for king studs so the wall will be a bit thicker than normal.

When the drawings are complete, the author of the book I used parts from will review the plans. To keep my expense down and only pay for one hour, I need to try to have as much done ahead of time as I can. I am going to ask him if we can increase the spacing of the joists and if 100# for this roof is overkill. He may reduce to 70#?

I can't think of anything else you'd need to know, but please let me know if you have any questions. Thank you so much for any thoughts.

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Last edited by Sparticle; 12/29/10 at 10:24 AM.
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  #21  
Old 12/29/10, 10:20 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Danaus29 View Post
I'm really curious now. Is it going to be a sod roof with growing grass and short wildflowers? Is the building earth sheltered or out in the open? What will be your main building material for the walls?

Sorry about all the questions. I've been kicking some ideas around in my head for when we can find a decent size piece of land where we can have critters and not worry about zoning codes for a shed. An earth sheltered house with a sod roof so that no one knows it's there would be the coolest of cool, and oh so warm in the winter.
NOt really sod, when I think of sod I think of heavy soil with grass. This will be 3-4" of good dirt (not the clay stuff we have up here at the excavation site, it'll be from the bottom land). Then shallow rooted plants like sedum, chives, strawberries, clover etc.

You don't even have to put dirt on an earthen roof, you can just cover it with strawbales and let nature take it's course. We can't afford that however at $3 per bale.

The house is earth sheltered and 3 of the walls are concrete dry stack block. The South wall is a typical framed wall since it's mostly windows for passive solar gain. Even though there are other building methods that are more "romantic" for the green at heart, this was the best for our skill level (amateur). It'll be a very strong house.

Regarding no one knowing you are there, I read a story once about an off grid family that built w/out a permit. They lived there for years till a small plane noticed something reflecting off the ground and reported it. It was their solar panels and they were found out. So if you aren't wanting to be seen, keep reflectivity in mind ;-)
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  #22  
Old 12/29/10, 11:40 AM
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Yes they would see the cars and the outbuildings too. Good point.

Sounds great. A southern exposure would help with passive solar heating. I don't know what I would do without my southern picture window.

So what do you use (if anything) to keep the soil from washing down into the house?

I've heard about planes being used to check for zoning violations and such. You always hope it won't come to your area, but realize that eventually it will.

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  #23  
Old 12/29/10, 03:13 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Danaus29 View Post
Yes they would see the cars and the outbuildings too. Good point.

Sounds great. A southern exposure would help with passive solar heating. I don't know what I would do without my southern picture window.

So what do you use (if anything) to keep the soil from washing down into the house?

I've heard about planes being used to check for zoning violations and such. You always hope it won't come to your area, but realize that eventually it will.
The earthen roof is made of several layers under the soil. Our gravel drainage layer (common method) is going to be replaced by a lighter weight enkadrain at 1 oz per foot. Then some sort of water proof membrane like pond liner etc. Rigid insulation and in the Rob roy book, this insulation is sandwiched between the water proof membrane and polyethelene, then plywood that sits on the joists.

There are lots of sites and books that can help with more specifics, there are lots of ways to do it.
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  #24  
Old 12/29/10, 03:48 PM
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Thanks. I'll have to get some books. I really would like to build a building with a dirt roof, even if it's just a small building like a root cellar or poultry building.

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  #25  
Old 12/29/10, 04:37 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Danaus29 View Post
Thanks. I'll have to get some books. I really would like to build a building with a dirt roof, even if it's just a small building like a root cellar or poultry building.

Rob Roy's book "earth sheltered houses" has a nice section on earthen roofs. Right now you can get one on amazon for around $15. I was lucky and got mine much cheaper.
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  #26  
Old 12/29/10, 05:54 PM
 
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If you've got 2x8 king posts on the sides, can't your header be 7.5 inches wide, or built up from some combination of plywood and 2x6's to equal 7.5 inches wide?

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  #27  
Old 12/29/10, 06:01 PM
 
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I"m looking at height, not width as the problem. I needed something with only a 6" profile because the wall is so short. Talked to my Dad today and he said since the wall is 8" wide, I could probably do several 2x6's with plywood sandwiched between till I get to the 8" width. I guess pretty much what you just said. :-)

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  #28  
Old 12/29/10, 06:39 PM
 
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I would do 2x6 with half inch steel plate sandwiched between them.
Half inch steel plate being the center. Bolt the header together.
It will be 3/4 plywood 2 2x6 steel plate 2 2x6.

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  #29  
Old 12/29/10, 06:44 PM
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I'll have to check out Half Price Books when I get back to that area.

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  #30  
Old 12/29/10, 07:43 PM
 
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Originally Posted by KySam View Post
I would do 2x6 with half inch steel plate sandwiched between them.
Half inch steel plate being the center. Bolt the header together.
It will be 3/4 plywood 2 2x6 steel plate 2 2x6.
Sweet!

Thanks for the idea.

edit: thanks to EVERYONE who had the 2x6 idea. Just re-read this thread.
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Last edited by Sparticle; 12/30/10 at 10:46 AM.
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