|Proper Porch Pitch, Plinth and Rot Protection|
|Tuesday, 28 August 2012 19:11|
A drowning porch is a collapsing porch. April showers might not work as fast as a tsunami to destroy your porch, but if your porch pitch and plinth are not properly built, sweet spring rain can gnaw away at your porch and break it down into shattered pieces. One foot through the porch floor, and you could be wearing crutches the next time you walk through your front door.
Porches and puddles don't mix. Preventing puddle formation on your porch should be a strong priority during porch construction and repair. If you have a porch accumulating water at the base of the columns, or if water tends to evaporate rather than drain, your porch will be a danger zone until the problems are resolved. The slope of your porch deck and the material of your porch columns should be constructed to prevent water from being trapped in the wood. Preventative sealing, grooving and cautious landscaping will keep your porch prepared to stand strong through years of thundering springtime storms.
Your porch columns can harbor the water that leads to porch rot. A porch should be built to keep water flowing away from the porch columns and onto the ground. Manipulating the pitch and plinth of the porch keeps water flowing and prevents wood from rotting. Your porch deck should be built with a slight, unnoticeable, incline. A mere 1/4” per every 5' is enough to keep water from collecting around your porch columns.
The porch plinth is the seemingly unimportant piece of wood that lies between the base of the porch column and the deck. Despite its unassuming size, the porch plinth has the capability of protecting the column and deck from rot. The plinth should be made of a material that doesn't rot. Aluminum, fiberglass, or pressure treated yellow pine are materials that will not warp or rot from water. Putting a vinyl cover over a plinth can also add extra protection from the elements.
A few simple improvements or repairs can be made to existing porch plinths to encourage drainage and increase protection. Cutting in three 1/2” by 1/2” grooves at the base of the plinth will create a water thoroughfare. Caulking where the porch column meets the deck will add a protective measure to your porch. If you need to replace some rotted wood, the automotive filler Bondo or a strong epoxy filler can be used as a replacement to scraped-out rotted wood.
To further protect your porch, choreograph your landscaping to allow for at least one foot of freedom to exist between the porch deck and the vegetation. This is enough space to give the wood a chance to dry when the sun decides to make its appearance after a rainstorm. If you use lawn sprinklers, make sure you're not watering your porch with your plants.
Rain or shine, your porch should welcome you without puddles of water forming at your feet. Protecting your porch from water rot by improving your porch pitch and plinth will keep your porch ready to give you the strongest front row seats to the outdoor world.