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Load bearing poles in middle of basement  

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
I want to set up my HT in my basement. The basement is 24' x 24' . My problem is this: There are 2 metal poles (load bearing) that support the upstairs floor joist. These poles divide the basement in half. I know they have to be there, but is there anyway to relocate them a few feet over, so I can get the room size I want? Maybe with steel plates or steel I beams or something else? I will not be doing this part of it, but I wanted to know if it could be done. I will be doing the walls, and I did not want the poles inside the room. I am not a structural engineer, so I did not know if this was even possible. Has anyone else ran into this problem?
post #2 of 27
EDIT: I just re-read your post. Do you want to relocate the support poles, or the entire beam? You might be able to have the poles moved, but it will require additional bracing (i.e., poles)
post #3 of 27
Thread Starter 
I would like to relocate just the support poles a few feet so they would not be inside the room. I wasnt sure if this was even possible, and even if it is , I would have a professional do it. I guess I can live with them if I have to , I just wanted to check to see if it has been done before or if it is possible. BTW, I have a Sanyo Z3 as my projector.
post #4 of 27
The steel poles under i-beams in a basement are called "lolly columns".
They can sometimes be moved, but you need a professional structural engineer to decide for sure. They can usually only be moved a couple of feet one way or the other.

Alternatively a larger stronger i-beam can be installed, in which case the lolly columns can be removed completely. There's a couple of people on this forum who have had that done, and have posted pictures.
post #5 of 27
Thread Starter 
I found it under lolly columns search. Thanks, I never knew the name of those support poles. Thanks for reply
post #6 of 27
You may be able to move them, but at best it's likely to be a very expensive proposition.

At worst, you won't be able to move them at all. In our house, the posts are mounted on concrete caissons that go down to bedrock. There ain't no way to move the caissons, so you can't move the posts either. (Unless you want to drill and pour new caissons, which I don't think is possible inside a house.

We have one post in our basement that was right in a room near the entrance to the HT. We wrapped it in a tree trunk, hung branches from the top, and now we have a tree in the basement. :)
post #7 of 27
Thread Starter 
Trees? thats different. If it gets real expensive to move the lolly polls, I might have to just decorate them instead.
post #8 of 27
You might want to be careful. I know when they built my house they put an additional concrete footer under the pole. You might be able to move it a bit. I remember the footer being about 2ft sq.

Just me 2 cents.

post #9 of 27
Don't even consider moving any of the columns without a design plan from a structural engineer and a permit from your local construction office. Making the wrong decision in a case like this can have disasterous consequences; like having your house literally collapse on top of you!

People die from this kind of thing...

Be safe,

post #10 of 27
I did something similar in my home. We wanted to knock down some walls, but later found the walls were all bearing walls. Instead of scraping the plans, we had a flitch plate attached to the ridge of the roof and two steel trusses installed where the walls once stood. Of course a structural engineer was consulted on this. I'm sure with proper bracing you can remove the beams, but expect to pay somewhere in the range of 5K to 10K to have the steel fabricated and a professional contractor/welder install them. You will still need poles to brace the trusses, but they can be located near the walls of the room. We left our trusses exposed btw. We liked the raw look of the steel. Just polyurethane them so they don't rust.
post #11 of 27
If you decide to not move the poles, here is an item you might want to use to make them look better:

post #12 of 27
I had one in my theater that simply couldn't be moved, so we built a decorative column around it out of MDF and trim:


BTW, around here everyone calls these support poles "teleposts". Maybe that's a Canadian thing?
post #13 of 27

Beautiful job on the decorative column!

In the US, "lolly" or "lally" columns are metal tubes that are frequently filled with concrete. In the old days, hollow metal tubes were used that had a large bolt-like affair on one end that could be turned to increase the height of the column. Which style do you refer to with the term "telepost"?

I "buried" 3 lally columns in one of the side walls of my HT. Decorative columns would have been impressive, but I needed the wall to be where the columns were in order to form an alcove that I'll use as a candy counter/equipment area...

Best regards,

post #14 of 27
I'm probably going to have a lolly/lally column stuck in the middle of my HT too. But the current plan is to make a round soundproof cover over it, so that it'll diffuse the sound rather than reflect it the way a square one would.
post #15 of 27
Thread Starter 
Sounds like moving the poles may be out of my price range. Rutger - thanks for the link to pole wrap, also I looked at your HT pics, very nice, 18" Velodyne, WOW. Dhanson, I like how you wrapped your pole, nice.
post #16 of 27
The teleposts we have around here have the bolt-like thing that can be adjusted. I haven't seen the concrete filled ones.

