Steel post instead of 6x6 in exterior wall to carry LVL beam.

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Posted by: from Oakville
3/1/2016 at 11:10:06 AM


We live in a typical side split and want to remove the load bearing wall between the kitchen and living room on the ground floor. The house was built in the 60's and the exterior wall is framed using 2x4 studs. Normally we would just insert a 6x6 post to carry the LVL in the exterior wall but we don't want the post to protrude into the room - instead we'd like to use a steel column (max 4" in diameter) so that the interior side of that exterior wall can remain flush without a bump out (as we would need to do if we used a 6x6 post).

Can the steel post simply be inserted between the bottom plate and the double top plate of the existing framing and have the LVL beam sit on the existing double top plate with the column directly below it?... Allowing the ceiling joists to be hung from the LVL for a flush ceiling as well.

Steel post instead of 6x6 in exterior wall to carry LVL beam.
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Date/Time3/1/2016 at 12:08:32 PM

Sounds like a question for a structural engineer. They will be able to tell you exactly what size post you need.

But whatever size post you install you must make sure that you have "squash blocks" underneath the post.

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Date/Time3/1/2016 at 12:43:51 PM

I have to know the length of the beam you plan to install. That will deticate the size of post neccesary. Suash plates must be installed, and they are wider than your 2x4 wall!

In addition if the load is running down to the basement framing, you will have to install a post below as well. The bottom of that one has to sit on a proper concrete foundation.

Best check with an engineer. If I could see it, I would tell you.

Good luck.

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Dani in Oakville
Date/Time3/1/2016 at 1:07:07 PM

Hi James,

Thank you for the input. I'm not really worried about the size of post (I will have a P.Eng spec that for me) more so, am I right in thinking that the post would be installed between the bottom plate and the double top plate of the existing framing (seen in the image I post - right diagram)?... We wouldn't be cutting the existing bottom plate and double top plate of the framing would we? This wall that we are planning to embed the post in to carry the beam is an exterior wall (ground level) directly above the foundation wall in my crawl space.

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Sebastian from Direct Painting in Markham
Date/Time3/1/2016 at 1:24:52 PM

Do an engineered beam recessed in the ceiling more expensive but great results.

Also do yourself a favor consult an engineer.

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Date/Time3/1/2016 at 4:06:01 PM


I will help you out. this easy. I'm a engineer. First you need a permit. second is the steps.

Remove top and bottom plate. Put bucking in the basement under where the telepost is going. You may have to frame in the basement to floor. The weight needs to go to concrete. After that build a temp wall so you can remove old wall. Once that done start framing in new opening. Use a lvl and lumber. Once that done remove the temp wall. Inspect then move to next stage.

Thank you

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Date/Time3/1/2016 at 10:33:57 PM

Yes Dani.....the steel post simply be inserted between the bottom plate and the double top plate of the existing framing and have the LVL beam sit on the existing double top plate with the column directly below it?

No Problem!

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Date/Time3/2/2016 at 9:34:24 PM

Hi Dani,

Yes you can use a steel column to support a wooden or engineered lumber (LVL, PSL, etc.) beam.

First things first though. This work absolutely requires a permit. The permit will require stamped drawings.

Next: Without measured drawings and a lot more information about your home, absolutely no one on this forum can tell you what size column or beam to use. You require the services of a P.Eng Structural Engineer. They will need to make a site visit and provide you with a stamped report.

An Engineer has limitless lifetime liability over their reports and would never provide actionable advice without having the information required to do all of the necessary calculations. The risk of doing that is simply absurd.

Both the beam and the column must be sized based on the load they are required to carry (which is a complex calculation) and the materials they are made from.

Something to keep in mind is that a 2"x4" wall in lumber from about the late 60's on is only 3 1/2" wide so a 4" HSS column will not fit within the framing.

The point load created by the column needs to be transferred to a properly sized foundation and footing, either a new properly sized pad footing or a masonry wall and even an existing masonry foundation wall may require a new enlarged footing to accommodate the load.

In all cases, it is absolutely foolhardy and illegal to do this work without a permit and the proper calculations.

Please understand that a miscalculation can lead to catastrophic failure, serious personal injury, and even death. It will also void your home insurance if you are found to be doing work without the proper permits.

Lastly, please understand that while varying degrees of information have been provided through this forum, not one of us are qualified to provide you with accurate and actionable information to solve your issue with the information available.

Best of luck

Jason Irving

Cedarfalls Building Consultants Limited

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