Ace Pair Tops Beam Repair - Page 2

Two Sacto-area contractors pose distinctly different solutions for rotted beam endings
  Fridays on the Homefront
Some damaged beam endings are an eyesore to behold. Here's one that Joe Gomes of Joe Gomes Construction ran into recently. Photo courtesy Joe Gomes Construction

That price seems steep to some customers. "I'll have people call me and they'll just laugh in my face," admits Ramirez, a contractor for the past 25 years who hit on his unique approach about a decade ago. He concedes that there are cheaper, albeit less attractive solutions—but, he adds, are they worth it?

"The least expensive way to go…[when a beam ending rots is to] cut at a 45 or 30 degree angle back toward the house," which he said will "last another 25 years and be fine."

"Unfortunately," he notes gravely, "Then you lose the look of the Eichler [or the Streng]."

"I designed my caps for two reasons," Ramirez continues. "One is to eliminate all discussion of rotten caps or beams. The second reason is to truly restore the Eichler and Streng look."

  Fridays on the Homefront
Part of Joe Gomes' approach to beam capping is to cut the beam ending in such a way that the added beam-end extension can be seamlessly integrated with it. Photo courtesy Joe Gomes Construction

"My fabricator is so good at replacing the 4-by-8, 4-by-10, 4-by-12 look," he said of the beam sizes that he meticulously measures and fits to each custom-welded extension, adding, "I've [even] seen Eichlers with 4-by-14s."

"Every house is different," Ramirez adds, explaining why his welding vendor does each piece individually out of 14-gauge steel. "The reason I personally measure each one is that I want to keep that seamless look."

"The corners have to be ground down and made smooth to emulate the wood," he said of the fabrication process, admitting, "I am still amazed at the artistry of his metallurgy skills."

Fridays on the Homefront
Gomes adjusts a finished beam ending. Note the new metal edging he has added to the top of the beam to protect that edge from dry rot. Photo courtesy Joe Gomes Construction

While Ramirez gets his share of skeptical inquiries, most of his clients are concerned not just with structural support for their home, but also aesthetics.

"They want it fixed once and for all," the Davis manufacturer beamed. "They want to restore the house to its natural glory."


• For Eichler and Streng homeowners ailing from a case of 'dirty rotten beams,' perhaps it's time to check in with the Eichler Network participating general contractor near you:



Keycon Construction & Design

Calvert Ventures

Wilson Construction (handyman)



The Building Company

Starburst Construction

Keycon Construction & Design



Smollen the Builder

Vida Building Systems



Larco Construction Services



Joe Gomes Construction
(not currently available for new beam projects)

RETRObeam Restorations



Transcontinental Construction Concepts