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Old 03-24-2011, 10:22 PM
 
8 posts, read 48,114 times
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Hi,

I am in the process of purchasing a home that is in need of support repairs to a rear sunroom / covered porch. At some point in the life of the home, a sunroom addition was added by converting an existing screened porch. When the porch was finished, new/additional support posts were also added, but they are not properly supported. The old support posts are pretty much shot at this point (and poorly designed to begin with), so the new posts are the primary supports for the room.

The rear of the house has a poured concrete patio. The supports from the porch rest directly on the concrete (think of a porch on stilts extending from the rear of the house). I was told by my home inspector that this is not proper and instead the support posts should rest on concrete footings that are built into the ground at least as deep as the frost line (the frost line in my area is 24").

The repair would thus be to dig out proper footings below each of the support posts. This is pretty much identical to footings used for a wooden deck I believe.

How serious is this issue?

I think the major source of labor is that the footings will need to go through the current concrete patio, which will add to complexity and cost (I'm not sure how thick the poured concrete is).

The seller is offering us some credit to make the repairs, we are just trying to determine an appropriate amount to accept. Any ideas of an estimate per post (there are 3 total)?.

We got an estimate from a contractor of $14k which includes permits, labor to cut through the concrete, and poured concrete footings. This cost seems a pretty ridiculous to me. Any comments?

We need to make a decision soon about whether to continue with the purchase. I appreciate the help.

Last edited by gentlemansbeard; 03-24-2011 at 10:59 PM..
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Old 03-25-2011, 08:15 AM
 
Location: Johns Creek, GA
6,854 posts, read 22,094,858 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gentlemansbeard View Post
We got an estimate from a contractor of $14k which includes permits, labor to cut through the concrete, and poured concrete footings. This cost seems a pretty ridiculous to me. Any comments?

Not knowing any of the nuances of the project- 14k may not be "ridiculous".
The only way you'll know for sure is to get at least 2 more bids.
And that might not be all that's wrong. If someone took shortcuts with supports and footings, what else did they shortcut? A structural engineer may also be needed. Don't rely on a private inspector for something like this in terms of repairs.
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Old 03-25-2011, 10:03 AM
 
8 posts, read 48,114 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by K'ledgeBldr View Post
Not knowing any of the nuances of the project- 14k may not be "ridiculous".
The only way you'll know for sure is to get at least 2 more bids.
And that might not be all that's wrong. If someone took shortcuts with supports and footings, what else did they shortcut? A structural engineer may also be needed. Don't rely on a private inspector for something like this in terms of repairs.
Generally I agree with this statement, but this estimate was just to add concrete footings to the support posts that are already there. If we end up buying the house, I would hire an engineer to write a report of exactly what needs to be done, then hire people to make those repairs. This is really a pretty simple structure though, thats why I think $14,000 is ridiculous - thats more than building an entire deck of the same size.

If we buy the house we will get additional bids, etc. but right now we dont have that kind of time, we just need to figure out if we are going to continue purchasing the house, and if so what minimum amount of money we would be comfortable accepting for the repairs.

Obviously just having the seller make the repairs is the simplest option, however, I'm not sure I would trust him to not cheap out on the repairs and If the seller made the repairs our closing date would likely be pushed back which is not advantageous for either party.
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Old 03-25-2011, 12:04 PM
 
Location: Johns Creek, GA
6,854 posts, read 22,094,858 times
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With so many variables involved, I'd probably move on to the next house- unless it meets all of your criteria and this hiccup is the only thing that is the potential deal breaker. But, that's me because I'm in the business and know what would be involved to fix it.
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Old 03-25-2011, 12:22 PM
 
8 posts, read 48,114 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by K'ledgeBldr View Post
With so many variables involved, I'd probably move on to the next house- unless it meets all of your criteria and this hiccup is the only thing that is the potential deal breaker.
This is the only hiccup.

Quote:
But, that's me because I'm in the business and know what would be involved to fix it.
Please enlighten me, that is exactly what I'm asking...
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Old 03-25-2011, 12:34 PM
 
8,704 posts, read 12,557,307 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by K'ledgeBldr View Post
With so many variables involved, I'd probably move on to the next house- unless it meets all of your criteria and this hiccup is the only thing that is the potential deal breaker. But, that's me because I'm in the business and know what would be involved to fix it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by gentlemansbeard View Post
This is the only hiccup.



