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-   -   Porch on piers settling? (http://www.houserepairtalk.com/f32/porch-piers-settling-2687/)

travelover 08-17-2007 09:14 AM

Porch on piers settling?
 
I built a 12' x 25' enclosed porch about 18 years ago off the back of my garage in Michigan. The porch is supported by 10 concrete piers , each 42" deep in the ground. About 5 years ago I noticed that the French doors on the south and west sides have a larger top gap on the latch side than the hinge side and drag when closing.

I suspect that the porch is settling, though when I crawled underneath, there is no visible deflection or rot in any of the load bearing surfaces.

My question is, how can I best determine where the sagging has occurred? Is there something I should be looking for specifically - a typical failure mode?

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

inspectorD 08-20-2007 06:33 PM

Doors with age....sag.
 
The doors may have sagged in the frame over time. The screws get loose or the hinge starts to wear out.
Settlement of the porch area below would probably be noticed at the threshold(bottom) of the door opening before the doors begin to sag. It would buckle or be loose also.

Or the whole unit and house area has settled , all in all you need to fix the door anyway.:D so start with longer screws in the top hinges and start adjusting to leave an even reveal around the 3 sides....all it takes is patience and little adjustments.:)

travelover 08-21-2007 01:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by inspectorD (Post 11054)
The doors may have sagged in the frame over time. The screws get loose or the hinge starts to wear out.
Settlement of the porch area below would probably be noticed at the threshold(bottom) of the door opening before the doors begin to sag. It would buckle or be loose also.

Or the whole unit and house area has settled , all in all you need to fix the door anyway.:D so start with longer screws in the top hinges and start adjusting to leave an even reveal around the 3 sides....all it takes is patience and little adjustments.:)

inspectorD, thanks for taking time to reply to my question. I checked the door and hinge and it seems solid - all screws are holding the door securely. I did check the door opening with a square and the door opening is off plumb. I guess my choice now is whether to try to square up the whole porch or tear off the trim and replumb the door frame.

inspectorD 08-25-2007 03:22 PM

Hmmm...
 
Take off the interior trim and see if anything is behind where the hinges are. If not ...you can put longer screws into the hinge and catch the stud behind .This will pull the doors all over the place and help to get em workin again, hopefully.:D

Daryl in Nanoose 08-26-2007 09:19 AM

Here comes a really dumb question. Did you check the floor or beams for level?

travelover 09-19-2007 04:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by inspectorD (Post 11124)
Take off the interior trim and see if anything is behind where the hinges are. If not ...you can put longer screws into the hinge and catch the stud behind .This will pull the doors all over the place and help to get em workin again, hopefully.:D

The patio door assembly consists of two glass panels. One is fixed and the second one is hinged (the door). The hinges are mounted between the fixed glass panel and the door. As I mentioned , the hinges are rock solidly attached to both panels. Is it possible that the fixed panel has tipped slightly in the frame? When I installed this door I shimmed behind the sides and top and well as at the latch. I have not yet pulled the trim.

Thanks for any additional thoughts.

glennjanie 09-20-2007 07:40 AM

Hello Travelover:
I can remember when one of the companies came out with one door swinging off the other. I didn't like the idea then and I don't like it now. The best you can do is strengthen the fixed door to better support the swinging door; use a T-astrigal or other reinforcement on the fixed door, anchored securely at the top and bottom.
Glenn

inspectorD 09-20-2007 07:32 PM

Old
 
Sounds like the panels themselves are starting to give out. The frames carry all that glass weight for long periods of time in weather and start to sag.
That and the framing around the door itself may also be moving slightly and shrinkage of the floor joists at the sagging threshold.....basically this all adds up to door removal or adjustment in place.
The issue is how the weather seal works if you adjust in place.

And ...Sometimes you need a new door.


All this movement in a door opening with only an eighth of an inch gap on all sides does not leave much room for door to end up not working properly.

Hope this helps...or at least makes sense.;)

travelover 09-21-2007 07:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by inspectorD (Post 11514)
Sounds like the panels themselves are starting to give out. The frames carry all that glass weight for long periods of time in weather and start to sag.
That and the framing around the door itself may also be moving slightly and shrinkage of the floor joists at the sagging threshold.....basically this all adds up to door removal or adjustment in place.
The issue is how the weather seal works if you adjust in place.

And ...Sometimes you need a new door.


All this movement in a door opening with only an eighth of an inch gap on all sides does not leave much room for door to end up not working properly.

Hope this helps...or at least makes sense.;)

Thanks. Oddly the fixed panel and door look like new - no cracks warpage or separation. Hinges look like new and are not worn. Perhaps it as you said a combination of many subtle causes. When I get a minute, I'll pull off the trim and see if there is a more obvious fix.

travelover 09-12-2008 03:56 PM

Update
 
I decided to finally address this problem. Taking a careful look at all the door and window openings, I could see that indeed one corner of the porch was low, though there was no evidence of rot or deterioration of the supporting pier. Oddly, this sag didn't show up with level checks - maybe 1/4" over 12 feet didn't register. I used a hydraulic jack to lift the corner 1/4" and slipped in a 1/4" thick steel plate. The door swings just like new again. :)


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