Porch Roof Support Beam?


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Old 03-30-08, 06:19 AM
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Porch Roof Support Beam?

I've been replacing my roof. Thankfully it doesn't really rain until summer in this part of the country, so though it's been a slow process, it is progressing.

I'm now to the porch. The previous owners had at some time or another covered the roof decking with OSB. The main house roofdeck was done entirely in Douglas Fir planks and what I've done is replace any damaged or questionable boards with pine.

The porch OSB had a couple of rotted-out holes, where the valleys dumped onto the porch and you could see that there was some completely rotted Doug Fir beneath, so I removed the OSB to replace the planks. (The OSB on top of the planks raised the roofdeck, so that the drip edge didn't hide it and we just thought it'd be better to take it down to the original and really fix it)

When I got the OSB off, I could see why the previous owners had put it on and as a result, I've basically had to cut-out all but a couple of boards from each end. So, now I'm down to mostly the actual porch frame on the topside.

Okay, now that the lengthy introduction is out of the way. (Apologies)

Apparently when the water came down, it must've pooled at the frontside 9within the frame) because I've got an obviously rotten chunk of somethig I don't know what to call, but it's clearly two 2x4s nailed together (laminated?), sitting in front of a 2x6 and running the length of the porch (before the soffit).

The rafters appear to sit on the 2x6 and I have to assume that because the support posts are under the 2x4s, then most likely the 2x6 is also joined to 2x4s, perhaps by some bolts that I can see.

Part of me just wants to leave well enough alone because I can walk on the rafters and they don't give, plus everything looks to be on the same slope, but because this is the only time that I'm ever going to be in there working, my wife would like for me to cut out the bad spot.

Does anyone have any advice about how to replace the bad spot in the 2x4s (the 2x6 seems fine), while still protecting the integrity of the structure. I'm thinking that I might need to install some temporary floor jacks (cellar posts) during the remodel, but because the porch is 8' wide, I don't think that I can really do a header or anything along those lines as a "fix".

After a lot of thought, I'm now leaning toward thinking that I'd have to pretty much redo the whole thing, which is something I really don't want to do, if I have another choice as to how to replace or "fix" a 4' section of one laminated(?) beam.

Any thoughts? Anyone? Perhaps some refinement of my terminology, so that I can better search the archives? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in Advance
 
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Old 03-30-08, 10:20 AM
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Hello, Try Again,

Would it be possible for you to post pictures? You can use Picasa if you have a Google account or photobucket is easy to use. You can post the link here, or use the "insert picture" key, right above where we type. (Looks like a mountain)

I don't know why anyone would have used osb for roof sheathing, and if I understood correctly, there's fir plank under it. What's on top of the osb?

If xsleeper happens along, he may be able to decipher, but I need visual aids

Connie
 
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Old 03-30-08, 01:51 PM
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Thanks Connie. I realized after hitting submit that my word picture didn't do it justice and I probably ended-up confusing the matter, but it was still dark at that time.

Also, now that I've snapped a couple of pics, I see that my memory was a little off because what I really have appears the be a 2x4 frame in front of a beam consisting of three 2x6s. Two of the (married?, laminated?) 2x6s look rotted to different degrees and they sort of sound "hollow", when you tap on them with something.

Anyway, here should be two pics: a close-up and an overview. Unfortunately, the shadow does sort of obscure the view, but it'll be a couple more hours until the sun will be behind. And, I'll supply some narration after the photos.





The overview photo clearly shows the discoloration of the "bad spot" and the closeup shows that it's damaged.

What you can't really see from the photo due to the shadow is that there's the two "bad" 2x6s, then behind it is a 2x6 which is visible from the outside and it has one of the soffit boards sitting on top of it. This gives the outside 2x6, a 1/2" "rise" above the others and I can see that the 2x4 rafters are actually sitting upon it and as I said in the OP, there doesn't seem to be any give, when I step on the frame.

Also, I'll repeat that the outermost 2x6 is visible from the ground and it doesn't appear to be damaged. The firring strip is marking the innermost edge of the support posts and just for the record, underneath everything are sheets of OSB screwed-up and there's 1/4" finish plywood on the underside.

And finally, so we're all on the same page; The damaged 2x6s have a 1x4 underneath, so you can't really see the two boards from the bottom and though the 1x4 is visibly damaged from the water leaking through, it could be replaced and no one would be the wiser about what's above it.

Again, thanks for any help and any suggestions, anyone would like to make.
 
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Old 03-30-08, 02:51 PM
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The pictures are a huge help!

I would pull that sheathing off the underside of the roof, first. It's not in very good condition and cheap to replace. Then you can get to the top and bottom of all the framing.

The boards that sound hollow are going to need replaced- I don't know if you can just sister new wood to them, or not, but I'd want to be sure that's not termite damage.

