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I have a hip-style roof where the first floor is set up as such (- & | are walls; = & || are doors; + are lally columns; gaps are empty spaces or openings):

It's a poor representation, I know

|-------------------------|-----|----|--------|
|  |                      |     |    ||       |
|  |                      |     |----|        |
|  |                      |     |--| |        |
|==-   -----------------==----==-==-=-==------|
||      ||             |               ||     |
|       |              |  |-==---------|      |
|       |                 |            |      |
|-----------------------==--------------------|

...and the basement:

|----=--------------------|-------------------|
|                         ||                  ||
|                         |                   ||
|                         |                   ||
|--+--  +----+----+---+   +   +    +    +     |
|       |                 |                   |
|      *+*           *+*  | *+*  *+*  *+*     |
|       |                 |                   |
|---------------------------------------------|

I'm trying to understand what the purpose of some of these lally columns are. Some support walls on one side of the house but are not required on the other side, making it asymmetrical.

Which tells me these columns (+) are only supporting the load directly above them but not the roof above. If I tear these walls down, would those columns be necessary? Or would the house be safe if I removed the columns? I'm not referring to the columns directly going through the middle of the house.

EDIT: As an example, I have one wall I'm considering removing. However, there are two lally columns directly beneath that wall. There is no beam running across the opening of this wall, so I'm assuming it's not load bearing. Also, there are no other loads above the wall except for the roof. Could the one lally column (right-side) simply support the wall above it? 1st Floor Basement

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  • Your floors are supported by the beams and joists that are connected to some of the columns if not all. Be careful what you intend to do.
    – r13
    Feb 7 at 21:58
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    Hire an architect and an engineer to ask these questions. Without that, all you can do with complete safety is remove anything you want from your ascii art :)
    – jay613
    Feb 7 at 22:56
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    Lally columns are usually not added/used for the fun of it. If they are there, then there should be a very good reason for their placement, and removing anything needs expert advice. They are not there to be a coat rack.
    – crip659
    Feb 8 at 1:16
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    Without knowing the dimensions or materials we can't be sure, but it's possible the columns are supporting a beam and the floor joists go from that beam to the "north" and "south" walls in your diagram. If that's the case, removing the columns would mean replacing the beam with steel and strengthening its supports on the "east" and "west" walls. That is exactly how my house is built. Other things are of course possible too.
    – jay613
    Feb 8 at 13:51
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    Look in the attic, is there a beam going north/south directly above the right end of the wall with the painting and above the right hand column? If you have a second floor you'll need to consult drawings ... do you have them? (Using directions per your drawings)
    – jay613
    Feb 8 at 15:45

2 Answers 2

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Barring something lurking in the attic space (I know it's common to put HVAC equipment up there in some areas) being held up by the walls and columns (you should have a look up there;) Those columns would appear to be just to support the extra load of the weight of the walls on the floor system.

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Here is a column supporting a beam supporting joist ends. In this case I hope the function of the column is obvious.

I suppose it's possible that you have continuous joists that do not themselves require midpoint support, and the columns were added for spot support for whatever was above the floor above. Sure. I would still have an architect and engineer look into that idea before relying on it.

enter image description here

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  • I added pictures to help illustrate.
    – James R.
    Feb 8 at 14:37
  • (From your added photos) You indeed have the exact opposite situation from me. Your column, at least the right hand one in your photo, is providing spot support to one joist where adjacent ones of the same length don't have it. It's hard to be sure what's going on with the left hand column in your picture.
    – jay613
    Feb 8 at 14:52
  • The left column in your new second picture looks like it's supporting a beam hacked together from scrap pieces of 1-by. I'm sure there's a better explanation but it's hard to see. Is it a 4x8 with the bottom half painted? Then why is it lying on its side?
    – jay613
    Feb 8 at 14:59
  • That is supporting the center beam for the house. Those columns are represented by the "+" symbol in the illustration.
    – James R.
    Feb 8 at 15:05
  • The horizontal white-colored 4x8 is just for appearances. There was a drop ceiling that I removed to expose the beams, that piece of wood isn't supporting anything.
    – James R.
    Feb 8 at 15:11

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