How far can a 2x10 spread go? (beam, beam, beam) (2023)

Choosing the right size lumber for a project can take a lot of research and often depends on the type and quality of the wood, the potential loads and the way it will be used. Not all species are created equal, and rank often affects how far they can travel safely. Using it for a joist, rafter or rafter will also affect span. So if you're wondering how far a 2×10 can go, we're here to help.

A #2-2×10 beam can span between 11'-5" and 18'-0", a beam between 13'-9" and 21'-7", and a beam between 3'-6" and 13' - 0" or more span depends on spacing, wood species and grade, and for a joist, lamination thickness, among many other factors.

In this guide we note what span means, how far a 2x10 can stretch in different applications, and how far a doubled or tripled 2x10 can stretch. We will also discuss how far a 2×10 cantilever can reach. We refer to the International Residential Buildings Code (IRC) 2021 for much of the information in this guide. Our aim is to provide the necessary information for your project.

How far can a 2x10 spread go? (beam, beam, beam) (1)

Content (on topic)

  • Definition of section construction
  • Table of maximum spans for beams, rafters and rafters
    • Common species of wood
    • Southern Pine (SP or SYP)
    • Douglas-larch (DF-L)
    • Hemlock Abeto (Hem-Fir)
    • Spruce-Pine-Fir (SPF)
  • Common types of wood
    • charge the postage
  • How far can a 2×10 stretch
    • Floor or deck beams
    • Header
    • here
    • mistake
    • Haz
  • How far can a 2×10 double stretch without support?
  • How far can a 2×10 overhang go?
  • How far can a 2×10 triple beam go?
  • Conclusion

Definition of section construction

In the construction industry, span is the term used to identifyunsupported distance that a beam or structural component spans or connects between supports. It refers to the distance, unevenness, or space between supports that support the structural member. Typically used to identify the free or unsupported spacing of a beam, beam, slab, floor, header, or beam between supporting structures such as studs, walls, or beams.

In construction you will find the terms single span, multiple span, long span and even span span. Don't let this confuse you, they are just ways to identify unique aspects of different structural sections.

Single span: means that the supporting element (joist, joist, slab, slab or joist) is supported, nailed or fastened only at its ends.

Multi-Span: Generally refers to a structural member that spans multiple supports to minimize bending stresses. For example, a beam supporting a floor supported at the ends and having intermediate posts equidistant along its length. The bean has several sections, like the ground on which it rests.

Long Span - Identifies a construction method that typically results in buildings with unobstructed spans greater than 100 feet, such as B. Factories, warehouses, retail stores, sports arenas and barns.

Span-by-Span – A term used to identify construction methods for erecting bridges or other large structures that require multiple long spans, often from prefabricated, prefabricated, or preassembled components.

Spacing: Typically, another term for span is the free or unsupported space provided between the supports of a structural member.

Table of maximum spans for beams, rafters and rafters

How far can a 2x10 spread go? (beam, beam, beam) (2)

The distance that a joist, rafter, or rafter can span depends on the wood species, wood quality, loads, and use. Often the distance that lightning can reachThe span is also determined by the distance between the beams.or beams it supports, and vice versa. The span of girders and joists is also affected by the spacing, typically 12", 16", 19-1/2" or 24" between them.

The International Residential Building Code (IRC) is used as a guide for national, state, provincial, and local regulations throughout most of North America. It is updated every 3 years, most recently in 2021, and identifies the maximum safe loads and spans for beams, rafters and trusses to minimize or negate structural failure and human injury or death. Before finalizing structural plans or beginning construction, it is best to consult with your local building authority or structural engineer.

Common species of wood

The types of wood available in your area usually grow within economical transport routes. The further you send, the higher the costs. However, most lumber companies stock a variety of lumber and can order in different types, often at bargain prices.

The IRC and the US and Canadian Timber Councils test and publish tables and information on maximum structural loads, spans and standards for different types and grades of timber materials and products.

The most commonly used wood species in construction are Southern Pine (SP), Douglas Larch Fir (DF-L), Hemlock Fir (Hem Fir) and Spruce Pine Fir (SPF). common variety used. It should be noted that other species are also being tested. We have selected the four species identified on IRC that are most commonly used in construction.

