Exposed support beams pulling away

Our house in northern NY has exposed 7"x7" beams that support the second floor. The house was built in 1983. We purchased it 5 years ago. At that time we noticed a slight separation at the joint of some of these beams. The home inspector indicated it was normal at the time.

It looks to me that the gap has increased slightly since then but I may just be paranoid. Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures or measurements of the gap from the time of the inspection. Does this spacing seem normal or is it something to be concerned about?

The beams in the middle of the room and their corresponding beams in the hallway outside the room seem to be the only ones doing this. The corner joints and the joints in the rest of the house don’t appear to be separated.

Thank you for your help.

Yeah, that can happen

Thanks for looking at my post Thomas. I was hoping for a little clarification. Does your answer mean that it is all normal? Should I consider the joist hangars for additional support or are they just overkill?

Could it be that those 7X7 beams are not properly fastened and walls are slipping away from beams due to the rafters’ weight. Any pictures of the house/roof structure from a distance would help.

If that is indeed a structural beam and not just some faux beam, it has absolutely no bearing. In fact, it appears to be cut on an angle for some reason.

The beam should bear onto something (like a transverse beam, or a post, or a load bearing wall. Minimum bearing should be 4"

You’ve got nothing.

I agree, looks like the weight of the above floor has started pulling the beam out from the wall because it has no support. I would take a laser light or string line and pull it across the upstairs room level. If you have a major dip in the center of the upstairs floor you’ll have your answer.

I agree that it is a serious concern, but I disagree that you should “dink around” trying to figure it out. Call a licensed contractor immediately. That is one f’ed up mess!

(And before you go there… assuming the gap has widened in the last 5 years, I doubt your inspector could have seen/known what is happening today).

If you can see or insert a probe into the gap leading up into the beam, i suggest a shiskabob skewer for probe, you may find the beam has a tenon that penetrates well into the main beam and thus bears the load. The angle cut lets the installer insert the tenon easier in construction. Although they are usually flush when constructed they, meaning both beams, shrink in time. The exterior walls do not move they are tied by rafters and loading and the interior center wall will also normally stay in place so shrinkage shows where the beam lies against the center beam. From the photos the separation I see is quite common in timberframe style construction. If there are no fasteners present then the style of construction is almost certainly mortise and tenon. This slight separating is also common in log construction.
When done they are often hidden from view like this style.

timber frame mortise and tenon.jpg