I have two spans that will run perpendicular to each other. The largest span is loadbearing at about 26ft, the smaller is non load bearing as about 15ft and rests in the middle of the larger span. My first assumption was I would have to support the load bearing span in its entirety with a sizable beam and then butt the non loadbearing beams to that. However, is it possible to beef up the shorter span beam and have that be the continuous support and split the 26ft span in half to more manageable 13 ft sections?

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    It's really not clear what you're asking. A photo or diagram would help, but so would clearer writing. I thought we were talking about beams until you mentioned adding a beam. What's "a span" in this case, if not a beam? Please revise to clarify. – isherwood Sep 20 '19 at 19:15
  • How is it possible to have the short one support the load that the perpendicular long one is supposed to carry? A Post under the short ones end? Why do want to do this ? – Alaska Man Sep 20 '19 at 19:26
  • I would strongly recommend consulting a local engineer to get your design certified. As nice and as knowledgeable as the folks here are, I wouldn't count on them making guesses across the internet about a 26' beam to support my roof. – FreeMan Oct 21 '19 at 20:28
  • Presume you are speaking of wooden beams? You might consider using a steel I-beam for the 26' span and eliminate the need altogether for the shorter spans. A diagram would be helpful. The largest issue with steel beam is more logistics than anything: finding a supplier, transportation, an manpower/hoists to lift into place. – peinal Oct 22 '19 at 1:14

So you want to use the 13' span as a cantilever support for the center of the 26' span?

Yeah, you could do that, but I think you'll find that the requirements for such a beam far exceed those for the single 26' span,

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Yes, you can support the longer span beam with a cantilevered shorter span beam, but 1) size of cantilever beam will be significantly bigger, 2) length of cantilever beam will be significantly longer, 3) support (post) under cantilever beam will be significantly larger, 4) footing under cantilever post will be significantly larger, 5) appearance may look unusual.

1) The cantilever beam will be supporting one-half the load from the larger beam.

2) A cantilever beam will need to be longer in order to keep it from rotating. In fact, the connection at the other end may need to hold the beam “down”.

3) The post under the cantilever beam will be larger and similar I size the what would have been under the 26’ span beam, now that it’s no longer load bearing.

4) New footings will need to increase in size. In fact, the footing at the far end may need to increase in order to provide enough weight to hold that end down, rather than hold that end up.

5) Having a short beam larger than the longer beam will appear unusual. If the beams are exposed, it could make the space feel “uncomfortable”.

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