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Question DetailsAsked on 3/27/2014

Who repairs/replaces rotted structural porch columns that extend from a second-floor overhang roof to a porch?

This is a 1977 Greek Revival house with four large columns, and I suspect more than just the one column might have rot damage. It is crumbling on the bottom of one column. There was a gutter leak above this column, and a new gutter has been placed. The columns are painted wood, not aluminum or vinyl. What options for replacement are there? What is the cost of replacing one and/or all four?

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2 Answers


Options are dependent on your existing foundation type and size for those columns to some extent, but normal materials would include treated wood or steel column with an architectural metal or plastic or wood covering, plastic column if not carrying a tremendous load (comes in all sorts of decorative greek and roman and such shapes), decorative steel (probably not a fit for your architecture), or plain painted wood.

If you are looking at replacing with pretty much the same thing now that the gutter is fixed, then a carpenter should be able to handle it - be sure he is experienced in shoring up patio roofs while replacing a column.

To be a bit on the safer side, or want to go to something dramatically different, then a General Contractor is probably the one to go to - he will probably have to bring in a structural engineer for about $250-350 to do a plan for the new column size and materials to get the building permit (another $50-200 typically) to do the replacement. That may NOT be necessary, depending on your locale, if you replace same place same size with plain or treated wood, so that might dramatically impact your decision, especilly if only replacing one and not all four.

Cost highly dependent on your situation, but for about 10' column wood replacement might be in ballpark of $500-1000 for one, $1000-2000 for two. Architectural design columns generally about double to triple that depending on which one you choose and material it is made of. In eash case engineer and permit cost could easily add another $300-500 range if required in your area.

One other possibility is have it looked at first by a carpenter to determine depth of damage (and if infested with termites or carpenter ants, as they like damp rotted wood) - if just a bit of rot around the bottom of the column but not all the way through, a local repair may be possible for a few hundred dollars without even removing the column. Would probably require putting a collar or pedestal around the bottom, which could be trimmed out and matched on the other four, depending on your circumstances.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD


LCD is spot on with his reccomendations !

One thing that is not mentioned , in consideration of the fact that the Home was constructed prior to 1978 , You have a scenario where you are going to be involved in a situation where you are probably going to be involved in compliance with the " EPA "

recently enacted " EPA Lead RRP LAW " . This law requires compliance with a NEW Law that went into effective April 2010 , regarding Renovations and Repairs to any Residential structure built prior to 1978 . This LAW requires the Testing of any painted surface in Homes built prior to 1978 . " Homeowners can Demolish or Renovate/REPAIR any product in their HOMES without complying with New LAW "!

ALL Contractors , are by LAW Required to follow a strict Regiment of Proceedures including the TESTING of the Painted Surfaces .

IF the painted surface , Proves POSITIVE for the containment of LEAD Paint , the AREA around the Painted Surface MUST be treated as LEAD Contaminated and sheilded from exposing any Lead contaminated paint from being disbursed into or onto nieghboring lands.

If a contractor or any person who is " Paid " to deconstruct the offending product , is Engaged or Hired for said Repairs , that Person , MUST By LAW ,Be "CERTIFIED by the EPA to engage in such repairs" , and Failure to fully follow Prescripted or Prescibed Compliance techniques is therefore Liable and subject to a $ 32,000.00 a DAY FINE !

Replacement of the Column will require a Building Permit as it is " Structural " by design and application . Some localities are now requiring All Contractors to be fully Certified in the" EPA RRP Process " , before isuing any permits

Answered 6 years ago by BentheBuilder

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