Columns under front porch unsecured

There are 4 columns under this front porch. I could not determine if they were load bearing in the short time during the inspection. It appears over time from settlement that they are lifted up just enough so you can move them around about 5 to 6 inches in any direction. All 4 of them can be moved, none were secured. Home was built in the 60’s.

Here’s a few questions for further edification.

Q. It was deliberately built this way many years ago. Was this common on older homes?

My thought is even if it settled on the slab a few years back. Any hardy teenager who runs into this would have swept it right out from under the porch.

Q. During the construction, wouldn’t it have been easy to build a bottom plate underneath to secure it to prior to installation?

Q. Approximately, when did building practices change from not securing columns to the slab to having them secured?

Thank you in advance,

Stephen Rager

How can you see the post.That appears to be the covering .

It is the covering, I could not see the post.

Determining what type of rafter or truss system may be helpful. They may or may not be load bearing.
There may be a metal post inside the column cover as well. When they move, did it hit an interior object???
Unfortunately no one can give you the answer you seek, without more concrete info.

Valid point, no, there was nothing I could observe that indicated a metal post inside. I could push them to the point they would have snapped off because there was nothing securing them to the slab. I didn’t go further than 5 or 6 inches because I didn’t want to cause damage. With the lack of information and limited time on site, I couldn’t attain more information during the inspection.

Since then I have been researching column installation instructions and each one describes a bottom tie down plate or similar device. So my thought was shouldn’t all columns have a similar type of device to the secure columns in place.

The modern wood roof truss was invented in the early 50’s and introduced in the late 50’s and early 60’s, so highly unlikely it’s a truss roof at that point.

Continuous rafter with 4’ overhang. The support beam and posts are mainly for aesthetics and to help prevent any possible sag over time. Not much load bearing as indicated by the fact that the posts are loose and post anchoring was not very common back then.

Fake columns like the ones in your picture are fairly common. They were made for show, you would not want to fasten them solidly at the top and bottom because eventually differential settling of the patio or porch and the house will do what you saw. Well designed ones had some kind of telescoping trim that allowed vertical movement between eave and patio.

I agree, they’re not structural elements. Soil subsidence/compaction has allowed them to move easily at their base.