How to box in a steel beam in a basement

Steel beams in basements do a very important job. They help hold up the building. However, to many people, they are ugly. Boxing in a steel beam is a logical idea. Further, it is a relatively straightforward job. Once you have fixed support noggins in place, at each end of the steel beam, you can nail wood onto them to hide the beam.

Follow the advice of How Health and construct a long, narrow box to hide a steel beam in a basement. Measure the length of the steel beam. Measure the width. Measure the height. Make careful note of these measurements.

Buy the wood required accordingly, slightly bigger than the steel beam to allow room for nailing the edges. Shanghai Totallinks Access Tek Co., Ltd., gives good advice on how to ensure you have adequate wood. You will need a piece to span the entire length of the steel beam to make the front face of the box. Likewise, you will need the same for the back face of the box. The dimensions of these pieces will be dictated by the length of the steel beam and its height. You will also need wood to form the bottom face of the box. The dimensions of this piece will be dictated by the width of the steel beam plus the thickness of the wood for the front face and the back face.

Buy additional wood of substantial proportions for the support noggins. A noggin, as Wickes explains, is a wooden piece that adds rigidity and aids the fixing of heavy items. When boxing in a steel beam, the heavy items are the wooden pieces used for the faces of the box. Kiln-dried sawn softwood measuring 47 x 47 mm square is a good choice for the support noggins.

Saw four support noggins. These will be at least as long as the height of the steel beam. They will sit in a vertical plane at both ends of the beam -- on either side of it -- and touch the beam, wall and ceiling. Attach the support noggins to the wall with two masonry screws each, screwed into holes with plastic plugs.

Cut a piece of wood as long as the steel beam for the front face of the box. Nail the front face against the sides of the two front support noggins. Use nails that are twice as long as the wood is thick.

Repeat this process for the back piece. You will now have two wooden edges to support the bottom face. Cut this piece next. Fix it in place by nailing it to the bottom edges of the front and back pieces.


Buy chipboard for a budget job. Choose pine for a mid-range price. If you wish to spend a little more, choose a hardwood within budget. Thumb and hammer did a very similar job with oriented strand board, or flake board. A contributor to Reader’s Digest used drywall, or plasterboard.

Fix additional support noggins to the ceiling if necessary, where a steel beam is longer than the longest lengths of wood available. This way, you will be able to span the distance whatever the length of your steel beam, by nailing into the ceiling noggins.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Wood
  • Saw
  • Drill
  • Masonry screws
  • Plastic plugs
  • Hammer
  • Wood nails
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About the Author

Frank Luger had his first educational resources published in the early 1990s. He worked on a major reading system for Cambridge University Press, became an information-technology adviser and authored interactive whiteboard resources for "The Guardian." Luger studied English literature and holds a Bachelor of Education honors degree from Leeds University.