What would cause this?

Both support posts for the small front porch had a gap between them and the support above. The end one was not that bad, but the other had almost an inch seperation.

I know they must have been touching at one time because there was evidence of where they were painted on the metal trim.

No other factors were involved. No settlement signs, no movement, nothing. Its just like the posts shrank. Has anyone ran across this before?


I have but you never call or write

Not a support IMO just for show.

Very interesting. I cannot explain it.

Sean, do you have a pix of the bottom of the post(s)? Also, is it possible they are decorative and the top trim is loose (slipped down the post)?

That is a pretty large gap.

Even if it is just for show, if it was touching at one time then something has altered.

Is that a beam above that runs through the garage?, or just framing for the stoop.
(if so is there anything associated to that beam in the garage side that would have caused this)
Is everything level?

Was there any evidence of any fasteners? You would expect to see some nails or screws sticking up.

I agree with Wayne. It very well may not be the original posts but replacements (just too short). What I was once told by an old, experienced Master carpenter and builder was. Posts like those are not to hold the roof up but rather “down”. To prevent lift as most of the homes today have trusses that hold the roof up, that and as Wayne said…decoration and looks. All that from just one photo. I wasn’t there on site. Was the porch roof sagging?

It was a slab porch that butted up to a basement poured concrete foundation.
No shifiting in any cold or expansion joints, no signs of settlement in the slab around the brick veneer.

The header does go into the brick on the side of the garage, and the trusses are overhanging, so the front of the house would help support it.

Ther was some nails sticking up, but thats not a good pic of them.

The buyer really wasnt concered, so I guess we will never know. His brother is a structural engineer and I called it out so I guess its not my deal anymore.

Only thing that can be told about that picture is,
something went up or something went down.

Full investigation required. :slight_smile:

Pictures. Far back, top of post, bottom of post.

Since there’s (I’ll call it) capping on the bottom of the beam that is continuous, and that capping runs between the top of the post and the covered beam, then the post is decorative. Think about it. If the post was load-bearing, that capping wouldn’t be in between the two load-path components. It would have been cut around it.

An inspection tip: Check for a line where the top of the concrete porch pour was. It may be very faint, but it’ll be there. And it’ll indicate that the concrete porch settled, and took the decorative post with it.


Here’s a typical series of pics I take of a porch. Far away pics, with a few close-ups. Digital pictures are free. And so, the more the better.
IMG_0065.JPG IMG_0069.JPG IMG_0070.JPG IMG_0071.JPG

(actually there’s more pics, but we’re limited to 5 on the message board.)

The slab supporting the posts has settled due to poor compaction at the time of original construction. Probably happened in the first few years after it was built. Settling is finished. Those posts are very common. They’re hollow, laminated columns not designed to be structural. What Ben said about the wrapped structural beam.

Decorative or structural, what caused the shrinkage? Something went down and doubt if anything went up.
And what is supporting the wrapped bean on the left end we can’t see.??:slight_smile:

Yep… I think that about sums it up, Marcel.

There was not other visible signs of settlment anywhere. You would think if the front porch slab settled it would show up at the edges or where it was poured against the brick veneer. But nothing else showed any signs or symptoms. I know its not load bearing but it sure is strange.

Had similar posts on a home only the base was loose. They would flop around and bang against like a metal rod on the interior, but they were hollow. No sagging of the porch roof or structure. Two of the three were loose and floppy at the base. These were the only ones I have ever seen like it!! they looked like standard 4X posts, but were hollow!! Seen other decorative posts like it though!

Dom often comments that I use more pictures than almost all so I would love to see one of your report samples if you are still a working inspector.