Thanks for the comments about the column construction. I didn't build it - I'm good at rough carpentry but lousy at finish work, so I hired a finish carpenter to do it. There are two layers of MDF - one is solid with mitered corners, and wrapped around the pole. Then a second one has slots cut into it, and is wrapped around the first layer. That gives you the 3-D indentations. Finally, some trim is added inside the slots. It looks very nice, and should look even better when it's painted.
post #17 of 27
Moving lolly poles IS expensive, and risky.

1. You MUST consult a structural engineer AND get your local building inspectors approval of said moves unless you are a Civil/Structural Engineer yourself.

2. There are ways to cost cut. For example, my father needed to move two poles. One he moved over about 4 feet and had a new support base poured. The second he had removed completely. He had a L-beam made and that provided the same sort of structural support that the Lolly pole did. This cost a couple of Hundred $$ about 15 years ago and this whole unit attached to the Laminated I beam with Lag bolts. DISCLAIMER: My father is a Mechanical Engineer, so he knew the math behind designing the structural strength (length and thickness of the steel) of the L-Beam. BOTH the calculations and the new span (without pole) were inspected and passed the structural engineering review and met and exceeded building code.

3. To echo the post above BE SAFE. We would hate to hear about the house LITERALLY collapsing after some particularily deep bass shaking during a movie!!!
post #18 of 27
I moved a support post in my last house. Here is a "before" picture with the original support post and beam. In order to move the support post, I had to bring in a new I-beam to be welded along side the old one. The new I-beam had to rest on a new support post, so I had a hole cored in the concrete floor and a helical pier was installed to support the new post. (A helical pier is a steel rod that is drilled all the way to bed-rock). A cement cap is then poured on the top of the pier, forming the support for the new post. I then raised the new beam into place, installed the new support post, and welded the new beam to the old one.

Here is a picture of the finished I-beam with the center support post removed. Here is a picture of the finished area with a non-dedicated theater. Several other people on this forum have done similar projects. Ted White specifically comes to mind.

If I remember right, the total cost removing the support post in 2001 was about $3,000. (Engineering and permits = $500; helical pier = $1,500, beam and other materials $1000. I'm now in a new house, getting ready to build a new dedicated theater in my unfinished basement. Guess what -- I've got another support post in the way again :mad: . I'm seriously considering moving this one too. I called a structural engineer yesterday.
post #19 of 27
I'm amazed you got that done for $3000. I'd have guessed at least 2x that much.

Where in Colorado, Scott?
post #20 of 27
Originally posted by garyfritz
I'm amazed you got that done for $3000. I'd have guessed at least 2x that much.

Where in Colorado, Scott?
I am also. I think I paid the structural engineer $1200 alone to do the specs for the fabricator and mark the positions for the trusses and poles. That is in NY btw.
post #21 of 27
Construction prices must be cheaper in Colorado. My parents have a Cabin there, and they had a beautiful 20'x20' addition added to it for only $20,000.00. In the Dallas area, I thought about adding a room for a dedicated HT, and it was going to cost $50,000.00. And that didn't include any equipment, or acoustic treatments.
post #22 of 27
I recall that removing my old beam and installing a new one was around $2K. Steel is a lot more now. I paid about $850 for mine.
post #23 of 27
The advice about the structural engineer is exactly right on.

I replaced a 23' LB wall with a steel beam and 2x2x2 piers and it worked just fine.

The whole project cost me a little over 2k.

The beam is 18" high and 1/2" thick steel. We had to cut some holes in it to re-route sewer, gas, water, and electrical.

Our beam is a little bit over kill but I'm happy about that.

Get an engineer in to evaluate it then have someone quote you a price. You might just be surprised.
post #24 of 27
Thread Starter 
thanks Scott, great documentation of moving the pole. I am not going to do this myself, I will have it contracted out. I will have to get some bids from contractors to see what the cost will be. Thanks again everyone for your suggestions and advice.
post #25 of 27
I highly recommend designing around the poles...or moving...

post #26 of 27
Gary, I'm in Lakewood.
post #27 of 27
Originally posted by cobra1993ky
Dhanson, I like how you wrapped your pole, nice.
I'm sorry... my "inner 14-year old" had to snicker at this :)
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