Front Porch

It seems like every small project becomes another epic task.  We thought
we needed just a simple slab for a front porch.  But when we added stairs,
that changed everything.  The added weight needs to be supported on 'virgin'
soil so I had to dig three piers 4 feet deep.  The first two weren't too bad but we
ran into a huge rock on the third.  So I had to dig the hole further from the other two
and then make a 'grade beam' where the earth becomes the forms for the concrete to
make a beam that bridges all three piers.

(click on any image for a larger version)

The first two holes weren't too hard to dig. This is the porch area before I started. This is the big rock we came across.
It was at least 44" wide and 27" across.
It was too big to pull out so we ended
up using it as part of the grade beam.
     
Third hole finally went deep enough. All 3 holes done. I made braces for the interior
of the grade beam.
     
Grade beam between hole 1 (near)
and hole 3 (far).
Bill was working in the snow to
complete the grade beam.
Grade beam between hole 2 (near)
and hole 1 (far)
     

The bottom of hole 3.  I had to dig deeper
than the sonotube was tall (48") to reach
virgin soil.  This hole ended up being 56" deep.  Also you can see how I cut the sonotube so the concrete can act as a structural beam.
  I made this cross piece to keep the
center sonotube from collapsing.
Center hole with sonotube brace.
     

Overall shot after I was done with it.

The day after the snow, one not-so-bright workman decided to sweep the snow off the house.  He could have chosen to go out the back where no one was working and where the sun hits the house most of the day but instead decided to sweep the snow out the front and into the footers and grade beam for the front porch.
All 3 holes dug and grade beam
ready for some concrete.
   
     
There was at least two feet of snow
and ice in each hole.
So I used my gray matter... and got my truck
as close as possible to the foundation.
I purchased two 10 foot sections of drain tile from Home Depot and put them on my exhaust system.
     
After wedging a piece of wood between the accelerator pedal and the seat, I kept the engine steady at 2000 RPMs.  It worked like a charm... for about 5 minutes until...... ..... I melted a hole through the tubing.  So back to Home Depot... ...and I purchased some dryer vent tubing which is rated for 425 degrees and finished melting all the snow that I couldn't dig out.
     

On a wet Friday, Bill and his dad decided to
do some concrete work to save time and
money.  Here Bill is cutting some rebar
for the front porch piers and grade beam..

The concrete truck has some channels
built into the frame which make excellent
places to bend rebar.
    The piers and grade beam now all full of concrete.
     
The extra concrete was used to
fill one end of the porch.
There is an adage when pouring concrete: if you have left over concrete, no matter where you
put it, it will be in the way.  Sure enough, we had to bust apart two holes for some footers
for the columns where the stone will go.
     

The footer on the other side
was easier to dig.

Top of column and microlam beam.
  The front wood columns
will be incased in stone.
 
     
 
Overall view showing porch projection. Shingles were delivered.  
     
Bill cut up some extra rebar and tied them together to make the footers stronger.  There will be some heavy columns on these footers soon.
     
 
Front porch ready for forming.  
     

The flatwork crew is in the process
of forming the porch
  Front porch formed. Stairs are formed and almost
ready for concrete.
     

The concrete was poured on 5/28.
On 5/27 the stone and rebar were installed..... ready for some concrete!  
     

Some very fresh, wet concrete.

They got a little sloppy with the rocks
as there are about two shovel
fulls inside the house.
  A view from inside.  
     

We kept the plastic up for a few days
so no one would walk on the concrete
and stain it with mud.

Right-middle post.

End post.
     
     

The above material was delivered on 6/10.
The white planks are PVC boards.  They
are 5/8" sheets of PVC.  Our trim carpenter
will use the material to box in the beams
and porch area.  With PVC board, they will
never rot or deteriorate.
An end view.   Scaffolding for the trim carpenter.
     

The center beam has been wrapped
in PVC board and it looks quite nice.

The mason began work on the
front wall and columns on 6/19.
Soffet detail with PVC board.    
     

Justin decided he wanted
to play with his blocks.

The trim carpenter is done
one half of the beams.
  The first column is going up.  
     

The area above the
windows looks good.
We brought the electric out the front
wall through the electrical boxes and
the masons mounted the electrical
boxes in the stone.
The right side electrical box
mounted in the stone.
 
     
This is what the interior of a column looks
like.  The material inside the column will
support the roof in the event the treated
wood columns rot out or eaten by termites.
The wall is ready for some keystones. One keystone installed.
     
View of left porch with stonework. Work in progressing
on the second column.
Column carried up to rof.
     
Butch (one of the masons)
starting on the third column.
Stonework envelops the beam. More progress on the columns.
     
The mason chipped out the stone
so that the light fixtures will
set properly on the wall.
The stone work is complete on the face of the house with keystones and window sills installed.
     

Three columns complete!

All masonry is complete.
  This unusual shot was taken from high up
on the scaffolding the drywallers used.
 
     

Left end of the front porch.

Head on shot of the front porch.
  A slightly different angle.  
     

Underside of porch soffet being installed.

Under the peak of the porch.
  The installers did a good
job of meeting the stone.
 
     
 
The columns next to the doors are
now covered with PVC board.
Another view of the porch
(photo by Justin).
 

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