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We moved into a new build house with an un-finished basement. I am going to start finishing/framing the basement and 4 steel support posts that run down the center holding the beam. The main beam is 2 - 2X12. The posts that are attached to these beams have plates on the top and bottom that are 4"x6", so they would stick out past a typical 2X4 wall post. Is the standard procedure with these to take the post out and replace with wood? Or do I trim the plates down to work with a 2x4? All but 1 of these posts will be within a wall, the last one I am hoping can be wrapped in either wood or drywall. Or replaced with a 4x4.

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    I wouldn't risk replacing with wood or trimming the top/bottom plates without a structural engineer checking things out first. It is quite common to cover these posts up with wood or drywall. – manassehkatz Oct 8 '18 at 17:03
  • Are the top and bottom end plates of the posts oriented with the 4" sides perpendicular to the planned partition wall? And the 6" sides would be parallel to the wall? – Jim Stewart Oct 8 '18 at 19:25
  • Are the top and bottom end plates of the posts oriented with the 4" sides perpendicular to the planned partition wall? And the 6" sides would be parallel to the wall? What are the cross section dimensions of the columns themselves? – Jim Stewart Oct 8 '18 at 19:48
  • Yes the 4" side is perpendicular with the planned wall. The posts are 3" diameter. – James Oct 8 '18 at 20:26
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Standard procedure is to cover them, not remove them. Those are structural members and cannot be removed without an engineer designing a replacement which will likely be bigger and more obtrusive.

  • I agree, though it is quite annoying how they size them. Personally, I'd go renegade and trim the plates. There's no structural reason why 3-1/2" isn't enough. You could also notch around them and then finish the drywall over the notches. – isherwood Oct 8 '18 at 19:03
  • I'd frame around them with 2x4s and the drywall around them, they would stick out from the wall, but wouldn't necessarily look bad. Your other option is to build a 2x6 wall to encase them. – Gary Bak Oct 9 '18 at 11:27
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See this on encasing steel structural members in a stud wall.

Those steel posts with end plates are the absolutely first rate product for this structural need, and the design and installation has been passed on by building inspection. They are not to be replaced. Drilling through for plumbing or wiring would require special authorization. I would say do not do it.

If the plates on the bottoms of the posts, or the posts proper, protrude beyond the envelope of a stud wall, then the baseboard (and the drywall) could jog to cover it. The 2x4" bottom plate of a non load bearing stud wall is not under tension and can be terminated on one side of a steel plate, directed around or over the plate, and resumed on the other side.

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    The problem with furring out the walls is that now all door jambs are too narrow. – isherwood Oct 8 '18 at 19:05
  • But it seems to me* that if the 4" sides of the bottom plates are perpendicular to the planned partition wall then the plates would be within the envelope of a 2x4" studded wall: 3.5" + 1" for drywall + 1" for baseboards = 5.5". The drywall would be notched over the plates. Not sure how the top plates would be handled. *My ideas on these matters are not restricted by actual experience. – Jim Stewart Oct 8 '18 at 19:42
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    You could cut the drywall out around the plate edges, then tape over them. You could also scarf out the back side of the drywall to partial depth. It's just a problem that shouldn't exist is all. – isherwood Oct 8 '18 at 19:44
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    Yes the 4" side is perpendicular with the planned wall. So notching around the bottom would work and be covered by baseboard. But the top would not. – James Oct 8 '18 at 20:25
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    Perhaps you can use a crown molding at the top. – Platinum Goose Oct 8 '18 at 22:04

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