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Old 07-22-2014, 02:08 PM   #1
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How to Properly Support a Sinking Porch


I have a home that is approaching 100 years old in NE Ohio. The porch appears to be sinking and in need of repairs. The porch is approximately 24' Wide by 9' Deep.

My goal is support the roof structure > Remove the columns and footings if needed (i think they do) > remove the banisters and flooring > add new footings and posts > frame the floor > Add new decking and banisters > Take the downspouts out further from the structure (underground) > add new lattice work > finish with landscaping.

For nearly 20+ years the downspouts were dropping off next to the porch columns. When i say "dropping off" i mean more like a waterfall at times (7+ years of major waterfalls). Currently the porch appears to be sinking at the two front corners. You will see in the picture that the porch has 3 columns and at first glance the middle column appears to be alright, but further investigating needs to be done.

The corner columns do have some rot along the rim joists and at the base of the column itself, but the ground around the column has also eroded over time (ask for pictures). It's in my opinion, and I'm not a contractor, that the soil underneath and around the column's base has eroded to the point where it can no longer support the weight of the footing. The porch has gradually sunk over time.

Clearly more inspection is needed to be sure, but i would think that regardless of the outcome the roof of the porch needs to be raised to level and supported while the damaged columns and or footing are replaced. What is the proper course of action in regards to raising and supporting the porch roof while repairs are done? I have heard that it's wise to raise the entire front header rather than at certain contact points such as

roof-roof-roof
____________ (2x8x24)
Jacks

but i can't wrap my mind around how to do this as the columns are in the way. i'm not even sure if that option is correct and or needed, hence why I'm here.

Demolishing the entire porch including the roof, would be easier, but also more expensive. The owner has recently installed new shingles on the porch roof and i would prefer to keep the roof. Demolishing the roof and starting from scratch is the last resort.

Thank you to everyone for taking the time to assist me with their advice and expertise!

I can provide more pictures if needed, feel free to ask.
Attached Thumbnails
How to Properly Support a Sinking Porch-front-view.jpg   How to Properly Support a Sinking Porch-side-view.jpg   How to Properly Support a Sinking Porch-porch-roof-disconnect.jpg   How to Properly Support a Sinking Porch-possible-footing.jpg   How to Properly Support a Sinking Porch-column-rot.jpg  

How to Properly Support a Sinking Porch-column-behind-siding.jpg  

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Old 07-22-2014, 02:23 PM   #2
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How to Properly Support a Sinking Porch


Brace the roof really well, then remove everything below. Now you may end up having to pull the roof also, if there are signs of insect damage or wood rot. That would mean that you are really opening a big can of worms, and will most likely need a permit for the amount of work that is needed.

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Old 07-22-2014, 02:24 PM   #3
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How to Properly Support a Sinking Porch


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Originally Posted by gregzoll View Post
Brace the roof really well, then remove everything below. Now you may end up having to pull the roof also, if there are signs of insect damage or wood rot. That would mean that you are really opening a big can of worms, and will most likely need a permit for the amount of work that is needed.
Thank you for the quick reply, i appreciate it. What is the correct way of bracing the roof and does it need to be lifted to add new posts and footings?

We are also planning on needing permits so we're on the same page!
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Old 07-22-2014, 02:32 PM   #4
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How to Properly Support a Sinking Porch


You will have to have some temporary support for the roof while doing the work below.There are several ways to do it but i'll give you the down and dirty way which is also the cheapest.
Drive several 2X4 stakes in to the yard away from the porch making sure they are solid.Cut some 2X10's that will catch the joists in your porch roof and long enough to nail to the stakes.Screw them into the rafters and lay them beside the stakes.
Now you can make a temporary beam to support the porch off of the deck.Put slight pressure on the beam with the jacks then cut any support between the coloumns and roof.After the roof is cut away from the rest .Jack it up to level then secure the 2X10's between the rafters and stakes with screws.Don't use nails.Screws give you the option to adust later without problems.\
This will support the roof an let you do the work you need to do on the rest.
Have materials on hand and get the job done as quick as you can.This is just a temp support.Make sure the posts are solid and you have enough to support the load.
Before doing any of this make sure the ledger board on the house that supports the roof is in good shape.

Last edited by mako1; 07-22-2014 at 02:37 PM.
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Old 07-22-2014, 02:59 PM   #5
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How to Properly Support a Sinking Porch


I'm trying to visualize your procedure.

Step 1: Drive 2x4 stakes into ground - Got it

Step 2: Get the 2x10's ready and screw them into the porch roof header. (I'm assuming the ends that meet the header have to be cut a certain way so they are able to provide an angle to be screwed into the header?)

