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How to Make Over a Front Porch

Steve Watson and his team help this family by showing them how to transform their porch with a new floor, ceiling and columns.

The Grazianos are a young married couple with two small children. Between work and the kids, they don't have very much time left over. Although Chris is pretty handy with projects around the house, they could use some help tackling the bigger stuff.

Projects in this transformation include:

* front porch transformation
* fireplace transformation
* repair basement walkout

Below is a summary of steps, as well as a list of tools and materials used, as seen in this first Don't Sweat It project: front porch transformation.

Before: The aging wrought iron support gave the porch a stark and dated look.

Front Porch Transformation

Materials and Tools:

6 sheets 4x8 3/8" beadboard
6 boards 4x8x8 pressure treated lumber
5 8' metal fluted columns
14 1x2x8 Vifah decking snapping tiles (240 sq.ft.)
caulking gun
circular saw
electric miter saw
hole saw
table saw
reciprocating saw
construction adhesive
floor jack for cars

Safety Alert: Always wear eye protection and follow proper safety precautions when working with power tools or pneumatic tools.


Design. Measure out the square footage of the floor and ceiling to determine the amount of materials you'll need for the tongue and groove ceiling panels and for the snapping deck tiles.

Figure B

Demolition. Remove the railing between each set of columns using a reciprocating saw. Grind down the railing stumps so that they are flush with the floor (figure B). We also removed the existing shrubs to give more room to work.

Figure C

Jack support. We used a car jack to aid with support of the roof structure as the columns were replaced. Lower the jack all the way and place on solid ground next to the column. Place a 4x4 spacer snugly between the jack and the porch beam (figure C). Remove the hardware from the existing column. Jack up the 4x4 so the old column can be removed.

Figure E

Install new columns. Install post anchors and level the new 4x4 post and secure at the bottom. Lower the jack and remove the 4x4 spacer. Snap on Fiberglas column surround and secure the posts (figure E).

Figure F

Ceiling. Starting close to the house, install the pre-stained beadboard using 1-1/4" finish nails and backing with construction adhesive. Be sure to keep no less than a 1/2" space between the beadboard and the edge of the ceiling. Finish the edges by nailing up stained 1x2 to cover the gap between the beadboard and the wall (figure F).

Ceiling fan. When installing the beadboard, carefully measure and cut a hole to install the ceiling fan.

Floating floor tiles. Start snapping the tiles together at the street side of the patio and move toward the house. Cut in around newly installed columns.

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