When it comes to building a strong and sturdy home, you must ensure that you have the right beam in place.
But, with so many different sizes and types of beams available on the market, how do you know which one is best for your needs?
Below, we will explore what size beam you need to span 20 feet.
What Size Beam Do I Need To Span 20 Feet?
If you are looking to span 20 feet with your beam, then you will need a beam that is at least 20 feet long.
It is always best to err on the side of caution and go with a beam that is a few feet longer than what you need.
The recommended wood beam size for a 20-foot span is 2×14 placed 16″ apart.
This size is suitable for residential buildings and construction. The beam should have a depth of 350mm (14″) and a width of 50mm (2″).
There are various sizes depending on different materials which are,
|Material||Maximum Span||Recommended Beam Size|
|Wood||16 feet||4” x 12”|
|Glulam||20 feet||3-1/8” x 16”|
|LVL||20 feet||3-1/2” x 14”|
|Microllam||20 feet||5-1/4” x 14”|
How Do You Calculate The Beam Size?
Calculating the size of a beam involves several factors such as the span, load, and type of material used.
The following are the general steps to calculate the beam size:
Determine the span:
Measure the distance between the two points where the beam will be supported.
Determine the load:
Calculate the total weight the beam needs to support, including the weight of the structure above it, and live loads, and the weight of the beam itself.
Determine the beam type:
Select the material and type of beam you want to use, such as wood, steel, glulam, LVL, or microllam.
Consult a span table:
Look up the recommended beam size for your specific span and load in a span table for your selected beam material and type.
Check for safety:
Make sure the recommended beam size meets safety requirements, including deflection limits and structural stability.
What Are The Different Types Of Beam Structures?
When it comes to the different types of beam structures, there are a few primary types of beams used in construction and engineering.
These beams are classified depending on their length, equilibrium, and cross-sectional characteristics.
These beams are supported at multiple points along their length and are able to carry heavy loads.
Also, these Beams support as they have a good amount of stiffness.
Supports in the form of laths or plates are used primarily between and beneath the beams.
Continuous beams are assumed to be more efficient than other beam types when it comes to cost.
Simply Supported Beams
Also called beam-ends, these types of beams are supported at each end by separate support. Along the length of the beam, the weight is equally dispersed.
Simply supported beams are used in construction when weight needs to be transferred from one point to another.
So, while they are an efficient option, they can’t carry as much weight as a continuous beam.
These beams are supported at one end and have the load applied to the other end. The unsupported end is free to rotate and deflect under the force of the load.
Cantilever beams are used in construction when there is a need to cantilever or extend beyond the support.
These beams are also used in trusses, girders, and bridge construction.
Fixed beams are similar to cantilever beams in that they are supported at one end and have the load applied to the other.
Unlike cantilever beams, the unsupported end of fixed beams is prevented from rotating or deflecting.
This makes them ideal for construction projects where there is a need for extra stability, such as in buildings or bridges.
Fixed beams are also used to create bracing in trusses and girders.
Also called I-beams or H-beams, rolled beams are characterized by their tapered flanges that offer extra strength and support.
These beams are used in construction projects where there is a need for added strength and stability, such as in buildings or bridges.
Overhanging beams are the same as cantilever beams, they are supported at one end and have the load applied to the other.
This beam unsupported end of overhanging beams extends beyond the support.
Also, overhanging beams are best for construction projects where there is a need to cantilever or extend beyond the support.
These beams are also used in trusses, girders, and bridge construction.
What Thing To Consider To Selecting The Right Beam?
When it comes to choosing the right beam for your needs, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind.
Below we will go over what those factors are so that you can make the best decision for your project.
Beam Size, Span, Load
The size of the beam will depend on a few things, such as the beam’s span and the load it will carry.
First, you need to calculate the size of the beam. To calculate the size of the beam, you can follow the above guidelines.
The span of the beam is the distance between the two supports that the beam will be resting on.
Because of its length, the span of the beam will have an effect on its size.
On the other hand, the load is the weight that the beam will be carrying. The heavier the load, the bigger the beam.
The shape is one of the most important things to consider when choosing a beam.
The shape of the beam will affect its strength, stiffness, and weight. It is crucial to select a beam that has the right shape for your needs.
You can find several types of beam shapes in the market.
But the most common shapes are rectangular, T-shaped, and I-shaped beams; pick the right shape for your needs.
Solid Wood Beam
A solid wood beam is a beam that is made entirely out of wood. These beams are strong and stiff, but they are also very heavy.
Solid wood beams are often used in construction projects where weight is not a concern, such as in bridges or buildings.
So, you can pick that one for your project.
Salvaged Wood Beam
The salvaged wood beam is a beam that is made out of recycled or reclaimed wood.
These beams are usually cheaper than new ones but may not be as strong.
Salvaged wood beams are often used in construction projects where cost is a concern, such as in fences or sheds.
There are several things you need to consider when you want to buy beams.
So, before purchasing beams, you need to keep in mind all of these things.
FAQs on What Size Beam Need To Span 20 Feet
Are LVL Beams Expensive?
No, LVL beams are not expensive.
In fact, they can often be more cost effective than traditional lumber because they are stronger and last longer.
Also, this bema is affordable and more robust than wood beams.
The buying cost of these beams is $3 to $12 per linear foot on average.
How Far Can A 4 Ply 2×12 Beam Span?
A 2×12 beam can span a maximum of 13′.
The wood type will also factor in how far the beam can span.
For example, a 4-ply 2×12 Fir beam can span up to 21 feet while a 4-ply 2×12 Hemlock beam can span up to 24 feet.
Can A 2×10 Span 20 Feet?
Yes, a 2×10 can span 20 feet.
This is often done in commercial construction when the 2x10s are spaced 16″ in the center and used as floor joists.
The 2x10s can support a significant amount of weight when used in this manner.
Determining the appropriate size beam to span 20 feet depends on various factors such as the load it will bear, the type of wood or material, and the spacing of the beams.
It is advisable to consult with a structural engineer or a building professional to ensure that the beam size and design meet the required standards and regulations.
It is also important to note that the cost of the beam may increase with its size and the complexity of the installation process.
Ultimately, selecting the right size beam is crucial for the structural integrity and safety of the building.