Repairing vs. Replacing Rotting Porch Columns Repairing vs. Replacing Rotting Porch Columns
Evaluating porch columns for structural faults or damage is a good way to assess if they need to be replaced or just repaired. Replacing or repairing one does not require you to have a building permit if you are using the same material to do it and do not modify its structure in any way. Professionals will employ the use of heavy equipment, scaffolding and will have the necessary permits to make and approve any structural changes. There are a few things you can look for when deciding whether you want to replace your porch columns or just touched them up with a bit of repair work. Here’s what you should look for.
Type of Columns
When considering whether you should replace or just repair a porch column, its type can be very important. If you have a column that supports a second story or a balcony it is a good idea to replace it. This will be more expensive than repairing it, but it is safer. Columns that support a big load are important to your home’s stability. They should always be maintained in top condition. You should just do repairs if you’re dealing with a column that is decorative or just holds a small roof. You will prolong the life of a porch column by making sure it always has a good coat of paint or is treated with wood oil against rot.
Type of Damage
Porch columns can be damaged by rot, eaten by insects such as termites or have their integrity falter due to the changes in temperature between seasons. The key to knowing whether you just want to repair a column or completely replace it is in knowing how extensive the damage is. Rot can occur in wood due to rainwater sipping in from a bad roof or gutter. It can also be the result of years of wear and tear. If the damage is localized, then it’s often a good idea to just repair the one spot and stop the leaking water from reaching it again. If the entire column is affected however, it is safer to just replace the entire thing.
It will always be more expensive to replace the porch column rather than make a localized repair. However, you will have to take into consideration the implications of trying to cut back on the cost when dealing with a badly damaged column. A failing column will not only lead up to a more expensive repair, but can jeopardize the safety of you and your family. A good compromise is to repair and reinforce the existing column, which will probably end up costing less. You should always replace any columns that have big visible cracks in them regardless of the cost.
If you’re still unsure about whether you should repair or replace your porch columns it is a good idea to employ the assistance of a professional. They can examine and decide if your columns need to be replaced or repaired and some companies will offer a free inspection if you decide to use them for the repair/replacement job.