How to Replace Porch Posts

Wondering how to replace porch posts? Replacing damaged or rotted posts on your porch is important to maintaining the look and safety of your home. While extensive damage may require hiring a professional engineer, replacing one or two posts is straightforward.

How To Replace Porch Posts That Are Damaged

As long as you're replacing a single-story with identical building materials, replacing porch posts is simple. If you have multi-story posts or are changing materials, you'll probably have to involve a professional engineer and your local building inspector. If your replacement isn't complex, read on:

  • Looking for something more substantial? If you're not happy with the wimpy 4"x4" post on your porch, you can give them more visual weight by adding a wrap-around façade. Cut two 1"x6" and two 1"x4" pressure treated or cedar boards to the length of your porch post. Attach a 1"x6" board to the existing post using galvanized hardware. Attach the other 1"x6" to the opposite side of the post. Finally, attach the 1"4" boards to the remaining sides of the post.
  • Repair or replace? Be sure to carefully examine the porch post before removing it. To determine the extent of wood damage, drill a hole into the wood using a ¼" drill bit. Inspect the wood shavings as they come out of the hole. Fresh, dry shavings indicate you've found good wood. If the rot doesn't extend too far into the wood, you can repair the damage by removing the rotten section and packing the excavated area with epoxy wood repair material.
  • A little help? Before you do any work on an existing post, you need to prepare some alternate support. Measure and cut two 4"x4" wooden posts slightly longer than the existing posts. Insert these temporary supports under the roof's beam at an angle and then tap them in place using a hammer until they are plumb and vertical. The extra length will take pressure off the existing post, allowing it to be safely removed.
  • Out with the old. Cut the old beam from the porch using a reciprocating saw. If you have trouble loosening the post, cut it in half and remove each half. Once the post is removed, clear away all remaining fasteners, caulk and debris. Make sure the underlying structure is solid, repairing or replacing as needed.
  • In with the new. Install the new post in place using the same installation method as the previous post or following the manufacturer's instructions in the case of pre-formed posts.
  • Cleaning up. Once the new post is in place, remove the temporary supports by gently tapping the bottoms with a heavy hammer until they come free.
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