We’ve begun one of the most exciting restorations of the house…the porch. I’ve been waiting for this to happen practically since we took it off last year.
The first step was building the piers to support the floor beams. I had a contractor dig the footers, but I did all the masonry above ground. The stone veneer on the blocks is comprised of stone salvaged from the original foundation.
To help ensure a long life for the flooring we dipped all 170 boards into a gutter filled with wood preservative, and then primed the backs of each board. The preservative portion wasn’t too horrible, but it rained the day we were priming. That got really difficult as there was no where to stack the boards to dry except in a pile with wood separators. Since the painted side was going down, we didn’t worry about whether or not the finish would be messed up by stacking.
We had to use new pressure treated lumber for the beams because they rest on the stone, but we were able to use about 95% of the dimensional 2″x8″ joists we had salvaged.
The next steps happened concurrently. As I laid the new tongue and groove flooring (the original was salvaged but not enough good wood to do the whole porch), the carpenters started framing the roof.
The main header beam was a real bear to get up. As I recall the beam was double 2″x10′s and about 40′ long. The whole thing went up at once and took 5 of us struggling to do it. I’d be lying if I said it was fun.
With the beams in place and temporary posts supporting them, the rafter work began and the flooring continued.
Next came rebuilding the knee walls that surround the porch. We went back and forth on whether to rebuild the wall or leave the floor open at the edges. We thought it would be nice to be able to see the whole window from the front, but in the end it just didn’t feel right with out the wall.
The cap on the knee wall is original on one side and the front, but we had to make one new one because we took away a side step from the porch’s original design. The other new material we opted for was the columns. We salvaged most of the original columns, but the plinths and caps that were rotten would have been too difficult and expensive to replicate. It became easier financially and logistically to replace the columns altogether.
Here she sits with her porch rebuilt awaiting the framing inspection. We passed the inspection and now just need to do the finish work of siding for the knee wall and the beadboard ceiling. Another supplier that specializes in building and restoring old homes will be putting a standing seam metal roof on the porch in the weeks ahead.
She’s really feeling complete now, even though almost no interior finish work has been done.