Columns on a front porch look wonderful but they also serve an important purpose – holding up the porch roof! There are many types of vertical wood support columns around a home, from porches to wood decks, and it’s important to keep them in good shape because they do bear weight.
The greatest enemy of wood support posts is water, and they should never be in direct contact with concrete, stone or soil because they will soak up moisture and result in them rotting.
Wood columns are typically separated from horizontal surfaces with a thin metal plate (as with a wood deck column) or suspended above the surface and the gap is disguised with a trim piece. This is enough to keep the wood from absorbing too much water.
On a regular basis, check all wood posts and columns around your home for water rot. Look at the bottom 12” for failing or flaking paint, which is a sure sign of moisture issues. Use your finger or screwdriver to poke at finish blemishes, and if it feels soft or penetrates the surface, you’ve got wood rot.
Sometimes the damaged section can be repaired, but if you find yourself patching and repairing it repeatedly, there’s a much larger water problem that needs to be corrected.
Other times the entire wood column will have to be replaced, and it is necessary to fix the moisture problem before installing the new post or you will face the same issue again in the future.
Why would a wood column that has performed perfectly for so long suddenly develop a moisture problem? Keep in mind that rot does not happen overnight; it can take several years for a problem to show up because wood rots from the inside out.
There are several environmental factors that can alter the performance of a support post:
● Plants and shrubs that have grown large enough to block sunlight and airflow
● Landscape mulch depth increases which brings the post into regular contact with water
● Gutters malfunction, causing water to splash or drench the area
● Paints and coatings eventually wear off and expose wood to the elements
● Foundation settlement or weakness opens up new channels for water penetration
Because you are most likely dealing with structural supports, it is preferred that you stay safe and let a professional take care of this type of problem. A Mosby Home Consultant can evaluate problem areas on any of your wood support columns and advise you on the proper way to repair or replace them, while the Mosby construction crew can resolve the issue by fixing it right the first time.
If you detect rot on your wood posts or columns, take care of the problem immediately by calling the Mosby office at 314.909.1800 or contact them here.