How to Replace Porch Pillars

Relieve tired posts of their burden by sending in sturdy new supports.

If your porch supports aren't exactly pillars of strength anymore, install new ones. Here's how to do it:  

Materials and Tools:

combination square
nail set
nails
hammer
folding rule
level
wood block and post
tape measure
tape
screw jack
block plane
handsaw
power drill
caulking gun
clamps
replacement pillars with bases
adhesive

Steps:

1. Jack up the support beam with an extra post and a screw jack. Place a wood shim between the post and the roof beam to protect the beam.

2. Use the level to make sure the jack post is plumb before raising the roof. Make sure the roof beam is level after raising.

3. Remove old posts. If the roof beam is set up to accommodate a post with a tongue and the replacement posts are hollow, you may need to cut the tops off the old posts and fit them inside the new ones.

4. Use the plane to trim the tops until they fit inside the replacement posts, and then drill pilot holes through the new post and into the old tops. Secure the tops by driving nails into pilot holes.

5. Trim the replacement posts for an exact fit. Use the folding rule and level to get a true reading. Unfold the rule and measure between the base for the new pillars and the roof support beam. Hold the rule as close to level as possible for the most accurate reading.

6. Mark several points on the base of the pillar, and connect the dots with a piece of tape wrapped around the pillar. Use the tape as a guide to ensure a smooth, even cut.

7. Cut the post with a handsaw.

8. Apply a bead of adhesive around the bottom of the replacement pillar to secure it to the base.

9. Slide the new pillar into place. Repeat until all pillars are replaced. Gently lower the jack when done.

10. Prime and paint the pillars to finish the job.

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