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When Things Cave In: Preparing To Rebuild Your Porch

Front porches kindle memories of fireflies, rocking chairs, and cool evening breezes. In times past, they were the social centers of the neighborhood, and for some people, they are still an important part of their homes. If you are the owner of a porch that has caved in or is on the way there, consider rebuilding it yourself. Before construction actually begins, you will need to prepare for the rebuild. 


Unless you are an expert builder, your best bet will be to rebuild the porch to its original specifications. However, you will still need to draw up a detailed plan that includes careful measurement of the porch and all of its features, including the stairs, the columns, the rails, etc. Before getting started, you will also need to visit city hall to obtain a building permit. Call first so you know exactly what to bring along. Also, determine what materials you will need. For the necessary wood, you can determine the board foot number and add 15 -20% to that figure. 


If your porch is not entirely rotten, you may be able to save some wood from your demolition. You will most likely use a simple crowbar for much of this work. If you are removing the entire porch, begin at the roof and work your way down. If your porch has little or no salvageable materials, consider renting a demolition hammer. These powerful tools can break through just about any surface and will save you time and effort while tearing down your old porch. 


Most porches have either concrete slabs or concrete footings for their foundations. Once you have torn down the porch, inspect your foundation for cracking and warping. If the damage is severe, the foundation will need to be replaced. If you have experience with concrete, you can do this job yourself by renting the trowels, concrete buckets, and other tools you need. However, if you are inexperienced, realize that the process can be complicated and consider hiring a contractor for this part of the preparation phase. 

Inspect the House Walls

Before you begin the actual rebuild, check the exposed house walls for water or pest damage. If the wood has small bore holes or is spongy, you will need to replace it. First, call an exterminator to get rid of the termites, carpenter ants or other pests that have infested your home. 

Once these steps are completed, you can begin the fun part: the actual rebuild. If you have a reasonable amount of building experience, you should be able to complete the job with little problem. If you lack the experience of the time, you can hire a contractor. Remember that even completing a portion of the pre-build process on your own should save you money. For more information on construction equipment rentals, contact a professional like All Star Equipment Rental & Sales, Inc.