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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Eastern Kansas
    Posts
    104

    Default Covered Porch Beams Resting on *NOTHING*!

    I have this home - Don Gardner Merrifield (W-G00-235)

    which was built in 2000 and we purchased in 2008. I noticed a year or two ago, that one of the covered porch beams (that extend down from the roof to the ground) seemed to be "dangling" - that is not secured to the small concrete pad under it. I paid it no attention. Until last weekend. I got intimate with several of the beams and come to find out, several (there are 10 total - as shown in the diagram) are indeed "hanging" there -- not touching the pad. With shrubs and the porch itself in the way it's hard to confirm each one, but clearly there are more than one that are not supporting any weight. But there are some that do rest on the pads -- in fact the corner two for sure.

    Also.. the pads they sit on -- there is a larger concrete pad, about 16" or so in diameter that is about 4 to 6" thick. That pad sits on a smaller pad that is maybe 6 or 8" in diameter. I'm assuming the small "pad" actually extends down below frost line (I'm hoping really). In several cases the larger pad is free floating atop the smaller pad. On those where the beam is not touching the pad -- I could pull that larger pad out if I wanted. In a few cases the smaller pad protrudes through the larger one, and the beam rests more-so on the smaller one. The beams are 6" x 6" rough sawn cedar I believe. They do measure a true 6" vs 5.5". And they sit or "hang" directly onto the larger concrete pad (there is no metal bracket). My 1st concern was beam rot. There is some -- and I need to clear away soil and debris to further prevent. But now my new concern is the issue with 1) the beam not contacting the larger pad, 2) the larger pad just "resting" on the smaller pad and 3) the structural integrity of the smaller pad.

    It looks to me like the larger pad was poured atop the smaller one (hopefully a pillar below frost line) because the smaller did not align directly under where the beam was. So they poured the large pad atop the smaller one. Then it seems something has moved -- either the pads downward -- or beams upward such that the beam no longer is in direct contact with the pad. It also seems that the weight of roof, etc is now being transferred to only the few pads where the beam is clearly sitting on the pad.

    Those beams support the covered porch. There are floor joists to which painted t&g porch planks are attached. I have some rot in the outside 2x10 that is notched into the beam. There is also an inside 2x10 (or maybe 2x12) that too is notched into the beam. I need to replace the rotted boards, but before doing all that I want to be sure about what to do with the beams and supporting concrete pillars/pads.

    Any help very much appreciated. I'll be tearing away some of the the porch decking and floor support, so now is the time for sure to remedy any major structural issues.

    Kind Regards,
    Kevin
    Last edited by coloradotrout; 09-21-2012 at 02:05 AM. Reason: grammar error

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    6,736

    Default Re: Covered Porch Beams not Resting on *anything*!

    If they just hang there, they don't support anything. You can secure them to the concrete with a simpson connector or a slice or a pressure treated wood.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Eastern Kansas
    Posts
    104

    Default Re: Covered Porch Beams not Resting on *anything*!

    Yeah, I suppose that is the minimum I should do. I can slice some PT wood and wedge it in there. But what about the larger concrete pad that rests on the smaller pad (pillar I hope)? I mean if the beam is not centered over the pillar, than the larger pad is just going to pivot and not really bear the load.

    Granted -- I need to do a better job looking at this. So could wedging in some PT be the complete fix?
    Last edited by coloradotrout; 09-22-2012 at 12:05 PM. Reason: my lousy spelling

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Houston Texas
    Posts
    2,969

    Default Re: Covered Porch Beams not Resting on *anything*!

    If using PT lumber for shims, cut them flat and place the grain from sky to earth so the wood will have more compressive strength.

    Round these parts we use metal plates for shimming house beams. They don't compress and last a long time.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    nova scotia, canada
    Posts
    1,522

    Default Re: Covered Porch Beams not Resting on *anything*!

    using shims is your best bet. it pretty much sounds like the piers settled but the porch didnt which is causing the seperation between post and pier
    fire up the saw and make some dust

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    1,702

    Default Re: Covered Porch Beams not Resting on *anything*!

    To clarify terms, beams are horizontal members spanning a distance and work in bending and are supported by columns, posts or walls usually.
    What you describe is a vertical member that works mainly in compression and is known as a column or post.
    I really couldn't follow your descrioption, but for a column to work it has to transmit a load to something.
    Could it be that your columns are decorative covers hiding a strucural coulmn inside? If the coulmn isn't supported at the base, it would be easy to move, besides not doing anything.
    Wood posts usually should be held off a concrete with a metal post base that is embedded or secured to the concrete.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    6,736

    Default Re: Covered Porch Beams not Resting on *anything*!

    You have a lot of details in your last posting, which is good, but we need photos. A picture is worth a thousand word.

    Find a way to post them or email them to JLMcdaniel (he's a member).

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Eastern Kansas
    Posts
    104

    Default Re: Covered Porch Beams not Resting on *anything*!

    http://tinypic.com/useralbum.php?ua=...Tawl687A%3D%3D

    If you sort by date -- oldest to newest, that takes you on a journey around the porch, and then back around again. There is a shot of the north side, then 2 shots each of the columns, then a shot of the east side, and the columns there, and finally a shot of the south side and the columns there. Then I come back around with a few shots of the topside of the porch.

    In a few cases, the concrete pads "look" solid -- but I'm doubtful based on what I see with all the others. In several cases you will see the smaller diameter concrete pillar extending up through that "top pad".
    Last edited by coloradotrout; 11-14-2012 at 12:14 PM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    1,779

    Default Re: Covered Porch Beams not Resting on *anything*!

    It looks like you have two issues besides the rot, the concrete piers are deteriorating and settling. How much clearance from the bottom of the porch frame to the ground? What's the total height of the floor of the porch from the ground?

    Depending on your clearances above, you should consider building concrete block piers up to the bottom of the porch frame. Rest a double 2x10 treated on top to form the perimeter. Then frame between the perimeter and the ledger. Be sure to use some ledger screws in those ledger boards so they can't pull away from the house.

    The perimeter should be just below the columns. You will have to support the roof with some 2x4's, jack it up a couple of inches for clearance. After the framing, lay down the porch floor, then set the columns down on the porch floor. This means that you will cut the columns shorter as they won't be going to the ground anymore.

    Ideally there should be one pier under each column, but that is not always necessary. Afterwards, if you want to dress it up, you can brick or stone face the block piers and put some lattice between them.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Eastern Kansas
    Posts
    104

    Default Re: Covered Porch Beams not Resting on *anything*!

    How do I build the concrete block piers? As I have mentioned and is visible in the photos I seem to have 6" concrete piers that run deeper into the ground and then atop that they poured a 5" thick or so pier that is 12" in diameter. That really should have ran to below frost line, instead of trying to stack it atop the 6" pier. If the whole pillar was 12" in dia. down to frost line that would be better. The columns are not resting squarely above the 6" piers and so the 12" "pad" is deteriorating and tipping or in some cases the 6" piers seems to have sunk.

    What you describe sounds like the original plans. They also show the joists running parallel to the house, and then the t&g flooring running perpendicular to the house -- which makes more sense.

    Doing all of that that is a complete rebuild. I might be able to salvage some of the decking, but since all the framing is not treated, I'd probably replace it as well -- and fix the house ledger also.

    This is a lot more work/cost than I was hoping.

    Re: the concrete block piers -- can you better describe how those are built? Do I need to pour concrete pillars below frost line?

    Thanks so much,
    Last edited by coloradotrout; 11-04-2012 at 12:22 AM.

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