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taxona 04-29-2007 05:46 PM

Saggy Porch
I live in a frame and brick bungalow built in 1917. The front and back porches are on brick columns and have experienced settling over the years. I am particularly concerned about one corner of the front porch where settling has become an obvious sag, to the point that windows on that end of the porch do not close fully. This corner has a downspout nearby, which accounts for the exaggerated settling.

The columns are constructed of two types of brick. A pretty dark brown brick on the exterior visible side, which is still in great shape, and a beige brick on the inside which is crumbly and downright deteriorated in many places.

My thought is that what needs to occur is to jack up the porch, remove the columns, replace or rebuild them and properly seat them on ? concrete? poured below the freeze line.

Is it worth it for me to get the jacks myself and get the porch, over time, to where it should be? How do I properly place the jacks? There is a joist I can put the top of the jack on but the steel plate could only be screwed diagonally with 2 screws. I was thinking that the bottom must be supported by a two by four or something to distribute the weight. How long of a board should I use? Should this board be placed perpendicular or parallel to the joist? Is this part of the job insignificant, cost-wise, so as to just pay someone else to do the whole thing? Thoughts? How to proceed?

Also, if I decide it is too tedious to repair and that it makes better sense to tear the porch off and rebuild it, would it be okay to jack it up to at least make it more visually appealing until I can afford to replace it?


glennjanie 04-29-2007 06:31 PM

Hey Melanie:
Your jacks should be set on 2 X 8s on the ground and angled in to support the porch beam. If you are adept at laying brick you could retain the original appearance, if you are not then you could remove the columns and replace them with aluminum. There are several styles of aluminum columns available. If the floor is made of wood it may have to be rebuilt when you take the brick columns down.
You could also make columns of treated wood and maybe cover them with aluminum coil stock. I would also make the new floor of treated wood. Concrete footers and concrete block piers would work or you could use a full concrete block foundation (then you could backfill the porch floor and pour a concrete floor).
Please post back and let us know how it goes for you, maybe even some before and after pictures.

inspectorD 04-30-2007 06:39 AM

Great ideas...
Those are all great ideas, however the aluminum coil stock does not last long with the new pressure treated lumber. Dissimilar metals in the wood like to eat the inferior aluminum. They do sell plastic coil stock now that will look Ok, or paint is another option.
When doing porch jacking always make sure you have enough supports under the deck and roof above and that they are on stable ground. Also check to see what kind of condition the wood you are lifting is in, sometimes you have decayed lumber in the beams of the porch roof. This is always good to check...just in case.:D

taxona 05-22-2007 04:25 PM

Okay, I am ready to tackle this problem. I couldn't get attached photos to show so the pictures are in my profile Gallery.

What length do the 2 x 8s need to be? Do I need to place them parallel or perpendicular to the beam?


inspectorD 05-24-2007 05:29 PM

This is typical of a front porch with brick columns that do not go to far into the soil.
You will need to replace the piers , possibly one at a time.
My suggestion is to get a professional to help you with the basics of where to start. The issues with this porch could be beyond what you as a homeowner sees. There may be issues only a professional will notice like pests or parts pulling away or not supported correctly. For the money it would be a no brain-er to get you to know what to do first or at all.

Typically this is an easy labor intensive pay attention to load transfer repair, however with it being old some wood may not bend like it used to. I would hate to here of a collapse when you are working on this.

Maybe you can hire someone to work with you on the project ?

Never hurts to ask. Check out your local lumber yard for a candidate or two.

Happy and safe building.:D

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