The Front Porch

First I have to say that, like most Craftsman houses, the front porch is the most awesome feature of the house.  All craftsmans are characterized by big front porches with columns and frequently a dormer above.  The craftsman ascetic is a fusion of asian and mission.  With my porch you can clearly see this.  The massive posts of the porch are very asian in look with tapered bases, a base cap with a smaller post above.  Check it out in this picture:

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If you look closely (blow up the photo) you can see the mission influence with the arch that covers the whole width of the porch.  The walls of the porch and the base of the posts up to the base cap are poured concrete about 13 inches thick!  Massive!  The porch wall caps and column caps were cast on site and are solid concrete.  The post above the cap are block.  L shaped and mortared together just like the walls of the house.  On top of the columns is a massive 25 foot 6 x 12 inch wooden beam treated with creosote. This is hidden by wood framing and wooden lath that is covered in stucco. This can be seen in the following picture which shows the dark beam partially revealed by removal of the stucco and lath.

Arch above stairs with lath removed showing massive dark beam

Arch above stairs with lath removed showing massive dark beam.  Note wiring in the soffit for down lights to come later.

The stucco showed the wear of the years and storms.  It had been frequently patched and in some cases just fell off with a tap of the hammer.  We removed all of the stucco and lath from the wooden arches.

North end of the porch

North end of the porch

 

South end of the porch

South end of the porch

Then we covered all of the wooden structure with cement board and removed the ceiling of the porch.  It had apparently been replaced in the past and was in reasonable condition but it had to come down so we could really inspect the area above for roof leaks (we found a few that the roofers repaired).  It also offered the opportunity to install can lights for the porch which I did post haste.  Finally, we pressure washed the stucco, hammered and patched all loose stucco, parged the caps with cement to fill small erosion pits and installed sheathing for the ceiling.  Whew!  All of this took three days with a full crew.  Here is a picture of the porch ready for stucco.  I have a surprise later for the porch ceiling.

REady for stucco and all lit up!

Ready for stucco and all lit up!

Finally, finally we addressed a long standing (and I mean standing) water problem.  The floor of the porch is beautiful, multicolored tile but the person that did it did not correct the grading of the porch slab before laying the tile.  Therefore, water pools in each corner of the porch.  In order to save the tile, which I really like, and avoid the expense of leveling the porch I decided to install drains in each corner.  This involved core drilling 2,  4 inch holes through tile and the 6 inch slab for the drains and cutting 2, 16 x 16 inch holes in the front of the porch walls. Did I mention that the walls are 13 inches thick?  The large diamond saw the masons use only cuts about 6 inches deep so the rest was drilled and hammer chiseled out.  This allowed pipes to be placed to carry the water from the drains.  Once the pipe was set, the holes were back filled with sand and closed with brick.  You can see one of the drains inside the porch in the first picture below and outside in the second picture.

New Porch Drain, notice the beautiful tile

New Porch Drain, notice the beautiful tile

The patched hole for the drain

The patched hole for the drain

 

 

 

Now cleaning the porch with a hose will be much easer!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The porch is now ready for new stucco and paint for the caps.  I can’t wait till its finished!!

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