Repairing Exterior Porch Columns...

ca 1914 farmhouse w/ open 7-ft deep porches width of house on north/west sides. Four turned wood columns on each; Dad replaced the bases which were originally just 2x12 w/ a 2X10 of SYP with a molded base when had house repainted in (I believe it was '95). The bottom ends of a some of the columns had also rotted and he sawed them back to solid ends and fitted a circular section under; looked quite good still when we came back to the farm in '99 after his (unexpected) passing.
But, since then, it appears he just cut out some soft pine circles as starting points and shaped them; a couple of them are now badly rotted and I'm going to have to pull those columns out again and redo a repair. Am thinking of "more better" ways to ensure a more long-lasting repair and looking for ideas/suggestions or particularly if Robert or someone here has previously dealt with the problem...
At the moment I don't have pictures to post; will try to do that...
Anyways, sorry to bring up a wood-related question in lieu of units... :)
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On 8/8/2016 3:58 PM, dpb wrote:

A buddy and I used to repair these on occasions. We probably did a dozen or so.
We replaced the fancy finial at the bottom with the plastic style and built up a PT base under that.
The problem we saw was that the base of the column sitting directly on concrete porches. Sprinkler systems caused water to puddle at low spots of the porch often at or next to the columns. Basically the bottoms of the columns never had a chance to dry out. Placing the shortened columns on top of the plastic and PT base insured that the wood part of the column did not sit in a puddle of water every morning.
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On 8/8/16 3:58 PM, dpb wrote:

As is usual with repairs like this, it depends on if you have more time or more money. There are so many of these rotten columns around here, I could probably work full time just replacing/repairing them.
One thing you really need to consider is if they are load bearing. If they are, the standard wood-filler or epoxy putty repair probably isn't wise. Cutting out the rotted section and inserting blocks is one way, but as you found out, those will rot away very quickly. If they are painted, you could try treated lumber.
What my clients usually decide on are composite replacements. I tell them that the labor is probably going to be the same for me to repair or replace the columns, but a repair will likely rot out again in 10 years.
Most composite columns made now are load bearing. One company is making a column on which most of the structure is wood with the lower foot or so being a composite material that won't rot or wick water.
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On 08/08/2016 5:47 PM, -MIKE- wrote: ...

$$ really isn't a particular issue, I'm most interested in keeping the authenticity of the house and it'll be fill-in during non-farming time...
...

They are, but only the porch roofs, so it's very little actual loading.

Well, the originals went more like 60 or 80, so I think I should be able to do something that'll outlast me by quite a bit... :)
I've been pondering since posting, I'm thinking along the lines of gluing up some fir blanks (these are, of course, coopered) and turning a two-foot or so section. I can then slice off what need from it and reattach it to the base. I'm thinking if the end is again sealed it should essentially be as the new ones were "way back when". I'll have to 'spearmint as to whether can do the above without removing entirely; I suspect that's the shortcut Dad took was simply sliding in the piece in place and he used just what looks like some pine shelving board which didn't last at all because the end grain is open on the sides even though it is/was painted is what I'm guessing given the way it looks as it has failed...
Thanks for the ideas, I'll continue to ponder.
I had looked at some of the new composites; I've not seen one in person, but so much of that stuff just looks fake...you have any recommendations on particular manufacturers or models that don't stick out as "I'm new and plastic!" as opposed to the original wood?
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On 8/8/16 7:36 PM, dpb wrote:

The ones I ended up with were called Permacast. Maybe Permacast Lite. They are basically fiberglas with resin. Very, very strong and won't expand or contract much. Once painted, youi can't tell the difference from wood.
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On 08/08/2016 8:01 PM, -MIKE- wrote: ...

OK, thanks, mayhaps I'll (probably briefly) consider it but 5(maybe 6?) of the 8 are still fine so that seems overkill and mix 'n match likely isn't good idea visually.
As for can't tell, I'd bet "can, too!" :) May not be egregious but bet it's still possible to tell.
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On Monday, August 8, 2016 at 3:58:30 PM UTC-5, dpb wrote:





Several years ago, the, then, neighbor across the street was doing a simila r job, with many of the same problems. He found a company in Troy, Al ( ht tp://www.hbgcolumns.com/fiberglass-columns/permacast-columns ) that solved his problem, and he was very particular about what he put on the house.
The other thing you could do is redo the bases out of jarrah, ipe or some s imilar wood, Who cares about color or grain, you are going to paint them a ny way.
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On 8/9/16 5:46 AM, Dr. Deb wrote:

Those are what I used.
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On 8/8/2016 4:58 PM, dpb wrote:

I would use pressure treated lumber. Make sure it is rated for ground contact. It will look exactly like the SYP it replaces because it probably is, and will last a few hundred years, if it gets wet all the time, probably forever if not. Let it stand a year or so before painting to make sure it is dry enough for paint.
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On 08/12/2016 9:09 AM, Jack wrote: ...

