Sometimes home projects are more than just things you want to do, but things you need to do. Our side porch went from something we hoped to tackle in the next couple of years, to something we needed to do now when we discovered a rotten section above one of the porch columns.
We knew the porch needed a lot of work but, the more we uncovered when addressing the rotten spot, the more we realized we were in for a lot of reconstruction of most of the structure itself. The columns were all in very bad condition and after taking one out, we realized there was no column, they were merely hollow boxes, none of which had much structural integrity any more. It’s a miracle this thing was still standing at all!
Before I get into the details of this phase of the project, I wanted to say something else. I know this project doesn’t yet lend itself to beautiful photos of perfectly styled spaces but I wanted to share this project with you for a number of reasons. Starting with the fact that I wanted to hire someone to deal with this project. The porch is so big that once we knew just how much rebuilding needed to take place, I didn’t think there was any way B could do this by himself.
He literally paced back and forth on the porch thinking for hours working out in his head how to safely and properly tear down and rebuild without damage to neighboring properties, our house or himself.
So, if nothing else, sharing this project shows that just about any project at home can be tackled with the right know-how and planning.
Now, back to the project. To start removing columns, B started by building a temporary support structure. He did this in two sections because the porch is so long and he could tell from his level that the porch sagged at both ends.
He started with the front section which included the front corner post and the one where we found the rotten section. I helped merely to hold or carry things while he did most of the actual work.
He jacked the front corner up slightly to where it should have been before sagging first. Then, when we had the temporary supports in place, B removed the two columns. When he uncovered the beams above the columns that rest on the posts, we found even more rot and evidence that some of it had clearly been replaced at some point before. As is common with old homes, much of it was scabbed together and was not built properly so piece-by-piece B also replaced the beams.
The foundation piers are brick and were fortunately in good shape and built properly so all we needed to do was remove the old columns and put in the new. B added new 6 x 6 posts to replace the front two columns, and then moved his temporary support structure to the back section of the porch and repeated the entire process again replacing the beams and posts.
Sadly this work isn’t the pretty stuff but because it’s a miracle the porch was still standing before we started working, it’s a big deal to know that it’s now safe and built properly.
We know now that much of the water damage came from a failing roof so with the porch structure rebuilt and in excellent shape, it’s time to move on to the roof. We’ll be removing the old roof and replacing it with a black metal roof to match our garage. I’ll be sharing details about that stage of the porch project soon.