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I'm redoing a basement after flooding and just found this little hack.

Apparently previous owner removed permanent support post for some reason and then at some point installed this temporary jack post and covered it up with dry-wall (Im guessing so house would pass inspection).

What do I do to properly solve this?

Base of column Top of column, exposed Closeup of column

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  • I do not see the bottom of the actual column itself, does it go into the concrete floor? If not, then there most likely there is no footing to support the weight of the column is holding, and the column was only added to decrease bounce in the floor. This is what I expect since the top was set on the drywall. Maybe the previos owners placed a piano on the floor above and decided the floor needed help in that area. What is the length of the triple beam and the length of the floor joists it supports? Are the joists and beam made of 2X10s?
    – Jack
    Jan 3 '16 at 15:30
  • I just looked over your "hack" link, the post is into the drywall at the top, and I seen the circle of concrete on the floor, that MAY mean there is a footing below. Removing the rest of the drywall at the top will confirm if there was another post before, there will be marks and nail holes in the framing that held the original post in place. If it is so, the temporary needs to stay, it can be cranked up a little to straighten the beam a bit if it has sagged over time. Check if the pin is in place under the duct tape, you should find a pin that is about 3/4" in dia.You can remove the duct tape
    – Jack
    Jan 3 '16 at 15:42
  • @Jack But that's not up to construction code though in US... My understanding is - this should only be used for initial jacking up and should be replaced with permanent.
    – Dannyboy
    Jan 3 '16 at 16:52
  • You are right. After you posted the link, I looked it over and I will correct myself. The post that is there is a temporary post and needs to be replaced. I read the article on the permanent post install and my copy of the 2012 IRC code, and the article you have is spot on. What is your timeframe for getting this done, and what is your finish floor you have in mind. I will craft an answer based on your response. It may make a difference.
    – Jack
    Jan 3 '16 at 17:13
  • @Jack I have time:) This is my house and I wanna do it right. Floor finish will be ceramic tiles. So far I could not find a single tutorial online for permanent column install... There is something I found called dean column - but I guess I wanna make sure why can't I just install those red permanent columns... I'm willing to do all the work - like concrete breaking - I jsut want this be realiable and for good.
    – Dannyboy
    Jan 3 '16 at 17:24
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It's not bad at all actually, the drywall chunk above the column's cover isn't even crushed. For as new as your lumber is this is just for stability to guard against sag & not a truly critical component. The floor isn't cracked so it's still hitting the footer, I'd just check for plumb to see if a new concrete filled column could or should land back in the circle.

Otherwise, it's really not a huge deal. Check for a sag in the beam, then see if you can get the screw up another 1/4" or more without cracking ceilings or walls upstairs. You don't really want to lift anything too much (wait 10 to 20-minutes after every 1/4" for the house to catch up, there will be creaking & moaning, but you do want to be able to back the column down after the beam's supported at straight or level.

You'll want a 4x4 (2-1 on each side) or 2-2x4's screwed together on each side of the column at that new height or higher if it goes up without growing or any problems. Cap the 2x4's with 2-2x6 chunks (screwed together & criss-crossed grain to avoid splitting) to make sure you're supporting the entire beam. Do the same at the bottom of the 2x4's with TWO 3-foot or longer 2x8's (10's or 12's, the wider the better) to spread any load & avoid cracking outside of the footer zone. Get the 2x4's close to the support to stay within the footer zone as much as you can while still being able to spin the column down with a bar through the pole holes & go get a new concrete filled column (adjustable is best) as well as a 1/4" or better steel plates for the column top & bottom at a metal (wrought or ornamental iron) shop as layers of thin metal won't do anything.

The metal shop might offer a welded-on cup or ring for the post's top & bottom, but not really needed once the column's loaded. If you're not happy with house sounds while raising, then do a 1/4" per day until you're level & doors are back to beautifully even gaps & floor squeaks are gone...no reason to rush this with all of the other work you can do down there while the house rejuvenates itself.

