How To Replace a Load Bearing Post

Replacing a load-bearing post or load-bearing column is a significant structural task that requires careful planning and execution. It is crucial to ensure safety and stability during the process. You will need to build a temporary support structure to support the weight while you remove the post. You can use this method for exterior posts as well as indoor walls. Exterior posts may be a porch post just like the one showed in our video.

Important Note: This is a complex job that involves structural considerations. It’s highly recommended to consult with a professional structural engineer or a licensed contractor before attempting this task if you have any doubts or questions about your project and the structural integrity.

How Can I Tell If a Post is Load Bearing?

The easiest way to tell, if you have access to them is to Examine the architectural plans of the structure. If you don’t have them, observe the location of the post: Load-bearing posts are usually positioned directly beneath significant structural elements, such as beams or trusses.

Check for vertical alignment: Load-bearing posts are generally aligned vertically from the foundation to the top floor or roof, providing a direct load path from the upper levels to the foundation.

Look for additional support elements: Load-bearing posts are commonly accompanied by other load-bearing elements, such as beams, headers, or joists, connecting them to the rest of the structure.

Lastly, Inspect the post’s size and material: Load-bearing posts tend to be larger and made of stronger materials (e.g., wood, steel, concrete) compared to non-load-bearing decorative columns or partitions. Decorative columns can be load bearing if they have a structural posts within them.

Replacing a Load Bearing Post or Column

Materials Needed:

  • Temporary supports (such as adjustable steel jacks)
  • New load-bearing post (made from appropriate load-bearing material)
  • Shims
  • Nails or screws
  • Level
  • Post Level
  • Measuring tape
  • Safety gear (gloves, safety glasses)
safety first sign

Step 1: Safety First

  • Before you begin, ensure your safety by wearing appropriate safety gear, including gloves and safety glasses.
  • If you’re unsure about any step or aspect of the project, stop and consult a professional.

Step 2: Prepare the Area

  • Clear the area around the load-bearing post, removing any obstacles that might interfere with the replacement process.

Step 3: Temporary Support

  • Place temporary supports on both sides of the load-bearing post. Professionals may use adjustable steel jacks or you can build your own using 2x4s or 2x6s, as we show you in the video. These supports will carry the weight of the structure while you remove the old post.

Step 4: Remove Old Post

  • Carefully remove the load-bearing post. This may involve using a saw or other appropriate tools to cut through nails or screws that secure the post to the structure.
  • Make sure the area is clear of any debris after removing the old post.

Step 5: Install the New Load-Bearing Post

  • Position the new load-bearing post in place, making sure it fits securely with all installation materials specified by the manufacturer.
  • Use shims as needed to ensure a snug fit between the post and the surrounding structure.
  • Check the post’s alignment and level using a level tool.
checking level is important in every step of the build

Step 6: Secure the New Post

  • Nail or screw the new load-bearing post into place securely. Use appropriate fasteners based on the material of the post and the structure it supports.

Step 7: Double-Check Alignment and Level

  • Recheck the alignment and level of the new post to ensure it’s properly installed and aligned with the structure.

Step 8: Remove Temporary Supports

  • Once the new post is securely in place and properly aligned, you can remove the temporary supports.

Step 9: Post-Installation Inspection

  • Conduct a thorough inspection of the area to ensure everything is stable and secure.
  • Look for any signs of stress or movement, and address any issues promptly..

Again, please note that replacing a load-bearing post is a significant structural task, and it’s essential to consult with a professional to ensure the safety and integrity of your home’s structure.

outdoor patio with load bearing columns

Happy Remodeling!

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