Southern Pine (SP or SYP)

A strong and durable timber composed of 4 main species of southern pine with similar characteristics and appearance with overlapping bands. The trees range north to New Jersey and south along the coast to Florida. They extend into Missouri and Texas and through many of the southeastern states. Southern pine accounts for approximately 37% of the lumber used in the United States. It dries quickly, absorbs chemical treatments and paint easily and is used in all aspects of construction.

Douglas-larch (DF-L)

One of the strongest and most durable species, it is known for its ability to hold boards and nails and is a favorite of engineers and architects. It has excellent dimensional stability and high weather resistance. It is used in single and multi-storey residential, commercial and industrial buildings.

Hemlock Abeto (Hem-Fir)

An extremely versatile blend of Western Hemlock and Spruce species known for their light color and weight, yet is a strong, durable softwood. It is excellent for structural purposes due to its color and appearance, but is also used for carpentry and finishing.

Spruce-Pine-Fir (SPF)

A light and versatile combination of wood species commonly used for frames. It is usually taken from mixed softwood stands, making it easier to combine species rather than separate them.

Although spruce has little rot resistance outdoors, it does well when treated or used indoors. SPF is common across the continent, making it an economical choice for all aspects of residential, industrial, commercial and agricultural construction.

Common types of wood

How far can a 2x10 spread go? (beam, beam, beam) (3)

Wood is sorted according to stressed use, stress-free use and appearance. The important rating for use in construction is the stress test rating. Solid wood from 2" to 4" is classified for structural use due to features such as grain, knots, cracks and other distortions that affect its flexural strength. Classification is standardized and consistent across the industry, so classifications mean the same thing from Barrow Alaska to Brownsville, Texas, and every point east and west in between.

  • Select Structure (SS)– The highest and strongest grade and can travel the greatest distance. With 1/12 grit, tight, well-distributed knots, and few drying controls, it is used for all construction and carpentry applications, often where its surfaces are visible without smudging.
  • No. 1 or construction class(#1 or #1&BTR) - Stronger than lower grades, has a 1/10 grain size, slightly larger, closely spaced, tight knots and few cracks or splits. Commonly used for construction and carpentry work including decking, railings, posts, shelving and furniture.
  • No. 2 or standard class(#2 or #2BTR) - A strong quality with a 1/8 grain split, has more knots, flaws and occasionally some frayed or broken edges. Commonly used for rafters, battens, joists, rafters, trusses, lintels and fences. #2 does everything #1 or SS can do except go as far as possible. Being less expensive, it is often the wood of choice for construction and framing purposes. It should be noted that #2&BTR does not mean #1. If the wood is #1, it has the #1 punch.
  • No. 3 or Degree of Usefulness– Has a 1/4 grain split and has more rips, tears, larger knots and more fading than previous grades. Typically used for light construction, joists or ceiling joists where it disappears under drywall or paneling. It is also used for bracing and shipping and box packing. It is not used for joists, ceiling joists or joists.
  • No. 4 or economy class– Contains more cracks, knots, knots and other imperfections than the best grades. Wood does not take paint or chemical treatment well. Can be used for beams, concrete shoring, bracing or other temporary purposes. #4 is not used for extension and support purposes.

charge the postage

The load-bearing capacity and span of rafters, beams and rafters depend on their own weight, payload, snow load and wind load and vary from region to region. Bedroom floors are typically rated for live loads of 30 PSF, living areas of 40 PSF, empty attics of 5 PSF and storage attics of 10 PSF, while all also have a dead load of 10 PSF or 20 PSF for building materials. Traffic loads are often substituted for snow loads, particularly for decks and exterior roofs. Snow loads can range from ≤ 30 PSF to 70 PSF or more in some local situations.

For comparison purposes, we generate the following interval tables using #2 – 2x10s. It should be noted that the span of the beam depends on the effective length of the beam, which is between 6 and 18 feet in the IRC. The shorter the girder span, the larger the allowable girder span. The clear width of the rafters is also influenced by the number of storeys and the roof load, unless it is a clear width with framework. A beam supporting two stories instead of one typically has a span reduced by about 25%.

