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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    2

    Default Colonial Entry Way Cracking

    Hello All,

    I have a question about my 1915 Colonial up in Duluth, Minnesota. Previous owners of the house installed wrought iron posts on the entry way in the front of the house (see attached pics). The problem is every winter (this is our second in the house) it seems frost under the front step, which the iron posts are attached, is causing the posts to push up the roof of the entry way. It is severe enough that a crack has actually formed just above the door (again see the pics).

    I want to remove the wrought iron posts for multiple reasons including this issue , but I am not sure if they are required for supporting the roof. I looked around where the posts are attached to the roof and I don't see any remnants of where previous posts were attached.

    I guess the other option would be to dig out the front step and reinstall it with footings below the frost line? Then install new posts (not wrought iron).

    Anyone have an opinion? Is there a way I can tell if the posts are needed, structurally?

    Thanks
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Portland, Oregon, formerly of Chicago
    Posts
    1,583

    Default Re: Colonial Entry Way Cracking

    Bstensgard,

    My guess is that the overhang is cantilevered off the side wall of the house and the bayed out wall. The old craftsmen who built that house in that time and in that climate understood frost heaving. If it is cantilevered, the posts are not necessary for support. I am not certain that posts are necessary aesthetically either, certainly not large square posts, as there are quasi posts on both sides of the door.

    My guess is that the bay bump out has a foundation under it which can be seen from the basement or crawl space. The slab was allowed to float because it had no posts to push up the overhang.

    You are right in that you will have to stabilize the step foundation if you do replace the posts. It might , however, be possible to fashion a decorative post with a sliding sleave attachment to the overhang which would allow the post a couple inches of vertical travel within a collar without pushing up on the overhang.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Colonial Entry Way Cracking

    Ordjen,

    Thank you for the post!

    The bay bump out does have a foundation under it. I would like to entirely remove the posts because they are aesthetically unpleasing to me.

    When I do remove the posts, are there any special considerations I should take when repairing the crack? I was thinking caulk or wood filler to hide it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Portland, Oregon, formerly of Chicago
    Posts
    1,583

    Default Re: Colonial Entry Way Cracking

    bstensgard,

    I think that when the posts are removed, the overhang will gradually resume its orignal position. I would wait and see if it settles back down. You might temporarily stuff little strips of fiberglass batting in there to stop air and insect infiltration. After it has settled back down, simply caulk with a good grade of caulk. I am partial to elastomeric polyurethane caulks such as Sonoborne MP1 or Vulkem. Urethanes can close a much bigger gap than can acrylic caulks. They also grab better and have the ability to stretch with movement.

    By the way, my parents spent many years in Duluth/Superior. I guess it runs in our Danish/Norwegian blood However, I like the climate much better here in the Pacific NorthWest!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Portland, Oregon, formerly of Chicago
    Posts
    1,583

    Default Re: Colonial Entry Way Cracking

    Bstensgard,

    I was just looking at your pics again. I might go ahead and throw some urethane caulk on those gaps which are above the cornice which is not underneath the overhang ceiling. I would not like to see rainwater entering the wall at this point. You can rake out and re-caulk this area at a later time if necessary.
    If you have to do this in cold weather (cold in Duluth in winter - never!), make sure you keep the urethane caulk nice and warm inside until the last moment. It becomes extremely hard to crank the caulking gun when it is cold!

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