All those 2x4's that are twisted should be knocked back straight and I'd add metal plates and joist hangers any place you can reach.

When you go to replace the sheathing, use pt or exterior grade.

Were there shingles atop the fir? Was there roofing felt under the shingles? It looks to me like most of the damage is from water getting in and not being able to dry out.

You can fix all this stuff...it may take a little while if you haven't done much carpentry, but there's nothing here to scratch your head about.

Use all galvanized nails, tico nails or deck screws. Use some flashing or drip edge around the roof and caulk anyplace else so water can't get back in between there.

Connie
 
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Old 03-30-08, 03:39 PM
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Thanks again, Connie.

Yeah, the plywood on the topside of the underside is in really bad shape, but the plywood which is visible from the bottom is mostly fine. When I first got to the porch, I checked to see whether I needed access from the top to replace the bottom because it'll obviously need to be done, but I still have more house to go and I de-prioritized the more cosmetic work. (Though, if necessary, it really wouldn't be a big deal to do it before I cover the top of the porch)

I also figured that I could straighten the bottom 2x4s, when I do the bottom and I've been thinking that I'll replace the missing rafter, while I'm up top.


With all that said, do you think sistering another board (2x4?) onto the bad spot would be structurally sound? Again, there's really no give, it's just that this is the only time that I'll ever be in there and I'll be selling the place sometime in the next couple of years.


Otherwise, yeah, the damage is most likely all from water. I'm not sure that termites actually live in this part of the country (there's not a lot for them to eat). I say "most likely" because I guess theoretically there could've been a fire at that one spot, but it's right in line with where the water would've pooled and where the roof had a leak.

And, most of the house had shingles on top of the fir. I've been replacing the damaged or questionable boards, then putting felt and shingles on top.

The porch on the other hand, obviously had significant damage from a couple of leaks where the porch joined the house and because the maintenance had fallen to in-laws of the original builder, they had shortcutted by just throwing OSB on top of the remaining porch fir, then felt, topped by rolled asphalt.

I'll be replacing the original boards, applying felt and then rolled asphalt because the porch roof has very little slope.

Thanks
---

Edited to Add: The house is more than 50 years old and in the "well" of the porch, I found four different colors of cheap shingles which I assume had washed down the hole(s). I don't know if it should be a factor in the repair, but I interpreted this sign to mean that the leak (hole) has been there for a few decades and that the damage has accumulated over time or occured mostly in year's past.
 

Last edited by TryAgain; 03-30-08 at 05:33 PM. Reason: correction
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Old 03-31-08, 01:26 PM
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I'm afraid you'll have to make the decision whether to sister, by yourself. I personally would cut those boards out and replace, but what I would personally do, isn't the answer I also would pull that sheathing off the bottom, so you can see the underside of those boards.

I have been accused of overkill I never feel satisfied until I know it's as good as or better than new. That's just a personal peccadillo...no reason you should feel obligated to do the same.

Where are you, that you have no termite woes, Alaska?
 
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Old 03-31-08, 02:47 PM
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Let's go back one step - what kind of roofing material do you plan to cover it with?
 
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Old 03-31-08, 05:36 PM
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Thanks again to everyone for the help...

Michael: I'm planning for the rafters to have either the "good" Doug Fir or pine planks, then a double layer of 15lb felt, topped by rolled asphalt. (It's a shingle-like material without any tabs, which you roll out like carpet). The porch has a slope of an inch or less per foot, so I bought the rolled asphalt for this area.

Connie: Now that I reread, I see that I misunderstood one of your comments and for some reason, I thought that you were saying that sistering would work and that's why I went for the clarification.

Of course, sistering (even if it had to be rafter-to-rafter) would be the easiest solution.

My reluctance to take everything down to the frame was/is mostly rooted in the fact that it's just me, working a few hours a day and because I have actual shingling to do above it, I wasn't really gung-ho to take a week to rebuild the porch. Plus, framing requires an inspection and if the porch were bare, the inspector would be sure to notice and because I'd feel the need to replace the underside while it's down, it's an additional expense that I'd kind of prefer to delay.

Though after our original back-and-forths, I've realized that because of a small overhang between the house and the porch and because I'm actually repairing the porch rather than jury-rigging something, my thoughts about creatively using some drip edge instead of 12" flashing means that it'd be easier for me to do the house above, if I just get the boards installed in a couple of areas.

This means that I'll be able to work on the porch at a slower pace, without delaying the actual house-roofing part of the project. Of course, if there was a structural answer that didn't involve taking-out all or part of the front beam, it'd be ideal, but the "delay" problem could theoretically be off the table.

Oh, and I'm guessig that because the 2x6s are staggered, then such a method might also be necessary, if I were to just cut out the "bad" part.

Naturally, any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated.
 
 

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