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Recruiter
Repairing a load bearing porch post
Recruiter

I have a 3 story multi-family house, built in 1908, with solid turned 6x6 inverted acorn posts. The corner post, on the first floor has significant rot on the bottom of the post. It is about halfway into the post and is about 6-8 inches high. I am unable to find a replacement post of the same style and turning, so in order to maintain a consistant look, I would have to replace all 12 posts. Not in the budget!

Is it possible to safely replace or repair the bottom section of the post? I was hoping to be able to cut off the lower 12(?) inches, so I'm above all the rot. Then I would replace it with a new 6x6. I was thinking of attaching it with epoxy and dowels. Once it is dried, I could then fill in any gaps with epoxy wood filler, and sand it smooth.

Am I on the right track, or is this not a safe repair?

Thanks

A. Spruce
Re: Repairing a load bearing porch post
A. Spruce

Once you cut a post, you've ended it's structural value. There is no repair other than replacement.

Rather than replace all the posts, why not find a facility that can replicate the damaged post, while expensive, this will not be nearly as expensive as replacing all the posts, particularly if you're trying to maintain the period authenticity of the structure.

I'm willing to bet that you can find a shop to replicate the damaged post for much less than you would spend to do anything else.

dj1
Re: Repairing a load bearing porch post
dj1

In many cases Spruce is right, but take a look at the way Tom Silva from TOH repairs a 6x6 rotted post in his video. Just search "repair a rotted porch post".

You will need all the tools he uses in the vid to get the job done. When you buy a replacement 6x6, make sure it matches the one you have.

Show us some pics of before and after, you can upload them to a host like photobucket, then post the link here.

Recruiter
Re: Repairing a load bearing porch post
Recruiter

dj1's suggestion was right on the money.
Tom Silva's video is exactly what I needed for the repair. My only concern at this point is, what size bottle jacks am I going to need to hold up the 3 stories of porches. They are available in 1, 3, 7, 10, 20 and 30 ton. Which bottle jack would I need to hold up the porches? I will be placing a jack on each side of the post, as indicated in the video.
Thanks

dj1
Re: Repairing a load bearing porch post
dj1

I've used 8 ton jacks in the past, actually two of them, and 4x4 supports. Since you will not be lifting the whole house, and just enough to free this particular post, you'll be fine with 7 or 8 ton jacks. These bottle jacks (I got them at Harbor Freight) are useful for many things, including tire rotation and fixing flats. I like them better than the van's jack (the scissor jack).

Like I said, have everything you need for the job waiting on the side, so you won't have to interrupt the process going looking for parts. Also, I like to have everything resting on jacks and posts for as short time as possible, for obvious reasons.

Recruiter
Re: Repairing a load bearing porch post
Recruiter

Thanks dj1.
I was originally thinking I needed as large of a jack as I could find. Then I realized, I'm not supporting the house. I'm actually supporting a lot of empty space between the ends of the porches, then the porch roof.
Since this is the corner post of the first floor, and also since some of the floor boards are probably going to be rotted under the rotted post, it will be a good time to fix up the porch floor at the same time. I will simply jack up off the ground, and support the 2nd floor with additional supports to stabilize them, while I work on the first floor.
Now I need to find some rough sawn 6x6 cedar or white oak. That is proving to be more difficult than I originally expected. I have found only 1 local supplier in my area supplying cedar timbers.
Thanks for the help.

dj1
Re: Repairing a load bearing porch post
dj1

"Now I need to find some rough sawn 6x6 cedar or white oak. That is proving to be more difficult than I originally expected. I have found only 1 local supplier in my area supplying cedar timbers."

If the one lumber shop that you found has what you need, buy it quickly. Running around town looking for a cheaper price is not worth the time, when you only need a 2 or 3 foot piece, or even the standard 8' length. However, the one you buy must meet your expectations as far as looks and quality.

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