What Is a Lally Column? (2024 Guide)
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A Lally column is a steel column used in construction and building to support beams or girders. It is typically filled with concrete to improve its load-bearing capacity. Since their invention in the late 1800s, these columns have been used to construct multi-story buildings. Today, they are widely used to construct large buildings and residential structures due to their high strength and durability. Our guide breaks down the purpose of Lally columns, how to install them, and more.
Purpose of a Lally Column
Lally columns can be used for home improvement projects. For example, if you want an open-concept design, you can use Lally columns to remove load-bearing walls. Lally columns can also be a solution to repair a damaged carrying beam in your home’s structure. They are frequently used in large-scale building projects such as malls, warehouses, and multi-story buildings to support existing structures.
History of the Lally Column
John Lally was an American inventor and businessman living in Waltham, Massachusetts, who owned a construction company that began producing the Lally column. Lally recognized the need for a robust and fireproof column for mill construction.
In 1898, Lally patented his design for a “fireproof column,” a structural column made of steel and filled with concrete. This invention, which came to be known as the Lally column, was a significant innovation in the construction field. It offered superior load-bearing capabilities, fire resistance, and durability compared to the common wooden columns of the day.
John Lally’s invention revolutionized the construction industry, and his name continues to be synonymous with these columns today. The Lally column replaced the classic column in many construction projects.
Temporary vs. Permanent
Permanent and temporary Lally columns play pivotal roles in construction projects. While permanent columns secure enduring strength for years ahead, temporary columns facilitate structural alterations and renovations, providing adjustable, short-term support until permanent structural changes are complete.
Adjustable vs. Nonadjustable
Adjustable Lally columns, called jack posts or telescopic columns, offer a versatile solution for supporting structures with varying floor-to-ceiling heights. These columns can be adjusted in length for precise customization and a perfect fit. This is an advantage for construction or renovation projects that require temporary support.
One of the benefits of adjustable Lally columns is their ability to adapt to changing structural demands. These columns are invaluable whether you are working on an extension project that involves adding additional floors or simply adjusting the height of existing spaces. They provide stability while accommodating any height alterations made throughout the construction process.
Nonadjustable Lally columns are steadfast pillars of long-term structural support. Contractors and builders typically use these fixed-length columns in permanent installations where there is no demand for height adjustments over time. Their unyielding nature ensures unwavering stability and reliability.
Consider each column’s unique design and material composition for accurate weight ratings. Engaging with a qualified professional, such as a structural engineer or architect, will help you determine the appropriate weight capacity for the columns.
Cost To Install a Lally Column
The cost of installing a Lally column can vary based on factors such as the column’s size and material and the complexity of the installation process. On average, homeowners can expect to pay $2,500* per column, including the column and the labor costs for professional installation. The costs can be higher for more complex projects. Consult with a professional to get an accurate estimate for your project.
*Pricing data in this section was sourced from Angi.
Lally Column vs. Jack Post
A Lally column is a rigid, long steel tube typically filled with concrete that provides permanent structural support to a building. It is used in construction to support heavy loads. Professionals install them during the initial construction phase.
A jack post, also known as a telescopic or adjustable steel column, is designed for temporary use. It is flexible in height and is often used to temporarily support a structure during construction or renovation, such as when modifying load-bearing walls or support beams.
How To Install a Lally Column
Below, we break down the steps to install a Lally column. We recommend tackling this project with a professional installer rather than going the DIY route due to its critical role in supporting a building’s structural integrity.
Determine the location where the column is needed. This is typically where a load-bearing wall or beam needs additional support. Consult a structural engineer to ensure correct placement.
Measure the distance from the floor to the beam the Lally column will support. This will determine the length of the column. Account for any subfloor, flooring, or ceiling materials that may affect the measurement.
Prepare the Lally column by cutting it to the measured length if it’s not adjustable. If it’s filled with concrete, ensure it’s cured fully before installation. Before installation, research how to frame walls for a basement room to create a solid base to install the column.
