How to Replace Wood Porch Columns

The wood porch columns in your house are always exposed to the fury of the environment. These are continuously affected by rain, sunlight and snowfall and may rot out after some time. The columns occupy some space in the porch and support the roof. When you come to know that these columns are rotting and getting black spots, it is the right time to replace them. You can take the professional help for this. However, you can easily replace them yourself. You need to get the brand new columns for your porch. You  have the option to either purchase ready-made columns or you can possibly get them constructed in accordance with your specs. It is better to draw a sketch and mark the dimensions on that. In case you have to get them manufactured, get them made  in PT or fir wood.  Just be sure that you give the right measurements.  When your columns are received, sandpaper and paint the columns with the identical colour of the porch. Here are simple steps  to take to do it yourself:

Tools and Materials Needed:

  • New columns
  • Hydraulic jack
  • Measuring tape
  • Planks
  • Support posts
  • Reciprocating saw
  • Pry bar  
  • Hammer
  • Decking
  • Abrasive masonry blade
  • Angular grinder
  • Bungee cords
  • Saw horse
  • Power hand drill
  • Brackets
  • Screws
  • Plumb line

Steps 1 - Supporting the Structure

Release the load from the first column to be replaced by putting a 4 ton hydraulic jack and a 3 by 6 plank. Elevate the porch roof corner about an inch to sit on the 3 by 6 plank so that its weight is born by the jack temporarily and you can remove the rotten column.

Step 2 - Making Supporting Post

Set up two 2 by 6 support posts temporarily on both sides of the porch post to take the load. The supporting posts also sit on spanned planks to bear the porch load on the deck frame.

Step 3 - Removing the Rotten Wood Post

Take the measurement of the post to be replaced. Make a sketch. Check the level of porch using a string. It may be dipping at the corner where the column was damaged. Cut away the rotten column using a reciprocating saw and tear it apart with a pry bar and hammer. Take care that you do not cause any damage to the ceiling, walls or floor.

Step 4 - Replacing Decking below the Removed Column

Remove the decking that was under the rotten column. Replace it with the new one.

Step 5 - Preparing and Setting the New Wood Column

Cut the new wood porch column to make adjustment in size using an abrasive masonry blade. For this, secure the column with the help of saw horses and bungee cords. Trim the lower section for tapered portion of the column to make the small adjustments with a rasp or angular grinder orba masonry blade to guarantee even load distribution on the load bearing faces. The column must have the proper height, fit and should be is set level. It must be installed in a same way like the previous one.

Round columns are provided with a consistent diameter on their bottom with about 1/3 of the shaft height that can be cut to adjust for fitting. The round columns’ top have about 2/3 height with a slight taper.

To ensure concentric loading on the column, its bottom must totally come in contact with the deck and nearly 75% of the top of replaced column should be in contact the beam. Set the column properly in position.

Step 6 - Check the Column is Vertical

Check the 2 sides of column to ensure it is vertical. The bottom part of the column is straight and should be checked with a plumb measurement.

Step 7 - Install the New Column

Lower the weight over the column after it has been set in its position by moving the jack and secure it at the top and bottom with the help of support brackets. You should pre-drill everything to be fixed on new column.

Step 8 - Final Setting and Check

Once the column is firmly fixed in place remove the jack and knock out all the supports from under the support beam. Check that everything is in order. Now move to the next column for its replacement.