Is this split horizontal main beam a cause for concern?

Is this split horizontal main beam supporting supporting the 2nd floor a cause for concern? The beam cracks permeated from wall to wall. I see this condition quite a bit here in California in 2 story homes built in the 1980’s. Some conditions are worse, some not. My recommendation is usually to get a second opinion from a licensed Structural engineer until I was told recently, by another inspector (who’s not a licensed Structural engineer) that its nothing to worry about. His reasoning- “its commonly due to wood dryness, shrinkage, and stress”. I sided with this inspector based on my findings and decided not to recommended a second opinion this go around. My findings were: there were no Structural cracks in the surrounding

walls and ceilings above, the upstairs floors were level and the beam was not displaced. Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

No, it’s perfectly normal and safe (based upon what is visible in the pic). Now if those ‘checks/splits’ were to be in a different location, ie. the direction of the timber’s upper or lower edge, it may have a different answer…


Thank you for the confirmation and for the article Jeff. I think I can sleep better now.

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It would be very unusual for a sawn beam of that size not to have significant checking cracks from the drying/shinkage process.

No concern unless you see visible beam deflection.

^^^^^^^^^^ What they said! ^^^^^^^^^^