How Do I Trim Around the Steel Jack Posts in My Basement?

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Jack posts and other types of steel columns provide sturdy basement support for your house’s floor beams. But if you plan to finish your basement and turn it into living area, these steel columns are unsightly. You could paint them, but a better approach is to conceal them within a drywall or paneled wood box.

Things You'll Need

  • Framing square
  • Tape measure
  • Marking pencil
  • Circular or table saw
  • Nails
  • Construction adhesive
  • 2-by-3-inch framing lumber
  • Drywall or wooden paneling
  • Corner bead or trim
  • Paint or clear wood finish
  • Plumb level
  • Basic building tools

Concealing Trim for Jack Posts

  • Use your framing square on the floor to lay out the framing for the box around the column. Ensure that the box will be perfectly square to the room. Mark the floor. Use the tape measure to measure the height the box will be. Use your saw to cut four pieces of 2-by-3 framing lumber to the correct length to form the top and bottom of two side walls. Cut four more 2-by-3s to the correct length for the sides of the walls. Fasten the tops, bottoms and sides together with nails to form two walls of the box.

  • Erect the two walls, placing them on opposite sides of the post. Use the square and the plumb level to ensure the walls are square and plumb. Use construction adhesive to secure the bottom of the walls to the floor. Nail the tops to the beam above. Fill in the space between the two walls with 2-by-3 blocking at top, bottom and middle to form the third and fourth walls. Nail the pieces into place.

  • Measure the height and width of the frame’s sides. Use your saw to cut pieces of drywall or wood paneling to size and nail them to the sides of the frame. Use drywall corner bead or paneling corner trim to finish the corners. Optionally, you can enhance your box by installing trim molding at the top and bottom. Complete the box by painting it or applying clear wood finish.

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