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Do you have to have a steel beam for a load bearing wall or is a timber beam ok

18880 terrace house, stairs moved circa 2000 and loft conversion put in. Beam for load baring wall is cladded to look like old beam. Survey 10 years ago said we needed to check if this was a steel beam. Just had someone check and it is a timber beam - builder said its fine and there is no movement but if we were to sell i assume this question will come up in the survey again. Thinking of getting in structural engineer to advise and potentially add steel beam below timber exisisting, put in new RSJ completely or put the wall back. But obviously don't wnat to do it if i don't need to.

I don't know the size of the beam but let's assume it is the right size suitable for its purpose - butit is just timber and not steel and encased in MDf or other cheap wood and stained to look like old beam.

Many thanks for answers - it was passed by buidling control but may well still check structural engineer.

3 Answers from MyBuilder Carpenters & Joiners

Best Answer

in some cases in lofts the design by the structural engineers ask for say 2 175x50 bolted together @300-450centres and this acts as a beam ,only lighter and easier to man hanle to is position ,so it may well be ok ,if the loft was done to regs then it would have been checked by building control and signed off


Answered 27th Feb 2012

I am myself a structural engineer, there's no reason you can't use timber. From what I understand of what you're saying, its the beam that trims the stairs and the wall is built off of it going up to your loft. If the wall you mention is stud, not solid brick or block, timber could well be man enough for the job - but I'd expect to see a large timber beam, or 2 or 3 joists joined together to form a wide beam. If you're in doubt ask a local structural engineer to make an assessment and size a new steel if required. You will be looking at around £250 - £350 for their services (estimated by your description).


Answered 12th May 2016

Get an engineer to take a look.You cant put a price on peace of mind and like you said,this may become a problem later on if you sell.


Answered 27th Feb 2012

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