Side Porch Makeover

Eduardo and Guillermo arrived today to start work on the side porch.

They started by removing the particle board which had been installed over the original floorboards:

removing the old particle board

It's still unclear to me why someone thought that particle board would be a good thing to use to shore up the old floorboards. Over the years it has absorbed water like a sponge, with the result that it has lost all structural integrity in many places. As you can see from the above picture, the workers didn't need to do much except shovel it up.

It was pretty quick work to remove all of the old bits -- the railing, the particle board, and the original floorboards (some of which were in pretty bad shape). Here's the resulting pile of detritus:

the spoil heap

Underneath all of that goo, the structure of the porch was sound. They cleaned up the nails and adhesive from the top of the deck, then installed some one-inch plywood sheets:

new one-inch plywood

The new floor feels marvelously solid.

As they were installing the first sheet of plywood, they were having trouble working around one of the column bases. I encouraged the guys to pull off the outer boards from the columns in order to make life easier. When they did so, this is what was revealed:

particle board inside a column base

More particle board, doing what it does best: retaining water. In the past someone had modified the column and widened the base by tacking on particle board and then thin sheet of pine. With this stuff removed, the columns looks a lot more elegant to my eye.

Here's a wider shot of the new porch, showing the new subfloor complete and the beginnings of the railing started:

porch with new decking installed

After lunch, the gents started to work on the new stairs. They fashioned the new stringers out of 3x12 pressure-treated lumber. These were temporarily tacked into place and concrete was poured beneath to form a footing. I snapped this photo just after a piece of scrap plywood was screwed across the front of the stringers:

new stringers and concrete footing

While all of this was going on, I spent the day installing the inexpensive siding on the rear of the house. This wall got completed very quickly:

cheap siding 1

The wall around the basement hatch was quick, too:

cheap siding 2

The last 90 minutes of my day involved much crawling and crouching. I did manage to get the lowest siding board installed across the entire width of the back wall:

cheap siding under the deck

I got about halfway done with the next level up, but by then it was starting to get dark. With luck, I'll be able to finish up the back wall tomorrow.

posted by noel on 10/18/14

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