Friday, July 26, 2013

Raise the Roof

When we pulled up for the first viewing of our house, one of the first things that we noticed was that the front porch was missing a pillar.  It wasn’t at immediate risk of collapsing, but the roof line was noticeably slanted.  During our negotiations we had the previous owners install a new support. Unfortunately, we didn’t really like the new support that they installed and worse yet; they didn’t correct the slanted roof line...  Most people probably have never even noticed it but it’s been bugging us for the past 2.5 years so we finally got around to fixing the problem.

Photo from the Real Estate Listing:

We started out by looking around on the inter-web for some pillars that we liked.  We considered building something with a stone base but decided to keep it simple.  We aren’t exactly experts on masonry and using stone would have really driven up the cost.  Once we had it narrowed down, I put together a rough plan in Sketchup.  I decided to use a 6x6 piece of pressure-treated pine for the structural support and then trim it out with some narrow strips to add a little detail.

With the pillar plans ready to go, the next step was figuring out how to correct the slanted roof line.  After taking some measurements, we found that the corner of the overhang needed to go up 1.5 inches.  With that all figured out, it was time to start building!

We started by taking down a few pieces of the aluminum soffit and then un-bolted the bottom of the old support from the concrete.  It was wedged pretty tightly between the roof and the ground so we couldn’t just pull it out.  Next was the fun part though - Raising the Roof!  I cut a couple of 2 x 4’s a hair longer than the height of the new pillar to use as a temporary braces. We wedged the 2 x 4’s between the roof and the ground and then whacked the bottom of them with a sledge hammer until they were vertical.  Next, we grabbed the level just to make sure we measured correctly and stepped back to make sure the roof looked straight.

The last step before we put the new pillar up was installing a bracket for the base.  The bracket serves two purposes; keeping the pillar in place and preventing moisture from seeping into the wood from the bottom.  We ended up getting this bracket at Lowes. We ran into some issues with this step (in particular getting the anchor bolt to hold in the concrete...) but after 3 trips to the hardware store and a much needed beer break, we got it installed.

Next was the moment of truth; we grabbed the 6 x 6, slid it into place, and secured it on top and bottom.  The reason we cut the 2 x 4's a hair too long was so the new post would slide easily into place.  Just as we stepped back to admire our work, it started raining.  This wasn’t the worst job we’ve ever done but we were pretty happy that the weather gave us an excuse to call it quits for the day.  Although we still have to put the soffit back up, fix the downspout, and trim out the pillar; it feels pretty great to pull into the driveway and see a roof line that is straight and level!  The previous owners would probably have some choice words for us if they saw that we tore out the support that we that we made them install, but it is going to look way better when we're all done.


  1. Ain't that the thing. Congrats on having your roof taken care of. Pillars are a nice and sensible support. Say, do you have to strengthen the roof itself, or is it fine enough as it is?

    Karen Walton

    1. Hey Karen! I'm not sure if this is typical or unusual, but our roof didn't need to be strengthened (luckily!) when we added the new pillar. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. You've done a great job on the new pillar, Deanne. It's indeed unusual, but then I'm glad to know that you didn't need to strengthen your roof. If I may, you should schedule regular checkup and maintenance for your roof. You might've overlooked some slight damage during your previous repair. :)

    Noreen Saint @