How to Frame Around Basement I-Beams

Covering up unsightly I-beams is part of a basement renovation.
Covering up unsightly I-beams is part of a basement renovation. (Image: Hans Hansen/Lifesize/Getty Images)

Framing around basement I-beams is not complicated when you understand the proper way to do it. I-beams can't be moved because they are holding up your house, but they can be made to look a lot better with a little work. Because the bottom of the I-beam is lower than the rest of the ceiling, you need to build a box around the I-beam to hide it from view.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • 2-by-3 lumber
  • 2-by-2 furring strips
  • Circular saw
  • Nails
  • Hammer
  • 3-inch screws
  • Drill

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Measure the length of the I-beam across the section of the basement where you want to frame it in using a measuring tape. Because the box that you will be building around the I-beam isn't load-bearing, you don't need to build it out of full-sized lumber. Making it out of 2-by-3 lumber and 2-by-2 furring strips will allow the box to take up less space and save you money. Cut four pieces of 2-by-3 to the measurement that you took using a circular saw.

Measure the height and width of the beam. These dimensions will be the inside dimensions of the box that you build. Cut enough pieces of 2-by-2 to these lengths so that you can use them as ribs on the box every 16 inches along the length of the I-beam.

Nail through the 2-by-3s and into the ends of the furring strips to create a U-shaped box. The 2-by-3s should run perpendicular to the U-shape, and the furring strips should make the U-shape, separated by 16 inches.

Hold the assembly in place around the I-beam. Screw it into the ceiling by driving 3-inch-long nails through the top 2-by-3s and into the underside of the ceiling joists.


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