How to Enclose a Steel I-Beam With Wood

Written by andrew copley
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How to Enclose a Steel I-Beam With Wood
Structural I-beams are easily covered. (Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images)

I-beams in buildings are for structural support and sometimes need to be enclosed to hide it from sight, such as when refinishing basements. The best way is to build a soffit that will hide the beam without having to drill into it. Although time-consuming, this is a job that can be done by anyone with basic carpentry or woodworking skills.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • 2-by-2 lumber (enough length for the size of the job)
  • Tape measure
  • Circular saw
  • 3-inch wall screws
  • Screwdriver
  • Plywood sheets
  • Nails
  • Hammer

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Measure the length and height of the I-beam needing to be covered. Allow an extra 2 inches below the bottom of the beam.

  2. 2

    Cut lengths of 2-by-2 lumber with the circular saw to make two lengths to fit from wall to wall in the room. Take the height measurement and subtract 4 inches off it. Cut two pieces of 2-by-2 to that length and place in between the long runs of 2-by-2 at the ends.

  3. 3

    Screw the outside pieces to the inside pieces with the wall screws tightening them fully with the screwdriver.

  4. 4

    Measure and cut more pieces to fit inside the long sections. Space the pieces with 16-inch centres and screw them in place. The finished piece will look like a ladder.

  5. 5

    Screw the frame to the floor joists beside the I-beam. Then level it so that it is vertical to the floor and screw it to the walls at each end of the frame.

  6. 6

    Make another identical frame to fit the opposite side of the I-beam and screw that in place.

  7. 7

    Measure and cut 2-by-2 pieces to fit into the underside of the I-beam between the two outside frames. Space them with 16-inch centres and screw into place.

  8. 8

    Cut the plywood to size and nail into place with the hammer on the frames one side at a time. This will enclose the I-beam.

Tips and warnings

  • Leave a little space between the I-beam and wood to allow for expansion and contraction of materials.

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