Saturday, April 18, 2009

October 30, 2008 - Nearing Completion of the Back Porch

We started this beautiful day out early. Here is Michael, working on getting the paver centered and the height just right so the whole thing is level. The small sticks you see screwed to the posts are called furring strips. We used them to screw the bottoms of the posts together in such a way as to hold them all perfectly perpendicular to the leveled top of the porch until we got them and the pavers they were sitting on buried and set in earth.

Looking along the three posts next to the foundation, we decided to see if we could affix them in any way.

We cut small pieces from leftover wood and trimmed them to fit the uneven irregularities in the wall.

Here is one fitted. But the more we messed with it, the less we thought it would be successful. The porch is going to be sturdier than the wall when it's all said and done, and we just didn't want to tie them together.

My gas powered chain saws are not running. My husband was a tinkerer. Therefore, all the stuff we have is stuff that needs to be tinkered with to get it going. So my dad loaned me his electric chain saw. This was to trim the tops of the posts off to be flush with the tops of the joists for laying down the deck boards. I was not especially looking forward to this job. Of all the things to do, THIS is the one you have to be really careful doing. The chain saw is awkward, especially holding it over your head and sawing sideways - and now with a power cord to mess with as well.

I ended up sitting atop the joists for cutting the boards. And, because I was careful and thinking about being cautious, all went perfectly fine.

Laying a few boards across the top gives you a way to be up there and working.

All the tops are gone. It's beginning to feel like a porch!

These imported vicious version of the lady bug are a scourge here. These are not the sweet lady bugs that eat aphids in your garden. These are orange, they bite, they stink, they swarm inside your walls, and they probably send mail to their Japanese friends about the great digs they've found here in America. They come out in spring and fall, and drive you nuts.

Beginning to add a little dirt at a time and settle it in with water. You want these to be good and solid. We buried them below the frost line.

Working on the steps now. Lowe's didn't have precut stringers long enough for us, so Michael and I made some of our own. Here we are eye-balling one out so we can mark where the cut-outs for the steps will be.

Marking the first cut-outs. I don't have an exact science down. I'm sure there is a formula for this somewhere, but I don't have it. But even if you are a little off, you have leeway in raising or lowering the stringers at the bottom to make it all level.

After cutting as much as the skill saw will reach, there is a little nub left.

Michael is hand sawing each nub out.

The top of the first stringer, ready to be marked and trimmed level with the top of the porch joists. The we used the whole thing as a template to mark out the other two board for two more stringers.

You can see the bottom is not resting on the ground. That is so we can rest it on pavers, keeping it out of the dirt; for longevity.

The top fits squarely against the joist.

The bottom is a little high here, but that was to be expected. It's a slope and the other stringers sit closer to the ground.

It's hard to see in the dark, but underneath the bottoms of the three stringers is a board we screwed them all to, to hold them separate and still. At the top is another board, temporarily affixed to the joists with nails which will be replaced with bolts. We are temporarily holding the whole bottom up with some scrap wood until we can finish it.

We were really hoping to finish the whole thing that evening, but left it there.


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