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Beardsley
Attaching steel columns

In my basement, I have steel columns that are supporting my house; I can't determine if they are attached to the concrete floor or the beams. I would like to have them attached if they are not currently attached. How can I tell if they are attached?

The columns are about 4 1/2 inches in diameter. They sound hollow (i.e. not filled with concrete). On the top and bottom is a 6 inch square steel plate that in some instances appears welded to the column, but in other instances, appears markedly off center, although it is possibly still welded. I do not see any bolts nor holes to put bolts in place. The basement is unfinished. The house was built in 1978 in Atlanta.

dj1
Re: Attaching steel columns

Can you upload photos?

You can upload them to a host like photobucket.com, then give us the link.

Beardsley
Re: Attaching steel columns

Photos - Thanks for the suggestion. I couldn't get photos to attach to the post.

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JLMCDANIEL
Re: Attaching steel columns

From the pictures that the top of the post is welded to the plate and the only attachment to the beams is a screw through the plate. The other picture it appears the post is welded to yhe plate which is setting on top of the concrete. I would have it inspected, such support posts should be installed on a proper footer not just a thin poured floor.

Jack

dj1
Re: Attaching steel columns

Your picture doesn't tell us much, but still, I suspect that something ain't right here. Call a general contractor for consultation. He may be able to shed some light on your situation after a close inspection.

If it's what I think it is, I'm really surprised to see it in a home built in 1978.

Mastercarpentry
Re: Attaching steel columns

From what I see it doesn't look like there is any attaching hardware. And knowing how the industry was in the SE back in 78, that doesn't surprise me. Back than code enforcement was generally sketchy (if it existed at all) in most of the SE, with building practices following along. It was not a good time for quality construction down here and many homes of that vintage show a lot more age than they should.

Since the floors have not cracked, you can assume that the support for the columns are OK even if they are not quite up-to-spec. If you've got concrete cracking then you'll want to dig a proper footing, which gets a little more complicated, or should I say more involved. If it were mine I'd use some 'TapCon" type fasteners on the concrete and some lag bolts on the beam at the top and then keep an eye out for cracks in the concrete. What I see is a rather easy fix which any DIY'er with a hammer drill can handle.

Phil

Beardsley
Re: Attaching steel columns

All,

Many thanks for the suggestions. The concrete is not cracking around the columns.

I have a couple more naive questions. If I were to attempt to attach them using Mastercarpentry's suggestion, how should I approach the steel plates? Should I drill through the steel plates or is there a product that could wrap around or fit over the plate?

Also, if I attempt to drill into the concrete to secure the base of a post to the floor, would that help me determine if there was a footing that was poured? I haven't given up on the idea of more intense work of going through the concrete pad, digging out and pouring a footing, and installing an appropriate column, but that sounds financially more intense, I would want to make sure that there wasn't already a footing underneath, and I'd need some time to save up for a project like that and to make sure I knew exactly what I needed.

It may come to a point where I want to get a general contractor, but I've had a few issues in my first years of home ownership that made me trust less and want to do more myself. At the very least, I'd like to have an idea of what should be done. Plus, it's fun to be able to fix something and see the benefit every time I walk by it.

I grew up in a relatively new house without many issues, so I never learned how to troubleshoot problems when I was younger. The past few years of first-time home ownership has been a steep learning curve. Although I'm relatively new to posting to the forum, I've been reading and learning from your suggestions for quite some time. So thank you for those in the past and for your current help too.

dj1
Re: Attaching steel columns

No cracks - that's good news.

Temporarily, you can drill into the floor plate and drive anchor screws. TapCon may be too light duty, try Simpson heavy duty cement anchor screws. You can also dip them in anchor adhesive epoxy to make sure you get good bonding.

There is no way to tell how this column is set, so just assume it's not set properly.

Just a word about the way you think...I agree that you need to know a little bit about construction, but construction has some 50 trades and no person can know it all to be able to "check" his contractors to do a perfect job. You need to have a little more trust. Can you supervise your dentist to do a perfect job? how about your doctor, accountant, mechanic? the cook at the restaurant or the pilot who flew you home the last time you flew? your congressman in Washington? ...you get my point...

Beardsley
Re: Attaching steel columns

Oh man, now I'm never going to be able to fly again.......

I know that you're right about the trust thing.

Thanks for the help.

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