Place the column vertically in the determined location, ensuring it’s plumb (perfectly vertical). It should fit snugly between the floor and the beam. Framing out the crawlspace or basement will help ensure the columns are plumb.
Use appropriate fasteners to secure the top and bottom of the column to the beam and floor. This usually involves drilling holes and using bolts or screws. Follow the fastener manufacturer’s instructions for the best results.
Once the column is secured, double-check that it’s upright, square, and adequately supporting the beam. If there are any issues, you may need to make adjustments.
You can finalize the installation once everything is confirmed to be correct. Finalizing may involve adding additional fasteners or applying a protective finish to the column. Check local building codes to ensure compliance.
Installing a Lally column involves significant structural changes. We recommend consulting with a professional to ensure you have done the job correctly and safely.
An improperly installed Lally column can lead to serious structural issues and potential safety hazards. If the column isn’t perfectly vertical (plumb) or secured correctly, it can fail to support the intended load. This could result in sagging floors and cracking walls or, in extreme cases, structural failure of the building.
Follow the correct installation process and maintain high safety standards to avoid the risks of improper installation. This involves meticulous measurement, correct positioning, and secure column fastening. Construction professionals recommend that you employ the services of a qualified professional contractor or the guidance of a structural engineer. Regular inspections are essential to identify and rectify potential issues early on.
A Lally column is a steel column, typically filled with concrete, that is used in construction and building to support beams or girders. We highly recommend the professional installation of Lally columns. Installation requires precise measurements, correct positioning, secure fastening, and technical knowledge and experience. An incorrectly installed column can lead to serious structural issues and safety hazards.
Entrusting this task to a professional ensures the work is performed accurately and complies with local building codes. Regular inspections by a professional can identify potential issues early to maintain the safety and longevity of your building structure.
FAQ About Lally Columns
Are Lally columns permanent?
Lally columns can be permanent or temporary structural elements. The design purpose of permanent Lally columns is to provide long-term support to a building’s structure. Permanent columns are generally only removed or replaced if they show signs of damage or degradation that could compromise the building’s structural integrity. Always consult with a professional for any modifications involving Lally columns.
Do Lally columns need to be filled with concrete?
Not all Lally columns need to be filled with concrete. Traditionally, contractors filled Lally columns with concrete to enhance the strength of the column. However, some structural engineers have redesigned the Lally column as hollow steel tubes that provide the necessary structural support. Whether or not a Lally column needs to be filled with concrete depends on the structure’s specific design and load requirements.
Why are Lally columns often preferred in residential construction?
Construction professionals often prefer Lally columns in residential construction due to their strength, durability, and versatility. They provide superior load-bearing capabilities, making them ideal for supporting heavy structural elements in homes, such as beams and floor joists.
Additionally, their slim profile allows for design flexibility, enabling open floor plans and minimizing obstructions in living spaces. Building designers and contractors can easily incorporate Lally columns into various architectural styles. Plus, unlike wooden support structures, Lally columns are resistant to rot and pests.
What is the advantage of using a Lally column?
Lally columns offer several advantages:
- Cost effectiveness: While the up-front cost can be high, the long-term benefits of less maintenance and superior durability can make Lally columns a cost-effective choice.
- Durability: Lally columns are resistant to rot and pests, ensuring long-term durability.
- Ease of installation: Lally columns can be installed relatively quickly and easily, especially by professionals.
- Flexibility: Their slim profile allows for design flexibility.
- Strength and stability: Lally columns provide excellent load-bearing capabilities.
What is the most common type of Lally column?
The most common type of Lally column is a steel column filled with concrete. Builders and designers use this column type widely due to its superior load-bearing capabilities and durability. It’s typically cylindrical and has various lengths to suit different building requirements. The steel shell provides strength, while the concrete filling adds weight and rigidity.
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