How Much Does It Cost To Replace a Patio Column?
Do your patio support posts have rusted holes in them?
Unfortunately, its a common problem. In fact, our webpage "Patio Column Repair" receives more traffic than any page on our website. So why is this such a big issue? Its a bad design!
Concrete and steel make all of today's construction possible. Its a magical combination, but only when oxygen is unable to reach the steel. These support columns are bolted down to a footing beneath the pavers or concrete patio deck. That footing (or foundation) holds the load for the roof above. It also holds the roof down in high wind events. Its an important structural component of the building.
If you where to chip out all of the concrete and expose the footing you would find the that part of the steel column is NOT rusted. And that's because no oxygen reaches the steel there. But where the column breaches the concrete, there is oxygen and hence rust. The condition is made worst by the presence of moisture and additional oxygen that concrete carries. So its a perfect storm and rusting is inevitable.
Permitting a Porch Column
Since these are structural, a permit and engineered plans are needed. To replace the post you have to break out the stucco on the beam above and remove the bolts holding it in place. The base of the column is cut with a saw and the column removed. A precise measurement for the new column height is required so the roof is not raised or lowered. Believe it or not, each post will have a slightly different height requirement.
Patio and Porch Columns
The Building Department is serious about replacing these posts. Plans review wants the stamped engineering plans. The welding on the newly fabricated column must be certified. And an inspection of the bolts in the beam takes place before we can put the stucco back on. In all, our crews take four separate trips to install a new support columns for any project.
While many homeowners are not concerned and would be happy to have the columns replaced with a piece of 4" x 4" wood for less, that's a bad idea. A 3" x 3" x 1/4" steel column will carry a load of about 25,000 lbs. A 4" x 4" wood column can only support about 450 lbs. That's a big difference. And to the chagrin of many, the cost to replace each a steel post is about $1000.00 each. Many homeowners think that's a high price and too much. But if you consider its importance and compare it to the cost of replacing a broken window (an average window costs about $1500.00 to $2000.00 to replace), its a reasonable expense.
Can you Repair a Patio Column?
Chances are your column looks something like the image above. The heavy rust is at the base where the steel is submersed in the concrete. Many people will ask me to cut the column at the base and up to a clean spot and simply weld a new piece in. If this is done what is there to weld to? The concrete below the surface will be rusted as well. Its my experience that rust all the way down to the footing. There is nothing to weld to. And even if you chip concrete to a clean base, your going to have to cover it with concrete again and the new steel will simple rust away.
So, the answer to repairing a rusting column is that it is a waist of your money and doomed to failure. Don't do it!
Would you like to have someone come look at your column and provide a FREE Estimate?