Paging all friendly neighborhood carpenters
If you have a home with a porch and roof overhang combination, you may run into a situation where you need to replace your porch columns. Because porch posts are load-bearing, you’ll want to call in a pro like a carpenter to tackle any necessary repairs or replacements. Carpenters have the proper knowledge, tools, and experience to handle this important job.
Benefits of Hiring a Pro Carpenter to Replace Your Porch Columns
Professional carpenters have an inherent understanding of how homes are assembled and repaired. Structures that support weight, like porches with columns or roofs with beams, are critical pieces to the home’s overall stability and value. Replacing porch columns cost about $400, but can cost up to $2,500 depending on a few factors, so you want to get it right. Here are a few reasons why hiring a pro carpenter to replace your porch columns is a good choice:
They’re licensed and insured.
They have the less common tools to do the work correctly.
They have the know-how to do the project efficiently.
They will take responsibility for the repair.
Can I DIY Replace Porch Columns?
It is possible to DIY replace a porch column, but it’s a pretty advanced project for a typical homeowner. Replacing porch columns requires a lot of skills, expensive tools (like a house jack), and labor. It’s also a job that can have serious consequences to your home’s foundation and roof if not done properly.
There’s also the added question of whether your home insurance company would look favorably upon the work if it’s not done by a licensed professional; if not, this could affect your resale value if an appraisal inspector flags the repair as being a potential building code violation.
Can I Hire a Foundation Repair Specialist to Replace a Porch Column?
Depending on how ornate the porch post is, you could also hire a foundation repair company to replace the porch columns. Many columns are made of concrete, brick, or stacked cinder blocks, which are specialties of contractors such as these. These types of columns are a better fit for a masonry contractor than a carpenter, and a professional foundation repair organization will definitely be familiar with the challenges of working with load-bearing walls.
If the porch column is failing and taller than one story—for example, a Greek Revival-style house—then you’ll want to bring in a structural engineer.
How Does a Carpenter Replace a Porch Column?
The first step a pro carpenter will take when working to replace a damaged post with a new porch column will be to shore up the structure. This process involves installing a temporary brace, commonly a 4-foot-by-4-foot piece of lumber, on each side of the overhang all the way to the ground. They’ll place a house jack beneath the pieces to relieve the stressors of the roof from the old columns and support the roofline.
Once that part is done, the contractor can safely remove the old porch column base. Depending on how extensive the damage, they’ll then do any necessary repairs to the home’s foundation to create the new columns.
The last part of the process is installation of the new columns and finishing touches like paint and any deck repairs. It’s likely that a professional carpenter will also troubleshoot the reason for the damage in the first place so that you have the opportunity to prevent failure of your porch columns in the future.