replace rotted porch edge

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Old 07-07-12, 05:31 AM
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replace rotted porch edge

Hello, we are in upstate central NY and have a wide grade-level porch that slopes slightly away from the house, with a single-slope roof over the porch. The part of the porch that's closest to the house is above the soil that’s under the porch, but the edge of the porch that is furthest from the house is rotting because it rests on the soil. That edge is also where the 4x4 posts that support the porch roof are: they have been sinking slightly due to rot at the bottom. The rot seems to be limited to bottoms of the 4x4 posts that support the roof, and to 6 to 12" of the porch deck frame along the outter edge of the porch. Otherwise the wood seems to be quite solid and sound, so what we’d like to do is make the porch 1 foot narrower and get a better foundation under the new porch edge and new roof posts. Cutting 12" in from the edge should remove all of the rotted 2x4 wood frame under the deck boards.
The roof rafters extend about a foot beyond the porch's 4x4 posts that support the roof, so we can temporarily prop the roof up at the end of the rafters with 4x4 posts and beams without too much trouble. That should allow us to remove the porch posts and rail and have some clear space to cut away that rotted outter edge of the porch frame.
I think that I should try to set some foundation for the new posts that will support the roof first, and then once the new roof supports are in place, dig a shallow trench between them for a better foundation for the edge of the porch.
What do you think would be a good way to put in an adequate foundation for the new 4x4 porch roof posts, in very cramped workspace? And then once that’s done, what do you think would be a good way to provide a better foundation for the new edge to the narrowed porch?
There isn’t much money for doing this. We’re not afraid of the work of manually digging out in a tight space, and we know not to dig close to a load-bearing prop. Overall the house is very ‘rustic’ so the work doesn’t have to have visual appeal or a trim finish.
Thanks for your suggestions and help.
 
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Old 07-07-12, 06:11 AM
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I think you have the right idea, and digging individual footings for the support members will always win out over sinking wood into the ground. It may help us to help you if you were to post a few pictures of the porch so we can actually see what you see. http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...your-post.html
 
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Old 07-08-12, 07:02 AM
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photos

Thanks for the suggestion to provide photos. Here are 3 photos, if this upload works.Name:  e porch from east.jpg
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Size:  42.9 KBName:  e porch from north.jpg
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Size:  47.2 KBName:  e porch NE corner from inside.jpg
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Old 07-08-12, 07:18 AM
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I'd pull it up and replace it with concrete! You'll never get a lasting job with wood buried in the dirt
 
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Old 07-09-12, 03:29 AM
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The porch is good shade and cover from weather, and it really does have a lot of good, sound wood in it. It's just the edge that's bad.
The goal here is to prevent further rot by improving what's under the new porch edge and roof posts. Almost anything would be better than what's there now. If anyone has some suggestions for working around a propped up roof, and for getting something better under a new porch edge, we'd be interestd.
Thank you.
 
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Old 07-09-12, 03:51 AM
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I agree with Marksr. Pull up the floor boards, leave the roof and it's support, form up inside the vertical roof support and pour concrete. What you have there is a place for rotten wood to form as well as termites. Making a pour will eliminate most of that and give you a good solid place to sit and watch the sunrise.
 
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Old 07-09-12, 10:57 AM
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I'm going to (strongly) vote for going with concrete. Remove the lumber, salvage what you can (planks would make a few great, rustic picnic tables and/or benches), and do the job right. Trying to "improve what's under the porch edge" is comparable to installing screen doors on submarines, meaning it just won't work. Anything you do will not be a lasting repair, so you will be back at it in a few more years.
 
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Old 07-10-12, 03:46 AM
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Could you please tell me if this plan would work, and help me with the questions?

- Remove porch boards and frame
- Support and level roof with temporary 4x4 posts and beams
- Remove old roof posts and railing
- Dig out and level the area for concrete -- About how deep?
- How could the places where the new roof posts will rest, be prepared? If something deeper should be put in those places, what could work?
- Put in base for the concrete -- what would you recommend - sand? crusher run? something else?
- Build form for concrete - about how thick a slab? Would you recommend spacers like in a sidewalk? About how many? Would you recommend rebar? About how much and what pattern?
- Set bolts for brackets for new porch posts
- pour and cure concrete
- install new porch posts and railing

What do you think? Thanks.
 
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Old 07-10-12, 04:53 AM
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Now, you're talkin'. I would dig it about 6" below the footing of the house. That will give you enough room for your gravel base, rebar(fence) and 3"+ of concrete. Make sure the concrete slopes away from the house.
 
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Old 07-11-12, 02:56 AM
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So, the new roof posts would go directly on the slab?
 
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Old 07-11-12, 04:16 AM
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Yes, using a metal or composite stand off plate to keep water from reaching the bottom of the posts. Google "porch post stand off plates". It is always best to fasten the post bases to the concrete, then fasten the post to the base to keep sidesway from occurring.
 
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Old 07-12-12, 03:19 AM
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I understand about post stand-off plates and brackets, but what I'm wondering about whether the cement slab can take the weight of the porch roof, where the roof posts are. I don't really know anything about putting in cement slabs -- about how strong they are. Should the places in the slab where the roof posts will be, be prepared or reinforced differently than the rest of the slab?

Thanks.
 
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Old 07-12-12, 04:07 AM
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You won't have any weight to speak of from the edge of the roof, so extra footing is probably not going to be necessary. If it were a deck or something with personnel weight, I would dig footings. While you are digging, it wouldn't hurt to go ahead and make your landings for the posts a little thicker. Certainly will make it more sturdy.
 
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Old 07-13-12, 02:51 AM
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Thank you very much Chandler and all. Much, much appreciated.
 
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