New Front Porch.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Over the weekend, we had the honor of attending Juliana's wedding, Mike's co-worker, which was great fun.  We're very happy for her and wish her and Al, a fellow Menards junkie aficionado, all the best and a lifetime of happiness.

Her dad gave a touching speech, I don't think there was a dry eye in the room.  It was revealed to us that Jules was the first female to join her high school football team.  Go Jules!  The point of me sharing that ties in here, promise.

So ok wait, the front porch.  No, the entire thing is not new; I should rephrase.  New Front Porch Decking.  So, kinda not super raise the roof exciting but heh, hey, sadly not everything homeowner is mind-blowing.  Heh.

The before shot.  S'up, doggie in the window?  When I saw this photo later, it reminded me exactly of the last one here and near gave me a heart attack because this two days later back then.
This was surprisingly easy.  Or, I should say, it went shockingly smoothly which I did not anticipate.  Sad right, when you expect everything will go awry and are stunned when it goes swimmingly?!  Heh, ah well, what can I say.  Ok, I will say when it goes right, it feels that much sweeter.

One of the hardest parts of this was convincing Mike that replacing the porch deck boards was a good thing.  I had to bring it up about four or five times before he kinda sorta but not really acquiesced.  He appeared to be quite attached to the aged, soft weather-worn gray which, ya know, I'll admit, I was too.

But.  Just one a' those things that needs to be done to keep up the good house maintenance end of the bargain and the ever-important curb appeal thing.  That but mostly we like the front looking nice for ourselves, screw the neighbors.  Heh, noooooo.

Honestly though, I was most worried a board would splinter into big Finn's feeties.  Uh, a'-noooo thank you.

A quick measure and count and all I needed for this task was about nine or so eight foot long pressure treated thick deck boards and a box o' deck screws.*

Yeah.  Simple.

And relatively inexpensive.  I think all told I spent in the neighborhood of fifty, sixty smackeroos on this.

Oh I also grabbed a piece of pressure treated 1x6 to rebuild the step that sits on the porch leading up into the front door.

The actual hardest part of this task, and what took the longest, was getting the existing step that sits on the porch leading up into the front door off.  Why?  Because the flipper's people were utter idiots.  Idiots.

The porch step before shot.  Ironically (see below), we have a broom too.

It was asinine.

I mean, someone should be locked up for this step construction.

Instead of building the step separately and attaching it to the porch boards....heh nooOOoo....They over-engineered (whaaaat??  I know, right?) and built it onto the deck going up.

Screwy explanation, sorry.  What I mean is they attached things in such a way that it was impossible to disassemble it like a normal person would; screws and nails were put in that were wholly inaccessible at steps in the process where they should have been accessible.

So, if a normal human puts something together, it's step one, two, three, a logical order to things resulting in a three, two, one logical easy disassembly.  But no, they did seven, three, ten, one, four, seven...whatever willy nilly insanity.

After removing as many screws as I could (read:  hardly any) it became a matter of sheer will, determination, and releasing harboring aggressions with my good pals Hammer, Crow Bar, and Jig Saw.  It was obscene.  Likely not the most safe but whatev's man, desperate times, desperate measures.

Ree.dic.u.lous.ness.  Some kind of construction sorcery I have never witnessed before....I mean, I can't even.
What else was non-sensical?  I did not injure myself in that process.  Or at any point!  Whaaaaa???  Crazy, right?!  Gold star for me!

To catch my breath after the step removal fiasco, I dragged all the beat up lumber out to the alley.  Huff puff, not much of a rest.  Less than eight hours later, the wood had vanished.  If you ever need something to disappear and disappear fast, put it in a Chicago alley.

There was an ocean of brick crumbles and dust and junk under there so I gave that a good clean off, hauling two heavy heavy garbage bags down the gangway.  Must've gotten there when they re-bricked the facade, I'm not sure.

What a mess on top of the old concrete landing.
A surprise?  The 2-by's perpendicular to the house under the decking were all footloose and fancy free, floating within the metal frame of the porch.  They were a lil' beat up but still in decent enough shape; as such, felt no need to replace them.

I mean, I guess it would've sucked removing the old concrete steps and landing but, to build around it with a steel structure?  Weird.
Ok!  Time to pile on the new stuff!

