Who doesn’t love a good porch to sit on and enjoy? What’s the point of a porch if you can’t look off into the distance and get lost in thought? Here you will see the one major problem we had with our back porch and why it so desperately needed a back porch makeover.
Our back porch is a rather large one. It’s an excellent size to entertain friends, host barbeques or just to lounge on and not feel claustrophobic with kids and animals hovering over. However, we have a HUGE cabinet built directly in the center of the porch. It completely blocks all views of the yard. When you sit, all you see is the large and in charge cabinet. You have to peek this way or that to see anything going on. You can only view the yard in quadrants. We decided we have no need for that monstrosity, so that baby is coming down! Let’s do a porch makeover.
What shall we do?
We were sitting the other day thinking “What small project can we start and complete in the same day?“. We had already started a few other big projects that we hadn’t quite completed yet. When you have a house half tore apart, you need to see something complete to make your mind settled. Also it’s a great feeling to be able to check one more thing off the todo list. We didn’t want something too big to take on. I suggested to my husband the back porch cabinets. I figured that would be a quick smash and go mission. My husband agreed it should be pretty easy to do. So with our gung-ho selves, we grabbed our tools and headed outside to clear the porch of the major eye sore that was there.
Back Porch Makerover hiccup
Herein lies the moment we knew this quick little project wasn’t going to be so quick or little after all. With a sledge hammer in hand, my husband pulled back and swung with manly force and connected with an unforgiving, solid mass of indestructible 1980’s wood.
After a few moments of disbelief and a little investigating, we discovered this thing is built to last. This beast ended up being studded walls with insulation. Oh and about 100,000 and 1 ribbed nails.
We were going to have to dismantle this 10x7x2 foot cabinet piece by piece.
and so the demo for the back porch makeover begins….
First we had to unscrew the 24 rusty hinges that were holding the doors in place. Then we had to peel apart the front face of the cabinet, which was a layer of heavily glued wood veneer. That step was solely just to expose the seams beneath to take the frame around the doors apart.
Once we got the doors and front framing off, the sheets of plywood on the inside of the cabinet were so tightly squeezed together that we had a hard time getting in between them. Every bit of this was made of three quarter inch plywood and it wasn’t the cheapy stuff.
Under the inside first layer of plywood was 2×4 studded walls that made up the structure of the cabinets. Then there was a layer of insulation, then another layer of three quarter inch plywood. To finish it off was a sturdy layer of wood veneer surrounding the whole thing.
When we exposed the framing, we realized the cabinets were built into the porch, not onto the porch. The porch roof was being supported by the cabinet and the porch was missing one whole post for support.
on to rebuilding the back porch….
Once everything was clean and cleared away, we had to come up with a way to brace the roof. The weight needed to be supported, while we cut away the 2x4s holding it up.
My husband had been wanting his grilling station to go here in this area. He was envisioning a semi enclose, built-in grilling area. With him wanting it right here, we came up with a plan, which lead us to not removing the full 2x4s. Instead we cut them down to rail height.
The next step was we needed to add a new header to support the roof. To build the header we got two 6×20 foot pressure treated boards. We used wood glue and screws to attach them together to form a beam. Then we hoisted the beam up into place.
It wasn’t until after we got it up there, we realized the header we added and the headers already up on the porch, weren’t the same width. We dug into why and came to find out, we were supposed to add a piece of plywood in between the two 6x20s to prevent them from sagging in the middle.
Oops! I’m sure I’ve mentioned somewhere on this blog we aren’t professionals at this. I guess we will either go back later to redo that properly (probably not) or add an extra post if it ever does begin to sag.
We mimicked the 4×4 post and supports that were already on the porch. We tried to make it look as if this was the way it was built originally.
Lastly we installed the top railing to match the rest of the porch as well.
Well that wasn’t so little
What we thought might take a few hours turned into 3 days….. and the full back porch makeover isn’t done yet. We still have to build my husband’s grilling area, paint the porch and buy all the furniture we want for back there.
But I will say taking that hideous, oversized cabinet down and opening up the porch has made such a big difference. I love being able to now sit on the back porch and see the property. I also can now feel the cool, crisp, breeze sweeping through.