Steel Beam Bearing Length Calculator:
The following table shows the bearing length of a steel beam. You can use it to determine if you need to buy a different type of steel or not. A steel beam with the same bearing length will have the same strength at any given point in time.
If your steel beam needs to be replaced because its bearing is worn out, then you will still get the same performance from your new one even though it may weigh less than before.
Length (feet) Weight (pounds) 1 3 2 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 193 194 195 196 197 198 199 200 201 202 203 204 205 206 207 208 209 210 211 212 213 214 215 216 217 218 219 220 221 222 223 224 225 226 227 228 229
If you are using a beam that will span 20 feet or more and is made of steel, then you will probably not need to change its size.
How Much Bearing Do I Need?
After you have gone through the list of sizes, and you have found a beam that suits your needs, it is time to consider bearing. The bearing is an important part of the beam because, well, it bears the weight! If you have an old beam that is cracked or broken, then you will need a new one.
If there are any deep cracks or chips in the beam, then it should be replaced as soon as possible. This is because most steel beams that are made for use in such conditions weigh between 25 and 30 pounds per foot. Using a beam of lighter weight will cause your structure to be less durable, and using a beam of heavier weight will stress the surrounding environment around it as well as make it more difficult to place.
A steel beam that is too heavy may cause your structure to collapse, while one that is too light may wear out quicker or not fulfill its load bearing purpose. This is why it is important to know what size beam you need and how much bearing it should have, to keep your structure safe.
The next step is to decide on the load bearing of your beam. This decides how heavy the beam can be, but also whether or not you need to reinforce your structure. A general rule of thumb is to never exceed 1/3 the width of the beam in load bearing.
For example, if your beam is two feet wide, then you shouldn’t place anything weighing more than 6 pounds on it. In most cases this will be enough to ensure safety and reduce stress on the beams.
If you need to bear heavier loads, then you will need to reinforce your structure. To do this, you must either add more beams or connect the existing beams together with metal strips, both of which can be found at any hardware store or online. However, this does not consider the size of the beam.
A wider beam can carry more weight in comparison to its width. At this point, you should know the load bearing of your beam based on foot or meters. For example, if you have a 2 foot by 12 foot beam that is 1.5 inches thick, then you need to multiply these numbers. Now your beam is 3.6 feet wide, and 18 inches thick.
Checking Your Work
After you have placed the beam in the right position and connected it according to your size and load bearing, you will want to do a couple of test before adding any finishing touches. The first test is to walk on it! There is nothing more satisfying than seeing your design actually work, so make sure to try this out before anything else.
After you have made sure that everything is stable and safe, then you can move onto adding your finishing touches. Now you can calculate its load bearing. Let’s say that it is used to support the floor of a one story building that only has windows on one side. If you were to distribute the weight evenly across one floor, then each square foot would have a weight of 144 pounds. This is why the maximum bearing for a 2 by 12 is 300 pounds. By using this method, you can easily find out if your beam is safe!
Now comes the heavy lifting.
While you may be tempted to paint your new beam, this is not recommended. Not only will the paint make it more slippery and dangerous, but if there are any chips or cracks in the beam, then the paint will seep into them and make them worse. If you must paint it for aesthetic reasons, then it is best to leave the top face unpainted so that dirt and other materials cannot get trapped in the paint and cause further damage.
You need to add the finishing touches to your beam. First, you will want to paint the beam in order to protect it from the elements, which will cause it rust and eventually decay. You should use a high quality exterior paint that is specifically designed to protect metal. Most hardware stores will have this, or you can find it online for a low price. After it has dried, you can add some grip to it by using duct tape near the ends and in a straight line down the center.
Before placing an object on the beam, make sure that it is stable and cannot be knocked over easily. It is also more secure to place the sharp ends of the beam in a wooden block to ensure that they don’t slip out. Always remember that a structure is only as strong as its weakest link, so if you are placing a heavy load on a weak beam then the whole thing could come crashing down!
After you have finished using it, make sure that you return any furniture or equipment to their original positions. This may seem trivial, but even the smallest differences can affect the structural integrity of your beam. You don’t want to find out the hard way that your design has a fatal flaw! Now that you know how to build a beam like this, you can get building and place it in whatever position you want.
The load bearing and size of your new beam will determine exactly how you fix it to the walls, so make sure to follow the instructions that come with it!
Your new beam is pretty but it can’t just be left bare. You need to make sure that it blends into the surroundings. The first thing you can do is sand it down, this will get rid of any splinters, rough edges or other materials which might catch on clothing or skin.
