I am doing some renovations in my basement and noticed that the metal columns aren't centered on one main beam but centered on the gap between two beams. You can see it in the picture below (with the wood block above it splitting in the middle I might add)

enter image description here

Shouldn't the metal column be centered on one main beam instead of spanning two? Or is there a reason why it would be spanning two beams? It is a modular home, if that makes a difference.

This other photo is a picture farther down, just showing that the gap spans the entire length of the house. The other beam is centered on it as well.

enter image description here

The house was built in 2004. I'm wondering if they did something "unique" here that I should be concerned about.

  • It looks like 2 walls above are connecting the house sections so they split the support to vary both. – Ed Beal Oct 27 '17 at 19:11

It is okay for a steel column to support two separate beams, but the steel plate on the top of your column isn't designed to do that.

The builder should have added a column cap on top of the column, and I suggest adding one now. You basically need to jack up both beams so you have a small gap, and then push the column cap in there and release the jacks. If that's something that sounds way over your head, a remodeling contractor should have experience doing stuff like that.

It looks like you have a 2 ply beam, then a 1" gap, then a 3 ply beam. Is that correct? That should be around 8.5" wide, and a Simpson CCOQ9-SDS2.5 is 8.875" wide so that should work here. People usually weld this to the top of the steel plate on the column, but however you attach it to the column will be better than what you currently have.

The column cap I referenced is 1/4" thick (3 gauge steel), so that's enough of a height difference that you would probably want to replace the steel column with a shorter one, and also center it better while you're replacing it. You could probably cut 1/4" off your current one and weld the column cap to it, but just do whatever is easier or seems safer. On the other hand, raising everything 1/4" might not be a big deal to you.


Simpson CCOQ9-SDS2.5

  • Thanks, that makes sense. So I guess my next question is how vital is it that I add the cap? I would need to hire someone, so I'm wondering how bad would it be to leave as is? – ColdDrink Nov 1 '17 at 13:47
  • It looks like the most likely failure mode would be if these beams separate and fall off the steel beam, so adding metal straps across the bottom might prevent that. The next failure point is that these beams are only half supported, so hopefully there are nails or screws keeping the multiple plies of each beam together. If not you might've want to add them if you have access to the face of the beams. Something like 2 rows of 16d nails at 16" oc or something would be fine if there isn't anything there already. If it was me I would at least put a 1/4" steel plate if not the whole column cap. – Dotes Nov 1 '17 at 20:56

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