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Tips for Remodeling Front Porch Stairs

Working on a historical renovation of an old house is always rewarding to me. I love to take someone's "REMUDLING" and fix it back to the way it was originally. In this article, we are going to discuss about screened in porch ideas with scratch.

One such project was a house in Raymond, WA. The front stairs had been "REMUDLED" using pressured treated 2x12's as treads and 2x10's as the back part of the steps. They were functional be not historically accurate for a house built in 1908.

Using an black and white picture taken with the family out in front of the house in 1927 it was possible to understand what the stairs looked like originally.

There were massive posts at the base of the stairs on each side and cedar shakes on the walls down the sides of the stairs on each side.

The stairs were 12 foot wide and were only supported by five stringers. Stingers are the zig zag boards that support the treads and the risers. A stringer every 2 feet is really not enough for proper support.. Some of the stringers were broken as well. I replaced the five stringers with ten stringers that I was able to make out of the salvaged 2x12's that had been used for the treads. Pressure treated lumber is great for the supporting framework for the stairs but should not be used as a finished surface.

The first thing I did was to disassemble the entire stairs. I then built frames and poured concrete on each side to support the new wall that I would be building on each side.

Once the concrete was set up I built two 24 inch by 24 inch pillars at the bottom of the stairs on each side. I built the framework using pressure treated wood and deck screws. I anchored the framework to the concrete using anchor bolts. I faced these pillars with exterior 3/8ths inch plywood.

I built the railings down each side of the stairs with pressure treated 2x4's so that it looked like the railings up on the porch. I faced the railings with OSB board. Once I had all the framework in place I began the finished surfaces.

The risers were made with five quarter by eight inch cedar and covered the back part of the step with one solid 12 foot long piece. Cedar is ideal for outside trim as it is resistant to dry rot and insects.

The treads were made with three 1x4 boards made of cedar as well. Since the deck of the porch was 1x4 boards it is logical to assume the original steps were too. After all the steps and risers were installed I covered the OSB on the sides with black roofing felt and covered them with cedar shakes to duplicate the pattern on the house..

The last thing I did was to make two concrete caps to go on the top of the pillars They were 3 inches thick and 2 inches larger than the pillars. This duplicated the design of the concrete stairs that went down to street level.

The new concrete didn't match so I used black grout used normally for grouting between interior tile floors to "age the concrete". By using the grout as a stain in colored the concrete to match the old concrete on the stairs to the street.

Once the entire stairs were painted by the house painters I looked like it WAS the original stairway.

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