Porch Column Replacement: How To Replace A PORCH POST ON CONSTRUCTION SLAB?
The first thing you need to decide is whether or not your house will have a foundation. If it does, then you are probably going to want to replace the porch post with one made from wood.
You could also opt for a metal pole instead of a wooden one, but there’s no reason why you couldn’t go with both options and save money.
If your house doesn’t have a foundation, then you’ll just need to decide which type of porch post you’d like to use. There are two types of porch posts available – steel and cast iron.
Cast iron is usually cheaper than steel ones, so it makes sense to get one made from that material rather than spending extra money on something else.
There are several advantages and disadvantages associated with each option. Let’s take a look at them all!
Steel Porch Post vs. Cast Iron Porch Post: Pros And Cons Of Each Option
Pros: Steel porch posts are lighter than their cast iron counterparts. They’re also less expensive than cast iron ones.
Cast iron porch posts are stronger than steel ones, but they cost more too. (They’re also heavier!) So if you don’t mind paying a little bit more for better quality, then you might want to consider getting one of those.
Cons: If you get a steel porch post that’s poorly made, then it may end up rusting fairly quickly. And you definitely don’t want that to happen!
Cast iron porch posts can sometimes crack over time if they’re not installed correctly or something like that. So make sure you get one that’s of good quality.
Both types of these porch posts are resistant to rust and rotting, so you don’t need to worry about that!
Cons: One of the major drawbacks of getting a steel porch post is they can be a little too flimsy. If you’re used to having thicker and heavier wooden posts in the past then you may not care for the way these look.
Although these are lightweight and easier to handle than cast iron ones, you still need to take extra caution when installing them.
How To Tell If A Porch Post Is Load Bearing: What Are The Signs?
You don’t want to find out that your porch post was load bearing after you’ve already removed it from the ground. That would result in a serious problem!
So how can you tell if a porch column is load bearing or not? It’s actually pretty easy, just look for these signs:
1. Does it have more than 2 brackets attached to it? – If you see more than two brackets attached to a porch column, then it’s almost certainly load bearing.
It doesn’t matter if these are 2×4’s or 2×6’s either. The number of boards is what matters most in this case.
2. Are the brackets attached at a 90 degree angle to the column? – Brackets that are attached at a 90 degree angle are also a pretty good sign that the column is load bearing.
2. Is it located directly over the center of your house’s front door?
If you answered yes to either of those questions, then IT’S LOAD BEARING! Call a professional to replace a porch post on concrete slab if you don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself.
How To Remove And Replace A Porch Post That Is NOT Load Bearing
You’ve decided to buy a non-load bearing porch column now. If they’re not at a 90 degree angle, then that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not load bearing though.
You just can’t rule it out just yet. 3. What’s the condition of the boards? – If the boards look like they’ve been exposed to the elements for a long period of time without any maintenance, then that’s another good sign that the column is load bearing.
2. Are the boards all 2×4’s? – If you see only 2×4’s for boards, that’s a pretty good sign that it’s load bearing.
The only reason why someone would put so many large boards underneath a porch is if it was a load bearing column.
These two signs are not a given though. There are some houses where you’ll see these signs but the columns aren’t load bearing.
It happens, but it’s fairly rare.
With those questions answered, let’s talk about how you’re going to go about removing it from the ground. It’s not load bearing, so you won’t have to worry about digging underneath it to get the bolts out.
3. How far from the center of the door is it? – If your porch column is less than 6 feet away from the front door, then it’s going to be load bearing 99% of the time.
Don’t believe me? Ask any home inspector. The 6 foot radius around the front door is the most common place for load bearing columns to go.
1. Mark the post by measuring out from the top of it and making a small nick with your utility knife.
Do this at several measured distances downward.
2. Now dig around the base with a shovel until you can get your arm underneath it.
You want to make sure you’re getting it loosened from the ground before you try pulling it out. You don’t want it falling over when you do this.
You can use this helpful diagram to determine if your column is load bearing or not:
If the distance from your porch column to the front door is greater than 6 feet, then you are good to go. It’s time to remove it!
You have two options here. You can either try to take it out from underneath, or you can remove it from the top.
Option 1: Removing The Porch Post From Underneath
This is easier for smaller porch columns. If you have a large one that you’re trying to get out, then it might be easier to remove it from the top.
That’s what we’ll discuss next.
1. Now find a pry bar or a big flat head screwdriver and set your shoulder beneath it.
Pull up with your body to get it started, then use the pry bar to get it moving.
4. If you’ve loosened it enough with the shovel, then this should not be too difficult of a task for you.
5. Just keep pulling and prying until it starts to move, then push with your legs to help get it up from the ground.
6. If it’s still not budging, then you might need to find something else to wrap around the post to keep from sinking into the ground.
Roll up some landscaping fabric or old carpet and stuff it in the space between the post and the ground. Now pry it up.
7. If it still doesn’t come up…well then you might need an excavator.
Move on to option 2.
Option 2: Removing The Porch Column From The Top
This is much easier if you have a large porch column. It might still be doable even if it’s smaller.
You’ll just have to try it and see if it moves at all when you pry on it.
1. Take your measurements from the porch column and then try to find something that is going to be as close to those measurements as possible.
2. Shove the wood pieces in place and then set a piece of scrap wood on top of it with a heavy object on top of that.
3. This should give you a nice solid footing to stand on while you try to topple your column.
4. Take your pry bar and just shove it under the column and start lifting.
Try to get underneath it as much as possible so that you’re getting good leverage.
5. Continue this until the column starts to fall over.
6. When it’s ready to fall, just jump off of your makeshift stepladder and pull the rest of it over with your hands.
7. If it’s still in the ground, you can try to roll something around it and shove from that side or you can go back to option 1 and try to get it out from underneath again.
Tips & Warnings
– If you’re going to pull it out from underneath, then you might want to put some pieces of plywood down first so that you’re not damaging your lawn. Just take them away once you’ve gotten the post loose.
– Wear gloves to protect your hands from splinters when handling the wood.
Sources & references used in this article: