Monday, March 22, 2010

Finally!! Front Porch Rebuild

I've been planning this one for a long time. The front porch had a lot of rot and was starting to leak pretty badly. I had originally planned on doing the entire porch over one weekend with the help of my family but once we started it turned out to be a much bigger job than anticipated. I took all of last week off with the intent of scraping, primering, and painting the house but I ended up using the entire week for the porch.

My dad, uncle, and one of my brothers came down last weekend to help out. Before they came out I pulled down some of the rotted beadboard ceiling above the door to see what it looked like in there.

This is what I found:

Not good. Once my family got here we started the demo:

More rot

 This is the hole my leg made as it fell through the roof

 This entire area is rotted and needs to come out

Tearing out the rot

These next two pictures are what's left after tearing out all the rotted wood:

The worst part is I thought the porch would have been framed with at least 2x4 rafters but it wasn't. The roof is made up of the beadboard ceiling, 1x4 purlins, and plywood sheathing. Thats it! The only area that has actual framing is the front gable.
Well to rebuild the porch with framing would entail ripping the entire thing down and building it from scratch. I dont have the time or the money to do this, besides, the porch lasted 120 years like this so I think it's ok to rebuild it the same way.

After ripping all the rot out it was time to start the rebuild. The first thing we concentrated on was devising a better system for holding the small balcony up. Originally it was just sitting on top of the beadboard so needless to say I wanted something a bit stronger. 

What we came up with was a cantilevered beam made up of three sandwiched pressure treated 2x6's.

We nailed this beam into the joist in the ceiling. Next we installed the front joist. The original was so rotted I pulled it apart by hand to remove it.

With that installed we framed out the balcony.

With the balcony done we installed the new ridge board. The original was a 1x4, we used a 2x4. Then we installed the rafters.

Next we turned our attention to the beam that sits on the columns. Two entire sections were completely rotted. We pulled them out and replaced them with three 2x6's sandwiched together.

At this point the weekend was over and my family had to leave, I hated to see them go but they were a HUGE help.

For the next two days my father-in-law came over to help me. We began working on installing the beadboard ceiling. All the replacement beadboard I'm using I got from a friend in town. He recently bought two old houses, one of them was not savable so he decided to dismantle it and use the wood to restore the other one. I spent the entire day on the Friday before my family came over removing the beadboard and flooring I would need.

With the beadboard in we laid the 1x4 purlins down and screwed them in with 1 1/4 screws. We also laid the purlins on the gable and started building the valleys. I laid aluminum flashing on top of the valleys (not shown in the pics).

The next problem we worked on was the curved beadboard ceiling section. A part at the top had fallen in and was just hanging.

First we braced the ceiling back into place, then we used strips of plywood that were kerf cut on the back to hold it in place.

With the ceiling finished we started laying the sheathing.

This was as far as we got before the day ended and my father-in-law had to go home. He was also a HUGE help and I was sorry to see him go.

From now on it's just me. 

The next day I continued the sheathing in the rain, it rained all day.

This is the balcony, I used flooring for the decking. The buckets are to catch some of the rain pouring down off the roof.

The next thing I did was to level the entire porch roof and remove some of the columns. Note how in the before picture the roof slopes in on each side towards the gable in the center. I had to raise the entire gable by about 3".

Before leveling


With the roof level I began installing the small facia trim just under the plywood. The original had a routed edge along the bottom. I found a router bit that almost perfectly matched the original profile.

Here it is installed along the curved edge of the roof. This was no easy task.

Just when I thought I was done with the rot I found more. The beadboard ceiling in the side porch area was completely rotted and had to come out.

With the rotted boards removed I installed replacements.

Then laid down the 1x4 purlins.

We intend to install a ceiling fan here as this will become a screened in porch so I needed to run the electrical for it. Because there is so little room in the ceiling I had to come up with something that would fit. Even a pancake box wont fit so what I ended up doing was drilling a small hole for the wire then I took a light fixture bracket and screwed it down to the top of the ceiling above the hole. I then screwed in two screws through the screw holes in the bracket and through the ceiling. Then I removed them and screwed them back in from underneath. I will use these two holes to secure the ceiling fan to the ceiling.

With that done I finished installing the sheathing. As you can see it was once again raining...

Next it was on to the felt and flashing.

This is as far as I got. Unfortunately I have to go back to work this week so it's going to be hard to get this finished.

I still need to finish the felt and flashing, shingle the roof, remove the rest of the columns, rip the floor up and install the new flooring, then repair and reinstall the columns. Then of course there is all the small trim work that needs to be installed.


Anonymous said...

Holy cow. You guys did all that in a weekend?! I'm impressed!!! I need to put a porch BACK on my house...I don't know if it'll be harder than refurbishing an existing one or not.

Kristy said...

While it was a lot of work to do all of this, better to have found the problems up front then allow them to remain hidden.

At least you know that everything is shored up and done properly.

Shiloe Bear said...

Wow! This is a huge undertaking! Good thing you have such a supportive family to crew for you. The project tuned out beautifully. Nice work!

Kathy said...

That is a lot of work but you are so going to enjoy your porch this summer! We finally got ours painted last summer and we have been living out there whenever we can (my kids can't wait to sleep out there!). I can't wait to see the finished product.