It is also a good idea to use a wood stain on it. This will hide the wood grain and change its color so that it fits in with the rest of your wall. By doing this, the beam will seem to disappear into the background and become another part of the wall. It is always a good idea t varnish or wax the stained wood so that it develops a nice shine and protects it from water damage. A fine sandpaper can be purchased from any hardware store and used for this purpose. It is best to cover the floors and furniture before you start as the sand will not hold back! Once it has been sanded, you should apply several coats of varnish or wood stain. This will protect it from moisture and keep it in good condition for longer. You must also make sure that it is completely dry before applying another coat.
Alternatively, you can leave your beam bare. This will give it a raw, natural look which will blend it into its surroundings even better than the other techniques. It is important that you keep it well oiled and treated regularly with wood preserver to stop it from rotting and to prolong its life.
As long as you do this, it should last for years. If you let the wood dry out, then the beam may become damaged or destroyed beyond repair. This may mean that you have to do several coats over the course of a few days or even weeks.
If you are planning on hanging anything on the wall (Like a TV, picture frame, or dart board), then you will need to make some kind of anchor for it. You could use picture hooks and screw them directly into the drywall and studs behind it, but this may cause damage and the fixings could become loose over time.
Railings can be found to match the beams you’ve chosen so you should have no trouble in finding one that compliments your home’s decor. The size of your staircase will determine the type and size of railing you use. Prefabricated options can easily be purchased or custom made ones can be ordered online or through specialist companies.
These can be fixed directly to the walls or you may want them to cantilever out over the edges of the staircase. This type of railing is often used in mansion or luxury houses where space is not a concern.
If you want to make your own, you will need to use the correct materials so that it is safe to use and complies with all local safety standards. You will need building permission for this and may need special certification for safety reasons before the local authority will grant it. If you are a confident do-it-yourself type, you can always build your own.
These can be made from a combination of wood, metal or plastic and can be as basic or fancy as you like. You may want to hire a structural engineer to help you design and build it. Again, this may require special approval before building can commence. There are many websites where you can find instructions on how to make your own.
You could also use a combination of both store bought and handmade ones. This would require some planning as you need to make sure that the heights and lengths are in keeping with each other. It’s best to sketch out a plan first before beginning work so that you know what materials you will need to buy and how much work you will need to do.
For small, lightweight railings that you fix direct to the walls, you can use aluminum or stainless steel bars of the appropriate size. You will need masonry drill bit (To drill holes in the walls) and several screws to fix them securely in place. These can be cut to size and shaped at the ends so that they fit in with the general decor of your home.
They are very sturdy and provide good hand holds for people to hold on to when using the staircase.
You can also use a combination of wood and metal. Normal preservative treated wood can be used for the top and bottom rails. The sides can be made from aluminum, stainless steel or wooden planks.
Attaching the different materials can be a complex affair as you need to make sure that each piece fits with the next without gaps or overlaps. Too much of either can weaken the structure so it needs to be designed by someone who knows what they’re doing.
Glass panels can be used to decorate the walls of your staircase. These can come in a wide range of colors and patterns and are very good at allowing light into your home, especially if you have a basement. These should be fixed to a wooden backing so that they don’t crack or break under stress.
Always make sure that you use a reputable glazier to do the job for you. It’s very important that the person who builds it has an in depth knowledge of construction methods and materials.
Sources & references used in this article:
- Experimental investigation of behaviour of axially restrained steel beams in fire (TCH Liu, MK Fahad, JM Davies – Journal of Constructional Steel Research, 2002 – Elsevier)
- Beam-column moment connections for composite frames: Part 1 (TM Sheikh, GG Deierlein, JA Yura… – Journal of Structural …, 1989 – ascelibrary.org)
- Strengthening steel bridge sections using CFRP laminates (R Sen, L Liby, G Mullins – Composites Part B: Engineering, 2001 – Elsevier)
- Composite connections in steel and concrete. I. Experimental behaviour of composite beam—Column connections (Y Xiao, BS Choo, DA Nethercot – Journal of Constructional Steel Research, 1994 – Elsevier)
- Overview of US–Japan research on the seismic design of composite reinforced concrete and steel moment frame structures (GG Deierlein, H Noguchi – Journal of structural engineering, 2004 – ascelibrary.org)
- Cyclic behaviour of concrete filled steel tubular column to steel beam connections (J Beutel, D Thambiratnam, N Perera – Engineering Structures, 2002 – Elsevier)
- Mechanical and informational modeling of steel beam-to-column connections (JH Kim, J Ghaboussi, AS Elnashai – Engineering Structures, 2010 – Elsevier)