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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all,

My house is approximately 14 years old. Over the years the front porch (wood construction) has sunk to the point there is a 3/4” gap where the post meets the underside of the eve. The posts are not load bearing, all for looks. The building contractor came out within the first couple years and corrected the issue once already by jacking the porch back up. As time passed it has settled more. What type of jack is used to remedy this problem and how would I go about doing it? I can include some photos if needed. Thanks
 

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yes, pics would certainly be a great ( grate ) help as none can see ( sea ) your house from our houses - underside of 'eve' OR 'eave' ?
 

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Naildriver
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While waiting on pix.......Your problem may extend to the ground and you'll need to take corrective measures there.

We had a similar situation where the builder just set his 6x6's on construction dirt. No footing. You can see the results and what we had to do to correct it. Total rebuild with proper footings.
 

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its usually more profitable repairing other contractor's f/u's, no ? we may have been high when bidding but usually got call'd to repair lo bidder's work if there were problems
 

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Naildriver
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It has become a mainstay of my business. I don't back off bids because I'll get the job anyway, plus extra to fix things others have messed up.
 

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I agree. A home owner is always willing to pay sometimes more than 4 times the original cost to have the same job accomplished multiple times.
When the original contractor returned, they were not doing you any favors. They were trying to scab the job as quickly and cheap as possible. I never offer any type of warranty, I take my time and do the job right the first time. I always give my word that the client will never see me, or any other person there to work on the same contract. And I get a lot of repeat work from the same clients. And I do this work usually for less than other contractors. I rarely charge for my time. I am not doing it to make money. I'm doing it to teach others about proper practices. I do this work because I enjoy it, and I love teaching others.
Like Chandler stated, real quality work is not inexpensive, cheap quality practices and using low quality material is. And the truth is, it does not cost that much extra over all to use better quality material and perform high quality practice. I love the t-shirt. If I wore t-shirts I would purchase one like that.
For example. I hired a tile contractor for one of our bathrooms. I have not tiled anything since the 70's, so for what I paid for white marble tile, I wanted someone that knew what they were doing to install it. I had them build a small half wall at the end of the walk in shower, and also a seat in the shower. They brought pressure treated wood and regular screws. I had listed only cedar and stainless steel fasteners were to be used. Pressure treated should never be used in any living area, acid and chemicals are used in the treatment. And even galvanized fasteners will corrode and rust. Even though the entire room was coated and covered in a water proof coating, I did not want any fastener to fail due to rust, or any wood to not be able to withstand water.

We have a large free standing planter box that I built more than 20 years go, using only cedar and stainless steel screws. It stays out in the direct weather all the time, year around. Snow, rain, sun, cold and heat. Even with top soil in it, there is no rot or rust on any fastener or in any piece of lumber. And it did not cost nearly as much as I have spent on this particular bathroom. You always get exactly what you pay for. And I really hate paying for something twice in a lifetime.
 

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It does not matter at all the type of jack used to lift the structure. You can use an old bumper jack or a 100 ton crane. What matters the most is that the area where the structure is sitting. It was not properly prepared for have weight on it. Meaning, a 6x6 post only has 36 square inches of area to disperse all that weight it is carrying. Multiple that by say 12 posts. Dig on up, and see what is at the bottom. I bet they are not even set in the ground, only set on top of the soil, or maybe on those stupid light weight lite concrete 12x12 so called footings that sit above ground. With the water running over the soil from what I would hope is a properly sloped area, that will wash away the soil from under those cheap footings. unless you live in some place like certain parts of Nevada or Arizona, those things are useless to sit above ground level. Many contractors will throw the construction debris and garbage under the area where a porch will be built. That is just plain lazy. So over time, that debris will rot and settle due to the water that is coming off the house. What ever is sitting on top of it will also move. Why, because gravity never takes time off. It is working every millisecond of everyday.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
yes, pics would certainly be a great ( grate ) help as none can see ( sea ) your house from our houses - underside of 'eve' OR 'eave' ?
I will definitely include some pictures in the AM...I kinda figured you couldn’t see my house from yours, although I did think possibly you could envision the problem I was describing.

Thanks for the replies so far, I would tend to agree that the porch was built directly on the dirt without footers. The rear deck was built by the same group and there have been similar problems with it as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
This was a new construction...the GC warrantied the entire build for two years. He had the decking contractor out to “fix” the problem within the first couple years.
 

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Of course you can rip things apart, put in footers and make it so a direct nuclear blast would not move it.
I would put a floor jack on a board and jack it up, then put a shim or block of wood in the gap. Every couple of years when it moves a little, do it again. We did that with my grandparent’s front porch for 50 years. It took 10 minutes every 2 years.
 

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retired framer
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This site (sight) is awesome, I can get DIY help and a lesson on homophone words at the same place!!

Some of us want to correct spelling and some of us want to help fix things.

Can you post some pictures. :wink2:
 

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retired framer
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Here are some photos of the columns with the gap at the top or bottom. My plan is to replace all of the railing and decking but was hoping to be able to use the joists and correct the settling issue.
You have a real problem with the footing under the deck and the roof could pull away anytime.

See the black car in the background, go over there and take a picture of your house.



 

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Hammered Thumb
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You can have footings and still get settling, that could be that they were say just frost footings put in the overdig area of a basement. Backfill settling.

Dig a little around the post support on both front and back decks and see if there are concrete piers. Then probably just raising and shimming as suggested if nothing is load bearing for the main house.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Again thanks for the information and help.
I actually have dug down around the rear deck supports...looked like they may have mixed up some concrete and poured in the hole around the supports. Definitely not actual concrete footers though. I’ll check the front.
Nothing load bearing with the porch...the roof trusses were up and supported by the exterior house walls long before the porch was built.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
@neal I’ll take the photo you spoke about when I get back home...are you saying the roof could pull away if those columns are load bearing or regardless?
 

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retired framer
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@neal I’ll take the photo you spoke about when I get back home...are you saying the roof could pull away if those columns are load bearing or regardless?
I am saying it is in danger of failure, It is likely being held up by the plywood sheets that run from the main roof to the porch and that will have a limited time till failure. I could be wrong but with what I see, that would be my fear.
 

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That's silly and pure negligence. The stated warranty may have been 2 years but due to the negligence the builder or sub is still liable.

Check with your town building department to get a look at the original plans to see what is specified for ground preparation and footings. Assuming he pulled permits porch posts should not have been set on just the soil. If footings are indeed there then he did not prepare the soil properly.

You mentioned these are not load bearing which makes their sinking even more of an issue, why sink when no load.

I would not patch this. Get the original contractor back and talk to him about doing both porches correctly. If he is a good contractor, that implied 2 year limitation will not be an issue. Good contractors like to do good work.

Bud
 
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