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Old 10-02-2016, 02:03 PM   #1
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Replace Porch Column With Rotting Bottom


I have a porch column that's rotting at the bottom and would appreciate some input on how I should replace or repair it. I'm not sure exactly how to proceed because I'm not sure whether the column is load bearing. It seems like it probably is not.

The bottom of the column has a lot of play and isn't supporting any weight right now. The beam that the column is connected to has a joint right above the column and both sides of the beam are level even though the column is loose. The beam is 4"x19" and the column is 4"x6". The porch is 33' wide and the columns are both around 11' from the walls on either side. The columns are 8' out from the exterior wall and adjacent to the soffit.

See the attached images for more details.

Thanks in advance.

Replace Porch Column With Rotting Bottom-sketch.jpg

Replace Porch Column With Rotting Bottom-20161002_130556.jpg

Replace Porch Column With Rotting Bottom-side1.jpg

Replace Porch Column With Rotting Bottom-side2.jpg

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Last edited by xelaw; 10-02-2016 at 02:11 PM.
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Old 10-02-2016, 02:34 PM   #2
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Re: Replace Porch Column With Rotting Bottom


Do you have any pictures of the bottom of the posts?

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Old 10-02-2016, 03:06 PM   #3
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Re: Replace Porch Column With Rotting Bottom


The main reason post rot at the bottom is because there not sitting on a post base to get them up off the slab.
https://www.strongtie.com/retrofitpo.../p/aba.abu.abw
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Old 10-02-2016, 04:13 PM   #4
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Re: Replace Porch Column With Rotting Bottom


That column certainly looks like it was designed as a load bearing column. Note the careful use of a hurricane clip at the top to connect the column to the beams, which appear to be spliced directly over the column.

To replace a rotting column, you need to provide temporary support to the beam above, which can be done with a couple of temporary 4x4 columns on either side of the column to be removed. Then you remove the bad column, install a proper concrete footing with a stand off bracket, cut the new column to length, install into the bracket at the bottom, and connect to the beam above using an appropriate bracket. Do the same for each rotten column.
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Old 10-02-2016, 08:17 PM   #5
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Re: Replace Porch Column With Rotting Bottom


I'll have to remove the trim and rotted material to get a good picture of the bottom, but from probing it I think it's probably just wood contacting the slab directly with a single anchor. There's no bracket down there.

I appreciate any info about how to prevent further rotting, but I've got a good handle on how to take care of the bottom. I'm more concerned with how to replace the post.

Daniel, I really appreciate your replay. It definitely seems like it should be load bearing but isn't currently supporting any weight (and probably hasn't for several months). I can swing the post around freely and it isn't in contact with the slab anymore. I know that typically the beam should be jacked up to free the column, but the beam is currently level. Should I jack the beam high on both sides, then set it back down on the new column? What's the minimum safe jack weight rating I can use to do this?
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Old 10-02-2016, 09:02 PM   #6
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Re: Replace Porch Column With Rotting Bottom


Daniel has given you the correct approach.
If the beam is now level, measure the height off the slab, remove the post after supporting the beam with temp supports, jack the beam enough to install the anchor and new post, remove the jacks, install the top clip and lower the beam.
You only need to jack the beam enough to allow you to install the new one. I would think about a quarter inch would be enough.
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Old 10-02-2016, 09:53 PM   #7
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Re: Replace Porch Column With Rotting Bottom


If the beam isn't sagging at all, then just temp support it.. Remove old post.. Put in bracket.. Cram new post in there.. Attach and remove temp supports... Not sure I would mess with jacking anything up if you don't need to... After you fix this post give the other one a good look.
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Old 10-02-2016, 10:12 PM   #8
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Re: Replace Porch Column With Rotting Bottom


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Originally Posted by ryansdiydad View Post
If the beam isn't sagging at all, then just temp support it.. Remove old post.. Put in bracket.. Cram new post in there.. Attach and remove temp supports... Not sure I would mess with jacking anything up if you don't need to... After you fix this post give the other one a good look.
That's what I was initially thinking, but how do I get the new post to do its job and support the load if I don't position it to support the load (assuming it was supposed to)? This is the question that caused me to make this post instead of just getting out there and doing it. I assume that if I just cut and attach it at the current height, it won't support anything unless the beam starts to sag. Is it possible that the post was just there to prevent the roof from pulling up due to wind and wasn't ever intended to support the weight of the beam?

