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I am installing a new, approx 16' support beam in my house, to be held up initially by adjustable jacks, and permanently by 4 4" wooden posts. Some time ago I saw on one of the construction shows an ingenious method of sizing and setting posts, to wit:

  1. Step 1: Get the beam where you want it with the adjustable jacks
  2. Step 2: Dig several holes where you want the footings be
  3. Step 3: install the 4" posts to the beam (using hangers), letting it hang in the air above the holes
  4. Step 4: Pour concrete in holes, leaving a 1" gap between the concrete and the posts
  5. Step 5: Wait for concrete to cure
  6. Step 6: Pour non shrink grout between concrete and 4" wooden post - letting the grout lap over the post by about 1/4" or so
  7. Step 7: Wait for grout to cure
  8. Step 8: Remove adjustable posts - thereby transferring all load to 4" wooden posts

This seems like an excellent way of doing it - the posts are the right height automatically, there is much less need for measuring and the posts can be adjusted before there is any load upon them.

However, I have never heard of anyone else doing this - nor using non-shrink grout in structural applications.

My questions:

  1. Is is a good idea to do the 4" posts and adjustable posts at separate times?
  2. Is non-shrink grout useful for structural applications?
  • Grout is not really very strong, I would worry that with any movement it would crumble. I was always warned not to support a vehicle with cinder blocks as they break up. I don't see any problem using jacks to support the load while doing the work and removing them later. – Ed Beal Mar 17 '16 at 18:17
  • I thought that too - seemingly the concrete would work as well. – Steve French Mar 17 '16 at 18:28
  • If you're doing it this way, why not attach concrete anchors to the bottom of the post and fill concrete to the appropriate line on the anchor? You could then use grout to fill the hole to floor level. – Edwin Mar 17 '16 at 19:31
  • I'll add anchors too! – Steve French Mar 17 '16 at 19:40
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I just finished the project - the grout turned out be a great solution - I intend to do it again for the other side of the house. Precision work in that part of the crawlspace was quite difficult, and simple letting the grout find it's own level made things much, much easier.

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