A New Porch

While I’m under stay at home orders due to our pandemic, I’m finding time to update our progress on the house.  Another new project for our 1910 Queen Anne home was to have a brand new wrap around porch built, following the exact plans and dimensions of our existing porch.

Over the course of time, our Victorian house had a Craftsman style porch added on, replacing the original Victorian one. Gone are the round pillars from floor to ceiling, and brick piers were added, and square pyramidal posts were installed at some point in the 1920s or 1930s. This large and grand porch lasted admirably for 90 to 100 years.

A leaky porch roof caused extensive rot.

Yet it leaked in three sections and buckets of water would gush onto the porch floor every time it rained. About 18 months ago, as we peeled back some wood to start repairs, we noticed that the three main support beams were rotted throughout. The whole porch shook when we walked on it. We brought our architect David Maurer out to examine it and advise us on how best to restore it. But the water damage had caused extensive rot. A former owner had laid tar paper on the front roof to patch it, but the repair did not hold through the years.

So after getting quotes from area contractors, we selected one and over three months, the porch was rebuilt exactly like it used to be. And a new standing seam metal roof was installed too.

In the middle of the re-build

We saved some of the sawn and turned detailing of the porch, and had to re-craft some of the other hand sawn wood work.  I took as much of the moulding off as I could, although much of it broke while I was prying it off.  Scott and I were busy during much of last year painting on weather proofing materials and then priming each piece of trim. Then on some of the trim boards, we added oil based paint. Why oil-based? Because that is what was originally on the house and wanted to re-create it in its original form.  Much of the trim work still needs to be installed, and most of it was carefully crafted and nailed on by our contractors and will need to be painted from a ladder. From the roof line down to the top fo the pillars are seven layers of board and trim.

Another middle of re-build shot, with construction waste from interior stacked on porch corner

The process goes like this. First we paint on weather proofing. It takes two hours to dry. Then a layer of primer is laid, and since it’s oil-based, it takes 24 hours to dry. Once the primer is set, then we can paint each trim piece, and then wait another 24 hours for that to dry. We still have quite a bit of painting to undertake on the porch, and have barely started.

Unfortunately, our process was slowed a bit by an unforeseen circumstance. We left a grouping of trim drying on the porch on a pair of sawhorses. The next weekend when we returned, the trim was on the floor and sawhorses were gone! Stolen. Then we noticed pieces of trim and cut lumber disappearing, little by little. We installed security cameras outside (we already had them inside) and caught a woman stealing a board right in front of the camera, and carrying it to her car. So after reporting it to the police, we brought all the trim and remaining tools inside the house.

We chose five historic colors for the house, and here are some decisions about trim colors

Our entire house was clad in vinyl when we bought it, and little by little we are removing it and repairing and stripping the wood underneath. So far we’ve found some nice surprises. One piece on the front porch covered detailing – a sort of rectangle within a rectangle in two places near our front bay windows – that we can’t wait to paint and highlight.  Soon we’ll be scraping and sanding the wood in preparation for paint.

A few trim pieces are painted and installed on porch corner.

But we have one small change. We found that the oil based paint that we painstakingly applied last year in the Summer and Fall is already beginning to mold. So we are planning to re-paint those pieces with a fresh coat of primer, and then to paint everything with new latex paint. It holds up better to these humid North Carolina summers.

We are thrilled with the new porch. Stay tuned to see more detail in a future post as we begin to paint the details of the porch trim.

Painting some trim pieces Rookwood Blue Green in preparation to install them

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