Ever relocate a basement support post?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Michael St. Clair, Sep 7, 2001.

  1. Michael St. Clair

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    Recently, my wife and I bought our first house. We are still moving in. Time to stop living in an 80-year-old rental townhouse in a historic area under a canopy of old growth trees. The new place has less character, but at least we can afford to 'own' it!
    The house is a 'transitional ranch' (whatever that means); it is a ranch with cathedral ceilings over the kitchen and living/dining rooms (and a large attic, not currently equipped for storage, over the rest of the ground floor). It has 3 bedrooms and 2 full baths, but the 'extra' bedrooms are small, only large enough for young children.
    One of my criteria for the house was that there be a room that could be used as a dedicated home theater, even if it were a small one. About 40% of the basement is finished, the useful part of the finished area is a 17x18 (approximate) room with a walk-out basement (the house is on an incline, which works wonders for drainage; the basement stayed dry even under recent flood conditions). I'd like to use this room for home theater. There are back-up plans; another 14x19 area in the unfinished portion could be made into a room; or in a pinch we could do front-projection in the living room. But I'd rather use this room in the finished area of the basement for home theater if at all possible!
    The rub is a support post in the dead center of the room. If I could get rid of it, and place a couple of support posts off to the side the room would be pretty good for this purpose!
    The post supports a steel I-beam, one of two in the house. The other beam is in the unfinished half, and has two support posts of its own. There are likely two other posts in the finished half, inside of existing walls. I'm going to use a metal detector to verify this.
    I know that I have to have a licensed structural engineer assess the situation and make up a plan that I can use to get a permit (assuming that there is a cost-effective solution). But if anyone has any past experiences to share which may prove useful (things to watch out for as I proceed), I'd be much appreciative if you could share them!
     
  2. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    My friend mentioned that, with $$$, I could remove the center support post, provided I replace the wooden support beam with "laminate" support beam. I suspect that this is a plastic beam that is as strong as concrete.
    However, I believe it is very expensive to install...you need to get a jack to hold up the house, and kick out the old beam.
     
  3. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    It will depend what it is supporting, for one thing. Removing it shouldn't be a problem, but you will have to see what the engineer suggests as a solution. It would also depend how far you want to move the post. If you only wanted to move it say 4 feet in either direction (ie putting two posts 8' apart) that wouldn't be a big deal. The bigger the span though, the more support you need to support it. It also depends whether it is load bearing or not, ie. holding up the rest of your house. If so, it may need a second beam put in for a large span, or having it replaced with a composite beam (which would be big dough, since you'd need to do some major mods to get it in). Also, you will need to check what that post has supporting it. Chnaces are it is a concrete footing which is much deeper than the concrete on the floor (I'm assuming this is a concrete slab floor). You'd have to place new footings for the replacement posts. This may or may not be a big deal.
    Nothing is impossible, as long as your pockets are deep. [​IMG]
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  4. Kevin Potts

    Kevin Potts Second Unit

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  5. Dave Hahn

    Dave Hahn Second Unit

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    The steel I-beams are definitely load-bearing. They support the first floor floor-joists, (say that 3 times fast!), which in turn support the rest of your house. If I were you, I wouldn't take'em out just yet! [​IMG] I'm sure you can replace one support post with two, one to each side of the original. How far apart, and thus how big a space this provides, is what your engineer will be able to tell you.
    Adding the new columns is not that big a deal. Your engineer tells you how many and where. At the exact spot for each new post, mark off the size of the new footing on the existing concrete floor. Chip out the concrete, dig down to required depth, build a simple wood form to place on the floor for the new footing, pour concrete for new footing, and install new lolly-column when concrete has set. After both new columns are in place, remove the old column from the center.
    Easy enough for a "handy" homeowner to do himself. You would need to know how to use a plumb-bob, a grinder, a jack-hammer, and how to mix and pour concrete. Jack-hammers and all-purpose grinders can be rented from Home Depot, etc.
    If you feel at all uncomfortable about doing this yourself, don't! Hire a contractor to do it, but don't let a him rob you to do this job. As you can see, there's no rocket science involved in the work itself; there is however, a considerable amount of labor involved and that's what will cost you.
    Good Luck!
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  6. Mike Lenthol

    Mike Lenthol Second Unit

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    Why would wood ever be used over a steel "I" beam ?
     
  7. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    Ok, I know that this is probably all screwed up, but is there any chance that you can knock out a wall and finish up a part of the basement that is currently unfinished? It might be considerably cheaper.
    Glenn
     
  8. Michael St. Clair

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  9. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    Just be careful with the relocation idea, as you will likely end up with some cracked drywall above as the house resettles on the new supports if it is not done properly, and even then you may have settling.
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  10. Michael St. Clair

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    I measured today, and determined that the beam/posts on this side of the basement are not under a load bearing wall.
    It'll probably be a few days or more before I get an engineer over to check it out. I'll update this thread with progress, whenever it happens.
     
  11. Kevin Potts

    Kevin Potts Second Unit

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