Last edited by xelaw; 10-02-2016 at 10:21 PM.
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Old 10-03-2016, 05:46 AM   #9
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Re: Replace Porch Column With Rotting Bottom


To clarify I didn't say anything about current height of the existing post.. Because the current post is dangling in the wind.. Put the bracket in place and install the new post at the correct height to support the beam.. The load is likely currently being carried entirely on the other post...
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Old 10-03-2016, 06:22 AM   #10
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Re: Replace Porch Column With Rotting Bottom


Put a level on the underside of that beam, or a string line from one end to the other. That post may not be supporting weight right now, and the beam may even look straight, but I bet it is sagging. Replacement post length should be trying to get beam back to straight and level (assuming it is sagging just a little -- may be more complicated if it is way out of wack)
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Old 10-03-2016, 10:25 AM   #11
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Re: Replace Porch Column With Rotting Bottom


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Put a level on the underside of that beam, or a string line from one end to the other. That post may not be supporting weight right now, and the beam may even look straight, but I bet it is sagging. Replacement post length should be trying to get beam back to straight and level (assuming it is sagging just a little -- may be more complicated if it is way out of wack)
I was expecting that it would be sagging before I checked. It was level on either side of the joint above the column, which struck me as odd. I'll double check the entire beam to see if it's out of level anywhere else.

Lets say it is perfectly level across. Do I just cut the new column to the exact size and squeeze it in there (using a top and bottom bracket, of course) without jacking the beam?
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Old 10-03-2016, 10:37 AM   #12
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Re: Replace Porch Column With Rotting Bottom


You are playing Russian Roulette to be pulling posts without putting temporary supports up first.

Myself, I would probably make it at least as long as current distance between porch and beam.
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Old 10-03-2016, 10:49 AM   #13
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Re: Replace Porch Column With Rotting Bottom


I strongly recommend you insert temporary support before pulling a column, regardless of whether you think the column is not currently carrying load. Unless you know for an ABSOLUTE fact that the beam above was designed to span over the column without support from the column, which seems unlikely, you should assume that the column is load bearing, and build accordingly.

As to supporting the beam, you only need the column to be about 1/8 inch longer than the distance between top of bracket and bottom of beam to carry load. The simplest way to install would be to cut the column to the proper length, jack the beam up say 1/4 inch, insert column, lower beam onto column, install connector. If you buy a top of column to beam connector (Simpson makes several like this), you need to account for the thickness of the bracket when you cut your column. If you use a hurricane style connector, such as the one currently installed, there is no additional thickness so nothing to account for.
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Old 10-04-2016, 08:08 PM   #14
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I looked at it some more tonight. One side of the beam above the column is sagging. The reason the other side of the beam isn't sagging is because the second column is also rotten, just not as bad yet.

Do I need two jacks supporting each column at the same time since the second one is rotten? Will the torque from jacking the first column I want to fix cause problems with the other one?

Also, what size jacks should I use?

Good thing I noticed this last weekend, because we might get clobbered by a hurricane in a few days.

Last edited by xelaw; 10-04-2016 at 08:13 PM.
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Old 10-05-2016, 11:10 AM   #15
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Re: Replace Porch Column With Rotting Bottom


How much is it sagging?

Get a couple of bottle jacks and some 4x4s and slowly raise it back to the right level.. Make sure your bottle jacks and 4x4s are level and plumb... they can kick out on you if you dont take the time to set them up correctly...

Then put in temporary supports.. so you aren't relying on the jacks to keep everythign up while you put in the brackets.. then put in your new posts...

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