The support of your foundation relies on many aspects, with girders and beams being two key components of foundational security that aren’t often discussed. Are your girders and beams in top shape to offer maximum protection for the structural security of your building?

At California Foundation Works, we specialize in both girder and beam repair and replacement. Learn more about girders and beams to discover if your home needs to have its girders or beams updated.

Related: Mudsill Replacement

What are Girders and Beams?

Though girders and beams are often mistaken for being the same thing, they are distinct parts of the home design that are not always interchangeable. Though all girders are beams, not every beam qualifies as a girder. Girders are used to support smaller beams. They are stiff and serve as the horizontal main support of the home structure, whereas beams are added in to accommodate stresses. To put it simply, girders transfer loads to the column they rest on, while beams transfer loads to large beams.

girder beam

This key distinction will help you determine the difference between the two terms, though there are also other differences you can look for.

Differences Between Girders and Beams

Several key differences can help you distinguish girders and beams. Girders tend to be significantly larger than the typical beam, as they are used for the supportive framework. Therefore, large beams are often called girders within construction.

However, there is not a specific cutoff measurement to distinguish girders from beams. To better distinguish between the two, the installation and usage of the object are often examined. Girders and beams are both utilized to resist forces, though they differ in function. Girders are installed perpendicular to structural joists and directly nailed to the framework. They are the main horizontal structural support, serving as the large beam in which the smaller beams are supported. Girders are tasked with carrying a significant amount of support, including dynamic and rolling loads.

On the other hand, beams do not need to give the same degree of support as girders, because they do not support the same amount of structural weight. Beams are more flexible and built and installed to accommodate shear stresses, as opposed to girders which are far stiffer.

Are Girders and Beams Necessary?

Girders and beams are essential for maintaining a healthy and supported home. To equip your home with the structural support it needs, the girders and beams must be both long and strong enough to fully support the structure. When support is not fully supplied to the building, the homeowner will begin to notice negative effects in the home, such as uneven and sagging floors.

Therefore, if either the girders or beams start to wear away due to damage, it is critical for the homeowner to update, repair, or replace them to return the building to its full structural support.

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girder beam plan

Replacement & Repair Process

To keep your home firmly standing upright, girders and beams are critical. Unfortunately, multiple factors can cause the health of your girders and beams to begin to wear away, such as improper initial installation, the aging effects of time, natural causes such as ground shifting, or water intrusion from faulty insulation or drainage. To best determine if your girders or beams need to be either repaired or replaced, there are several signs of damage that the homeowner can check for.

Signs of damage include cracks in the drywall, sagging roofs, and bowing or warped floors. To ensure that your home is protected, be sure to contact a professional contractor as soon as you notice any potential problems.

Professional Help Needed

Since girders and beams play such a vital role in the structural stability of a building, they need to be installed professionally. Both the expertise and experience of professional contractors will be able to guarantee a successful installation. Selecting the right girders and beams depends on a professional evaluation to determine multiple characteristics such as the needed amount of stability, proper plate sizing, the sequence of deck placement, and more.

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Are the girders or beams in your home not properly secured?

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