Cut structural

Let’s start with defer, defer, defer…OK now that is out of the way.

This is what happens when homeowner X decides that installing two garage door operators is more important than the integrity than the structural support beam under the second story floor, wall, and roof system.

This is not the first time I have seen this and will not be the last.
In this case there was no evidence of deflection in the beam observed.
My question is what “acceptable” methods have other inspectors seen to remedy this type of deficiency? I am thinking steel plates to reinforce the weakened sections of the beam, but wanted to get some other input.

Again, It has been deferred to a professional, to make that call. So the question is merely speculative.

(only a carpenter should own a sawzall… :slight_smile: )

Cut beam.JPG

Yep. Steel plates. Deflection will happen, it just hasn’t had time yet…or the right load put above it.

BTW, after they reinforce that, the right to install an opener in that situtation is to use a “jackshaft” type residential garage door opener that places the drive motor beside or above the door opening - these are specifically designed to provide maximum “headroom” below the door when open and eliminate the need for a center drive track, for example:

Ya Michael I agree on the jackshaft door operators. They are a way better solution than getting the saw out and hacking away at the structure.

Can you say stress-riser?

The engineer will probably have someone bolt a piece of c-channel steel onto the side of the beam. Should be relatively easy to do.


If I’m reading you picture correctly, it looks more like a Doubled or Tripled laminated support beam, probably 12" or better tall, probably built on the jobsite, and drywalled over during the finishing of the Garage area.
It looks more like the beam was (Notched 2"+/-) to allow for the Opener installation. If I’m correct with my assumptions, I’d note it in my report and recommend further review by a Prof. Carpenter/Contractor. I would explain that this is not considered good practice, but that the Home is not likely to suffer any.
Now, if my assumptions above are wrong, then further evaluation would be recommended.

(defer, defer, defer) Already did that. :slight_smile:

I did not measure, but I want to say it was at least 16" and it is conventional lumber (not a lam). The notch is approx. 3" deep at both garage door locations.
The beams span is 20 feet, and what I believe has really helped is the fact that it was built with a center structural support post.


I agree, especially with you noting the center post.

I’ll bet that beam is made of 2x12’s or 2x14’s with plywood glued between and screwed together. If so, your client should be fine, short of some kind of outside castrophic/seismic happening. You just never know.

No it is real lumber just like the header over the garage door. I was able to see that it was solid in the notches as well.
Washington is kind of a lumber capitol of sorts, so we have no problems getting solid lumber. :slight_smile:

garage beam.JPG


Gotcha, makes sense to probably just use a 4"x12" or 4"x14" - 20’ long beam out of whatever material is popular in your area.
The reason I like laminating 1/2", 5/8" or 3/4" cdx plywood between 2"x lumber is for added strength. Gluing and nailing or screwing together really gives the strength. The jackposts and/or centerpost just enhances the support.
Codes are codes, pretty much throughout, from east to west coast, but favorite construction methods I think are probably more regional.
Good Question, and you got some good thoughts and replys.

Got to agree…
I like the glue lams, which are more dimensionally stable. They don’t warp and twist the way conventional lumber does, and don’t have the same problems with shrinkage.

Harold, your *** is way out on the line with a statement like that. I’m not sure why you would assume so much liability for the person who cut the beam. Even if the cut beam meets code, there could be issues due to extra heavy snow or a roofer who over loads during a future re-roof.

A typical fix in my area would be to bolt or screw a wood member members to the side(s). I wouldn’t even attempt to sign off on the original beam being cut unless I had the original calculations.

The problem with the particular beam in question is not that it is notched, necessarily, but WHERE it is notched. You can not notch the middle third of a structural beam or joist.


I agree with your statement, but I’m thinking were probably talking about the center of the door (approx. 25% in ). I know that sounds like splitting hairs…

It’s never a good idea to cut/notch a beam like this, and you could, and probably should either sister joists or possibly add a fletch plate across the bottom or on either side of the beam.

I don’t think it’s probably necessary, with the post positioned as it is, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt.


Ít sounds like someone guessed (and didn’t calculate) the original beam, and now we are all guessing whether the notch is OK or not OK. There is insufficient information to enable a structural calculation to be done, but that is what should be done by someone capable and licensed to do so, and if I were writing a report, that is what I would recommend.

A beam that wide and that deep spanning only 10 feet either has some monster loads on it, or else it was grossly overdesigned, but we don’t know which, so any comments on the adequacy of the notched beam are based on air.

The notch is in the bottom portion of the beam and looks to be in the mid-span of the beam. This is the tension controlled region of the member in bending, and has effectively reduced the effective depth of the beam. This is a case for further review by a licensed contract but will most likely need to be reviewed by a structural engineer.

Do you realize this thread is 10 years old?

And it hasn’t collapse yet? :mrgreen::wink:

See, it wasn’t the issue the inspector thought it was.