Support beam cracks and separation

Hi! I recently noticed a horizontal beam in our kitchen has horizontal cracks along the entire side, which I’ve read in the forums here could be “checking”, but the beam is also slightly bulging where those cracks are happening and the beam appears to be twisting. You can see in the photos that there’s a gap where the beam meets a vertical post it’s resting on.
The house was built in 1965 and I’m not seeing any of these issues in any of the other beams. Should I be concerned? Thanks for your help!

Hey Greg, the beam twisted a bit and checked and cracked as it dried. Natural for wood to do so. Is it adversely effecting any other areas or creating any displacement? How long has it been there? How old is the house? Always start there and look at it commonly as well as from a technical standpoint. Not getting a great look at it and everything else around it, it would be hard to know. However, beams like that typically respond in that manner when they dry. If they were installed with elevated moisture content, then you might see it in a more substantial manner. The dry lumber standard in the Northeast is 9-12 %. Materials really shouldn’t be installed until this level of moisture is achieved. Contractors rarely use moisture meters prior to installation. I often en

Sorry, internet issues. I often encounter hardwood floors that are installed too soon and they look awful because of the cupping and heaving that happens.


As wood dries it shrinks and its common for large solid wood beams to have cracks like yours called “checking.” The moisture content of the the wood beam when installed typically dictates the amount and size of the cracks. No two wood beams are alike, even if they were cut from the same tree. So its not uncommon to see differences between beams. Beam twisting and warping are also common. I did not see anything in your photos I would worry about.

Thanks for the replies. I figured the checking was okay, but wasn’t sure about the twisting, especially seeing how it was lifting from the post it’s resting on. Anyway, thanks, I’m relieved to hear that this isn’t something we have to worry about.

IMO the bearing and checking are normal but I am not there.

Absolutely normal, especially Douglas Fir, actually it looks rustic and adds to the ambiance and charm of your home, which is how a Realtor would describe it in a listing…:smiley:

But its the truth.