In this episode, Richard Comeras (aks “The Crackman”) shares some interesting vignettes on the history of lally columns along with some weird stuff he runs into as he inspects, repairs, and replaces them.
My history with lally colums goes way back. My daughter and son-in-law used to work with me in the business. They were at a party in Hudson Mass. Some of their friends were there, also from Hudson, and my daughter heard a conversation involving on of her friends about lally columns. She piped in and said my great-great grandfather invented them and has a patent on them. What are the chances of that happening? It’s about nothing. His mother’s maiden name was “Lally” and that’s how it all came to be. What he had seen was in house fires, the whole house falls right in because they did not have these lally columns to provide more of a permanent structure.
He came up with the idea of putting these structures up from the basement floor through the main supporting beam. So the lally column is a supporting column underneath the house that supports the main beams going across the floor to prevent dipping caused by natural settling and caving due to fire disaster.
They’re a big issue now with home inspections. You don’t want to have those that are screw-jacked top, or those that are hollow. Today, they must be concrete filled and supported by steel on the exterior. We put a thick steel plate on the top that is welded to the column. In our repair journey, we’ve come across some strange lally column configurations.
We were just in Lexington Mass where we were doing a “repointing” job and the gentleman wanted more lally columns because he was putting in new granite and he was rightfully concerned about the weight. So we went down below to inspect the lally columns that were there and some of them you could actually twist. They were great, they had a footing, a concrete pad underneath, but you could turn them. So we looked up and noticed what they had was aluminum flashing between the main beam and the lally column. It wasn’t cut to size properly. We had to fix those by placing a thick plate at the top. We had to dig new footings to support new lally columns for the guy. Clearly the lesson here is you don’t use flashing at the top of lally columns.
If you have a basement water problem or if you think you need a professional or want more information on foundation crack repair and basement water proofing, please visit a1foundationcrackrepair.com or call Rich at (866) 929-3171.