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How To: Building a Front Porch

Steve Watson shows how to build a small front porch.

Materials and Tools:

one 4x4x8 pressure-treated post
two post mounts $2.00 $4.00
two J-bolt assemblies
box 8D nails
six 2x8x10 pressure-treated boards
five joist hangers
box joist hanger nails
183-square-feet 3/4-inch pine tongue-and-groove flooring
12 cedar 2x4x8 boards
one gallon paint to match house trim
5-cubic yards mulch
one 4-foot Sonotube concrete form
10 bags quickset concrete
four 4-inch lag bolts
four lag bolt shields
masonry bit for lag bolt shields
grinder with metal cut-off wheel
layout string line
measuring tape
post hole diggers
power miter box
safety glasses

Figure A


1. Unscrew the handrails from the house and use a grinder to cut off the posts in the concrete.

2. Layout the new porch using string line tied to stakes in the ground. Place the center of the footings at the outside corners for the new porch.

Figure B

3. The porch requires two footing to support the outer edge of the new porch. The inner edge will be bolted to the house. Dig the holes 24-inches deep by 10 to 12-inches in diameter. Drop in a 24-inch section of Sonotube and level. Pack dirt around the perimeter to hold in place.

Figure C

4. Mix the concrete and fill the Sonotubes to the top. Scrape off excess and level it with the top of the tube. Press a J-bolt into the center of the tube and let dry. After the concrete sets, bolt the post brackets to the J-bolt.

Figure D

5. Begin bolting the 2x8 to the wall of the house with lag bolts. Make sure the board is level, drill and mark the holes. Tighten a lag bolt through each pre-drilled hole into the band-board of the house. Set the board 1-inch below the threshold of the existing door.

Figure E

6. Secure the end bands from the house ledger to the footing. Run the band board out to the footer and check to make sure it's level. Measure the height of the 4x4 post and cut it in. Do the same on the other end.

7. Add the outer joist and once the perimeter is in place check to make sure it's square. If it is, add the middle joists on 16-inch centers. Once nailed in place, add the joist hangers to the end of each board. Notch the joists over the existing concrete porch, if necessary.

Figure F

8. Install the tongue-and-groove pine starting at the outside edge and working towards the house. This places the cut board against the house where it will not be visible.

9. If you're using pine flooring, prime very surface of every board. You will not be able to get to the underside of the deck once it?s built, so it's important to prime everything before assembly.

10. Build the planter by cutting the pine flooring to 32-inch and assemble it into an 18-inch square box, with the boards running vertically. Build a shelf of 1/2-inch pressure-treated plywood to hold the plants.

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