Thinking about removing an interior wall to give a more open concept feel to your home? Our Structural Engineer will conduct a site visit to determine whether the wall is load bearing. If it is determined to be load bearing, he will provide a written report which we will use in applying for your Building Permit. Please note that there is a fee for providing this service and is not included in our free estimate. Once the permit is approved, our experienced team of carpenters will proceed with your project. These types of renovations are typically quick and painless with minimal disturbance to you and your family. We take a great deal of care to ensure your home is properly protected with dust barriers and that at the end of each day, the area is cleaner than we found it. Trust your Ottawa beam installation specialists at Gordmay Construction to do it right!
Steel Beams Vs Wood Beams When you compare wood and steel, it’s natural to assume that the latter will be more resilient and therefore, the better option. Unfortunately, this isn’t a very easy question to answer because both steel and wood beams perform very well in real-life circumstances. At Gordmay Construction, we always inform our clients about the pros and cons of both materials before we recommend an option to them. Here are some facts you need to consider:
Steel Beams Steel is a very popular building material and has been used in support structures for decades now. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of this material:
- Strength – It should come as no surprise that steel is stronger than wood. It is simply more resilient, less prone to damage over time, and can withstand incredible amounts of pressure easily.
- Sizes – Steel beams are manufactured in factories so they’re available in different sizes. You can easily find a 15ft to 16ft beam for large open spaces but you’ll have difficulty to do the same with wood.
- Vulnerabilities – However, steel does have some vulnerability that you should consider before you commit. It may deteriorate if it’s exposed to moisture and water without any protection. It’s also not completely immune to fire and may turn into soft jelly when exposed to the element at high temperatures.
Wood has been used as a support beam for hundreds of years and has proven its worth. The material is a very good choice and after it’s installed, you might not see any difference between the performance of a wood beam and a steel beam. Here’s what you should consider before you make a purchase:
- Strength – While wood beams might not be as strong as steel ones, by no means are they weak. This material can easily support heavy homes and structures and if you install and maintain them well, they’ll easily last for several decades.
- Engineered Wood – You can choose install engineered wood like LVL rather than traditional wood. This material is very resilient as won’t bend and warp as easily
- Vulnerabilities – Wood is also vulnerable to fire and water as the two elements will weaken it. The material is also prone to bugs and pests so you have to take special care to avoid infestation.
What You Need to Know About LVL Beams
Beams bear the weight of the property and have to endure immense amount of pressure. That’s why it’s essential to choose good quality material when you install them. Poor quality beams won’t be able to bear the weight of the structure, and may crack under the pressure, which can lead to hassles and expensive repairs. At Gordmay Construction, we often recommend LVL beams to our clients.
What is LVL?
LVL stands for laminated veneer lumber and its engineered wood that’s very resilient and can withstand considerable amount of pressure. The material consists of several pieces of thin wood glued together and it’s specifically engineered to be resilient and sturdier in comparison to traditional wood beams. Many clients hesitate to use this material because they consider it less resilient but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Expert builders and contractors use and recommend LVL for beams, rimboard, headers, and other such installations.
What Are the Advantages of LVL?
LVL has several advantages, which is why it’s a preferred material with professional installers and contractors. Here are some of its well-known advantages:
- Straighter – LVL beams are manufactured carefully with the highest quality of wood and adhesive. The beams are stronger, more uniform, and straighter than wood and other such beam material options.
- Elasticity – LVL strikes the right balance between elasticity and firmness. The elasticity will ensure that the wood will flex under the pressure without breaking and the firmness will ensure the building structure isn’t warped.
- Lengths – LVL is available in long lengths so you don’t have to worry about compromising the strength of the beam by adding joints. You can get beams that will be the ideal fit for your property.
- Less Vulnerable – Other materials are prone to warping, bowing, and twisting. You don’t have to worry about that with LVL beams because it’s structural composite lumber. It doesn’t have the same vulnerabilities as natural wood.
- Precise Specifications – LVL is made with precise specifications in a controlled environment. There are fewer flaws in the material that can worsen with age and pressure. LVL has proven to be much more durable and performs reliably in most conditions.
The Beam Installation Process Explained
Beams are an important aspect of your home’s frame and structure. They bear the weight of the building and make sure everything stays in place. A load-bearing beam is essential if you intend to remove load supporting walls and open up your floor plan for more space. This is a relatively big project that requires considerable amount of skill and some time to finish. At Gordmay Construction, we follow the process mentioned below.
- Determine the Type of Wall Our first step is to determine what kind of wall we need to remove. If the wall just separates two rooms and doesn’t bear much of a load, there’s no need to install a beam to act as support. However, if the wall is a load-bearing wall, we will need to install a solid and sturdy beam to bear the weight of the structure above it. The wall removal is also handled differently if the structure bears load. As mentioned above, a Structural Engineer must determine this.
- Remove the Drywall After we’ve determined the type of wall, we remove the drywall and strip the support beams from both sides. We’re very careful to ensure that the beams aren’t damaged and the support isn’t rattled before we have secured it properly. We will shut down the electrical circuitry before we start cutting into the drywall.
- Temporary Wall Support Our next step is to stabilize the structure to with temporary wall support. This will keep the structure above the load-bearing wall in place as we remove the old beams to open up the space.
- Remove the Old Beams (if applicable) Once the temporary support structure is in place, we will remove the old beams carefully. We’ll then install any HSS or teleposts to support ends of the beams as specified by the engineer’s report.
- Install the Beam We’ll order and deliver the new beam based on he engineer’s report ready for installation. We’ll remove the temporary wall we built earlier. This beam will flex a little as it bears the load but will eventually settle into place perfectly.
If you want more information or have questions about beam installation and renovations, our experienced Ottawa beam installers at Gordmay Construction can help you. Don’t hesitate to contact us on 613 715 4841 or fill in this contact us form.
27 Providence Pl
Nepean, Ont. K2J 1N9