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Boxing in Lally Columns

If you are finishing a basement chances are you will need to box in lally columns (steel posts). In this article I provide specific instructions on how to box in lally columns.

When finishing a basement one of the issues that inevitably comes up is what to do with the lally columns that pepper the basement area. Boxing in a lally column is sometimes the only choice.

Lally columns are steel posts filled with cement and provide an important constructional component to your home. They are normally found in the basement, sit on a cement footing or pad, and support large heavy structural overhead beams. Removing them is not an option, unless you want to involve a costly and complex engineering project.

Ideally when finishing a basement architects try to "bury" lally columns in walls. However, due to certain desired floor plans, this is not always possible. In these situations, the best alternative is to box in the lally column to dress it up.

Boxing in a lally column is a pretty straight forward project to do. I typically install them after the basement ceiling has been installed and before the flooring has been installed.

Tools Required

  • Table Saw
  • Caulking Gun
  • Hammer
  • Nail Punch
  • Router (Optional)
  • Putty Knife
  • Measuring Tape
  • Square
  • Level
  • Sandpaper

Material Required

  • 1"x5" Select Pine or Hardwood boards
  • Wood Glue
  • Liquid Nails
  • Putty
  • Primer and Paint
  • Baseboard Trim

To begin with you will need four lengths of 1"x5" select pine, or hardwood if you prefer. The length of the boards should be cut to the length of the exposed lally column. Two of the boards should be cut wider than the other two, such that the two narrower boards sit flush in-between the two wider ones. Assuming you want to make as small of a box as possible, the width of the two narrower boards should be the diameter length of the lally column. The two wider pieces will then butt over the ends of the two narrower pieces. Note: You can use a square to determine the diameter of the lally column.

With the boards cut to length and width. Using 6 penny finish nails and glue, nail together one half of the box. More specifically, nail together one of the wider boards with one of the narrower boards. It is best to nail them together on the basement floor.

Note: Before nailing them together, run a bead of glue along the length of the edges that are to be nailed.

Repeat the process with the other two boards.

Now liberally apply a bead of liquid nails around the entire length and circumference of the lally column.

Once the liquid nail bead has been applied to the lally column, place the two sections of the pre-made box together around the post, and nail them together.

Using a nail punch sink the nails, and then fill with putty.

Allow the box to set up for 24 hours.

After the box has had time to set up, sand the boxed in lally column. You may also want to consider using a router to make a rounded edge on the four corners of the post.

After routing the corners sand once more.

You may also want to install baseboard trim around the base of the lally column.

Finally apply a primer and two coats of paint to the boxed in lally column.

For more help on Finishing Basements, see's Basement Remodeling Bid Sheet.

Article Tags: Lally Columns, Lally Column, Boards Should, Narrower Boards, Them Together

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About the Author: Over the past 20+ years Mark Donovan has been involved with building homes and additions to homes. His projects have included: building a vacation home, building additions and garages on to existing homes, and finishing unfinished homes. For more information about Basement Remodeling and DIY Home Improvement and Do it Yourself Home Remodeling and Repair visit and

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