On an inspection report, there is a stack of wood in the crawlspace acting as a support post.

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I'm wondering how and what these should be replaced with?

Googling steel shims, I see it's just a sheet of metal and not sure where that would go.

  • 3
    Steel rusts do you want something in that area that may rust away? The moron that wrote wood will compress over time has never built anything in my opinion. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wood. See that beam the wood is holding up ? Those are probably scraps and if a support is going to compress what the @&/@ do you think will happen to the beam. Sorry I get tired of idiots reporting things like this. The ends of the beams are they tied? Nailed to the shims that should be the issue.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Jun 23, 2021 at 19:15
  • 2
    Word to the wise: Home inspectors mostly exist to justify their own existence--they have to find something or people won't keep hiring them. There's nothing inherently wrong with that post. It's no different from a million other such stacks of structural lumber. Also, how much time? Looks like it's already been there for "time".
    – isherwood
    Commented Jun 23, 2021 at 19:18

2 Answers 2


"Shim" to me means something thin, for example the thinner blocks of wood at the top and bottom of the stack. Often a shim is very thin, so when you searched for "steel shim" you probably found pieces of metal about the thickness of paper or posterboard. That's not what the inspector intended.

The photo shows thin wood pieces (about 3/4" thick?) at the top and bottom of the stack. These could be replaced by pieces of steel plate. A steel supplier local to you might offer pre-cut pieces called "gusset plates." They're often trianglular but hopefully you can find squares. They'll have a variety of sizes and thicknesses, likely ranging 4-12 inches across and 1/8 to 1/2 inch thick. Neither the size nor the thickness is tremendously important for your case -- I'd choose a square piece that is at least as wide as the floor joists/beams. Stack several pieces so that they build up to a height that matches the existing wood shims, or get more or fewer if you want to adjust the floor's height while doing this swap.

If gusset plates aren't available you can get "flat bar" and cut it into pieces yourself or ask the supplier to cut it. Or call a steel fabrication shop and ask them to source material and make the pieces to size for you.

The entire stack of wood could also be replaced with steel. That might take the form of a square or round tube standing vertically with gusset plates welded to both ends. Again, a steel fabrication shop could build this part for you.

As for how to do the replacement: jacks and cribbing. Crawl in there with two or more bottle jacks. Place cribbing to support the joists in case a jack should fail. Use the jacks to raise the joists just enough to remove the pile of wood blocks and insert the metal parts. Gently release the jacks and remove cribbing.

  • How strong should the bottle jack be? & are there steel post I could buy instead of going to a steel fabrication shop? I feel like custom things would be more expensive.
    – sushi
    Commented Jun 23, 2021 at 18:48
  • Something like what you need, probably be cheaper to make than buy. Most steel sold by 8 foot or something then you need to buy plates and pay for welding. A welding/steel shop will have pieces lying around, so a few bucks of steel and a few bucks for welding. Have good measurements. This is not "custom" work, just slapping a few pieces of steel together.
    – crip659
    Commented Jun 23, 2021 at 19:03
  • 1
    Sorry guys you have to be kidding me? Have you ever looked under a post and beam house? A wooden post on a pier supports the beam. On homes with basements you might see steel more often but not in this case. Look at the beam ends that is what the duffus inspector missed.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Jun 23, 2021 at 19:19
  • 1
    Steel shims aren't the answer. If a person is going to go to the trouble of jacking things up, just put in a new 6x6 or 8x8 post and be done with it. I agree with Ed, though. This is a silly flag.
    – isherwood
    Commented Jun 23, 2021 at 19:19
  • A new wood post should sit on a concrete block right?
    – sushi
    Commented Jun 23, 2021 at 20:03

If you want to see how a pier and beam foundation is supposed to be done, see this video by Larry Haun https://youtu.be/n4OmW37loVo

Simply substituting metal for the 3/4" wood stock would be pointless. If you want to upgrade your piers, you would need to start with a suitable concrete pad as a base. The small squares of wood on top of the concrete blocks are nailed to the concrete before the concrete set hard.

Some places require a sheet metal termite shield on each pier, but if the base is concrete then it probably not necessary. If Larry Haun didn't use 'em, then they are not necessary in this location which I believe is somewhere in the Pacific Northwest. I think Larry and Joe built this house for their sister.

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