The "old" CCA PT might last that long; the new stuff replacing it certainly won't. I've seen it fail as quickly as inside 3-4 years in posts.
It's still a possibility; this is pretty dry country but the porches are open so they do get wet with storms. We don't have sprinkler system so they don't see that kind of abuse so they spend vast majority of lifetime dry.
It's a possibility, it's a pain to glue reliably, though, to cooper to fabricate the column.
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On 8/12/2016 10:39 AM, dpb wrote:

Not sure about the new stuff. I recently dug up a wall around my pool out of PT that I put in over 20 years ago. It had wet dirt from the pool against it every summer, and it, including the 4x4 posts, were in perfect shape. Any how, if the original, non treated lasted 60 to 80 years, the PT should not last LESS than that. I know PT is still rated above ground and ground contact, and the ground contact stuff should last substantially longer than untreated.
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On 08/13/2016 9:44 AM, Jack wrote: ...

What you had has very good probability of having been CCA which I don't doubt could've lasted...there're old posts here that are 50+ that are just now showing serious signs; but, new, treated aren't worth a flip. Of course, they're a lot sorrier wood besides the less effective treatment is part of it...
Anyway, yes, PT with the extra "oomph" of the ground contact rating will outlast a piece of the same material w/o the treatment... :)
Whether I can find any dried of the sort locally is pretty iffy at best; as you mention it'll be another year at least before could use effectively a new piece if not if were to buy the material now...
I have on hand some clear, old-growth Doug fir that is left over from the addition of the feed mill bins in the barn; I've not used it for anything owing to it being 20-ft 2x12 almost totally clear--it's just "too good to use"! :) But, this could be a project worthy of the material...as noted, the tentative plan is to cooper up a section of a couple feet or so length and then slice off short sections need to patch the bottoms...I think if I seal the bottom ends well and use mastic on the joints it should last far past my time left... :)
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On 8/13/2016 11:29 AM, dpb wrote:

Another idea is to raise the base a bit off the concrete with something. Stainless steel bolts with just the head sticking out strategically placed to keep the wood off the concrete. This would keep the base dry and if it ever did get wet, it would dry out quickly, eliminating rot. I'd still go for the PT. I know there is still good stuff to be found.
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On 08/14/2016 8:52 AM, Jack wrote: ...

Who said anything about concrete? The porch floors are 2-1/2" T&G; Dad replaced the original bases that were a 10" sq tuba on a 12"-sq tuba. The bottom layer is still a 12x12 solid (fabricated by mitering 2x6 stock) while the column itself rests on one the new-fangled formed-plastic column bases so they're 3" above floor height.
If'en my phone hadn't died entirely, I'd post a picture somewhere, but at the moment it's pretty inconvenient to deal with...
There may be good PST stuff in larger markets; this ain't one of 'em...
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On 08/14/2016 9:45 AM, dpb wrote: ...

Oh, and I guess I hadn't mentioned; the column bases themselves are also now the synthetic; Dad sawed them off the column and then ended up with about 3/4" or on a couple a little more that he was short on height which made up with just the "shims" of pine. It's only those that have suffered in the ~15-20 yr since that I'm intent on replacing.

Iff'en you can't tell, I'm not much of a fan of working w/ PT and afaik the local yard (yes, there's only one; I said it was small market :) ) doesn't have any KD; never have before.
Anyway, sorry it seems like I'm just shooting down all suggestions; when I posted originally I hadn't actually thought about it much other than needing to do; I had been fixed on the way to get such short end pieces put together, the idea of turning a foot or so of column and then cutting it up to fit hadn't occurred. I'm pretty convinced now I'm going to embark on this path and see if it doesn't work pretty well, first.
Thanks for the input/feedback...
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