How to Install Steel Columns
Steel columns, also called steel posts, are used to support ceilings so that they do not cave in. If your original supporting posts, such as brick lally columns, start to disintegrate, it's time to start installing new, steel columns. Usually the steel columns you can purchase from home appliance stores are 8 feet tall and have an adjustable screw top you can raise up and down to fit the area between your floor and ceiling. While doing this project, you'll need to jack up your ceiling or supporting beams using temporary walls so your structure remains secure.
Use your yard stick or meter stick to determine the height of the space between your ceiling and floor to ensure an 8-foot adjustable steel post is exactly what you need before purchasing it. You can find it in a hardware or home appliance store.
Cut out and place a block of lumber on the spot where you want your steel column to go. Put your steel column on top of the wood block and turn your adjustable top so it moves upward.
Raise the ceiling above you by turning clockwise the lever that joins with the steel column. You should never raise the ceiling greater than a 1/4 inch per day. You might even need to build an additional temporary beam to disseminate the force of multiple jacks across the stretch of several floor joists. A 4-by-4 or a 6-by-6 will make an adequate makeshift beam, or you can nail together multiple 2-by-6s to create the same effect. Your floor joists may be sagging due to poor design or simply being old and worn. If this is the case, place multiple steel posts beneath an 8-foot makeshift beam that spreads across seven floor joists 16 feet apart from each other on center. To do this you probably need three columns equally distanced beneath the beam. Raise each slowly by going a 1/4-inch at a time until you've reached the lift you desire.
- The ceiling will only be as strong as the posts supporting it, so be sure you invest in good steel columns and secure them well.
- Use safety glasses when cutting lumber.
Lindsay Haskell began writing fiction and nonfiction in 2008. Her debut novel, "Grace," is to be published in January 2011. Having lived in five different countries and traveled across five continents, Haskell specializes in Third World social and political issues, with a concentration in the Darfur conflict. She is currently a first-year student at Wellesley College studying history, Africana studies and English.