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Old 02-15-2007, 06:58 PM  
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Default replacing wood support beam with steel?

This house I just bought has a big old wood beam support. It's obviously the "bottleneck" for headroom in the basement. I was wondering if it could be easily replaced with a steel beam that will take up less vertical space?

What about the support pillars? Are those installed on special pads in the foundation? Will steel be able to support a longer span without (as many) pillars?

How is this sort of thing done, is it very expensive? I'm having foundation work done sometime over the summer hopefully, I guess that's the time to do it since they'll probably be jacking the house?

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Old 02-16-2007, 01:38 AM  
Square Eye
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Raise the existing beam a little, maybe 1/4".
Build a temporary support wall along side the existing beam.
Shim it at every joist that isn't resting against the wall.
Remove the old beam and the posts.
Installl the new steel beam and posts.
You still need as many posts to distribute the weight on the floor.
In order to span a further distance with steel, the steel beam will have to be nearly as wide as the current wood beam.
Anyway, pop the studs out one at a time in the temporary wall.
You may have to dig the footers out and replace them if the posts have rusted out.

Best of luck to you.
Remember that steel is very heavy, It will take a lot of strong backs to get a beam into a basement. You may have to bring it in in sections and have it welded together after you get it in place.
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