We purchased a new Ryan Homes house ten years ago and are now finishing the basement. Down the center of the basement ceiling is a large steel I-beam between the footers. Given the size of the house this is understandable.

However, this beam appears to be held up by two different vertical 'poles'. One is a metal pole that is anchored to the concrete and looks designed to hold up the beam. The other is what looks like three 2x4s nailed together and just shoved into place no more than two feet away. Photos are included below.

Why would this makeshift wood structure be put in place when a metal pole is right next to it? I thought it may have been a temporary support until they could get the metal pole in place, but then why is it still there? How do I determine if this is a necessary structural element?



Metal Pole

  • Are you the original owner? The concrete around the metal post looks newer. Is it possible that the wood support was put in during a repair to the footer under the metal post? – Tester101 Apr 8 '16 at 21:07
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    doubtful. More likely the wood post was temporary, and they just never took it out. If it were me, I'd contact the builder and/or look at the original building plans. – Tester101 Apr 8 '16 at 22:11
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    Agree with tester it was a temp there are no cleats or anchors from the wood to metal that I can see and the 2xs are on the slab with a crack line not on a footing. – Ed Beal Apr 9 '16 at 3:17
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    If you want to be absolutely sure, check with the plans that the city has on file. The only possible permanent reason for it to be in such an awkward spot was that the inspector arrived, said "hey your span is actually 1' too far for that beam" and the solution was to put a makeshift load post in to correct it. This seems very unlikely though. – Jeff Meden Apr 9 '16 at 12:50
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    A 10-12 Ibeam can definitely carry a load over 15'. I was just concerned you were at 20'+ where there could be flex issues. – DMoore Apr 11 '16 at 1:37

From the information you've provided, it seems as though the post is likely not needed. However, none of us have been to your house, seen the plans, nor talked to the builder or engineer. So we cannot say for sure, what the purpose of the post is.

I've seen temporary braces, and even tools left behind on builds. So it's definitely possible that it's no longer needed. But when it comes to the structural support of your home, you're going to want to be sure.

Contact Ryan Homes, and ask them about it. If they can't answer, find the original building plans (sometimes given to the original owner, otherwise should be on file at city/town hall). If you're still not sure, contact a structural engineer to have a look.

Don't remove the post until you're sure it's not needed.

  • OK come on. 2x4s? I haven't met an inspector that did not require the use of 4x4s to carry basement loads. On an I-beam these little twigs would just bow upon deflection. I am guessing it is a 10 or 12" I-beam So it can span 15-30'+ depending on ft/weight. let's just ask him how far the next post is? – DMoore Apr 9 '16 at 20:52
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    @DMoore I agree that there's a lot of evidence that the post should not be required, and there's a high probability that it can be removed. However, there's also a lot of cruddy builders out there, and I never give structural advice without 100% certainty. Better to check the plans, than to drop a house on your head – Tester101 Apr 9 '16 at 21:29

These are definitely just temp posts, probably to help during the metal beam install.

  • if supporting they would be capped and anchored around metal

  • they are 2x4s - I can't imagine a house loading using 2x4s

  • they are too close to the metal post. If they meant anything at all there would be some sort of space between the metal post and them - at least 5-10 feet.

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