# How do I Install a load bearing beam?

The opening will be 14' 1950s house, The wall sperates the kitchen and living room. Can I use four 2x8x14 instead of two 2x12x14?

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• elhigh
Lv 7
1 month ago

As a rule the strength of a wooden structural member goes up with the square of the height, for a member laid horizontally. So a 2x8 (7.25 in fact), call it strength = 52. Don't worry about the actual strength values, we're just doing quick and dirty comparisons.

2x12, (11.25 actual), strength = 126. So even though it's only four inches taller, the 2x12 is more than twice as strong.

4 x 52 = 208 (four 2x8)

2 x 126 = 252 (two 2x12)

Even four 2x8 aren't as strong as two 2x12. Check with an engineer, it may be enough but I wouldn't count on it. You may need to come up some alternative solution like a flitch beam.

And of course there's always the question of how you support the ends of this beam.  I strongly recommend you consult with an engineer so your house doesn't come down around your ears.

• y
Lv 7
1 month ago

There are load calculators out there for this, search around or talk to an engineer.

• 1 month ago

Consult a structural engineer.  That's the best way to go.

• Anonymous
1 month ago

we wouldn't know what you need because we don’t know what the beam needs to support, just ceiling rafters or a second floor. you may also need to beef up the area underneath where the posts rest that will support the beam, again, we wouldn't know what you need

the money spent on a structural engineer to calculate the loads will be money well spent

• skaizun
Lv 6
1 month agoReport

Not to mention that the supporting ground surface may not be able to handle the load of the new beam!

• 1 month ago

you must live in texas ..home of the cowboys ...if you were in uk you would be prosecuted for using timber

• Anonymous
1 month ago

In my part of the world you would need to submit calculations to the local authority or an approved inspector before doing this or you could be prosecuted.