Porch columns are vertical posts that add interest and structural support to porches. They are connected at the top to a building’s awning or overhang. Many porch columns are made of wood that may or may not have been pressure treated. Over enough time, however, all wooden columns will show signs of wear and tear. In addition, wooden porch columns are subject to structural damage, such as wood rot, cracking or bowing. In any instance where the structural integrity of the porch column has been compromised, the porch columns should be replaced.
Before undertaking any kind of porch column replacement, do some due diligence to determine the cause of the damage. Certain causes of damage are obvious, such as cracking, termite damage or wood rot. Other causes, like bowing, or breaking away from the porch foundation are less evident, and should be inspected by a structural engineer. If there are other issues going on with the building, such as a sinking foundation, or collapsing roof, it’s best to take care of the primary condition before replacing the porch columns. Otherwise, the same fate will just happen to the new columns.
Install a Temporary Support
Since the existing columns are load bearing, a temporary support must be put in place while the column is being replaced. Next to the existing column, jack up a wooden post that has the same width dimensions of the column being replaced. This will ensure that the temporary post has sufficient strength to bear the load temporarily. The temporary support will need to be about five or so inches shorter than the column being replaced, so that the jack will fit underneath it.