Front Porch and Walk

The porch had become spongy and springy, especially toward the edge. In this photo, you can see how the floorboards dip in the center. Yes, that’s asbestos siding. (Most of our neighborhood is covered in it.) Beneath the asbestos are the original cedar shingles, but we didn’t know what shape they’d be in.

Talk about curb appeal–don’t these steps just shout “welcome”? The steps were level (but rickety). It’s the sunken concrete slab that makes them look off-kilter. Bad, bad … so embarassing!

Eric removed the asbestos and cedar shingles. Unfortunately, the shingles were too brittle to salvage.

Then came the surprises. I’d imagined the white square columns would have posts inside to bear the load … but there were no posts. The box columns themselves hold up the porch roof. Rosencrantz demonstrates that there’s plenty of room for an 18-pound Maine coon inside the structure.

The mind-blowing truth–the posts beneath the corners of the porch were dangling in the air. Once upon a time they touched the ground and actually supported the porch, but years of water and settling had left them high and dry. The porch was floating in air!

Eric supported the roof with 4 x4s as he carefully jacked up the corners, in-filled with crushed gravel, and set the posts on pier blocks. A brave neighbor helped. Me? I was poised to dial 911 if the porch fell on either of them. Standing near the front door, I heard a creeeeeak, and the bracing fell in–but the porch stayed up!

All straight now and solid as a rock, with new cedar shingles. We haven’t replaced the porch floorboards, as they are still in serviceable shape. That’s further down the project list. But we have found a great product to use when we do: Azek makes composite porch boards that look identical to the wood ones.

But … what about that sad sidewalk? Bad feng shui! Not to mention just plain ugly.

Eric, as usual, did the Herculean heavy work of busting up the old walk. We hauled out literally a ton of concrete … such fun loading it into the trailer and unloading it at the dump … and going back for more! Then we brought in roughly two tons of new sand, crushed rock, and pavers. Our utility trailer is only rated for 1000 pounds, so we made many trips. Just as Eric began installing the new pavers, he came down with pneumonia and everything ground to a halt for several weeks.

Now that’s better! Eric did a fantastic job laying the pavers. Now our entry really does say “welcome”!

1 thought on “Exterior

  1. Doreen Below

    I not only love the look you have created with your precious house but the writing is keeping me wanting more. . . . you are an insiration to get on my own landscaping (maybe come Spring time). In the meantime I’m enjoying following your history and future progress


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