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Old 03-19-2013, 06:42 PM   #1
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Repairing/Replacing Old Porch Column


Hi,

I am closing on a new (very old, actually) house in a few weeks and one of many projects is replacing a rotted porch column. I'm comfortable with the processes of lifting the porch roof and pulling out the old column, but I'm having a hard time matching the base design. There are 3 columns total, only one is beyond repair. I'd like to avoid replacing them all.

Here are pics. One "good" column and one completely destroyed.

http://imgur.com/a/avwdI#1

All of the column bases I can find at the local stores appear to be very basic at the base. NOthing like this design. I don't really care about the material because I'm just going to paint it anyway. I just want to avoid the cost of replacing all 3 to make them match.

What do?

BTW, I have basic woodworking skills. Though I don't have the tools to turn wood. I can use a router, table saw, band saw and things like that.


Last edited by yarnosh; 03-19-2013 at 06:44 PM.
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Old 03-19-2013, 06:59 PM   #2
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Repairing/Replacing Old Porch Column


You have a whole lot more going on then a simple coloum fix.
May want to have a mason fix the base.
http://www.meltonclassics.com/produc...erior-columns/

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Old 03-19-2013, 08:15 PM   #3
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Repairing/Replacing Old Porch Column


A couple layers of plywood screwed together and rimmed with wood?
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Old 03-19-2013, 08:19 PM   #4
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Repairing/Replacing Old Porch Column


You kidding, right? Very bad suggestion.
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Old 03-19-2013, 10:05 PM   #5
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Repairing/Replacing Old Porch Column


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Originally Posted by shazapple View Post
A couple layers of plywood screwed together and rimmed with wood?
Well, yeah, that takes care of the base block, but the whole bottom 1+ inches of the decorative column base bit is rotted away.
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Old 03-19-2013, 10:18 PM   #6
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Repairing/Replacing Old Porch Column


From what it looks like to me, comparing the saveable and non-saveable posts, you could get a 1' X 1' X 2'' wooden slab, or however thick the wooden slab is below the good one that seems missing on the rotted one, as very poorly depicted with a red circle in my fist picture below. Jack up the porch and place it under the post. Perhaps add a smaller board between the slab and the post to make up for lost thickness on the rotted lower rounded portion of the post. You could use epoxy putty to re-build some of the roundness of the rotted area, to match the other posts. (See second picture for rotted lower rounded area; don't know how to describe it.) Looks like the decorative wooden area above the lower rounded area is solid enough to keep. If not, epoxy putty works miracles. I have rebuilt windows with it that were practically rotted to nothing. Once everything sets; sand, primer, and paint it.

This wouldn't be the prettiest fix, but that is what I would try personally. Before you jack up the porch, your ought to build a mold around the damaged cement slab and pour some patching concrete in. If you want a better fix, maybe replace the damaged stone slab, then replaced the wood above it as I described earlier. Good luck with matching these historical columns with new ones if you go that route, it will never be the same. Always stick with historical materials, which are usually wood.
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Old 03-19-2013, 10:20 PM   #7
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Repairing/Replacing Old Porch Column


Quote:
Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
You have a whole lot more going on then a simple coloum fix.
May want to have a mason fix the base.
http://www.meltonclassics.com/produc...erior-columns/
Eh, I'm sure I can manage to pour a concrete block to replace the base. I'm already pouring concrete counter tops, so why not?

So I guess the answer is to have a base custom made? I only see 3 round base styles on that site and none match mine.
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Old 03-19-2013, 11:12 PM   #8
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Repairing/Replacing Old Porch Column


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Originally Posted by mt999999 View Post
You could use epoxy putty to re-build some of the roundness of the rotted area, to match the other posts.
Ok, yeah, epoxy putty sounds perfect. I'm thinking of first molding a block of putty to the profile of the good column base. Let that cure then use that to scrape the soft putty on the repaired column into the same shape. Hopefully that will produce a nearly identical form. Is the epoxy putty soft enough that you could scrape it like that? I'd like to avoid doing too much hand molding. I'd never make a consistent, smooth, contoured shape by hand.
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Old 03-20-2013, 06:52 AM   #9
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Repairing/Replacing Old Porch Column


The reason that post is failing is there's no drain hole at the bottom of it and the woods in direct contact with the concrete.
Adding a bunch of filler is going to do nothing to stop the rot or add strength to that post.
There's dozens of other web sites selling coloums.
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Old 03-20-2013, 09:11 AM   #10
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Repairing/Replacing Old Porch Column


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Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
The reason that post is failing is there's no drain hole at the bottom of it and the woods in direct contact with the concrete.
Yes, I realize this. I'm going to have to put a hole in the center of the new concrete block and the wooden base.

Quote:
Adding a bunch of filler is going to do nothing to stop the rot or add strength to that post.
The epoxy putty sounds pretty strong.

Quote:
There's dozens of other web sites selling coloums.
Yes, I know but they only sell maybe three different base styles and none are even close to this style I have. That's why I'm posting here. I'm going to give the epoxy putty a try while opening up the base for draining.
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Old 03-20-2013, 09:24 AM   #11
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Repairing/Replacing Old Porch Column


There is no hole needed in the concrete, only needed at the bottom of the column where that flange is.
http://crown-molding.com/decorative-...ital-base.aspx
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Old 03-20-2013, 09:34 AM   #12
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Repairing/Replacing Old Porch Column


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Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
There is no hole needed in the concrete, only needed at the bottom of the column where that flange is.
http://crown-molding.com/decorative-...ital-base.aspx
Great, but those don't match what I have.
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Old 03-20-2013, 09:46 AM   #13
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Repairing/Replacing Old Porch Column


Quote:
Originally Posted by yarnosh View Post
Great, but those don't match what I have.
I would offer that you only have three. I would also offer that the one you showed as "good" looked pretty close to shot. So, why not just replace them all? There should be some sort of chair under the wood portion to divorce it from the masonry. If you are going to cast the masonry base, I would fill that flue block solid, and extend an anchor bolt up the center to pin the column in place.
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Old 03-20-2013, 10:41 AM   #14
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Repairing/Replacing Old Porch Column


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Originally Posted by jagans View Post
I would offer that you only have three. I would also offer that the one you showed as "good" looked pretty close to shot. So, why not just replace them all?
Because it the difference between $50 and $700. I think the other columns mainly just need to be stripped, primed good and repainted. Do you think there's rot in the others besides it just being old wood?

Quote:
There should be some sort of chair under the wood portion to divorce it from the masonry. If you are going to cast the masonry base, I would fill that flue block solid, and extend an anchor bolt up the center to pin the column in place.
Chair? You mean vapor barrier? Would thick plastic sheeting be enough?
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Old 03-20-2013, 10:49 AM   #15
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Repairing/Replacing Old Porch Column


Wood in direct contact with concrete rots when it is on a flat surface like that, the post needed to be sitting on something to allow air space and a way for water to drain.
Water lays on that base and gets sucked up into the end grain of the wood.
And no a sheet of plastic will not work.
Any new post would come with a metal bracket to keep the post from making direct contact whick would get covered up with a vinly trim ring.

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