9 posts / 0 new
Last post
Removing lally columns

I would like to remove two lally columns from my soon to be finished basement. The current columns are spaced five feet apart, and five feet from the exterior walls. They hold up three 2x10s which support the floor joists. However, the floor joist do not sit on the 2x10s, instead they butt up against them. I was wondering if anyone had any advice on how to remove the lally columns. I would like to remove an inch and a half from each floor joist, and slide a new 2x10 into place along side the current 2x10s. I would do this on both sides, therefore I would now have five 2x10s instead of three. The total span would be twelve feet. Would I be able to remove the lally columns?

Re: Removing lally columns

to remove your lally columns you could break the column in half by either using a large pipe cutter or by using a bimetal sawsall blade. score through the metal all the way around the middle of the column(just like you would cut a 3/4" copper pipe), not allowing the blade(either from the pipe cutter or sawsall blade) to touch the concrete inside to column(if its even filled with concrete). then remove the nails off the top plate of the lally and score the bottom of the column secured to the concrete basement floor with a cold chisel(trying to cut through the metal of the lally just as you did at the center of the column). with a couple of swings with a sledge hammer to the center of the lally column it should break free. with this method one person could get the job done without much heavy lifting.
before attempting any of this you will need to build temporary walls to support the floor joints on both sides of the existing triple. plus you will need an architect to design and sign off on all the permits.
removing lally columns in a basement are a great way of opening up a living space. unfortunately it is rare that lally columns are nonstructural. i recommend that you get an architect involved, an engineer could be useful but i find that they tend to over build/design in residential applications, plus they may cost you more. your architect may design a steel flitch plate, i-beam, or design a laminate beam to restructure and support your basement ceiling. hopefully you have 8' or more headroom in the basement to work with.
if any of this sounds foreign to you, visit your local lumber yard(not your typical diy center) and ask some of the salespeople for advice. they would be more than happy to help you especially if you order the beam from them.
Good luck.

Re: Removing lally columns

With columns spaced so close together I'm guessing you may have a bearing wall above. Without looking at your house nobody can say what you would need to do to remove the columns.
You could possibly cut out some of the joists & add an LVL beam, but I doubt if a couple of 2x10's would do it.
An engineer, architect or an experienced contractor should be able to figure the loads & size a beam.

Re: Removing lally columns

ed21 and nyucarpenter.... are correct ... you need a professional to evaluate what can be done.

Having three 2x10 spanning only 12 feet and supported every 5 feet is definately carrying some heavy load.

Re: Removing lally columns

I agree with you guys about getting some one took look at the situation. The total span is fifteen feet, with the columns being spaced out five feet from each other, and five feet from the walls. There is definitly a load bearing wall above. I would move one column two feet away, and hide it in the wall of a closet. The other columns I would need to move the full five feet and hide it in the wall, so the total span would end up being just under twelve feet.

Ill get someone in here, but I appreciate you input.

Re: Removing lally columns

Thanks for your reply NYUcarpenter... I would like to reuse the columns, but I want to space them out a little more. Obviously I would have to put something there to make up the difference. I was hoping to be able to slide an lvl into place to strenthen the current triple 2x10s.

Re: Removing lally columns

I am not sure if you want to get into recycling those lally columns…in my experience lally columns are typically set on footers(poured and cured first), cemented in once the basement floor is floated…so there could be a few inches of lally located under the basement slab (basement slabs are typically a few inches deep…hopefully…sometimes if you have a high water table masons will pour it deeper)…so you would still have to crack the bottom of the column to remove it…and still it would take a lot of force to remove…I am not an engineer but a few whacks with a sledge cant be good for the structural integrity of the cement filled column…
And if you want to space the columns further apart, the lally would still have to sit on a 12”x12” footer(depending on local building codes)...which means, you would then have to jack up the floor and set new footers…
As you described it is a typical “remove a lally column project”…with an approved designed lvl or steel beam sitting on the outside wall pilaster…terminating at a newly located lally column… you could get rid of one column( 5ft. from the wall) and move the other column to your desired location…
wow thats alot of work....

Re: Removing lally columns

I hear you.... I guess I was hoping for an easy answer... I think I can incorporate those columns into a petition wall of some sort. A wide open basement would have been nice, but keeping my kitchen from falling into the basement would be even better!
Thanks again.

Re: Removing lally columns

Dean Column Co., Inc. has manufactured concrete-filled steel lally columns since 1929. We are informing you about our new product, The Lally Lock System. This patent-pending system will eliminate the need for welding the cap and base plates to the column. It will also provide uplift protection and a 3” adjustment without having to cut the column.
The cap plate is screwed into an embedded fastening unit which is built into the column. The base plate is fastened to the column with 2 concrete screws. For new construction, the adjustable base set will be embedded into concrete when the floor is poured. For remodels the adjustable base set will need to be boxed out and then filled with grout.
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us.
Jennifer Krauth
Dean Column Co., Inc.
1 800 442-3455

TV Listings

Find TV listings for This Old House and Ask This Old House in your area.