What's up with these porch columns?

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Old 05-05-12, 10:56 AM
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What's up with these porch columns?

I have an enclosed 19' wide and 4' deep porch that I'm renovating. Currently it has 3 porch columns: https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/phot...eat=directlink

What you can see is 1x4 and 1x6 boards boxing in the column and then the "V" at the top are 4x4 posts. I thought that the 1x4 and 1x6 boards were simply wrapping a 4x4 post for decorative purposes, but when I pried one of them back, the post is hollow.

I originally planned on removing the 1x boards and then wrapping the posts (which don't exist) with Azek or Fypon column wrap. Now I am at a complete loss at what do do and have more questions than answers.

1. Is the current setup safe? I've never seen 1" boards used for structural support? This stuff isn't even pressure treated. That being said, it's been standing for 20 years.
2. In the current setup, are those "V" 4x4 members at the top of the columns structural? I originally thought they were decorative, but now I'm not sure.
3. What's my best course of action: Removing the original posts altogether an replace with 4x4 posts which I'll wrap or leave these posts as-is and wrap them.
 
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Old 05-05-12, 11:54 AM
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My front porch posts back in VA were built the same way. Actually...when you box 1X4 that way it's quite strong. You probably aren't really supporting that huge a load since your floor joists are cantilevered over the load bearing wall at the back. If they are in good shape I'd clean them up and put a coat of paint on.
 
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Old 05-05-12, 07:45 PM
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I agree with Vic. When Hurricane Ivan played here a while back, our church steeple was blown off and it fell over and into the front doors like an arrow , taking one column with it. I replaced the doors fine, but the column was 12" actual square, and hollow. I used exterior grade 3/4" plywood mitered on the edges and just rebuilt it like it was originally. Still in good shape. But, like yours, the roof was not being supported that much by the columns due to cantilevering.
 
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Old 05-11-12, 04:42 PM
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When you boxed in the plywood did you let it touch the concrete? My existing posts are all rotting due to direct ground contact. Also, how did you secure the plywood to the floor?
 
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Old 05-11-12, 05:49 PM
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No, I stopped the plywood short of the concrete, attaching it to an internal band of pressure treated wood which was sitting on the concrete. I, then, trimmed the bottom with a molding. The molding may become water damaged, but it is much easier to replace than the column itself. I put it like that because the remaining columns were trimmed that way.
 
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