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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Porch Rehab

Jessica Walliser
Hobby Farms Contributor

We have lived in our current house for seven years, and ever since we moved in, we've been wanting to redo our front porch. The left front corner was sinking, and the concrete was cracked, broken and flaking. A porch renovation is a big-budget repair, so we've had to put it off, but this year, we decided to bite the bullet and replace the porch, walk and steps.

As with all costly home repairs, I solicited several bids from contractors specializing in concrete work. Once we settled on "the right guy," he worked with us to create a new design for the walk and steps. Here we are, one month later, in the midst of our porch makeover.

The porch isn’t finished yet, but hopefully in a few weeks, when the concrete has fully cured and the railing has been installed, I'll be able to share an "after" shot. Come spring, I plan to build a planting bed along each side of the walk and replace the shrubs we had to dig out in order to make the repair.

Take a look at our work in action:

Porch Rehab - Photo by Jessica Walliser (HobbyFarms.com)

The porch repair process began just before Halloween, with an eight-man crew and a jackhammer. They had to smash up the old walk, steps and porch before they could repoint the bricks and begin to build the new porch.

Porch Rehab - Photo by Jessica Walliser (HobbyFarms.com)

Once the smashed up concrete was hauled away, they began to build the wood frames that would become the steps and walk. These are the steps leading from the driveway up to the walk.

Porch Rehab - Photo by Jessica Walliser (HobbyFarms.com)

This is the framework for the walk and porch steps. This photo was taken before the frames were positioned and leveled. Replacing all the brick and rebuilding the porch from the ground up was out of our budget, so instead, they repointed the existing brick, which we will eventually cover with stone or stucco.

Porch Rehab - Photo by Jessica Walliser (HobbyFarms.com)

They use these hollow stakes with nail holes through them to carefully position the frame and enable it to hold the weight of the wet concrete in place.

Porch Rehab - Photo by Jessica Walliser (HobbyFarms.com)

They filled the frames with wet concrete and smoothed the top to level. Because we decided on a surface of exposed aggregate, the concrete will be allowed to cure overnight, and then it will be pressure washed to expose the pebbles beneath.

Porch Rehab - Photo by Jessica Walliser (HobbyFarms.com)

All the poured concrete was covered with plastic for 24 hours. The crew will then come back with the pressure washer and add a layer of concrete sealant to finish the job. The next step is selecting the railing and getting the planting beds prepared for next spring.

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