I have an 80 year old house in the midwest with a wood support beam (5.25" x 7.25") and wood posts (5.25" square, 6' tall). The posts are on concrete footings that rise about 8 inches from the floor. The house sags toward the center by about 2 inches. I want to finish my basement which would enclose the posts. My questions is: At what point does the wood stop shrinking? Is it safe to encolse the posts, or should I replace the wood posts with steel?
Any helpful thoughts would be great.