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Somewhere along the line, someone had tried to "improve" this perfectly good central Virginia Federal brick house by adding on a portico with huge (20x20-inch) box columns. I was called in to replace the original wood columns, which had been built around 6-inch steel posts. The columns were poorly flashed at the top, and set right on the masonry at their bases, with no ventilation provided. By the time I saw them, the wood was cupped, twisted, and rotting — really in terrible shape. I first suggested to the owner that we downsize the new columns to 12x12 inches for better scale. And we added some details to ensure that the new columns would last for a long time. For the bases