Definitions

flitch-beam

Flitch beam

A flitch beam (or flitched beam) is a compound beam used in the construction of houses, decks, and other primarily wood-frame structures. Typically the flitch beam is made up of a steel plate sandwiched between two wood beams, the three layers being held together with bolts. In that common form it is sometimes referenced as a steel flitch beam. Further alternating layers of wood and steel can be used to produce an even stronger beam. The metal plate(s) within the beam are known as flitch plates.

Advantages

Because flitch beams are significantly stronger than wood alone, they:

  • require less depth than a wood-only beam of the same strength
  • are much lighter than a steel beam of the same size
  • can still be attached (e.g. nailed) to the rest of a wooden structure

Flitch beams can also be created from existing in-situ joists or beams permitting easier renovations.

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