What is the proper header construction for a 16' span load bearing for a single story house?

  • More information would be needed but it looks like this has been flagged to be closed. Information like the type of construction, single story? may be helpful. – Ed Beal Mar 13 '17 at 13:19

The only beam that will meet modern design standards for a span that long will be LVL (laminated veneer lumber) or steel. And it'll take an engineer with detailed information about your home to tell you what dimensions are required.

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    This may come in handy later, each of the makers of LVL have in house engineers that if if you give them the design criteria, they will give you the specs for the beam needed. I have had this done, they will send a letter of certification along with it if you ask. I had it done when a sub had to drill outside of the recommended area. There are downloadable install guides from each maker – Jack Mar 11 '17 at 17:31
  • I don't think a LVL or steel beam is the "only beam" that could do the job. (In fact, I would recommend against the steel beam because of the problems associated with connecting your existing wood construction to the steel...not to mention the weight.) Because it's a single story house, the tributary load on your new beam will be minimal. You could use a "structural grade" cut-timber like a 4x12 (that will hold 380 lbs. per foot) or a 6x12 (that will take 660 lbs. per foot). – Lee Sam Mar 11 '17 at 20:05
  • However, a LVL may be the BEST beam to use, because it won't twist, check, warp, etc. as it dries out. If it's going to be visible, a glu-lam will work too. Depending on the design, we'll often use an exposed cut-timber beam with an exposed cut-timber columns. It makes a more "rustic" appearance and is by far the cheapest. Some people try to wrap (or cover) the beam up with gypsum board. Big mistake, because it will twist and crack the gypsum board. The LVL or glu-lam CAN be covered. – Lee Sam Mar 11 '17 at 20:11

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