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Does a porch floor need to be pitched?

antxibeibi's picture

I currently have some contractors replacing the front porch on my 1910 home in Minnesota. They installed fir tongue & groove, perpendicular to the house. When it rains, water rolls from the edges in towards the center and toward the wall of the house, causing puddles that just sit there. Everything I know and my instincts tell me this is wrong. They are telling me that it's fine and I just need to let the new footings settle and it will remedy itself. I've read nothing about this when performing basic Google searches to find out info on calculating the pitch, etc.


Any experts out here who can provide good, solid advice?

"Just need to let the (post #215431, reply #1 of 13)

"Just need to let the footings settle" doesn't say much for their construction quality.

Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

Agreed. Ugh. (post #215431, reply #2 of 13)

Agreed. Ugh.

Just need some common (post #215431, reply #3 of 13)

Just need some common sense....and you've got it.  Did they have to get a building permit?  Was the work inspected? 

Yes, there's a permit, and (post #215431, reply #4 of 13)

Yes, there's a permit, and I've spoken to the inspector to call out my concern on the matter. He is kind and somewhat attempting to "have my back" on this, but at the same time they are all just sort of shrugging their shoulders because the work is complete at this point, so how do you fix it without creating a bunch of extra work? (which is not at all my problem, as far as I'm concerned) The inspector did respond to the whole "waiting until the footings settle" suggestion with a resounding "well, no. I wouldn't count on that."

Also, the owner of the construction company keeps saying "it's good that water is pooling because it shows that we installed the T&G flooring tight." It takes all my strength to not laugh aloud at him.

Have you paid for the work?  (post #215431, reply #5 of 13)

Have you paid for the work?  If the contractor won't correct the problem then I would first file a complaint with the BBB,  if the contractor is a member.  If contractor is not a member or this does not result in a favorable resolution I would next contact the Consumer Protection Division of your State Attorney General's Office....they don't act in a legal capacity but will act as an intermediary and arbitrate on your behalf.  If none of this gets you a favorable resolution then it's on to court....possibly small claims depending on the amount of your claim. Document all correspondence with the contractor and put communications in writing. If contractor won't correct the work get some written estimates to have the work will be providing these to the BBB, AG's office, or court.

Partial payment - I still owe (post #215431, reply #8 of 13)

Partial payment - I still owe more than half. They are going to attempt to fix it and the inspector wouldn't sign off on it yet.


Thank you for the tips!

Pull it up and pitch it (post #215431, reply #9 of 13)

Pull it up and pitch it properly?  

Why T & G? (post #215431, reply #6 of 13)

I'd question the wisdom of putting a tongue and grove floor exposed to the weather at all. To my thinking a porch floor should either be covered, waterproofed (and pitched) or drained (like spaced decking). I once installed a t & g deck exposed to the weather and drained. It was not waterproofed (procrastination) and it didn't last long. One wouldn't put up t & g roof sheating with no water proofing. Why is this ok for a floor?

Not sure why you would (post #215431, reply #7 of 13)

Not sure why you would question it - it's the traditional look. As I mentioned, my house is over 100 years old. This porch redo was done to replace the original, 100+ year-old fir tongue & groove floor. I'm also not sure why you're assuming it won't be waterproofed (to the extent that sealant will "waterproof" wood). It also is covered, because this is a porch, not a deck.

Porch. (post #215431, reply #10 of 13)

I just assumed that this was uncovered because you say it gets wet when it rains. Sealant is not water proofing and will not protect wood from standing water, especially not when there are seams for water to get into. Yes it should be pitched, but if you pitch it enough to prevent any standing water it will be at an uncomfortable slope. Anything more than 1/4" per foot is quite noticeable and at that pitch there will be some water that does not drain for various reasons (capilary action in the grooves, surface tension, etc.). You are best making sure that it is well covered and gets as little water as possible. When the rain stops make sure it dries out. Your 100+ year old floor was original growth fir which is considerably more rot resistant than any of the tree-farmed stuff that is all we have today. 

Yes, it's outdoors, so it (post #215431, reply #11 of 13)

Yes, it's outdoors, so it does get rain and snow on it, despite having a roof. I do understand that there is a difference between old growth wood and what we have today, but from an aesthetic point of view, I would never want decking on a front porch. My hope is that with regular maintenance to protect it, it will last for some time. We shall see!

Anti (post #215431, reply #13 of 13)

I don't know if you mentioned it but I hope all sides, ends and cuts were sealed prior to installation?

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I just noticed that you said (post #215431, reply #12 of 13)

I just noticed that you said "Minnesota".  You definitely need to have it pitched, if any snow at all can blow onto it.

Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville