Added load needs on-site expertise

Q. I have a 12X16-foot screened porch with brick floor supported on a poststressed concrete slab. The slab is tied into the adjacent house as part of the house slab and supported by perimeter beams. Is it feasible to raise the level of the porch floor by adding a layer of either concrete or brick? L. B. Johnson Sulphur Springs, Texas

A. It's hard to tell without actually seeing the site. Indeed, the answer involves an assessment of the existing slab thickness, size, and spacing of the reinforcing bars, character and size of the existing foundation and other support members, quality of the existing concrete, soil-bearing capacity, and on and on.

I suggest you get in touch with a local engineer and have him visit the site and make a recommendation. The names of qualified engineers who are capable of resolving the problem may be found in the yellow pages under "Engineers -- Civil" of "Engineers -- Structural."

A guess on my part would be a Mickey Mouse game at best and we won't play it in thi s column.

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