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Is this a correct foundation for a support column

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[OP]
Deal Addict
May 23, 2006
1517 posts
542 upvotes
Vancouver

Is this a correct foundation for a support column

See pictures....which may be difficult to see as it is related to foundation underneath a column.

It's a column that supports the overhang.

I would expect more concrete foundation support for this. Can someone who knows foundation comment on whether this is a proper foundation for a column? thanks.

I see quite a bit of exposed wood in the bottom. Would it rot overtime and cause issue?
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7 replies
Deal Addict
Dec 5, 2009
1756 posts
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I'm not a builder but it looks like a standard post (ie. 4x4 or 6x6) secured to a U-shaped metal post base, which itself is mounted to a concrete column/pillar. Then your builder has framed around the post for decorative effect. Seems quite standard to me as my deck was built 6-9 months ago and it was constructed in the exact same way (minus the framing).

Add: Here's a picture of the footings for my deck.
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Deal Addict
Oct 13, 2014
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Just Moved To Somewh…
Fantastical wrote: I see quite a bit of exposed wood in the bottom. Would it rot overtime and cause issue?
I do not think it would rot that fast, however you may want to add to the trim panels to reduce water exposure, as they will rot fairly quickly.

Finish off the panels, to the ground with PVC, looks nice and it will definitely keep the actual wood from direct contact with the ground/base. There are different sizes to chose from.

https://www.homedepot.ca/product/verand ... 1000760288
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Deal Guru
Jan 25, 2007
11944 posts
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Paris
rcmpvet wrote: I do not think it would rot that fast, however you may want to add to the trim panels to reduce water exposure, as they will rot fairly quickly.

Finish off the panels, to the ground with PVC, looks nice and it will definitely keep the actual wood from direct contact with the ground/base. There are different sizes to chose from.

https://www.homedepot.ca/product/verand ... 1000760288
There is a gap around the bottom so the water doesn’t get trapped and rot faster.

The second poster showed his, and the posts are higher off the ground. That’s my only real feedback on this, as we can’t see what’s important BELOW the patio. Could be 2” of the patio, or a column sunk 48” down.
Deal Guru
User avatar
Mar 13, 2004
13084 posts
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Ontario
Looks standard from what I have seen in the past. It will end up rotting from water/snow/salt etc but it will likely take many years, maybe 10? 15? who knows. Even that metal U bracket may rust around the same time too. Not sure what you can really do to prevent it, just try to keep the elements away so it lasts longer I guess
[OP]
Deal Addict
May 23, 2006
1517 posts
542 upvotes
Vancouver
Thanks all. The wood column is slightly elevated from the ground or concrete foundation, so water shouldn't get trapped in the exposed wood and I live in Richmond, BC, so snow or salt is not really an issue....i am guessing with proper maintenance it should last a while. It is just a very small exposed wood area, so it will be very difficult to add more trim to it and adding trim to it improperly might do more harm than good (e.g. resulting in trapped moisture)

My house is still uner 2-5-10 new house warranty, so I am guessing this column foundation is done OK within BC building code although it could have been done better.

For example, my other support column has higher concrete support with no exposed wood, and in my opinion this other column (see pic) is done much better
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Sr. Member
Dec 6, 2020
937 posts
1039 upvotes
Fantastical wrote: I would expect more concrete foundation support for this.
There's not enough information to say. In your first photo, note that even the interior pieces of wood (behind the cosmetic exterior) aren't in contact with the ground; they're wrapping around something else that makes up the structural column. Shine a bright flashlight under the column and see what the column core is made of.

If you find concrete, it's probably fine.

If you find wood, it's definitely poorly built and could be a code violation.

Section 9.15.4.6 of the BC Building Code requires that foundation walls extend 6" (formally 150mm) above grade, in part to protect wooden structural members from water damage. I don't know if the term 'foundation wall' has been legally interpreted to apply to foundation piers. However, if that column is holding up a part of your house, the same requirement ought to apply.
[OP]
Deal Addict
May 23, 2006
1517 posts
542 upvotes
Vancouver
It appears to be the gravalnized bracket (similar to below) that is in contact with the concrete foundation. I think this is the correct installation as you want the gravalnized bracket rather than the wood to touch the concrete so that the wood absorbs less moisture.

tttps://www.amazon.ca/Simpson-Strong-CB44-7-Gau ... B001B1AQI8

The column itself is wood. I knock on it, and it sounds like wood.

The concern here is that the concrete foundation that i can visually see is perhaps only 1.5 inch.....like you said it seems to be a BC building code violation as the foundation for other columns is visually much larger (see my other pic in post #6).

I will contact the builder and see what he says. Hopefully, it is still within 5 or 10 years new house foundation warranty.

middleofnowhere wrote: There's not enough information to say. In your first photo, note that even the interior pieces of wood (behind the cosmetic exterior) aren't in contact with the ground; they're wrapping around something else that makes up the structural column. Shine a bright flashlight under the column and see what the column core is made of.

If you find concrete, it's probably fine.

If you find wood, it's definitely poorly built and could be a code violation.

Section 9.15.4.6 of the BC Building Code requires that foundation walls extend 6" (formally 150mm) above grade, in part to protect wooden structural members from water damage. I don't know if the term 'foundation wall' has been legally interpreted to apply to foundation piers. However, if that column is holding up a part of your house, the same requirement ought to apply.

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