Column Rot Crushed

A client in Hayes Barton contacted us about some long term rot affecting her porch columns. They weren’t that old, maybe 10 years, but a somewhat inadequate gutter system usually caused any rain or runoff to puddle around them at the bases. Even the hardiest pre-treated lumber will eventually succumb to that amount of constant moisture and start to rot.

The homeowner was savvy about building materials, so when we suggested replacing the damaged wood with PVC trim boards and base cap she was all about it. PVC composite trim material is an excellent option for exterior applications such as this. It’s impervious to insect damage and rot, paints well, and basically lasts forever.

The corner columns abutting the house were in decent shape, so we left those alone and focused on the six in the front. We were sure one was pretty waterlogged and removal of one entire side was necessary, to let it air dry for a few days and get a better idea of what was going on inside.

We discovered that the 4×4 running vertically throughout the interior of the right corner column was totally free floating, not attached in any way to the porch. Basically, it wasn’t supporting…anything…including the portico above. Not good. So we wedged a new block in tight and secured it all to the porch below.

After everything was good and dry, and shored up, we replaced that side of the column with the new PVC trim and base cap, crafting and replicating exactly the pattern of the previous column.

After that, it was basically repeat the process, as needed, on the remaining columns. A lot of trim nails were employed, as well as a good amount of Gorilla Glue. Despite being exterior work it pretty much fell under the category of trim carpentry, requiring more exact precision and attention to detail. The process took around five days, over a few weeks. (We had to deal with several material delivery delays, and the remnants of at least two October/Fall hurricanes blowing up from the Gulf.)

In the end, the client had a durable, sturdy, ready to paint solution that will resemble the old columns perfectly. She was very happy with the results and said she’d have more work for us in the future!