Porch rebuilding part one: steps

The front porch to our house is covered in flaking lead paint and old rickety boards.  Aside from being a major safety hazard, it also seriously diminishes our curb appeal!

But we dream of sipping iced tea on our porch swing sometime soon…so we’ve started working on replacing it.  And this weekend we tackled the first project — rebuilding the steps!  Luckily we had some good friends over to help us so it only took one afternoon.

This photo was taken after we had started dismantling the stairs…but you can see the poor condition they were in.

As long as you don’t have any major excavation or re-building to do, repairing steps is pretty straightforward — it is a project a beginner like us could handle.

But of course, as with many projects, as soon as we start ripping things apart…

we realize we have a much bigger project on our hands than anticipated.

I am not so sure these steps have EVER been repaired in their 90 year history, so I guess it should not have been surprising to find that one of the stringers had started rotting away.  As Mr R discovered at the lumber yard, steps are apparently not made to the same size specifications as they were a century ago…so we will either have to get new stringers custom-cut or rebuild the concrete foundation to the steps in order to fit pre-made ones.

But in the interest of being able to enter the house, we settled on a temporary work-around:  reinforcing the existing stringer with new wood.  In the future, it shouldn’t be too hard to unscrew the new risers and steps that we have painted and have the lumber yard cut some new stringers to our needs.

I just sanded down the old railing and sprayed it with a fresh coat of paint instead of buying a new one:

We painted the tops of the steps Mother Nature by Behr — make sure you get porch paint — and the risers some kind of white.

So much better!

Of course, this just makes my rotting, flaking porch floorboards and railing look even worse, but hey, it’s progress, right?

-R

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