Our back porch is really such a mess!
The old adage “No news is good news” doesn’t always ring true. I haven’t written in a while because we ran into some problems with our back porch that required us to rethink our exterior restoration. We halted work completely for the past month so that we could figure out what we are going to do about our back porch and how much we can afford to do.
Back porch appears to have been enclosed with wood scraps and odds-and-ends, but no real framing.
The back porch used to be open. It was enclosed sometime prior to the house being shingled with asbestos tiles in the late 1940′s – early 1950′s. We discovered that the enclosed wall and windows have NO framing! The walls, windows and door are all different depths from the house. The back porch is a hobbled together mess inside and out.
Detail of the “construction”
One of our dining room windows looks out onto the ugly back porch. When the view was open to the outside I am sure a lot of light streamed in but now the dining room tends to be dark and the view leaves much to be desired.
View from dining room window
Our goals are to let in more light and to relocated the washer and dryer to one end of the porch and enclose them in a cabinet. We want to put in new windows and relocate the back door to the middle of the porch.
Window juts out 10 inches from the wall.
Another concern is an upstairs sleeping porch that was added to the house around 1918. The porch is built to the end of the roof rafters right on top of the old cedar shake roof. We are concerned that the porch isn’t adequately supported. Prior to buying the house we had a structural engineer look into this and some other problems with the house. The structural engineer felt that the support for the room was adequate.
Several other people, who are knowledgeable about old houses, have told us that the room is sloping downward and we are at risk of having it fall off the back of our house during an earthquake!
Sleeping porch built to the edge of the roof rafters
We also found evidence of termite damage along our new foundation. All this had me sticking my head in the proverbial sand because, in truth, I just “didn’t want to deal with it.”
Wires hanging off the back of our house. How ghetto is that?
It is hard to get excited about spending money on the back porch, a room that we use for washing our laundry, housing the litter box and our Sparkletts water dispenser, especially when our kitchen has holes in the ceiling and plaster falling of the walls and we are still brushing our teeth in the bathtub.
I had decided to reside the back porch and to revisit it in 5 years when the rest of the house was completed. Unfortunately, that won’t really work since the walls aren’t framed. Our neighbor, an old house buff, assured me that residing the porch would be like trying to “fix a skull fracture with a band aide” and that our back porch is a complete mess that should be gutted and rebuilt right away.
Exposed plumbing pipes.
So here we sit, we two, trying to decide just what we want to do with that back porch anyway?
All advice and opinions, especially regarding the sleeping porch support, are welcome and greatly appreciated!