After removing the ugly slab we had a blank canvas to work with, and could design the porch of our dreams. The house is a little barn-ish without a porch, so we were excited about giving it a pretty face. We were also excited to have someplace to sit and watch it rain. That's like our #1 favorite leisure activity, watching rain. You should try it.
Watching it rain is awesome. Don't knock until you try it.
We looked at roughly 5,000 porch photos on the web, but the one we kept coming back to was the photo on the Hardie Siding display at the local Lowe's. It's difficult to find a high res photo of it, but here it is:
The elements we like are:
1. Gable on left framing front entrance
2. Exposed "craftsman" bracing
3. Stonework pillars
Planning began on this obviously large project. The total floor area is about 350 sq. ft, with over 400 sq. ft of shingled roof. To make things more interesting, we don't have the time or budget to completely replace the roof, so the new roof has to be integrated into the existing house roof. Hmm. I'll also add here that I am by nature paranoid about things leaking.
The framework of the porch is as simple as I can possibly make it. 6 pressure-treated posts, 6x6" in size, support the floor and roof. The floor is built on 2x10" pressure-treated joists and rims, and consists of standard decking boards. 2x8" pine beams support 2x6" pine rafters, holding up 15/32" ply roof deck. Asphalt shingles go on top. Simple, no? Let's begin with a "before" photo:
Step one: Dig holes, install posts.
Thank goodness for a tractor and friend willing to help on a Saturday. If you are contemplating a similar project note a few things: We set the posts 48" deep in 12" diameter holes. This left room for 120 lbs (3 x 40lb bags) of concrete per hole. Although local contractors often pour dry cement into these types of holes and let the moisture in the soil cure it, I don't. We mixed the Quickcrete in my awesome little Kobalt brand cement mixer. The easy way to mix is to cut a slit into the side of the bag and dump the entire bag into the mixer. Run the mixer for a few seconds and it magically empties the bag. Stop the mixer and easily remove the now-empty bag. Viola.
Mix your concrete to the consistency of runny oatmeal. Note that we are using bungee cords to hold levels tight onto the post all during the pouring process, and that we are using wooden stakes pounded into the ground to support the big posts via 2x4 diagonals. Allow the concrete to cure at least 24 hours.
HoneyDo has spent a lot of time designing this porch, both structurally and architecturally. As usual, I say, "What about adding this *insert difficult detail* or that *insert impossible feat*?" He gives me a long, sideways glance, then figures out a way to make it work. He's awesome like that.
I can't wait for you to see more of it!