Steel plate shims


I had this house that I inspected last weekend that had these steel plate shims on top of every pier, except for one. It looks as though whoever did the block work had every Pier set about 3/8" to 1/2" to low. Is this standard practice in construction, because I’ve never seen it before until now where it was on every Pier. There was one Pier with nothing on it and had a gap above to the girder. Any thoughts appreciated.



Not a problem. If as a contractor you set piers too high, you have a problem… humps in the floor. Getting them all close to perfect is possible but time consuming (expensive). If you set them slightly low, common practice is to shim girders with steel shims (that won’t compress over time) to make everything flat and level. Very common practice and perfectly acceptable. If you see piers with no shims… the floor is probably not flat and level, or the contractor didn’t make any money, or the original homeowner paid too much.

I agree, The problem we have here they use OSB or Plywood for shims sometimes.

Kenton, for the one pier where they didn’t use a shim and there is an apparent gap of about 3/8", would you recommend that the gap be filled in with some metal plate?

I once had a local code official make me jack up the steel “I” beam of a house I built and replace my steel shim with one manufactured as a shim. What was my steel shim? I used a worn out circular saw blade. I tried to explain to him that a circular saw blade is made of better steel than the shim he wanted, but he wouldn’t listen to reason. I sent him the old blade in the mail for Christmas.

Thanks to everyone else for their comments and advice. Regards, Steve

Yep… pretty easy to do. Then you have solid bearing.

If there are a stack of shims as shown in pic… do they need to be welded together?

No. The weight of the structure will hold them in place.

Here’ a document I wrote when I was a practicing Building Official about the use of shims. This was my policy.

What’s wrong with one plate set the right height on non-shrink grout before you start framing.?:wink:

Thanks for the info. It Helps…

…nothing. :wink:

I’ve seen OSB shims fairly often and never seen one crushed. I know it’s not supposed to be right but typically I don’t even mention it. Realistically, I don’t see it as a problem, and if an inspector called it on a home I was selling, I wouldn’t pay a contractor to come out and change out all the OSB shims for steel, and I wouldn’t drop the price.

Possible exception: if it were in a location where it might suffer decay. Of course, steel shims corrode.

The only crushing I’ve ever seen was a double 2x6 post supporting a triple 2x12 built-up girder supporting floor joists in a 10,000 sq. ft log home. The bottom of the girder had crushed a good inch.

That’s what I thought. :p;)