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The photo is of the top of the only post in a basement room about 27'x18'. I presume it is a load bearing post. The cracks seem new (i.e., no dust or cobwebs and I have not noticed them before). How might I go about deciding if this is a serious matter? The house is located in Atlanta. top of load bearing post

Update: The post is about 7" in diameter. If I grab it with both hands, I can shake it side to side about 1/8" without exerting much force. I presume it is just a facade and the actual bearing post is inside. I do not see a way to remove the facade without destroying it. Suggestions?

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    The crack looks more like a separation crack than anything else from the one angle the picture is. The post may be bearing, round columns like this can be ordered load bearing but there is a chance there is another structure inside if it is for carrying a load. If you could get a picture higher up so as to look into the crack, may reveal more. Then again, it could be non bearing and there is shrinkage making the paint fail at the top. – Jack Apr 14 at 21:15
  • @Jack Based on your suggestion, I looked at the column more carefully and added an update to the original question. – Yehuda_NYC Apr 14 at 22:56
  • @Jack Is a separation crack something to be concerned about? – Yehuda_NYC Apr 16 at 13:54
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    No, it means the load is taken up elsewhere, whether inside the wood post or elsewhere in the wall/ceiling. Another picture how the post is situated in the room would help. – Jack Apr 16 at 14:22
  • @Jack. it is in the center of the room. (Hard to photograph the whole room.) – Yehuda_NYC Apr 17 at 19:14

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