Heavy timber posts and support beam

(hziegenbein) #1

Did an inspection on an approximately 80 year old wood frame construction victorian. The support colums in the basement wer old heavy timber approximately 6"*6". All of the columns wer straight but there were some long cracks running with the grain, the same type of cracks were running along the heavy support beams. They also had shimmed the support beams above the posts and the floors above were noticebly raised where they were shimmed. The basement was finished so I couldn’t see the floor joists. It appeared as if everything had been this way for a while, there was no cracking or anything in the plaster in the house, but there were a number of uneven ceilings. I’ve seen this in several similar style houses. Two questions: am I correct that the cracks in the beams/posts are just from the wood aging and acceptable since they run with the grain? And even there are no other signs would you recommend this to a structural engineer, has anybody run into similar situations and were there any reasons for what was done?
Thanks in advance
Hans
Home Savers Home Inspection Services llc

(Larry Kage, CMI) #2

Those "cracks" look like checking which occurs when solid wood beams dry out naturally. As the beams dry out they shrink and the checking accomodates that but has little effect on the strength of the beam and does not need to be repaired.

Of more concern would be cracks all the way through the beam, notches especially along the bottom, excessive sagging of the beam, rot (check at the bottom of posts), etc.

(Kenton Shepard, CMI) #3

What Larry said. Checks no problem.

(hziegenbein) #4

Thanks for the input.

(Raymond E. Wand) #5

These are typical "checking" cracks not of concern.

Wood Industry Fact Sheet - Checking

http://www.wvu.edu/~Agexten/forestry/wooddr2.pdf