Replacing rotten porch elements

A neighbor called me asking if I could help him replace some porch parts that were rotten. I find the work very satisfying so I dove right in. Here is an original post base that is in good condition.

Here is the rotten one that needed replacing.

Here is the new one that I turned. The wood is old growth cypress salvaged from a water tower taken down in Chicago. Bora Care preservative was applied and both sides were primed. Water was able to reach the endgrain of the old one allowing it to rot. All joints need to be caulked and painted so no water can get in.

Old and new.

The bottom ten inches of the post were rotten. Again, water can never be allowed to get in the end grain of wood. A tree is designed to suck water up it so this post was doing what it was designed to do – suck.

I turned a new bottom of the post and attached it with a large dowel in the center and epoxy. The boards are to keep the new straight with the old.

The porch roof had to be jacked up to accept the repaired post and base. I love my antique house jacks.

Here is the porch with the repaired base and column. It is very satisfying to help this homeowner do it right. Without me he probably would have replaced all the columns with new ones from Menards. If you find yourself needing to replace columns use new fiberglass posts and bases. They are reasonably priced. The wooden ones are white pine and finger jointed. They will not last.

2 replies
  1. Rick
    Rick says:

    Salvaged cypress from Chicago water tower? Didn’t you use that for your own porch so many years ago? You still have lumber remaining from that for current projects, very cool.
    The house colors though. Your neighbor’s home is in Green Bay WI?

    • Dan Miller
      Dan Miller says:

      I did use a redwood and cypress water tower woo for our porches. About a year ago I got more and have almost exhausted my supply. New cypresses is expensive and second growth so it is not as good. New redwood is out of the question. I use treated lumber for most applications.

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