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Shamus 05-10-2008 08:04 PM

Replacing Porch Column base, what wood to use?
1908 home in eastern Ohio. We see all 4 seasons.
The existing wood columns (3) are 12" at the base and taper up to 9" at the top and about 8' tall. I am guessing that they were new aroung the 40's or 50's. The columns are in very good condition requiring sanding and venting before prime and paint.
The problem is the base at the bottom. The wood looks like it might be pine, from the grain that is visable from the flaking paint but I'm not sure.
There is a square base 16" and 3" tall with a round wood disk about an inch tall that the column sits on. They all need replaced.

The porch itself is 10X26 with a poured concrete slab for the floor. It's 30" above ground level and rests on a full footer and 1940's style concrete blocks. All very solid. There is a hipped roof that the columns are supporting.

I can jack up the roof enough to remove the column base and am able to make new pieces to replace what is there.

I need to know what wood will be best to use. I understand that Pine, Poplar and Hemlock are out. Also, because these are load bearing, although not all that much weight, cedar might be to soft.

What do you all suggest?

skymaster 05-10-2008 08:39 PM

If it is only the base then I would use PT. Also vent the bottom, as in weeping holes, secondly make sure the TOPS of the columns are vented :}, yes they should be. Use the driest PT you can get and if you can take the time let it dry out inside for a week or so then backprime the heck outta it b4 putting em in place. Oil based primer would be best.

NateHanson 05-10-2008 09:54 PM

PT is probably best for the square that contacts the concrete. But for the turned column base you might need something that will be easier to work. You can't turn PT, and if you could I wouldn't want to. I'd use mahogany.
Should last forever.

buletbob 05-10-2008 09:55 PM

I have used vertical grain doug fir in the past, and then treated them with boiled linseed oil, three coats. when they dried I painted them with a good oil primer and top coat.that was 20yrs go .And still are in good shape.

As stated from the previous post it is important to maintain the weep holes at the base, I would cut a 2" wide and 1/2" deep dado in the center bottom of the base from front to back and side to side , you must remember back then they used lead base paint which held up great. unfortunately today its no longer available. good luck, Bob

PT would be my #2 choice, I would think the ACQ Treatment would have an efect on the paint, just my opinion

Shamus 05-13-2008 03:54 PM

Thanks everyone for the reply's.

With a 3 1/4" base height I'm going to have to glue-up whatever I use. I'm Leaning towards the PTjust because of availability. Maybe cut down 4X4's after they are good and dry, glue and then primer/paint with oil.

Is gorilla glue ok to use for exterior application? Is there an exterior version available? Used it inside but never outdoors.

Great site here, really wish it was around years ago.

NateHanson 05-14-2008 02:16 PM

Gorilla glue, or just waterproof titebond. To get a good glue-joint though, you're going to have to make the mating surfaces perfectly flat. Do you have a thickness planer? Otherwise, I'm afraid your joint will fail and show an ugly crack.

I really think an untreated wood like mahogany, cedar, or redwood would be much better because of PT wood's tendency to check, especially thick PT stock. I think you'll get a better looking base in the long run using untreated wood.

Termite 05-14-2008 04:07 PM

See if you can find some Cypress. That stuff is available at most lumber specialty retailers, and will last forever in the elements. It grows in standing water! It is easy to work with, machines well, and will take paint nicely. It is commonly used for outdoor furniture and requires no treatment.

Whatever you choose, be sure to maintain good weep channels in the bottom to allow air to flow and water to escape.

WesternSpindle 05-31-2008 12:29 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Our customers have used our Redwood column bases and capitals with great success.

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