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  • Thanks. yes it's not bad - it's just not up to building code. Temp columns should only be in place as temp support for up to 1 year and then replaced with permanent.
    – Dannyboy
    Jan 6 '16 at 14:07
  • Absolutely right & you really lucked-out on a bad situation. I'm confident you'll do a great job at getting it right & proper, the house will appreciate it.
    – Iggy
    Jan 6 '16 at 14:27
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The install of the post could be as straightforward as it gets, set the post in plumb, tighten it up, drill holes in the concrete to accept wedge anchors or another type of fastener and secure the top and walk away from it, wrap it in drywall too if needed.

That does not guarantee anything. I can safely assume there is a pier footing below the slab floor. What I can't presume is that the slab floor is turned down (thickened) to meet the footing. It is possible that the post was set on the pier footing, gravel was set over the subgrade and possibly the footer too, so the slab at the footer is actually supported by the gravel. There is also an assumption that the footer is still 4 to 8" below the floor surface. It should be no more than 8"...4" thick floor slab and 4" gravel so the footing is dug completely into the sub grade, and still there is no guarantee, it could have been formed on the perimeter to get it closer, dug deeper because the soil bearing was poor, etc, etc...

So much rambling on, the point is, is to chip out the concrete to actually see what is down there. enter image description here

I did get a little ahead of myself on the first drawing but it does put some of the overall parts in play. The parts I added too soon were the double 2X "pads" for the posts to bear on.

What needs to be done first before the area get too cluttered with posts is to lay out where the suspected original bearing plate on the footing. It may be about an 8"X8" centered on the old hole that was filled. Lay out a 10"X10" square around the original post, depicted by the red line in the drawing. Drill 1/2" diameter holes with a rented rotary hammer about 4" down, no lower, you may drill into the footing, weakening it. do this ONLY on the half of the hole to be chipped out to get some exploratory happening BEFORE the 2X10s get in the way and the posts. You should be able to get the round concrete plug out of the old post to see how deep the footing is. Drilling will help here, since it gives the cracking concrete someplace to go. A strong shop vac is tremendously handy in removing loose chips.

Once you see how things are put together and perhaps even expose the bottom plate and mounting bolts as well on one half the old post. You may see by this time if the slab is thickened to the footing or whether the gravel is between the slab and footing. After you have gone as far as practical, now is time to add the 2X10 plates and posts.

post2

It will be important to know what is on the floor above to help determine how to resupport the floor temporarily. If there is a wall over the beam, you certainly will not lift it up, at least not much, maybe a 1/16", any more you will not like what will happen. If there is a wall, set the plates and critically, accurately, measure the distance from the plates to the beam and add 1/8" and cut 2 2X6s to that length. This will allow the plates to compress a little and hopefully raise the beam a smidgeon too. Do the same on the other side too, and release the adjustable post and reset it on the sill with the 2X6s to help with the load.

If there is no load on the floor, other than furniture, get a bottle jack, 7-12 ton, and jack it up and set the temporary 2X6s, cutting and setting will be a lot easier. ALWAYS set anything that lifts or supports on a concrete slab on plates to spread the load over a larger area. Do not use this for lifting a beam with a wall over it, this jack with this weight capacity will crush or crack stuff.

After all the chipping is done, add the new post, fasten the top with SDS screws or lags, nails may work too. Crank it up tight with the screw at the bottom and set concrete back in the hole you made to get out the old and set in the new. Done, ready for tile. and new post finish.

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  • Thanks for a detailed response! There is nothing above - > just a furniture. Actually not even heavy furniture, just a kitchen table. I'll begin working on this only in the end of this month anyways. Question - I still cannot find a single website that would mention these columns for sale... Do you have any idea on a supply house in CT that carries them?
    – Dannyboy
    Jan 6 '16 at 14:06
  • I found this supplier, they appear to be out of PA, tigerbrandjackpost.com
    – Jack
    Jan 7 '16 at 23:27

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