Maximum spacing for wood #2: 2 × 10
2×10 MadeiraDistanceBar*Bunch**
southern pine12"16'-2"19'-5"
Douglas fir larch12"18'-0"21'-7"

IRC 2021 Information – Tables R502.3.1(2) and R802.4.1(3)

*Carrier span based on payload of 40 PSF and steady load of 10 PSF

** Beam spacing is based on 30 PSF snow load, 10 PSF continuous load and beams not attached to the roof

Maximum #2 - 2 × 10 beam width

(Dynamic load 40PSF, L/∆ = 360)

types of woodbeam sizeEffective span of beams in feet
maximum beam width
southern pine1 – 2×107'-0"6'-0"5'-5"4'-11"4'-7"4'-3"4'-0"
2 – 2×1010'-4"9'-0"8'-0"7'-4"6'-9"6'-4"6'-0"
3 – 2×1013'-0"11'-2"10'-0"9'-2"8'-6"7'-11"7'-6"
Douglas fir larch



1 – 2×106'-8"5'-10"5'-1"4'-6"4'-1"3'-9"3'-6"
2 – 2×1010'-0"8'-7"7'-9"7'-0"6'-6"6'-0"5'-6"
3 – 2×1012'-6"10'-10"9'-8"8'-10"8'-2"7'-8"7'-2"

IRC 2021 Information - Table R507.5(1)

How far can a 2×10 stretch

How far can a 2x10 spread go? (beam, beam, beam) (4)

The distance a 2x10 can travel depends on the type of wood, grade, moisture content, spacing and loading parameters, among other factors. Use for a joist, floor joist, head, ceiling, or rafter also affects maximum reach. Double, triple or thicker than 2x10 laminations increase load capacities and also spacing between sections. Scope values ​​are from IRC 2021, but it is recommended to check with your local building authority or structural engineer.

Floor or deck beams

The length of the floor or deck joists depends on the joist spacing and expected loads, as well as the grade and type of wood. Typically a dead load of 10 PSF and a live or snow load of 40 PSF are common unless a hot tub or other heavy load is planned. For identified loads, a DF-L SS can span 19'-1" with 12" beam spacing, 17'-4" with 16" beam spacing, and 15'-2" with 24" beam spacing. Choosing a different grade and species often results in shorter spans: #2-Hem fir on 24" centers have span limits of 12'-5", #2-SP 11'-5", and #2-SPF 12' - 7".


In addition to the type and quality of wood, a number of other factors affect the room with head joints, e.g.

A 2x10 double deck of #2 timber on a single story structure can span 9 feet to 2 inches with one joist per end in a 12 foot wide building and 5 feet to 3 inches with 2 joists per end for a 36 foot wide building.

A 2×10 triple header spans 11'-5" and 6'-7" and a 4-tier 2×10 header spans 13'-3" and 7'-8" in similar structures.

Adding a second tier reduces the span as loads increase. A 2x10 duplicate can span 5'-11" and 3'-7" for 12' or 36' building widths. A 2×10 triple header can span 7'-5" and 4'-6", while a 4-ply spans 8'-6" and 5'-3", respectively.


Roof beams have several additional factors that affect their span in addition to type, pitch, loads, and spacing. Whether the attic is empty with no storage space or empty with limited storage also affects the space. Converting an attic into living space often requires reinforcement of the floor, so the services of a structural engineer are recommended.

For an unoccupied attic with no storage space, all standard SS, #1 and #2 2x10 lumber can span 26 feet or more on 12" and 16" centers, with the exception of #2 Southern Pine, the maximum is 25-7 inches to has 16" centers. At 24" centers, a #2-DF-L spans 23'-3", a #2-Hem fir 22'-7", #2-SP 20'- 11", and a #2-SP 20'-11". 2-SPF 22'-eleven".

Even grade 3 wood has a span of 16'-1" to 25'-2", depending on species and space. Using attic space for limited storage reduces gaps. Therefore, check local regulations for approvals.


