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We have a mid span beam in the middle of the garage (24 by 24 garage) supporting the 12 ft long floor joists (2x8) for above attic space. This beam was made of gluing and nailing three 2 x 10 (or 2x12) lumbers. This beam is also supported by two lally columns across the span. The garage was built as attached in 1990-96- I believe.

My question is that the length of the each 2x12 board they used to make my beam is 16 ft long, but garage is 24 ft long. Therefore, to make the beam span 24 ft they connected 8 ft pieces. However, I'm not sure how that connection point is strong? The sim and connection are not supported by lally column (lally column is 2 ft next to this connection point), and I can see there is a tiny sagging in the connection.

We do not much use the attic space for storage but I wonder what to do?

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  • Why the architect/engineer didn't spec an LVL or I-beam is going to get you nothing but speculation and could get your question closed as being opinion based, I'd recommend that you edit your question to remove these parts. The last paragraph has the only really answerable question, but I'd suggest refining it by editing to include the amount of sag over the spans between wall/post/post/wall. Building up longer beams/posts out of shorter segments is perfectly common and acceptable, so long as the nailing/bolt schedule is followed.
    – FreeMan
    Jan 17, 2022 at 17:15
  • It is understandable that you like an open space garage without the obstruction of the posts, but since, I guess, you are not the firsthand owner, any complaint is way too late now. I suggest consulting with an architect or structural engineer to see the feasibility of getting rid of the posts. Note that I doubt that your garage may not have enough clearance to accommodate a deeper replacement beam, which is likely to result.
    – r13
    Jan 17, 2022 at 18:17
  • Thank you. Actually, i do not have any plans for a open plan garage. Sorry if my post was not clear. That was only my curiosity to understand when I-joists and LVL beams started being actively used in construction industry-much after 1995 my garage built. My question is that if it is ok (by code) to make a beam from multiple dimensional lumbers by nailing shorter pieces together in my case they nailed 16ft lumber with a 8 ft lumber to make a beam to span up to 24 ft. thank you
    – victor
    Jan 17, 2022 at 18:25
  • Since your most recent comment indicates what your real question is, I've removed all the speculative and opinion based questions and focused on the real question. If you're interested in when steel & LVLs became common in residential construction, please feel free to ask a new question about that.
    – FreeMan
    Jan 17, 2022 at 19:07
  • If short bits could not be made into long bits, we would be missing a lot of bridges…
    – Solar Mike
    Jan 18, 2022 at 4:59

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Unless you believe that your house didn't pass the various inspections (which include inspections of framing) while it was being built, then it seems rather obvious that this is, indeed, allowed.

Note that if the span had only been 16', the main beam still would have been made up of three 2x10 or 2x12 sticks of lumber nailed (and possibly glued) together.

The fact that the beam is longer than lumber that is readily available required it to be made up of shorter pieces. So long as the joints between the shorter pieces do not overlap, and the nailing followed the pattern indicated by the engineer, then you have nothing to worry about.


The architect/engineer could have specified some sort of engineered lumber (LVLs were in use as early as 1990, possibly earlier) however then, as now, engineered lumber tends to be more expensive than "real" lumber*, so it was probably a simple cost trade off. The same holds true for steel - my brother in law has a steel beam spanning his basement ceiling in his house build around 1993. It cost more and it required a crane to set it, but it was a cost they were willing to accept to have an open basement floor without posts, walls, etc.

*The ridiculous lumber prices of the last 2 years not withstanding...

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