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joliver 09-15-2009 12:09 AM

raising front porch columns
I have an old home and the roof over the front porch is sagging. The downspouts are along the house but the roof(metal roof with very slight pitch) is sagging so much that the water goes over the facia and onto the porch and the steps. The gutter is built into the roof. I need to raise the roof which is supported by 3 columns in the front. I was going to cut 2x12 square blocks and put them under the columns. There already have 2x12 sq blocks under them. I would like to replace them with PT wood and also add atleast one more under each post. Is this ok to do and how do I raise the roof. Any help would greatly be appreciated.
ps. new to forum Hello All.

AaronB 09-15-2009 01:20 AM

Well, you should have a beam that would act as a wall/support for the roof, correct?

joliver 09-15-2009 02:10 AM

I believe so. I was thinking of using a basement post to raise it. Im not sure how much i can raise it at one time and if it will cause damage to where it is attached to the house. Also do I need to put shims under the plinth to match the pitch of the porch floor so its level with the beam. Also should I caulk around it or does it need to have a space for air flow?

AaronB 09-15-2009 09:50 AM

If it is sagging that much, you might wwant to think about rebuilding it.

Is it rotted? Undersized lumber? Not doubled up 2x? Posts too far apart? Something seems to have gone awry if the sag is really extreme.

I have found that when framing lumber has settled so much, it can crack/break/fail if you try to jack it up.

joliver 09-15-2009 11:05 AM

I bought the house about 5 yrs ago. The previous owners replaced the porch floor 2 years before. The framing is good. I believe just over time almost 100 yrs it settled. Columns are not rotted. the frame is resting on mason brick footings about 12"x12" by 36" high on the corners and 12"wx9' depth x 36" high in the middle directly under each column.

I also got laid off so I cant afford to rebuild it.

willcmjr 09-15-2009 11:29 AM

I would remove the skirting around the porch and jack up the entire porch. I would move it no more than 1/8in per day. Just simply because you don't want to overstress the old columns. I would bring it up an 1/8-1/4in more than you need, to give you room to put in new posts.

I would then do one of two things:

- If you're confident that the footings are no longer settling (which I doubt), put in new posts. You have several options. I use PT 6x6s.

- If the porch is continuously setting (much more likely), ie the footers are insufficient, I would dig them all out, put in tubular forms, back fill, and poor new columns. Then replace the posts.

When you replace the posts, allow for the floor to drop back down that 1/8-1/4 I mentioned above.

You'll have a permanent fix which you'll be proud of and will look better than just sticking a block under the posts.

You can do all of this without renting any machines, as long as you have a strong back to do the digging.

Hope this helps.


AaronB 09-15-2009 08:02 PM

Is it he front porch roof that is sagging or is it the footings under the posts that are settling causing the droop?

joliver 09-16-2009 07:07 AM

Its the footings that are settling. the columns are still solid and the blocks under them aren't rotted(just cracked) so i would like to replace them and add atleast one more under the columns.

willcmjr 09-16-2009 04:15 PM

I think this is one of those areas where you're looking at a bandaid, but not fixing the real problem. The bandaid is def. easier, but you'll be happier with yourself if you live in the house long term and fix it right.

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