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Old 08-01-2010, 08:25 PM   #1
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Twisted Support Beam

Hi. Two years ago my husband and I started on a pergola project. We started by putting in 2 8 x 8 x 14 pressure treated posts in - being in Ontario, we had to bury the posts 4 ft in concrete.
We are now wanting to finish it, however, the top of one post has twisted considerably. Is there something we can do to correct this or will we have to pull the post out and start again?


Last edited by toptopp; 08-01-2010 at 08:27 PM.
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Old 08-01-2010, 08:28 PM   #2
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You are not going to untwist the post, however by shaving it down you may be able to get the top straight enough to attach Simpson connectors or similar. Posts which are warped can usually be straightened by applying enough force, but a twisted post, you usually need enough force to break the post to untwist it.
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Old 08-01-2010, 08:41 PM   #3
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I vote for pulling it up and setting a new one. Yes, it's not what you want to hear but it will cause you more problems in the construction later on of the structure. When a lag time between setting the posts and actual construction, it's wise to tack some purlins at the post ends. Purlins are just boards nailed or screwed to the post ends, that connect all the posts. Too be safe fasten them to both sides of the posts and they'll never twist.
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Old 08-01-2010, 11:33 PM   #4
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How twisted is it? I'd hate to have to replace a post that big (and set in concrete) unless I really needed to.
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Old 08-01-2010, 11:54 PM   #5
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If you do replace, use a gravel base under the post to let rain water out that it soaked up like a sponge. A post, just like the tree it came from, has connected cells to move and distribute water. Add a wet part above ground and a dry part below (in concrete), along with gravity to get water sitting in the bottom part while the top is air drying. P.t. is not water-proof, unless bought that way:

Use a granular backfill to help prevent frost heave:

Be safe, Gary
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Old 08-02-2010, 09:23 AM   #6
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You an try twisting the footing to square up the post with your framing, although having a significant twist in the post may be unworkable for other reasons. Take a couple 4x4 16-20 feet long (whatever is available) nail them to the post on either side at mid length of the 4x4's a foot or two above the footing. At the end of the 4x4's put a spacer between them and nail the 4x4's to the spacers. Put a couple more spacers a foot out from the post and clamp the 4x4's to them. Run lines form the two ends of the 4x4's to anchor points (tree trunks or something similar) and use come-alongs or a winch to torque the post. Make sure you nail the 4x4's to the 8x8 so that it doesn't slip and make sure you nail the ends of the 4x4's to the spacers (if you don't, the 4x4's will act simply as two 4x4's rather than a built-up section which is much stronger and stiffer). The clamped spacers near the post will keep the 4x4's from trying to separate from the post.
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