Please enlighten me, that is exactly what I'm asking...
PS, it will take a qualified person 15 minutes to write the spec on the columns. Its in the code, such and such a size, so many feet on center, blah, blah, blah.


This is a small problem. But, I agree with those who would take a fresh look at the columns. If they put them on a concrete pad instead of putting footers in when they enclosed the porch, they may not have had the columns in code either. So, you just need an engineer or architect or builder to write the spec for the columns, then get them properly footed. I doubt that three 30" footers should cost $14,000 no matter how inconvenient it is to get under there, demo the concrete, drill the holes, set the cardboard tubes and pour the concrete and then replace the columns. But one thing for sure is you don't want to do it twice. So if you just put footers under the existing columns and it turns out the columns are not in code, then when you go to sell it, some inspector will be complaining that the columns should be closer together or bigger or whatever and you will be stuck.

So, I'd be sure the columns are in code, then get a couple more bids and go with it.

PS: It will take a qualified person 15 minutes to write the spec on the columns. Its in the code. so many feet apart, such and such dimensions, etc.

Last edited by Wilson513; 03-25-2011 at 12:56 PM..
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Old 03-25-2011, 01:02 PM
 
8 posts, read 48,114 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wilson513 View Post
This is a small problem. But, I agree with those who would take a fresh look at the columns. If they put them on a concrete pad instead of putting footers in when they enclosed the porch, they may not have had the columns in code either. So, you just need an engineer or architect or builder to write the spec for the columns, then get them properly footed. I doubt that three 30" footers should cost $14,000 no matter how inconvenient it is to get under there, demo the concrete, drill the holes, set the cardboard tubes and pour the concrete and then replace the columns. But one thing for sure is you don't want to do it twice. So if you just put footers under the existing columns and it turns out the columns are not in code, then when you go to sell it, some inspector will be complaining that the columns should be closer together or bigger or whatever and you will be stuck.

So, I'd be sure the columns are in code, then get a couple more bids and go with it.
Thanks! The columns are actually very easy to get to as it is completely open under the porch. I agree that the columns might not be to code but I don't think materials to replace them would be a huge cost factor. I think what actually happened is that the screen porch was built quite a while ago (you can see this in the original columns), and these new columns were just added by whoever enclosed the porch for extra support. The correct way to do this obviously would have just been to gut the existing framing and build a new support system. But it is what it is.

I talked to the county and they basically told me that to correct this problem, I need to have an engineer look at the porch foundation, write up a plan, and then get permits / make corrections based on the plan. So I guess worst case scenario would be, how much would new supports/foundation cost for a 20 x 9 raised sun porch.
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Old 03-25-2011, 01:10 PM
 
8,704 posts, read 12,557,307 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gentlemansbeard View Post
Thanks! The columns are actually very easy to get to as it is completely open under the porch. I agree that the columns might not be to code but I don't think materials to replace them would be a huge cost factor. I think what actually happened is that the screen porch was built quite a while ago (you can see this in the original columns), and these new columns were just added by whoever enclosed the porch for extra support. The correct way to do this obviously would have just been to gut the existing framing and build a new support system. But it is what it is.

I talked to the county and they basically told me that to correct this problem, I need to have an engineer look at the porch foundation, write up a plan, and then get permits / make corrections based on the plan. So I guess worst case scenario would be, how much would new supports/foundation cost for a 20 x 9 raised sun porch.
If you were putting footers out in the yard and not working under a porch, here in Ohio, you would pay about $300 per footer. That would be a 30" deep by 12" footer with tube and concrete and a metal bracket inserted. Demo of concrete here is $1-2 per square foot of deck depending on how far from the truck and with a minimum of maybe $300. So you can see that the cost should not be that bad.

But i would still get the whole thing spec'd. you can get a plan and a permit later, but you need to know if there is more that has to be done with the support to meet code. Someone can just look under there and tell you what code will require.


The reason I suggest that you do it now is that every column needs a footer which it sits on. So if you only put in three footers and you end up with five columns, you will have to put in more footers.
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Old 07-31-2014, 07:37 AM
 
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I have a 10' x 26' deck covered with a roof. There are 4, 6 x 6, posts that each rest on a round cement footing (I think 8 or 10 inches in diameter) Is it OK if the posts do not all sit centered on their footing? One is 1/3 to 1/2 on footing and the next one is 1/2 on and then 3/4 on and finally the last post if fully centered on the footing. Are 4 posts and footings enough to support this size structure? Thank you. PK in VT
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