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Building Homes or Extensions/6X6 Stud Wall in Basement in place of Beam

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Question
We are house hunting in Michigan.  In every house we have ever owned there has been a steel beam and metal posts in the basement supporting the floor joists where the joists meet. we have also seen a large solid wood or glue-lam beam in place of the steel beam.  

Looking at some newer construction, even in larger, nicer homes, the beam post arrangement has been replaced by a 2X6 stud wall. We  are assuming, but don't know, that these stud walls are at least footed.

We have had exposed stud walls in lower levels before and it seems that over time, they shrink and pull away from the top and the bottom.

Do you have an opinion as to the long-term integrity of the stud wall as a replacement for the traditional post and beam support for floor joists?  We are trying to buy our last home and don't want to buy a home that will have sagging floors in 5-15 years.

Thanks for your advice.

Answer
Hi Dave, a stud wall is perfectly acceptable in lieu of a post and beam system.  It would be a good idea, if it is a newer home with an unfinished basement, to make this wall a shear wall and sheath one side with 1/2" plywood.   This will help prevent any warpage and separation..solid catting will accomplish the same  thing, this is where 2x6 blocks are inserted between the studs in a linear fashion every four feet  from the floor up.  Sincerely Bruce Johnson  

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Bruce E. Johnson

Expertise

I can answer any construction related question in regards to carpentry, concrete, drywall, masonry, structural elements of any type of building, residential or commercial. Interior or exterior.

Experience

Custom Commercial and residential buildings. Churches, theaters, schools and auditoriums. Most recently I am working with the Catholic Church on several design build committees. I have a website related to scheduling and project supervision. Although my expertise is more related to multimillion dollar commercial, educational and theatrical projects my generous credentials in residential and remodelling construction make me a viable source of information regarding all forms of building questions.

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