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SolidStateS15 06-05-2010 04:13 PM

Building a front porch and have questions...
3 Attachment(s)
As the title says, I am in the process of building a 5x12 covered porch on the front of my house. I am not a contractor by trade, just a home hobbyist with a good sense of how to do things. I started the base deck and originally when I ha drew this on paper it seemed that I could get away with only 2 posts on the front and 2 on the side. I realize now that this is not going to be enough support for the roof, especially if we get snow again like this past winter. There is an almost identical porch down the road that I am looking at and they have 3 x4 posts on each side which is my new plan. The problem is, I already had the footers made and had planned to integrate them with the deck and porch support posts in 1. Now my spacing is all different and I'm wondering if it will pass inspection if I change my plan to what I am about to propose.

For my deck I used a beam of 3 2x8's, and 2x8 joists, and 2x10 ledger and outer rim. The beam is almost at the end of the joists so it's very strong, and supported by a 4x4 post with a 2x4 attached to make it a 2x6 and fit under the beam. Now I am wishing I went with a 6x6 for the base supports, but I didn't want to spend the extra on that since the place only had long 6x6 posts and I only need short pieces. Originally I was going to have the porch posts come down in front of the deck posts, supported by the same footer and everything bolted together. Now I am thinking that I want to beef up the deck base since I originally planned on having more there anyway, so I'm going to put the extra 4x4 piece there anyway and bolt it to the rim for extra support. So i'll have a 4x8-1/2" true size post support under/alongside the beam now.

My question is would I be ok to mount the porch posts on top of my deck beam? Or do they absolutely need to have their own footings poured. It would be a huge pain to add new footings now that the deck has been built. The beam is very solid and doesn't move at all with my weight jumping anywhere on it. I feel that it would be able to support the full load of the deck and roof, but is that possible or would it not pass inspection at all? I think the main limiting factor here is that I didn't use 6x6's under the beam, but the 4x8's should make up for it and I can still add more under there if needed. I could box them in with more 2x4 pieces around it. The footings are a 12" diameter concrete filled sono tubes and almost 24" deep so they can support all the weight.

Here are a few pics to make this easier to visualize. The roof is going to be a gable type with a little overhang around each side. I will have a post by the center stairs, in the corners, and in the back touching the house.

Attachment 21298

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Willie T 06-05-2010 04:34 PM

The downward pressure is usually not going to be the problem. What may give you heartburn is both the upward lift from wind forces, and the lateral 'wracking', or tilting and leaning.

"Tie downs" all the way from foundation to roof will take care of uplift. And sufficient angled corner bracing at all perpendicular joints will stabilize much of the wracking possibilities.

Wildie 06-05-2010 04:38 PM

One problem that you neglected to address is where you live!
Your piers wouldn't be adequate where I live as footings here must be 48" deep.
Snow load here is as heavy as can be found in N.America and this is a very important consideration, re. your location.
When I built mine, I had to submit plans along with my permit application. Have you had your plan approved by the inspection department. If so, any revisions probably will need to be reviewed.

jlhaslip 06-05-2010 05:45 PM

you should be okay with the posts landing on the beam as per the pictures.
If you set them on the deck, you should block under them down to the beam.
And use straps to avoid uplift concerns as willies speaks about.

SolidStateS15 06-05-2010 06:08 PM

Thanks guys. Yes I am a firm believer in using plenty of straps/brackets/hangers/bolts etc so it will be as secure as it can be when it's done. The posts will go through the decking and sit right on the beam and will be attached with the proper hardware.

Wildie- The code here in southern Maryland is 18" deep and yes I have already had them inspected. The ground never fully freezes here so there's not much worry about frost heaving and such. We rarely get snow, but last year surpassed them all and we ended up with more than ever (if you saw the news about DC) so I still need to be prepared for that type of situation. I have a regular deck permit right now which lets me get this far, and I'll be going to get the roof permit soon after. It costs a lot for the roof permit which is ridiculous, but that's another story.

Do you guys feel like I need to change anything down below as in beam supports or will my plan work with just the 4x4's bolted together?

SolidStateS15 07-08-2010 10:08 PM

ok i'm still in the process of building this porch. it's taking me a while because i don't always get that much time to work on it. i've been changing my mind about things too as i go as well which doesn't help.

my question now is, would it be ok if i only used 2 6x6 posts, one at each corner to support the roof? i have changed it from a typical gable to a hip roof design which will be much easier for me to construct by myself. it should also be stronger and less stress on the posts up front. it would be a 12ft spacing between these 6x6 posts but since it's a small porch i believe it should be just fine. the other option to keep it even is using 4 4x4 or 5x5 posts which just seems overkill for this size project. i see usually spacing is 6-10ft but that's usually with larger porches which need the extra support. as long as there isn't a code for post spacing which has to be a certain distance then would i be ok with this?

my other question now is about the top header beams. i was originally going to do a double 2x6, but now i don't think that it's a good idea to have a 12' span on that. i'm thinking i will either need a triple 2x6 or maybe a double 2x8 would hold.

SolidStateS15 07-09-2010 08:22 PM


Gary in WA 07-09-2010 10:12 PM

1. The deck size is still 5' x 10'?
2. The roof is a hip covering the footprint of the deck?
3. The roof overhangs are how deep?
4. The span between roof posts?
5. The span between deck posts?
6. The roof posts are offset from the deck posts by 24", OR ? (now offset point load)

The beam below may need to be p.t. or: Floor Joists, Girders And Posts
Wood joists, or the bottom of wood floors closer than 18 inches, or wood girders closer than 12 inches to the ground in the under floor areas, must be redwood or pressure treated lumber.
For others reading ---- ledger bolt spacing:
And deck footings tips:,M1
The roof post needs a base to the beam below and cap to the beam above as mentioned:

Use sticky window wrap on the beam tops under the joists/rafters. Leave ¼” air space at flashing/joist notch for expansion/contraction.
Deck appears to be 12’ long, if 16”o.c. joists…………

Be safe, Gary

SolidStateS15 07-10-2010 11:23 AM

yes sorry it's 12' long not 10. it was originally going to be 10 so i typed it wrong in the first post. yes the hip roof will just be covering the footprint of the deck and only overhang a little like maybe a foot. i'm not worried about that railing posts right now because that's the easy part and they will be tied into the roof posts. i just want to know if i can space out the roof posts 12', and what size top plate i need to use.

Gary in WA 07-10-2010 04:16 PM

It depends on the roof loads and how much will bear on the exterior house wall. How tall (pitch) and snow load, figure 15-30# for your area?

Be safe, Gary

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