my husband and i removed a superficial attachment to our second-story front porch (stair structure leading to the bottom floor) and closed off the porch about 6 months ago. the stair structure bore no load for the porch and the posts for the stair structure were barely 1.5 feet in the ground in concrete. recently we have noticed that the floors in our home, particularly closer to the front of the house where the porch is, are creaking a significant amount, we're hearing cracking throughout the house, and i am noticing cracks in the walls that may or may not have been there before.
even though the stair structure did not bare a load for the porch, could this be settling due to a change in the external structure of the home? should we call a structural engineer to take a look or would a general contractor suffice?
thanks in advance for any advice!
My impression is the builder fudged on the footings and got past the inspector some how, considering the depth of the posts you mentioned. Talk to a home inspector and ask him to check out the footers.
You say you "closed off the porch"
Does that mean it was an open porch & you enclosed with walls & windows?
If so the added weight could have caused the sinking
And even tho the stairs did not seem to be bearing any load they might have had some load
Normally an attached structure (deck) has footings down to the same level as the house. If not then as stated by Glenn the footings are also a problem
But Atlanta probably doesn't need footers very deep
But they could be undersized
What holds up this porch?
How many posts etc?
Size of concrete under posts
Those footers are usually a piece of pipe into the ground in an older home with no footing at the bottom..or...maybe a rock. Have a good Contractor dig it up on one to see what you have. A home inspector or engineer will also be able to help, and have no alterior motives. But a good contractor can do the same.:D
Ask for referals and insurance.
the porch is on the second level of the home. it has four columns that hold up the front portion of the roof. between the columns are railings and boulsters.
originally, there was a two-story staircase that went from the ground level, up to the second story. we "closed in" the porch by removing the step structure, and closing off what was the top of the stairs with boulsters and a rail like the remainder of the top deck, making it uniform and "closed" or a dedicated porch, if you will. it's similar to other southern-style two-story homes with the top story having a porch the width of the home and carrying some weight of the roof.
when we dug up the posts that were holding up the stair structure, they were literally 4x4s that were sunk into the ground about a foot and a half. the concrete holding them there was no larger than a soccer ball. my husband was able to just pull them out of the ground without digging.
the second-story porch rests on four brick columns the height of the first story of the home. within each column is a similar 4x4. and as far as we can tell, the 4x4s encased in the brick are resting on the slab of concrete that sits at the first story and is the same perimeter of the second story porch.
i am not sure if that gives a better picture of what we're talking about.
You need new piers and posts, and brackets to hold it to the pier.
This is typical of an older home.
Someone will need to support the upper structure, and install new piers.
Try this link.
Concrete Footing and Pier Forms
Hope this helps.:)
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