4x4 beam support posts

Gentlemen, I encountered a house that used 4x4 posts to support the main beam. It’s a one -level, 1,400 sq ft, 45 years old (1977). In the basement I found two 4x4 posts supporting the main beam on the left side of the house. I can’t recall in any of my inspections seeing this before. I would expect metal supports. Is this right? My thinking is that the support should be more rigid. I know 6x6 posts are required on decks greater than 6ft in height, so I would think something a bit stronger would be required for a main beam. Thanks in advance for any info.

Just curious, is that a 3 ply beam? If so, all 3 are not bearing upon the top of the posts.


Looks to me like this was added after construction for some reason (repair). I say this because the “brackets” used to locate the posts are pipe-strap and a shelf bracket (L bracket). I would note that and suggest it be evaluated by an engineer.

IV. The inspector is not required to:
E. provide any engineering or architectural service.
F. report on the adequacy of any structural system or component.


Support columns should be full width of beam and properly fastened to floor and beam to prevent mouvement.


Wood posts on a house beam is no different than wood posts on a deck. IMO there should be a 1/4" x 4 1/2" steel plate between the post and beam. The posts needs properly secured at the top and bottom, especially with the possibility of vehicle impact damage. If it were my house I would replace the wood post with a proper steel posts with welded steel plates top and bottom so you could use anchor bolts on the floor and lag bolts at the beam.


There are enough suspect conditions there to make a call.
Observation: Structure: Location: Garage:
Wood floor joists.
Build-up beam.
Wood columns.
Prior repairs. Concrete dust from prior drilling to secure bottom columns to poured concrete slab…
No visible independent frost footings.
Columns not secured at the top to build-up beam.
No sway bracing.
Suspect: Garage Floor sealed with color-less epoxy coating.
Exposed forced air HVAC sheet metal supply and return ductwork.
Ceiling not fire/fume rated.

Recommend a licensed general contractor:
1: further evaluate columns and beams.
2: Locate suitable footings.
3: make any required modifications to insure stability.
4: Fume/fire rate garage ceiling.
5: install bollards or column guards.
6: Ensure all forced air ductwork is sealed airtight from fumes and fire.

Thanks everyone for your insight. I appreciate all the direction and information. You guys rock!


“Performing but not best practice and may have not been compliant at time of construction”


Back in the 70s, it was common to use either a 4x4 or a 6x6 wood post supporting the main carrying beam in a garage.


What Randy said, and I’ll add, wrap the posts in some foam to prevent door dings.