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How or what to replace concrete and wood basement supports

How or what to replace concrete and wood basement supports

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  #1  
Old 02-28-12, 11:26 AM
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How or what to replace concrete and wood basement supports

Our current basement is completely unfinished. It's ~35ft by 45ft. Down the middle of the basement, there is two rows of supports, six concrete and two wood. There are two or three support posts which are not really an issue.

What I am wondering is, while designing the layout of my (someday) finished basement, could I replace some or all these concrete/wood support posts with smaller / modern steel ones?
The concrete pillers are approximately 1.5ft by 1.5 foot and are really in the way of any layout I might design.
I'm not looking at removing them completely, but instead substituting them for slimmer steal posts that could be either hidden in walls, or simply ignored in the middle of a room as they are smaller.

Below is what I am considering to replace the existing concrete and/or wood pillers.


This is the piller rows down the middle of the basement. One piller is not shown in the picture due to the angle of the photo. All pillers are lined up perfectly, so the missing one would be just right of the edge of the photo.



The house is ~36ft tall (three stories), 2860sqft.
 
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  #2  
Old 02-28-12, 03:33 PM
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Those "concrete" columns are probably cement block, but essentially the same thing. Not sure why there are that many, but it could be due to a small support beam. Can't see that in your pic.

My suggestion would be to get an engineer or someone that understands construction engineering. In the meantime..........DON'T remove anything!!!
 
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Old 02-28-12, 03:42 PM
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You might (no, make that "should") contact your local government building department regarding what you're planning to do. They will require a permit, and I suspect they will also want an engineer to evaluate and approve your proposed retrofit plan.

The temporary jack post you've shown is not typically approved for permanent installation. Most manufacturers even say that in their advertising/product logo. I own several of them, and they are great for temporary supports while moving load-bearing walls. Don't have the brand name on mine, but I think the original sticker said good for 20,000 pounds. Your existing concrete columns, if 18" x 18" square and composed of concrete good for only 2500 PSI, can support 810,000 pounds each. Slight difference, eh?

Properly designed and installed steel pipe columns, with integral steel base and top plates, would work well for what you plan to do. If it were mine, they'd be at least 3" x 3" square tubing, spaced as required and good for compression loads based on what's being supported above, as determined by engineering analysis.
 
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Old 02-28-12, 07:10 PM
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I agree that post really is more for temporary support. You might still need something like that especially as a temporary brace. My thinking is that a structural engineer will want a steel beam across the whole area and one that can support more weight than what you currently have. So in that case it isn't really a do it yourself job. The bigger beam will not only support more weight but if it is installed right can actually give you more head room and we all know how bad some basements can be. Probably too they would use steel lally columns filled with concrete and new footings will have to be dug with concrete just to make sure everything is fine. You are lucky though you have plenty of space and the head room isn't too bad either but as I said with a new beam you will probably gain head room. You will also be able to use fewer lally columns to replace what you already have. Good luck on your project!
 
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Old 02-29-12, 06:00 AM
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Thanks guys for the input.
As I mentioned in the original post, I'm not specifically planning on removing/replacing any. I am more looking for opinions, information and what not (which you guys have provided) should I need to replace one or more of these with something else to accommodate the overall finished basement design.

As for the need for a Structural Engineer.... not a concern (I work in a large engineering consultant company and I mtn bike with one or two licensed structural guys).

Definitely, the more info or ideas you guys can provide, the easier it'll be for me to do the drawings/models for the guys to review.

Just Bill;
That is old stone laced concrete. The house being from the 1930's, has its entire basement, exterior walkways, etc, constructed with this concrete which is laced stones and larger than granular A stones. I would actually be surprised (shocked) if I was to break any of those up and find rebar in there. I don't know if that is a location specific way of making stone concrete at that time. I know some foundation setups are regional based (i.e. Sudbury Ontario uses blocks for basements/foundations for some time now, where all the other cities around Northern Ontario use poured concrete foundations.

BridgeMan45;
Anything structural based will require a building permit. I know better not to try and pull a fast one with this type of work.
The steel support I posted the picture of was one I found on Google and was more to show what I was looking at instead of the exact brand or model I want.
I can tell by your numbers, we work in similar industries (I'm more mining then infrastructure though.
I don't think those concrete posts will stand 2500PSI, given there is no steel or fiber mesh, and probably no rebar. It's also old (which may or may not be an issue given it's protected and not seeing any real impacts (only constant load).
I know the two wood posts are showing of twisting and a crack or two (length wise) which could be as a result of years and years of drying.

hedgeclippers
If it gets to replacing main beams with steel ones, this project has gotten way too big for what it is worth.
I will for sure involve a structural engineer (or two) before removing any load bearing supports, but I'm not going to go as far as replacing 45ft+ lengths of lumber with steel beams. I'll paint the existing concrete posts some odd color and anyone that questions them, will be told it was some interior decorators idea.
 
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Old 02-29-12, 03:01 PM
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Northern Mike you certainly know what you are doing. I didn't know you were an engineer I am not myself but put on many hats as a landlord none of which has to do with engineering though. My cousin is an engineer though and some of what she has said to me has kind of rubbed off but my main knowledge comes from This Old House and Home Time. I once saw a house like yours and they used a new beam inside and on yet another house they moved the mechanicals closer to the ceiling so they could have more room. All of which is somewhat to very expensive, I don't know how the average person really can afford it. Well like I said good luck!
 
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Old 03-01-12, 04:28 AM
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Originally Posted by hedgeclippers
Northern Mike you certainly know what you are doing. I didn't know you were an engineer I am not myself but put on many hats as a landlord none of which has to do with engineering though. My cousin is an engineer though and some of what she has said to me has kind of rubbed off but my main knowledge comes from This Old House and Home Time. I once saw a house like yours and they used a new beam inside and on yet another house they moved the mechanicals closer to the ceiling so they could have more room. All of which is somewhat to very expensive, I don't know how the average person really can afford it. Well like I said good luck!
Structural isn't really my area of knowledge (I'm more telecommunications and project automation). I did however work for a concrete company as an IT admin and obsorbed as much information as I could from the guys that do the mix designs there.

Now, back to the house.... It's a very simple structural design. The supports I am looking at are the main center supports. Directly above them on the first floor is the walls for the main hallway (all load bearing) and above them is the second floor hallway walls (which are load bearing for the attic and two rooms up there).
I will look into what is available for steel collums which will for sure be physically smaller then the existing concrete pillers and should be able to support more weight (which is not really a requirement). As I mentioned in the original post, I'm just looking to see what is available right now and may not actually find a need to change anything depending on the final design of my basement.
As of right now, the basic game plan is to close off the utilities in thier own room and maybe add a half bath. The rest of the basement will probably remain open. The big push is to get some insulation between the concrete walls and my utilities and reduce the noise level from the boiler and laundry machines.
 
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