Are these checks or structural?

After a second opinion on this

A number of the beams in the house have checks (or cracks?) in them. The biggest is pictured here supporting a mezzanine.

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The checks do not go more than half way through the beam at the deepest point. The beam doesn’t sag.

The concern is the way that the beams have been cut and where these are in relation to the checks. We were told that this is a structural issue and they will need reinforcing, but reading some of the posts here I’m now uncertain.

The house is 40 years old

Do we need to get these reinforced? Have these occurred as a result of pressure on the beam or with the wood drying out? Other similar side beams that haven’t been cut have checks in them around the house, but none quite as big.

The ones pictured are just above a fire place which may have caused the wood to dry out faster.

Thanks in advance


hard to tell from pic about checking & other concerns
if farther spaced beams have been notched for the closer spaced joists
this is a definite deficiency that should be addressed by an engineer familiar with proper framing & flloor construction techniques
this should include a detail of repair/retrofit instructions that should be completed by a competent contractor that are then reviewed upon completion by said engineer providing their stamped approval on their letterhead of any & all work

if no notching has occurred than a common recommendation would be to install approved and properly secured joist hangers as required by code


Agree with what was said above, and will add: that particular instance the red arrow is pointing at looks like more than “checking” to me. If it was my home, I think I would “bite the bullet” and have a structural engineer look at it.

That’s checking and pretty much never a structural issue, but if those 4x8 beams are notched, as Barry and Nicholas said, that is a structural issue.
That sort of condition can exist for 40 years with no problem until they have a dance party with everyone dancing to the beat… and then the entire floor can collapse.