Thankfully my spiffy miter saw is lightweight so I was able to easily schlepp it upstairs and set up shop out front.  Pressure treated lumber should always be cut outdoors.

Go miter saw!  Go miter saw!*  What's odd too?  Our packages get stolen out front in mere seconds but yet, no, not this full, unopened bottle of Irish coffee liquor we brought out for the block party and didn't bring back in.  Weeks.  Sat out for weeks.  Had to bring it back in.  Yeah, looks like my saw is getting liquored up, heh.
And then all righty, it was go time.  Measure, cut, space, screw down, measure, cut, space, screw down.  Not hard!

I left about 3/16" or 1/4" or so between the boards as best I could.  Several of the boards weren't as straight as they could have been.  If only they had studied more in school.  What?  Yeah, I dunno, moving on.

Pete the Sweeper stumbled on over, asking me what I was up to, incredulously chuckling all the while.

Yes, it really seems I can't go out front without Pete spying me from inside his house and coming across the street to talk to me, usually about nothing or the same three stories again and again.  While that may sound unneighborly of me, it gets aggravating because it happens every time I set foot out there.

"Hey, whaddya doin'?  Where's Mike?  Why is he not doing this?  What, you do this, what??," then offered me the use of his table saw.  Ok thanks Pete, I'm on a roll here, thanks for stopping by.

Then the neighbor to the east, his wife popped outdoors.  After our usual repartee she asked, "what are you doing?"  "No, I mean, why are you doing that?"  "Why are you doing the carpentry?  Doesn't Mike do that?"  Laugh, laugh, "oh, oookkaaayyy!"  (She's really nice, don't get me wrong.)

It is irksome.  I'm not sure I understand why folks find it a difficult to concept to grasp that women can do things.  That women can and do use tools.  That women are capable.

In fact, no, I don't understand at all.

Shaking my damn head....

...........           ......sigh

Mmmphff, errrrrrrrr!, back to the task at hand.

Mmmk!  The easy part was down, henceforth came the time to trim the last board around vertical posts.  Yikes.  Math.

Measure twice, cut a wee bit once, measure thirty more times and nip some more out.  And so I did yet somehow my measuring was inaccurate, eyeroll, the cuts off to the left a hair too far or into the board too deep.

Measure twice, cut once people!
Hm.  Rats.  Ah!, that's what planters are for......ahem.  Skoochie skooch, planters over cut outs....It's really not too bad though heh, I seem to have uh not photographed those areas for you.  Oops.

Hey look, new deck boards!  Suh-wheet!
Ok, so all that was left was building the step which, easy peasy pumpkin pie, I made from leftover trimmed deck board pieces for the sides, the 1x6 to dress the length of the front, cutting a full deck board exactly in half for the tread.

A lil' step assembly here...Be sure to pilot drill those holes to avoid splitting.
How did I attach it to the deck?  Simply!  Stupidly simply with just a couple of screws toed through the deck board sides into the deck.  Know why?  So it will come off easily!!!  No way!!  Omg, rocket science, not!

And then, in just a couple short hours, everything was done.  Yay!

Brand spanking new swanky step that's easy to remove!
I stepped back, took a deep breath enjoying the beautiful weather, and admired my completed handiwork.  My harshest critic then needed to come sniff, dance on, and otherwise approve its paw-safeness.

Sure it's not perfect, neither am I.  But it is curb appeal house maintenance done not too shabbily by a chick and it looks more presentable than not.  Go woman power.

Hey hey hey!  Lookin' sharp!  Woo hoo!
Later that evening....

"Babe!  Babe!  Babe, you gotta see!  Look!  Look!  I replaced the front porch boards!"

"Whoa babe, that looks fantastic," exclaimed my sweet husband.  "You did a great job!  I'm really proud of you!"

Aw, blush.  Heh!

Next summer I'll stain the boards as Mike asked if I would do so.  And next year I'll be far more judicious about the color I choose.  Ha, maybe I'll look for a weather worn gray!

*The deck screws and Hitachi miter saws are Amazon affiliate links.  Mwah, thanks!  Please see the "boring stuff" tab for more info.


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