The Roof, plus Porch

Brooke here. Last time, I wrote about the problems with getting the roof project going. Now, it’s roof-and-porch rebuild time.

We have a very nice front porch. When we first moved in, the house was clean and freshly painted. Frog-flippin’ green and naptime yellow, yes, but still, everything was fresh and clean. The house is shaped like an “L” and that very nice porch wraps all the way around the southwest side, with large windows and views out onto a small courtyard with a mature Japanese maple. It was truly lovely.

The porch when we moved in.

The porch did have a few wonky construction details, such as load-bearing beams sistered together with a handful of common nails, but the house was built in the late 1950s and maybe lag bolts were unfamiliar tech back then, who knows.

Yes, well. That would be us: we should have known. Because a few years later, the fresh paint has soured and began peeling off the wood rot, which was everywhere, and the nails they had hammered in to hold up the sagging beams started to fail.

As covered in the previous blog post, once we realized we needed to do major repairs, some metal jacks were aligned beneath the sistered beam to bring the sag back to level. We lived like this for a couple of years.

And then, finally, the Hired Dudes arrived and tore the whole thing apart.

Almost all of the beams had to go. The wood rot had sucked out the base of most of the support posts. I had done what I could to patch them, but they were flush against the brick and when it rained, they sat in puddles of water. As far as we could tell, they were original to the house and had been rotting out from the bottom up for six decades. Many of the roof beams were rotten nearly all the way through, as the soffits had caught and shoved water straight from the gutters up the beams. Joy.

But once the Hired Dudes got going, they ripped the roof off and took out the wood rot like stone-cold construction ninjas.

Rebuilding the spots with wood rot was the most time-consuming part of the process. As with most of our home repair projects, our guiding policy was We are never doing this again! so we went overboard on overbuilding. Everything that needed to be replaced was replaced; everything that should have been upgraded was upgraded. There were aluminum post base supports to lift the new posts out of standing water. There were exterior-grade glulam beams to replace the sagging and sistered support beams. The whole thing was tied together with some really nice pergola hardware. And once that was done, we even upgraded the electric and got rid of the charming light we named “Bug Coffin” which caught water when it rained and concentrated it through a billion dead bug carcasses to drip straight into your hair.

Then the Hired Dudes were done, the checks were written, and I painted the whole thing.

Except, of course, for the frog-flippin’ green.

2 thoughts on “The Roof, plus Porch

  1. Brooke, I feel vaguely guilty for how hard I laughed reading this.

    Also, I read it while staying at our friend’s house at Smith Mountain Lake. Their deck is also collapsing. When she got her first quote for the replacement my friend replied, “I didn’t realize the quote needed to come with a defibrillator.”

  2. Oh dear. But now the entire roof has been tackled? Or just the porch roof? And that new wiring looks like it needed to be done, yes…

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