Sunday, January 13, 2013

Julie Wants a Porch (Part 1)

When Julie and I were building our house we stayed the course and put all the details I had designed into each of the respective rooms. As the project was growing long (we moved in 4 years after we started) it would have been easier and faster not to put in the horizontal wainscoting on the living room walls that ties into the window trim and the mantel. It would have been faster and less expensive to have foregone all these details but then our house would not have the look that we had dreamed of during all the years of planning.

One of the last items to be completed before we could move in was the back porch. I spent a lot of time sorting out all the other details of the house but I was at a bit of a loss as to the back porch. I just never could get my head wrapped around an idea for the back porch and with the construction account dwindling we built a plane 8 foot x 20 foot deck. It was close enough to the ground that no hand rails were necessary so a pressure treat timber platform was what we got and we moved in.

That was about 6 years ago. During this time exposure to sun and rain had taken quite a toll on the decking boards. In earlier discussions about the future of the porch Julie had expressed a desire to have a screened porch. She expressed this desire on many occasions so when I asked her what she wanted for Christmas this year she  answered "I want a screened porch". Okay I can take a hint especially when it's that direct.

I set about designing the screened porch.  Fall and Winter were coming so we decided that we would build the porch in two phases. The deck, the columns, roof and flooring would be Phase 1 and in the following spring and early summer Phase 2 would include the actual screening of the walls.

To use the porch as we intended we needed to increase the width by four feet. This meant several large shrubs, including some very over grown forsythia and junipers had to go. The shrubs were incredibly well anchored to the ground and did not go willingly but a nylon strap and a Toyota Tundra helped us accomplish this task. Fortunately we had some friends that wanted the old decking boards so they removed the old boards from the frame.

One other problem we had with the old deck was armadillos. It was open access underneath so one of those critters took up residence and made a burrow against the foundation of the house where it proceeded to dig down all the way to the footing. We had to back fill the burrow and tamp everything back into place.  Settling and shrinking pressure treat lumber make it necessary to reset the grade on the old frame.  Finally we were ready to do some actual building.

In the picture above you can see the contrast between the old framing and the new. We also sistered on end joists to tie everything together. If you look closely at the picture below you will see some heavy duty plastic netting that is nailed to the rim joist and anchored to the ground with rebar. Hopefully this will keep out armadillos and other animals.

More construction details in the next post,


An old saying from India,

Everything will be okay in the end, if it’s not okay then it’s not the end”


  1. Armadillos! Now, when the time is right and you get another dog, will the armadillos disappear?

  2. Tico we had armadillos when Angel Belle was still with us. She hated them and sported a battle scar on her face due to an encounter with one of these lowly critters.


  3. I saw the post about the finished product of your porch. I wish you add a screen to it, just so the two of you can sit and sip your coffee in it without worrying about the bugs and insects that might bite you. =)
    Angelina Garcia