Step 3: The 2x10's are also going to be nailed into the stakes - got it

Beyond that I'm having a difficult time visualizing the temporary support beam.

How long will this kind of support system last? And what else can be done if one needs more time to do the repairs?
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Old 07-22-2014, 03:24 PM   #6
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How to Properly Support a Sinking Porch


You can cut them and screw them into the header or if your putting in a new ceiling on the porch,screw them into the joist.
You need something to take the pressure off of the roof so you can get the columns free.While the porch deck is still there,Nail a couple 2X10's together and use that and some jacks(on the porch deck and under the header or as close as you can get to it under the joists)) to jack up the roof slightly.Then screw off to the stakes.This will take the pressure off of the roof and allow you to remove everything else.
Your just supporting the roof with the stakes and 2X10's off of the stakes and joists while you get the rest of the work done
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Old 07-22-2014, 04:10 PM   #7
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How to Properly Support a Sinking Porch


Here they require both temp Lolly columns with the 2x10 brace. The Lolly's are used to raise and hold the roof, due to there can be a chance that the bracing can slip if someone starts tugging or the roof slips.

Oak Cribbing is laid down, then two sections of 2x10 Oak with a piece of 1/4" steel is how they do it in my area. Usually within a week, the roof is fixed and the porch is getting to finished point.
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Old 07-22-2014, 04:12 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by mako1 View Post
You can cut them and screw them into the header or if your putting in a new ceiling on the porch,screw them into the joist.
You need something to take the pressure off of the roof so you can get the columns free.While the porch deck is still there,Nail a couple 2X10's together and use that and some jacks(on the porch deck and under the header or as close as you can get to it under the joists)) to jack up the roof slightly.Then screw off to the stakes.This will take the pressure off of the roof and allow you to remove everything else.
Your just supporting the roof with the stakes and 2X10's off of the stakes and joists while you get the rest of the work done
i think i'm understanding your plan. How long does this option last in terms of supporting the roof for repairs? A couple days, a few weeks, etc?
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Old 07-22-2014, 04:17 PM   #9
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How to Properly Support a Sinking Porch


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Originally Posted by gregzoll View Post
Here they require both temp Lolly columns with the 2x10 brace. The Lolly's are used to raise and hold the roof, due to there can be a chance that the bracing can slip if someone starts tugging or the roof slips.

Oak Cribbing is laid down, then two sections of 2x10 Oak with a piece of 1/4" steel is how they do it in my area. Usually within a week, the roof is fixed and the porch is getting to finished point.
do you happen to have a photo of that process?

Last edited by hotzpacho; 07-22-2014 at 04:19 PM.
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Old 07-22-2014, 04:21 PM   #10
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How to Properly Support a Sinking Porch


scratch that i know what a lolly or lally column looks like. Since the porch in question is about 12' high from the roof header to the ground would is it possible to use smaller lally columns resting on block or 12 foot lally's?
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Old 07-22-2014, 04:35 PM   #11
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How to Properly Support a Sinking Porch


No, sorry on the pictures. You do not get enough time when they do it that way. Due to one day they have it braced and torn apart. Next day Cement pilings are poured. next day they start building the framing for the porch, then covering with the boards.

But like I stated earlier. If the roof is in bad shape, that will extend the time it takes to finish the job. So it would be the last thing going on, but first thing coming down.
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Last edited by gregzoll; 07-22-2014 at 04:38 PM.
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Old 07-22-2014, 04:37 PM   #12
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How to Properly Support a Sinking Porch


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scratch that i know what a lolly or lally column looks like. Since the porch in question is about 12' high from the roof header to the ground would is it possible to use smaller lally columns resting on block or 12 foot lally's?
You use the cribbing to get you within 7', so you can hold the roof up to its proper angle, so you can attach the 2x10's for proper bracing.

Keep in mind that you should also put up temp. Construction fencing around the area, so no kids go playing around on the porch, while you have it torn apart. Also place a section of Plywood for safety, across the door in the inside, to keep anyone from walking out it, into dead air.
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Old 07-22-2014, 05:06 PM   #13
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How to Properly Support a Sinking Porch


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The owner has recently installed new shingles on the porch roof and i would prefer to keep the roof.

Are you a contractor and does the owner know you don't know how to do the job?
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Old 07-22-2014, 05:19 PM   #14
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How to Properly Support a Sinking Porch


I've always seen 2x6 strong backs used for porch roof temp support.
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Old 07-22-2014, 06:25 PM   #15
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I've always seen 2x6 strong backs used for porch roof temp support.
The OP roof would probably be better with the 2x10's. They could do maybe five across if they do 2x6's. Four if they do 2x10's.

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