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cathygivans 10-03-2011 12:26 AM

Help Repairing Front Porch With Support Beams
Our home was built in 1926 and the front porch is starting to have some serious problems. There are three support beams on the porch that hold up a portion of the roof. When the porch was in prime condition, the support beams rested on the actual deck. Now the deck is rotting away under those beams and I am really becoming concerned about safety. There are concrete blocks about a foot under the porch, directly under the support beams and I am still unsure as to why the support beams did not extend that far and the porch built around it. Nontheless, I have to repair this.

I really have no idea how. I am pretty smart and handy but have never handled a project of this magnitude. I can't afford a contractor so I am stuck trying to figure out how to do it myself. The support beams seem okay but if I have to replace the porch and support the roof, then I would rather just go ahead and replace the supports now instead of later.

My questions are:
How do I support the house until the new support beams go in?
How do I put the new support beams in?
How do I secure the support beams so that I don't have this problem again in the future?
What tools do I need to complete the task?
Since the deck is built under the support beam, how do I attach the board that will go up to the support beam while trying to build around the beam?

Please, please, be as detailed as you can. I have tried finding some of the information I need elsewhere but it seems that there aren't any clear, complete instructions. I need this to be in terminology I can understand. I am not a handywoman by trade and I don't understand a lot of terms but I can do the work. Please don't recommend I call someone. I don't have the money for that. This seems like a pretty straightforward project, except for the support beams. If it weren't for that, I would just rebuild the deck but I don't want my roof caving in!

I would so appreciate all the help anyone can offer. Thank you so very, very much.

oldognewtrick 10-03-2011 03:48 AM

Cathy, would it be possible to post some pics of the area you are referring to? I think the beams you are talking about are actually columns. What is the deck made out of? Are the columns round or square? What above the porch, roof or another room of the house?

Oh, and welcome to House Repair Talk.

cathygivans 10-03-2011 11:41 PM

I am really sorry but I can't seem to figure out how to upload the picture. The pictures aren't coming up. I can't really tell what the porch or the columns are made of except wood. There is just a roof above the porch. The rooms seem to all be in line with the house construction. I suppose that might make sense that they are just decorative. I just remember having the house appraised and the appraiser mentioning supporting the porch roof while repairing the porch.

Oh and thank you for the welcome! I am certain I will become a regular here since there are a lot of repairs to be made. :D

oldognewtrick 10-04-2011 03:40 AM

Posting pics are easy, simply scroll down from the "Submit Reply" button to "Manage Attachments" click on the "Browse" button. It will take you to your pics. Click the pics you want to post and then click on "Upload"

Thanks for becoming a regular, we have several around here...and a couple irregulars too. ;)

nealtw 10-04-2011 07:39 AM

Click on "go advanced"

dw8 10-05-2011 06:04 AM

I did something similar a while back.
Call your local rental yard and see if they have some adjustable jacks which will reach from ground to underside of porch. (There quite heavy so you may need an assistant), If you can't rent them then the only company I found that carry various jacks (have to buy) is Ellis OK.
Depending on your ground (hard / soft), cut a couple holes through the porch floor (I didn't have to do this) and place either 3/4 inch plywood or steel plate (1/2 or thicker) on the ground. The larger the pieces the better to distribute the weight. Then get some 4x4 or 4x6 (depending on whats on the roof (mine was tile and I used 4x4's with jacks spaced ever 4 feet). Attach the 4x4 to the top of the jacks
(they have screw holes) and lift jacks (two at a time) and beam into position. Alternatively, (I found it easier) to use two 10 foot step ladders, placed the beam on top of the ladder, stand the jacks up under the beam. attach the beam to the jacks, and then screw up the jacks until they touched the underside of the trusses. After all jacks are in place (touching the bottom of the trusses), screw up each jack
1/4 to 1/2 turn until roof is supported on the jacks. then replace the support columns so they again rest on the original pier supports.

cathygivans 10-05-2011 11:41 PM

Thank you so much, everyone for all the help. I called someone (remodeling specialist) the other day to come and actually look at it and he thinks the beams are for decorative purposes. So it seems that my job will be easier than I had originally thought. I think if I just replace the board under one beam at a time, I should be fine. Now I just have to figure out how to extend the porch over concrete. (Want to move my stairs into the yard so that I can fence it to prevent my little ones from reaching the busy street we live on.) Again, thank you so much for the input!

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