Proper End Bearing..?

Hello everyone… I inspected a 2yr old townhouse the other day and found a parralam beam(sorry no pics) that had 1 1/2 endbearing. It was my understanding that any main beam should have at least 3in of end bearing. I should mention it was not the only main beam for the home. There was a steel beam that supported 95% of the home(end bearing sufficient) but this one caught my eye and did not appear correct. The builder came in the next day and assured the new buyer it was fine. What do you think?



What is supporting the parallam beam?

If it is wood then 1 1/2 inches full width support is required, if it is supported by masonary then 3 1/2 inches full width support is required.



Hi Gerry… It was sitting on a 2x4 sill plate! I should mention it looked like they started to notch the sill plate, but then left it? Is 1 1/2 enough? for such a large parralam?


It’s an 1 1/2 here Chris.

**R502.6 Bearing.
**The ends of each joist, beam or girder shall
have not less than 1.5 inches (38 mm) of bearing on wood or
metal and not less than 3 inches (76 mm) on masonry or concrete
except where supported on a 1-inch-by-4-inch (25.4 mm
by 102 mm) ribbon strip and nailed to the adjacent stud or by
the use of approved joist hangers.

Engineered lumber beams must have end bearing as per the manuf. specs.

The larger beams typically require 3 to 3 1/2 inches.
Larger beams typically have longer spans or other beams (point load) on them.

Last time I looked the codes only have sawn lumber issues there and the engineered lumber refers to the manuf. specs.

Thats why I posted bruce… I was thinking the same thing. Again this wasn’t the main steel girder which did have enough end bearing on the block wall, however this beam did have a big load considering it was a 2400sq ft townhouse. I just can’t see a 4x12 in parralam sitting on a 2x4 sill… I’ll check some other sites.“”, but if anyone has any other insight I would appreciate it!


Also look for a minimum of 3 2x4’s under the ends of most all engineered beams. Some need 4 or more in big houses.

I just inspected this 1922 home that had no end bearing on one side. It was supported by a column. The other side of the beam was partial finished but I could see that it was in the foundation wall.

I called out the end bearing for a PE. The footer for the column was iffy. How much wait can a column support?


79606 S.Euclid 036 (Small).jpg

Hi to all,

I did some further research on the Parallam bearing issue and found this .pdf which includes the bearing dimensions plus loads of other good installation information.

BTW this sheet cover Floridian requirements.



Bruce is right that engineered lumber is not covered by model codes like the IRC. But the bearing requirements vary greatly from 1-1/2" of bearing up to about 4-1/2" depending on the beam width and span. But since there was a main steel beam, my guess would be that the beam is lighter where 1-1/2" of bearing just may work.

Chris … are you talking about parallel strand lumber or PSL beams (“Parallam” is one brand from TJI) which are wider/heavier engineered lumber girders that generally require more bearing …

Or are you talking about laminated veneer lumber or LVL beams (“Microlam” is one brand from TJI) which mostly just requires 1-1/2" bearing for the lighter beams …

David that would be typical for circa 1922 home and is not uncommon to see in my parts with homes that old along with improper footing for columns. Many homes that age still have wood posts. As to weight a load bearing column that would depend on thickness of metal and or diameter, or size of post if wood and how many floors above, etc.

P.S. Here is a link to the TJI header/beam bearing requirements …

They have the required beam bearing on page 9-10. Notice that except for very short spans (high shear load) or very deep higher capacity beams, the minimum bearing is generally 1-1/2". But keep in mind that’s just for TrussJoist products, although they are pretty common … :wink:

As usuall, Robert has supplied us with a very good example and a lot of this information should be read, for it focuses to a mirid amount of suppliers of the same product and different engineered designs.
One design by one Manufacturer does not neccessarily mean that it is the same for another.

Most Manufacturers will recommend 1 1/2" bearing, but why not give it the full 3 1/2" that is available and then it is not an issue. Reccommended practice as far as I am concerned.

Marcel :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :stuck_out_tongue:

Hello Robert… Thank you for all the info regarding proper end bearing! The beam was a parallam(truss joist product). Like I mentioned the builder said it was ok? If I can figure out how to upload the pic from my homegauge report I’ll post it.


Hi Guys,
I inspected a framing job last week and was surprised to see triple 18" LVL’s spanning a 26’ wide garage with only 2 1/4" bearing. I checked the manufacturer’s guide and was surprised to find that this exceeded the required bearing. It does seem that the only time more bearing is required is when a large beam has a short span. Within the same structure the framer used (3) 18" LVL’s to span an 18’ wide garage door. He then installed (3) more 18" LVL’s in the center of this garage door header (on top of and perpendicular to) overlapping only 2 1/4" onto the lower beam. He did this so that the 2x6 top plated could be notched around the upper beam and kept continuous. Although the amount of bearing is not in question does this small amount of bearing constitute “top loading” a beam and does this create situation create lateral stress on the triple header it is sitting on?