Rafter spans depend on wood species, grade, rafter spacing, snow or traffic loads, standing loads, and whether or not the roof is attached to the rafters. Rafters without a fixed roof can span more than those with a fixed roof. In addition, the following applies: the less snow or payload, the greater the possible span. If the distance between them is 12 inches, the distance is larger than 24 inches, so it is important to keep all factors right.

On 12" centers, beams can span 10-7" and over 26 feet depending on style, pitch, spacing, stuck or loose roof and snow or payloads. At 16 inch centers, spans range from 9 feet to 2 inches and over 26 feet. With a 24 inch spacing, beam spans range from 8 feet to 4 inches and 23 feet to 9 inches, depending on all factors.


The span of the beams depends on the type and grade as well as the effective span of the beams. The larger the carrier span, the smaller the carrier span. In addition, a beam with 2, 3, 4 or more layers can support higher loads and flex more than beams with fewer layers but similar depths.

A single beam #2-SP 2x10 can span between 4'-0" and 7'-0" when the beam span is 18' and 6', respectively. However, a #2 SPF 2x10 only spans 3'-6" to 6'-8" on these beam runs. Use a 3-ply 2x10 #2 SP backing and the spans increase to 7'-6" and 13'-0" for the same backing spans and 7'-2" and 12'-6" for a triple pack 2 ×10 #2 FPS.

How far can a 2×10 double stretch without support?

The distance an unassisted double 2x10 can travel depends on its type, grade, wheelbase, loading parameters, wet or dry operating conditions, and its purpose. A 2x10 double beam has different spans and conditions than a 2x10 beam, head or double beam. A #2 – 2x10 double header stretches from 3'-7" to 9'-2", depending on the number of floors and the width of the building, among other factors. It is always best to check all factors that can affect span or consult a structural engineer.

The span of a 2x10 double girder depends on the type, grade, spacing and span of the girders it supports, the number of stories and the loading parameters. A 2-ply 2x10 #2 Southern Pine beam with a payload of 40PSF can span 6'-0" to 10'-4" with a 6'-18' beam. One of the DF-L, Hem-Fir, or SPF can span loads from 5'-6" to 10"-0" under similar conditions, resulting in shorter beam spans.

Typically a 2x10 beam is bent or woven to reinforce or repair an existing board of the same dimensions, not to increase its length. The beams can be bent to transform an attic into a living room to support a grand piano or a hot tub. Style, quality and spacing often affect length, with a #2-2x10 DF-L double spanning 18 feet on 12-inch centers.

How far can a 2×10 overhang go?

The boom spacing of a 2×10 can depends on what it is used for and how, the spacing between joists, roof width, ground and roof loads, ground snow loads, as well as grade, type and other general factors. Typically 2×10 beams on 16” centers can have a maximum overhang of 1/4 of their rear span. So one spanning 16 feet should be able to have a 4 foot overhang.

However, IRC 2021 Table R507.6 limits a 16-foot Southern Pine to 3 feet to 4 inches and DF-L, Hem-Tanne and SPF to 3 feet to 3 inches for spans of 14 feet or more with payloads of 40 PSF. However, as the load increases, the spans decrease. Also, many local codes have 24 inch maximum overhangs, so it's best to check with your local building department or structural engineer.

How far can a 2×10 triple beam go?

A #2 – 2x10 Southern Pine triple girder can span between 7'-6" and 13'-0" with a payload of 40PSF depending on the length of the girder. When using DF-L, Hem-Fir or SPF, the leg changes to 7'-2" and 12'6" under the same conditions. Switch to Western Cedars or Redwood and spans range from 6'-11" to 12'-0", again depending on the length of the beam span.


How far a 2×10 can go depends on many variables, including pocket depth. A #2 2x10 bar and a maximum bar of 18'-0" or 21'-7" and a 3-ply bar of 13'-0", depending on factors selected.

Change the pitch and the load factors and spans can be increased or decreased. To stay in safe zones, contact your local building authority or structural engineer. We hope that we have provided you with the necessary information for your project.

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