Stick figures of Chloe, Andrew and Henderson with their camper parked in front of Blue Mountain beside the Susquehanna River. Playful Curiosity.

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Getting and Placing Beams

Getting beams was fairly low drama.

I bought W12-35 steel beams. The company I originally contacted sold the business by the time I called back to order. (The Increased Cost of Compliance - ICC - program makes you get contracts before approval and the first check. That process took time.)

Bob Arney guiding the new steel beam.

Placing them wasn't.

Originally I was told that the lifting company would place the beams when they lowered the house. This was part of the mass of mis-information the sales guy gave me and the company later denied. So while calling around for a new beam company I also had to find someone to place them.

That was the hassle. I wanted to house lifters to lower the house enough to let us slide the new beams in on rollers and then complete the drop. They didn't want to have to commit to a date which I would need to co-ordinate with whoever placed the beams. Instead the lift company insisted that I weave the new beams in through their temporary beams and leave them at a jaunty angle until the house went down.

Threading a 12 inch beam under the house and over the temporary beams.

Naturally no one in their right mind wanted to place the beams. Partly because a crane couldn't be used and partly because the job sucked.

I only found one company that would do it but they wanted over $7000 for the beams and placement. My best quote on just the beams was $2700. Needless to say I (mostly) politely declined. Actually, I think I said, "I'll pass. Any bid that's more than twice the other bids doesn't interest me."

But then along came Bob, the excavator. I'll do it, he said with a grin. And so he did. I think he should have a second motto to go with his "We go in the hole to make money." It should be "And we do the jobs that scare others."

Lifting the beam to get it under the house.
Lift and push from the outside.

Guiding the beam into place from under the house.
Guide and support from the inside.


Know exactly where you will place any new beams, support posts or walls. Mark them clearly and be sure that the lifting company does not place their beams in the line of your new beams.

Also be aware of any garage or man door opening and where pockets both for the new beams and to withdraw the old beams will not interfere.

With a little better planning, putting up the LVL lintels over the garage door openings would have been a good bit easier.

The lifting company put one of there beams in at an angle. We would not have been able to make a pocket. Fortunately we had decided to run that beam to a support post and didn't need the pocket.

Some extra planning and prep and being sure the lifting company places their beams correctly will make your life easier and a little cheaper.

All three beams in place.

Beam 1 was too long. I measured it three times with a laser measuring thing but the beam stuck out 2". And it was exactly what I asked for. Naturally, Bob said, "I can cut that for you."

Beam 2 was a bit tricky because it went all the way through the garage and into a pocket.

Beam 3 wasn't too bad. It went to a support post.

Beams in their pockets.
Beam 2 in pocket. Beam 3 to post.

Beam being held by nylon strap.
Not sure I'm comfortable with the temporary restraining method. That's got to hold for a week. Since the beams on an angle, the pressure would warp the bottom plate if allowed to sit on it.

Mike laying a footer.
Crappy phone shot of my friend Mike finishing the footer. Speaking of foot(ers) I drove a nail through mine this day.