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I need to rebuild my porch this summer. I think its circa 1970 and the flooring is starting to rot through. The only part of the job that is really throwing me is replacing the load bearing columns (I have roughly a 4' overhang). It is difficult to see but from what I can tell they are resting on cinder blocks (I am not sure if this is legit but my guess is no). I am looking for tips and recommendations on how to replace it and any known building codes that I should be aware of regarding it. Do I need to pour a cement base for the new? From what I understand I need to jack up a 4x4 to support the roof and then replace the post but I am not sure what I need to do to secure it to the ground. Here is a pic from this past winter

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  • Is there anyway you can take a picture of the underside and point out exactly which posts you are concerned about? – J Crosby Jul 17 at 20:55
  • "they are resting on cinder blocks" - then the answer is yes. Here's a PDF for how we build decks in Chicago, where we've had more than one collapse which killed quite a few people. It doesn't get any more legit than that pdf. – Mazura Jul 18 at 1:46
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I would say this home is C 1920. But I guess it could be built more recently like and older home. It's possible those columns are not so load bearing. The joists above the porch could be cantilevered. Like.. But even if load bearing I don't think it is that big of a deal. Just support them well under the porch. http://stairs4u.com/glossary/images/cantilevered-floor-joist-fr.jpg

I did pull out a column like this on a couple houses. I did use a jack to lift the corner of the porch ceiling a little to be able to pull the post/columns out. Once you jack it up you just jam a 2x4 under and going down to a support board on the ground.

If the corner of the porch has not sunk down much over the years, it seems what was there is working ok. Or if you want a more substantial support you could pour a small square or round (they make tubes you can dig in then fill) foundation and embed a post base in to the concrete when wet. Like: https://resourcefulsupply.com/storage/products/107379-400x400-resizeupscale(1).jpg

You could put a concrete pier with wood top in a pad of poured concrete too. Like https://images.homedepot-static.com/productImages/87e13217-d9b6-4993-8dc9-9d855ba3000f/svn/cinder-blocks-100014754-64_1000.jpg

Sometimes those columns on the porch are not solid and just nailed to the deck of the porch. If they are solid 4x4 or 6x6 they could be nailed to the porch deck too. They seem to have some finishing decorative wood around them. You might be able to just use the same columns after removing them then cut of a few inches of rotted material and reinstall on top of a 2x6x6 (or?) base that you could route the edges to be decorative.

If unsure or uncomfortable or in earthquake area have an engineer look at it. Probably best to get a permit too and the city inspector might be able to give you and idea or two to be at current standards. Best of luck!

  • Thank you for the guidance. The house was built in 1905. The area I live in is strict about building permits. Would I need to pull one for this? – Steve Salowitz Jul 19 at 4:53

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