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Rotten Porch Posts: How to Repair

We bought a rustic style home in a wooded environment last year.  We have been fixing issues that stem from years of neglect including issues that were caused by moisture, including rotten porch posts.Our front porch is poured concrete and has 6x6 wooden beams supporting the porch roof.  Over time, some of those beams have sustained wood rot at the base and are no longer touching the concrete in places.  How can we safely fix or replace those beams and try to avoid the same wood rot issues in the future? Thanks!!

Our Answer

Hi Christina! This is a very typical problem and really just mother nature's way of disposing of dead trees.  Unfortunately, one of those trees happens to be holding up your house!  Wood which stays damp and moist develops decay.  The post sitting directly on the concrete accelerates this process because both the wood post and the concrete are very hydroscopic, meaning they can soak up a heck of a lot of water!

While in some cases you can cut away and rebuild the bottom of the porch column, most commonly these posts need to be replaced.  The process involves installing temporary supports under the porch roof to support the structure while you repair or completely replace the wood post. You can reduce the chances of reoccurrence in a couple of ways.  First, use a pressure treated wood post.  These may not look very attractive, but they can be wrapped after they are installed with a wood trim of aluminum cladding to improve their appearance.

Second, you should make sure that the new post is siting on a post base, which is a metal plate designed to keep the wood off the concrete, thereby allowing it to stay dry.  There are many available, from a simples aluminum plate that is nailed to the bottom of the post to one that can be bolted to the post and the foundation to prevent uplift.

Finally, you might consider replacing the posts with fiberglass columns.  These can be both beautiful and sturdy -- plus you'l never have to worry about rot again!

Good luck with the project and post your pics here when you're done!. 

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Split Wood Post Supports Roof: How to Repair?

I had new 6x6 posts installed to support on my porch roof overhang last fall. Now there are vertical splits on 1 post. Should I drive long screws to minimize the splitting?

Our Answer

Cracks in wood support columns are very common and seldom weaken the post to the point where a structural repair or replacement is needed.   Is this a pressure treated post? Those will crack like crazy as they dry out. Other than the cosmetics, they cracked wood posts or timbers rarely need repair.

Now if the post is so badly cracked and deformed that it is not supporting the roof, then I'd replace it.  Again, if it's made out of pressure treated lumber, expect cracks and plan to wrap the post with aluminum cladding, pine or composite to make it presentable.  

The idea of driving a screw through the post to  slow down or prevent further cracking is interesting, but I doubt it'd have much impact.  Wood that is drying out will crack, twist, turn and basically do what it wants to do and a few screws will probably not change that.

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Best Exterior Stucco for Outdoor Kitchen Project

I am building a large outdoor grill island (84L x3 6H x 29w) for my patio. I have the frame built from galvanized stud type material and I have attached 1/2 inch cement board. I plan to tile the top surface and use some form of stucco material on all of the sides. Problem: I have never used any stucco before and the local home centers claim to not have stucco. The only product I have found is surface bonding cement by Quikrete. I believe that I can use the liquid coloring to tint the cement for my purpose and there is a fortifier that they carry as well that supposedly helps adhesion.Question 1: Is the surface bonding cement combination that I described good for this project? Vertical adhesion, weathering, etc. Or is there a better product that I should use instead?Question 2: What is the best technique to apply? I assume a trowel because I have poured/ finished concrete before, but please describe the "how to".Thanks for your time.

Our Answer

You are correct that the product to use for this is surface bonding cement. For the details, we went right to the experts a QUIKRETE for this answer.  

The QUIKRETE team says QUIKWALL Surface Bonding Cement from  is ideal for this project. It contains fibers and other additives that make the surface strong and protect it from potential harm. QUIKWALL is also rated as a waterproofing material, which is a great for outdoor projects like a grill island.  They do recommend also using QUIKRETE Acrylic Fortifier to increase bond strength and yes, you can absolutely use QUIKRETE Liquid Color for a little more decorative flare!

Much like stucco, QUIKWALL is a sanded product designed to be applied vertically with a trowel. In fact, the primary use of QUIKWALL is for building block walls without mortar (known as dry-stacking).

Rather than explain the step-by-step process for applying QUIKWALL, check out this how-to video.  It covers all the bases. Good luck with the project and please share your finished work!

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