Saturday, March 10, 2012

New beams and column support on front porch

Scaffolding supports the front porch during the work.
A new beam in place of the hollow box that had been there.
4X4s which will be hidden inside the columns.
Siding and columns removed. Yikes!

This post is long overdue. In November, or December of 2010, we started this project. The purpose was to correct the slight dip in the front porch. The "beam" that stretches the length of the front porch turned out to be a hollow decorative box. Same for the six tapered columns along the front of the house. None of these elements offered any structural support to the porch, hence the sagging effect. To correct this, the columns were opened up, 4X4s sunk into concrete piers under the porch. Also, an engineered beam placed across the length of the porch. Scaffolding was put up to support the porch during this work. It was at this point that one of our neighbors called to report the work to building and safety. We had not pulled a permit for the work. After a bunch of red tape and a few fees, the permit was issued. We obtained approval from the Mills Act (who monitor that everything we do to our house is historically acurate) and found out that the permit would be considered closed when the final painting was done.......that began the painting saga. (More about that in future posts.)
Another challenge was putting all the original siding and wood from the columns back correctly. The columns have a taper to them. They are narrow at the top, and wide at the bottom. Our contractor couldn't quite figure out how to get them aligned so that they didn't look all crooked from the street. Somehow we got it figured out after a bunch of trial and error. Don't assume your contractor will know how to put together what is taken apart! Also, we had to have more trim made to replace that which had been cut away and damaged over the years. (This porch used to be enclosed in windows. Those were removed before we purchased the house. Lots of trim was cut away to allow the windows to sit flush.)
Here's an example of where trim had been cut away.

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