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Old 04-20-2017, 10:43 PM   #1
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Measuring exact height for porch beams

I'm building a front covered porch that will be supported by four 8x8 wood posts. The posts will sit on Simpson post brackets which are secured to a concrete pad.

The beams coming off the home are 4x8 and will interlock the posts.

What is the best method to mark the posts to ensure the height is even amongst all posts and the notched posts are cut accurately?

I thought about temporarily erecting the post and securing the brackets to the house that will be supporting the beams. Then, using my laser level, mark the posts equal with the brackets.

My issue is all this wood is rough sawn Douglas Fir and each beam/post doesn't seem to have the exact measurements. Slight variations in thickness, not all are true, etc...

Also, the concrete is level but of course if I truly measured it with a laser, each location where the beams will sit may have slight deviations in height??.Is there another method then how I'm doing it?


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Old 04-21-2017, 01:10 AM   #2
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Re: Measuring exact height for porch beams

For accurate distances from - here to there - I often use what I call slip sticks in conjunction with a Quick Grip clamp. That is, one piece of lumber on top of a second, sliding until the gap is touched by two ends then clamped.

Or possibly I'm not getting the full picture.


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Old 04-21-2017, 05:55 AM   #3
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Re: Measuring exact height for porch beams

A water level is quite accurate if you have a long piece of clear tubing.

If you can set your beams onto the pads where the 8x8 posts are going and then stand the 8x8's on top of the beams at the correct locations, you could then use you laser level to mark the posts.

Measure beams where they will sit on the posts and mark off the notch heights accordingly. They will be the exact thickness on the beam at the point where they set on the post.
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Old 04-21-2017, 06:55 AM   #4
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Re: Measuring exact height for porch beams

the laser level method is fine. i would set the posts all the same height as per the level,

where your dealing with an irregular beam as long as the bottom of hte beam is level thats what your eye will notice first.. your porch roof rafters might be up and down slightly along the length of it becasue of the beam. in this situation you can set the two end rafters and then string a dry line along the top of the rafters . from end to end.. when you start setting the rafters check each rafter to the dry line, you can either shim the rafter up slightly or trim it slightly so it just touches the dry line
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Old 04-21-2017, 08:13 AM   #5
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Re: Measuring exact height for porch beams

I think you should be more concerned that the beams are level than that the posts have the same length. I had a similar problem when I built my deck. My solution was to install the post brackets, then temporarily install the posts plumb, install the beam brackets on the house, then temporarily install the beam level. Then you can mark the exact location for the cuts on the post with a sharp pencil. I would oversize the post notch by 1/16 inch to allow tolerance on beam fitting. Since you have heavy beams, you will need some sort of temporary support, but by using a few hand clamps this should be relatively easy. Any time you use an instrument to measure, there is the potential for error, by dry fitting you eliminate most potential for problems.
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