Porch on piers settling?

Discussion in 'Framing and Foundation' started by travelover, Aug 17, 2007.

  1. Aug 17, 2007 #1

    travelover

    travelover

    travelover

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2007
    Messages:
    693
    Likes Received:
    2
    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.
     
  2. Aug 21, 2007 #2

    inspectorD

    inspectorD

    inspectorD

    Housebroken Staff Member Admin Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2005
    Messages:
    4,502
    Likes Received:
    267
    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.:)
     
  3. Aug 21, 2007 #3

    travelover

    travelover

    travelover

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2007
    Messages:
    693
    Likes Received:
    2
    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.
     
  4. Aug 25, 2007 #4

    inspectorD

    inspectorD

    inspectorD

    Housebroken Staff Member Admin Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2005
    Messages:
    4,502
    Likes Received:
    267
    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
     
  5. Aug 26, 2007 #5

    Daryl in Nanoose

    Daryl in Nanoose

    Daryl in Nanoose

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2006
    Messages:
    768
    Likes Received:
    9
    Here comes a really dumb question. Did you check the floor or beams for level?
     
  6. Sep 19, 2007 #6

    travelover

    travelover

    travelover

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2007
    Messages:
    693
    Likes Received:
    2
    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.
     
  7. Sep 20, 2007 #7

    glennjanie

    glennjanie

    glennjanie

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2006
    Messages:
    2,990
    Likes Received:
    4
    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
     
  8. Sep 21, 2007 #8

    inspectorD

    inspectorD

    inspectorD

    Housebroken Staff Member Admin Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2005
    Messages:
    4,502
    Likes Received:
    267
    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.;)
     
  9. Sep 21, 2007 #9

    travelover

    travelover

    travelover

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2007
    Messages:
    693
    Likes Received:
    2
    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.
     
  10. Sep 12, 2008 #10

    travelover

    travelover

    travelover

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2007
    Messages:
    693
    Likes Received:
    2
    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. :)
     
  11. Sep 12, 2008 #11

    Square Eye

    Square Eye

    Square Eye

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2006
    Messages:
    1,273
    Likes Received:
    10
    Funny how a slight tweak can bring things back to good again. Glad this worked out well for you. Many homes would benefit greatly from a little time spent under the floor.
    Good update, Thanks for sharing!
     
  12. Sep 13, 2008 #12

    travelover

    travelover

    travelover

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2007
    Messages:
    693
    Likes Received:
    2
    As a follow up, I calculated the angle change for 1/4" over 12 feet - it is 0.1 degrees. No wonder I couldn't see it with a level. Of course, the wood joists are not infinity rigid, so the actual tweak may have been more local, at the door hinge point and was magnified on the door bottom closer to the latch side.

    At any rate, a good lesson for me.
     

Share This Page