Robert Lamoureux | Beam advised: You can’t cut corners on support


Your Home Improvements Article for August 28, 2021 

Question No. 1 


I sit on a board of directors in a homeowners association where we have a large section of roof that’s supported by steel poles. One of the poles rotted at the bottom and our on-site maintenance chose to replace it with a wooden beam.  

I am not confident that the material difference is adequate, but I need a professional like yourself to educate me before I cause an issue over this. 

Please advise, if you know. 

Thank you, 


Answer No. 1 


This is not OK structurally. Materials, and size thereof, are calculated by an engineer, so they can withstand the load.  

Anything substituted could be the source of a tragedy at any point in time, such as the roof failing and killing someone. 

I recommend that you step in immediately and see that this is changed out for the proper material, by a licensed and insured contractor. The material needs to be switched back to the original or better, and more importantly the cause of the premature rotting needs to be investigated. 

Generally, this will be caused by standing water or possibly irrigation, both of which need to be corrected so this doesn’t happen again. We don’t usually prime steel for such things, but a good double coat of prime because of the history may be warranted. 

Please see to this asap, so that no tragedies happen because of a bad decision. 

Best of luck, 


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