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Interior Wood Column - Load Bearing or Not?

Interior Wood Column - Load Bearing or Not?

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Old 01-09-13, 10:28 AM
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[Solved] Interior Wood Column - Load Bearing or Not?

I hope this is the right section to ask this. I have two columns that sit on either end of my kitchen to differentiate it from the family room. These are wooden columns that are not floor to ceiling but maybe halfway and they sit on these rectangular forms that act as room dividers. I drilled a small hole through one column and it is completely hollow. Also, on the floors above and below this area, there are no columns or walls. Can i be confident that these are purely decorative and knock em out? Should I post a picture? Thanks in advance.
 

Last edited by yoghurts; 01-09-13 at 11:48 AM.
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Old 01-09-13, 10:31 AM
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Welcome to the forums!

They are probably just decorative. Pics would be nice - http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...-pictures.html
 
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Old 01-09-13, 11:05 AM
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So there is space above them? Not sure I understand what you're saying here:
not floor to ceiling but maybe halfway and they sit on these rectangular forms
The pictures will likely answer my question.
 
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Old 01-09-13, 11:34 AM
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pictures

Here you go. This will be much better than my description. Here you can see the bottom of the column sitting on a 'box', the view of both from the family room, and how it attaches to the ceiling. Sorry, the first and last pictures are rotated. I'm thinking that removing these will open up the space.

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Old 01-09-13, 11:36 AM
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OK, that makes more sense, thanks for the pictures.

The fact they're hollow and that there's no structure above or below on other floors leads me to believe they're not weight bearing.
 
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Old 01-09-13, 11:48 AM
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Sweet. I'm sure i'll be back to ask more questions once I start the project. Thanks.
 
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Old 01-09-13, 02:25 PM
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Upon closer inspection, there appears to be wall on the floor above the columns but definitely nothing on the floor below. I am still ok? Finally, how would go about removing these to minimize collateral damage? Should I cut the columns with a saw? Try to smash them? Thanks again. I am new to this stuff.
 
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Old 01-09-13, 03:36 PM
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Don't smash them - that will cause you more work

Cut them with a saw and they should come out fairly easy. At the top you want to take a utility knife and cut the caulking to minimize the damage to the ceiling.
 
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Old 01-09-13, 04:07 PM
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Upon closer inspection, there appears to be wall on the floor above the columns but definitely nothing on the floor below. I am still ok?
Realize the post being hollow doesn't automatically mean it is not structural.

Though there is no wall below.....is there a beam below them in the basement?


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Old 01-09-13, 09:41 PM
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The fact they're hollow... leads me to believe they're not weight bearing.
Not true. All classic wooden columns are hollow, for a long list of reasons, and they can support an entire floor. The eight I installed to support the 450 ft.2 porch roof on my old house replaced six of the originals, from 1908, that had been butchered and otherwise compromised and were still holding it up. Inside, the pair of massive columns that flanked the passage from the foyer to the front parlor had stress cracks because a PO had jacked and installed posts under them. They won't take that, but when we corrected the support in the basement, by moving it to the framed walls they abutted, the cracks closed(!)
 
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Old 01-10-13, 12:51 AM
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I have a finished basement, how will I know if there is a beam? Do I need to make a hole in the basement's ceiling? There is one metal post in the basement which is covered with a faux column but it is in a completely different place then the ones pictured above. What if I made a hole in the box right under the column to see if it is empty? Would that tell me more? Anything else I can do determine whether these are structural? I might have to bite the bullet and call somebody...
 
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Old 01-10-13, 04:52 AM
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In your finished basement, what is the longest unsupported span width wise? Do you have any column posts in the basement? If the room is wider than say 12' and you have no column posts, then you have a beam. However, this is not definitive. I would have a structural engineer over to take a look at it to determine your possibilities. Well spent $250 or so. It's called peace of mind.
 
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Old 01-10-13, 05:52 AM
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One thing you could do is take a stud finder and go around the columns to identify where the joists are. (stay 1 ft away so that you don't mistake blocking for joists) Put a piece of tape everywhere you find solid wood, and when you're done you will have a pretty good idea of what lies where.

Checking the basement ceiling to identify the load path might be similar. Beams will be doubled joists, at a minimum, so the stud finder would show them as 3" wide. Joists are always perpendicular to beams. Iron beams are often 5 to 8" wide and will often cause the stud finder to blink.
 
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Old 01-10-13, 07:06 AM
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As Xsleeper described.....check the ceiling near the top of the posts with a good stud finder. Scan the area directly between the posts.....if you find anything wider than 1-1/2" .....it may indicate a beam.

Also.....is the ceiling in the basement flat?....or are there varying levels with bulkheads? The bulkheads could be covering duct work as well as a beam. A negative reading with a stud finder on the basement ceiling won't necessarily prove or confirm anything.


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