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virgolibranyc 09-07-2010 01:36 PM

Basement Metal Support Post
I have a question regarding the potential impact of an adjustable metal support post in my basement. The house is about 100 years old and was originally constructed using a stone and mortar foundation. At some point, a concrete wall about 6" thick and 3' high was added on the inside of the basement, along with a concrete floor, and an external concrete wall around the perimeter of the house just below the sill level. The house is on a steeply sloped property and the north side of the basement often takes in water that flows out of a hole in the basement floor on the south side. The main support beam runs down the center of the house from north to south, and had 2 evenly spaced metal support beams encased in the basement concrete floor. The last stretch was without a post when I purchased the home 3 years ago. The home inspector recommended I add a 3rd post to even the load. At that time I purchased a metal support post and placed it under the beam with the thread side down. I recently noticed a small crack in the basement floor a few inches away from all 3 support posts that roughly parallels their location under the main support beam. The crack runs from one end of the house to the other, and seems to extend a bit up into the added concrete retaining wall. It is entirely possible this crack existed 3 years ago and I didn't notice it. If not, is it possible that the addition of the 3rd post caused it? I would greatly appreciate any comments and/or suggestions...

joed 09-07-2010 01:42 PM

That post needs a proper foundation under it if it is even needed. The weight on the support post is probably cracking the floor. A proper foundation under a support post is normally 24" square and 24" thick, but that depends on weight supported and soil conditions.
You need a structural engineer to tell you what is needed not a home inpector.

virgolibranyc 09-07-2010 02:01 PM

thanks for the info.. do you think i should just remove it in the meanwhile?

Daniel Holzman 09-07-2010 02:59 PM

I would not remove the post until you have had a thorough evaluation by a competent individual of the situation. You need to see if the post is rated for permanent support (in fact you need to check all the posts). Many posts are rated strictly for temporary support, and are not designed for long term use. As previously noted, each post requires an adequate foundation. The size of the required foundation depends on the load to be carried (this requires an evaluation of the overall house loading), and the strength of the soil.

Since you may have done this work without a permit (maybe you don't need one), you may not wish to consult the building inspector about your situation. In that case, a structural engineer would be a good place to start.

virgolibranyc 09-07-2010 03:07 PM

thank you david... the 2 other posts have clearly been there many years. wish i had noticed if that crack existed before the addition of the third...

my apologies, thank you daniel....

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