Enclosed front porch sagging

Old 11-06-23, 11:40 AM
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Enclosed front porch sagging

Hello all, I am attaching pictures of my enclosed front porch. Hopefully the pictures capture, that the porch has a bit of pitch to it leaning forward (in other words, it is sagging in the front). I am seeing if anyone has any advice here before I attempt to get the porch leveled in the spring with bottle jacks.

I'll try to give more description on the current state of the porch / context: the house was built in 1935, I would guestimate that the porch is original. Some have theorized that the porch was built as an open porch, and thus was built with some pitch intentionally for water runoff, and then enclosed down the road. I can't rule this out, however there seems to be some evidence to the contrary (evidence that is has sunk over time):

1. the pitch that is has now is not uniform. Using a level, I estimate that the corner in the side picture that I took needs to be raised 4" ; on the other corner, it is closer to 2.5-3" .
2. When I use a level on the flooring of the inside, the porch is barely pitched in the very middle of the porch, where the front beam may theoretically is resting on the concrete steps ? (I cannot confirm that due to lack of visibility)
3. There are posts in between the knee wall & roof structure (in between each window); it looks to me like some of these posts & their nails have been pulled off of the knee wall closer to the front of the porch. For some of those posts there is a little gap between the bottom of the post / top of knee wall? This suggests to me how the front has fallen over time?
4. The wood posts in both the front corners are just sitting on bare earth, so to me that is just asking for sinking over time

I suppose that it's possible it was built with some pitch, but it has sunk more over time. Obviously I just don't know for sure. Underneath the porch, what I see are long joists that go left to right (parallel to a theoretical ledger board), and then on top of that is some type of plank sub-flooring that goes front to back.

Tentatively what I would like to do in the spring, is dig around a bit under the porch as needed to get some clearance / access. Get a few bottle jacks set up on top of a paver or something to prevent the jack from just being pushed into the earth. Get the jack pushed into one of the joists closest to the front (if not the main beam in the very front) and get the porch up a few inches (again it is not the same amount on each side) and then get it supported with jack stands. Dig down 4-5 feet with post hole digger (I am in MA where frost depth is about 4') and compact some crushed stone down, then pour sono tubes. Backfill, let cure, and get porch back down onto this.

From there I understand that I may need all new windows and this is ok with me as the existing windows are junk honestly anyways, and I would like to update most of the walling, trim, floor (there really is no finished floor inside now anyways) but I can do this over time.

Before I do anything else, I am first going to drive some 5" ledger screws into the joist that is attached to the house (theoretically a ledger board although in this case it's not really a ledger board since there are no joists attached to it / going perpendicular to it). Want to try to get those ledger screws sunk deep enough to where it grabs onto a framing member, hopefully the sill.

I'm also going to order some rough-cut joist hangers after I verify the size of the joists underneath there. I plan to use the Simpson SD screws (#9, mix of 2.5" and 1.5") approved for the joist hangers. I figure why not shore up the framing under there and really tighten things up. The way it is now, the joists (which go left to right, parallel to the ledger board) are just notched into the side beams I believe.

Does anyone have any insight here?


Last edited by PJmax; 11-06-23 at 12:43 PM. Reason: resized/enhanced pics
Old 11-06-23, 12:49 PM
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I'm not the pro here but I'm looking at pictures that could be a friends house.
He had the same problem. The porch was settling in the front.
It had been built as an open porch and then enclosed with windows just like yours.
There had never been proper footings in the front and the entire porch was sinking.

We picked the floor up and there wasn't room to do anything underneath.
He called in a mason and they ended up temporarily raising the front and setting three sonotubes for footings.

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