Boxing in Lally Columns

Step-by-Step Instructions on Boxing in Lally Columns

By Mark J. Donovan

One relatively small annoyance that comes up when designing a finished basement is what to do with the Lally columns. Lally columns are steel support posts that are filled with concrete and that are strategically placed in the basement. Since they are structural and vital for propping up the upper levels of the home, removing them is not an option.

Consequently, you need to be clever in your basement remodel design to hide them, or at least dress them up in some way. Whenever possible it is best to develop a finished basement floor plan that hides the lally columns in interior framed basement walls.

However, inevitably you still find yourself with one or two Lally columns that just can’t be hidden by a wall. In these cases you need to box them in.

Boxing in Lally columns is a fairly easy task to do. I typically like to box them in after the finished basement ceiling has been installed and prior to the floor being installed. Explained below is the process for boxing in Lally columns.

Required Materials and Tools

Materials required for boxing in Lally columns include: 1”x5” select pine or hardwood, baseboard trim, 6 penny finish nails, wood glue, putty, liquid nails, wood putty, and primer and paint.
Tools required include: table saw, router, nail gun and compressor or hammer and finish nails, caulking gun, tape measure, square, putty knife, level, sandpaper, and nail punch.

Boxing in Lally Columns

You’ll use four of the 1”x5” pine or hardwood boards to box in a Lally column. Cut them to the length of the exposed Lally column. For their width, note that you will need to cut two of the boards wider than the other two so that they overlap each other to create the box. After making your cuts, the two narrower boards should sit flush between the two wider boards around the Lally column. Also note that the two narrower boards should have a width equal to the diameter of the Lally column. And the two wider boards should then butt fit over the ends of the two narrower boards.

Use your carpenters square to determine the width of the Lally column.

 Basement Remodeling Bid Sheet

With the boards all cut to proper dimensions glue and nail one half of the box together using one of the wider and one of the narrower pieces of lumber. Make sure to use 6 penny finish nails to nail the boards together. You can nail them together on the basement floor. Before nailing them, however, run a bead of wood glue down the side surfaces that will be nailed together.

Repeat the same process for the other pair of boards.

Next, apply a thick bead of Liquid Nails around the Lally column. Make sure to apply it up and down the entire length of the Lally column.

Then place the two halves of the nailed board sections around the Lally column to form the lally column box. Once in place, nail them together with 6 penny finish nails or preferably a nail gun. Nail every 12 inches the entire length of the Lally column.

If using 6 penny nails, countersink the nails and then fill the holes with wood putty.

Basement Addition and Basement Finishing

Let the Lally column box sit for 24 hours to allow time for the wood glue and Liquid Nails to setup.

The next day sand the Lally column box with sandpaper to remove any excess wood glue that may have seeped out at the seams. Similarly, sand over the puttied nail holes.

To soften the edges of the Lally column box use a router to round the four corner edges.

After routing the corners, sand the box once again, paying particular attention to the routed corners.

Next, install baseboard trim around the base of the Lally column box.

Finally, prime and paint the boxed in lally column to complete the project.

For more help on Basement Additions, see’s Basement Remodeling Bid sheet. The Basement Remodeling Bid Sheet will help ensure that your hire the right contractor so that your basement remodeling project is done correctly and you get the project finished on time and budget.

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