Can I move the support posts in my basement?
I have a home that is about 30 feet by 60 feet with a full unfinished basement. It has running the length a beam that is 3 – 2×10’s. I was wondering what the spacing of the support post could or should be. What is there now varies from 6′-4″ to 7′-10″. I would like to move around some of these posts to line up with walls I want to put up in the basement.
Contact a structural engineer before moving anything that holds up your house…
Approximate dimensions are worthless when calculating building design loads and anybody that might give you a specific post spacing answer without first inspecting your house has no idea what they are doing.
There are many structural design factors – species and grade of wood used to construct the beam, methods of attachment, size of bearing plates, post material, size, weight bearing capacity, size of the footings under the support posts, soil bearing capacity, number of floors the posts and beam are supporting, weight of roofing materials, type of floor and wall framing, existence of any concentrated loads or cantilevers or….
Basically, soil supports footings, which support foundation walls and bearing posts, which support beams and walls, which support floor systems, which support walls and any concentrated loads (posts), which support the next floor system(s) (and walls and posts), which supports the ceiling system and roof, which supports the weight of the roof covering materials… all of which vary based upon local conditions, building codes, and natural forces your house may need to resist – wind forces, snow loads, earthquakes…
So, B4U move any posts that may be holding up your entire house, I strongly suggest that you contact a local structural engineer, ask him or her to inspect your house and develop a solution to your specific situation. Maybe one post might be considerably easier to move than the other. Maybe the wooden beam could be strengthened with a steel flitch plate or removed and replaced with a steel beam so that a support column could be completely removed. Maybe there is another solution that a knowledgeable building designer might discover after reviewing your plans and inspecting existing conditions.
As for how much it might cost, whatever you spend will almost certainly be less than the costs of rebuilding your house should something move or sag. Of course the least expensive option would probably be to change your plans so that the walls line up with the posts or to wrap the posts so they look like decorative columns and simply remain out in the open.
However, if you plan on staying in the house for quite awhile, be sure to weigh any potential costs against how often you expect to use the space and how much of an improvement it might make to the layout. A few thousand dollars added to the budget today might seem expensive, but after 10 or 20 years, and when compared to the total cost of the finished space or of not being able to use the space as intended or wishing that #@%^$* post wasn’t always in the way every time you go down to the basement, it might seem like a bargain.
Good luck with your project, thank you for visiting B4UBUILD.COM, and have fun building!