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What does it take to rebuild a porch?

Older porches often need to be rebuilt .


   A porch with a roof in good condition will stand 100 years or more. If the footings deteriorate causing the porch structure to settle, or the roof is not maintained, allowing water to infiltrate the roof framing, usually the porch must be completely rebuilt. Sometimes a partial rebuild will do, such as when the steps are not under a roof and so have rotted before the rest of the structure. If anything more than basic repairs are required, it usually makes more sense and is less expensive in the long run, to rebuild from the footings up.

   Porches built in Ottawa prior to 1940 generally would not meet current building code standards. Usually the footings extend to less than 3 feet below grade. The current requirement is 5 feet below with a spread footing. Older roof rafters are  often 2x4's on 36" centers. Most porch roofs that we build now have a minimum of 2x8's at 24" centers. Attachment details (the method that is used to attach the wood framing to the house structure) are far more elaborate ,and stronger, now than previously.

   A complete rebuild requires a building permit, with working drawings that specify all construction details. The new porch will be required to meet current building codes for structure and safety considerations, such as height and details of railing construction. This almost always requires that railings be higher than the original ones were.

    Demolition of the existing porch, must be done carefully, ensuring that no damage is done to the house or the workers in the process. Even though the old porch wants to fall down, it can be quite a bit of work to demolish it and remove and dispose of the debris properly.

   Usually, it is possible to rebuild, using modern methods, a porch that will look substantially like the existing one. However, it is also a good time to reconsider the overall design if the old porch must be completely removed. The cost to rebuild or replace a deteriorated porch is very similar to adding a similar porch since the demolition of the old porch usually goes quite quickly. Cost varies with size, details and complexity. The porches shown here range from about $30,000 to about $80,000. 

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