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Porch Posts?

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  • Porch Posts?

    I'm in the designing phase on our porch restoration. One of the things to do is to remove the 1970's black steel tube railing and replace it with a period correct wooden one. There will be three 6"ish posts in the corners and two in the center. I don't want to use 6X6's as I want finished quality. I was thinking of making boxes out of either 4/4 or 2x stock. Would the 4/4 be strong enough? would I have to use a complex joint like a locked miter or is glued and screwed butt joints enough? I am open to ideas so let me have them.
    Jerome
    Canada's South Coast

    Port Colborne On.
    Every loaf of bread is a tragic tale of grains that could've become beer.......but didn't....
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  • #2

    Re: Porch Posts?

    Are the existing posts steel? Leave them and box around them. Or does that make them too big?
    iamtooler likes this.

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    • #3

      Re: Porch Posts?

      They are 1inch steel tubes that would be in the way, they sit on top of the decking which is rotting away beneath them.
      IMG_1856.JPG ​​​​​​​
      Jerome
      Canada's South Coast

      Port Colborne On.
      Every loaf of bread is a tragic tale of grains that could've become beer.......but didn't....

      Comment


      • #4

        Re: Porch Posts?

        I have used PT 4x4 boxed with eastern white cedar to great effect, and if desired/needed it could easily be a steel jack post in place of the 4x4. Regardless of what you eventually choose, make sure the bottoms remain clear of standing water and I would recommend a stain instead of paint so that there is no barrier to trap water in the wood. Wet cedar that is able to dry will outlast us both.
        Erik

        Canada's Island Paradise - Prince Edward Island

        Proud member of the Wadkin Blockhead Club

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        • #5

          Re: Porch Posts?

          Judging from the picture this post is holding up a portion of the roof. When you remove an existing load bearing post you are required to replace it with a post that meets the current building code. Whether you get a permit or not is up to you but it's still a good idea to comply with the spirit of the law both for your own legal protection (no statute of limitations on BC violations and home ownership makes it easy for lawyers to track you down.) and simply because the OBC is the minimum allowed by law which when you consider it is a very low yardstick to aim for.

          From a design standpoint I would determine what my finished column looked like then look for a structural solution that allows me to achieve my design.

          A post that carries a larger portion of the structure is called a point load and the OBC says all point loads have to be brought directly to ground unless designed by a professional engineer. You have to make sure whatever structural post you use fully bears on a column that goes directly to a footing. If you have it sitting on a deck then there must be squash blocks that provide full bearing to the foundation.

          I don't have the OBC in front of me at the moment so I can't say what canned solutions the OBC currently prescribes and I'm not a p.eng but experience tells me that the minimum you could likely get away with are 2 - 2x4's laminated together. It's surprising what actually meets the OBC from an engineering standpoint. Those flimsy snap together aluminum columns can carry a substantial roof load and if you ran the numbers I'm confident a column made out of 4/4 pine would meet the code if properly constructed.

          If it were my property I'd probably pick up a piece 2 x 2 steel square tubing, weld a flange top and bottom then clad it with 4/4 material in order to get a nice slim column but like I said earlier the thing to do is to figure out what you want this post to look like first then look for structural solutions that allow you to achieve that design ..... or change the design to something that works if a practical structural solution can't be found.

          Good design isn't easy ..... it take a lot of thought.

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          • #6

            Re: Porch Posts?

            2” square tubing w/flange would work fine. I’ve seen contractors double up treated 2x4s lag bolted to wooden top and bottom plates used to attach them and box around that. I e unwrapped some very old columns and that was inside and looked like new.

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