Installing a Porch Floor and Light and Constructing a Porch Trellis

Project: Basement Finishing and Family Space, Episode 10, Part 2



Exterior repairs, painting, and new stucco are underway in Melrose, where Bob looks at the various surfaces that need paint and repairs on this 1921 home. The stucco walls are in good shape overall, but moisture has damaged trim pieces and window frames, especially in the back. Trim is replaced with resilient western red cedar and the back window frame is updated with a synthetic material that will never rot and can be painted to match the home. A painting specialist walks Bob through the surface treatments that will be needed on the home including primer and paint for the new stucco, scraping, sanding, and repainting the trim, solid-color stain for the new wood shingles, and trim paint on facing boards, windows, and rails. The Ipe porch deck is installed with a hidden deck-fastening system that attaches to a deck board and is screwed into the joist to eliminate face nailing. A western red cedar trellis is constructed for porch privacy and a new antique-look exterior porch light is wired in. New operable shutters are installed with shutter dogs that are drilled first through the masonry and then into the sheathing underneath to hold them securely in place.

Part 1: Painting a Stucco and Wood Exterior
Part 2: Installing a Porch Floor and Light and Constructing a Porch Trellis

This project initially began as a basement refinishing project and has grown into a project for a growing family. The front porch of the Melrose home was in need of repair. This involved not just the decking but the structure underneath, which had suffered rot and insect damage. The finished wood deck features Ipe, a renewable tropical wood from Everlasting Hardwoods. This wood is one of the best decking products available but does not nail easily. To get around this, Tiger Claw hidden deck fastening system is used to keep the wood in place without any obvious face nailing. Don Martel of Tiger Claw explains how the product is installed. The version being used is designed for extremely dense materials, like the Ipe decking used here. The fastener attaches to the edge of the board. A screw is then drilled through the fastener into the joist. The fastener holds the board and the screw holds the fastener in place. The fastener is coated in black oxide so it is not visible between the seams of the deck. Every Tiger Claw kit comes with a installation tool. The fastener is inserted into the tool, placed against the board, and hammered into place. Using a hammer board, the next board is put into place with one tap. The fastener from the previous board grips it tight as it is tapped in. The Ipe decking is not only strong but naturally insect-resistant without the use of any chemicals. Western red cedar was used for the porch ceiling and trellises. Eventually a climbing rose will be grown along the trellis and provide a little privacy on the porch from the busy street. Carpenter Matt Staffier explains how the trellis is constructed using one-inch western red cedar and held together using a lap joint, glue, and brads. Staffier creates a spacer after the first cut is made to fit in the previous groove and act as a guide for the next cut. The cut is then made using a router. The trellis is constructed using half-laps, glued, and nailed into place. The trellis slides into a groove used for the previous trellis on top and secured with chucks at the bottom to hold it in place. The trellis has large squares to let in light and an opening at the top for a hanging plant. Bob talks with electrician John Schiavone about the new light fixture being installed on the porch. To install the fixture, first the electricity was turned off in the home. The grounding wire was attached before the other wires. The light fixture has a patina that fits the look of an older house. Once the glass bowl and the finial are added, it's all set.

Part 3: Installing New, Strong Shutters With an Old-Style Look
Bob Vila helps a young family with an old house create family and recreational space for their active kids. Projects include replacement window installation, innovative plumbing solutions, and smart storage to make indoor and outdoor spaces ideal for this growing family.

Also from Basement Finishing and Family Space

  • Episode 1 - Removing Unwanted Junk and Combatting Basement Moisture

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    <p>In Melrose, MA, a family with two young sons needs extra room and looks to Bob and his team to repurpose their damp basement for expanded living space. Homeowner Sarah Monzon shows Bob the backyard of the 1921 gambrel with a stone retaining wall they created to manage the slope for the kids&rsquo; play yard. She explains how the exterior has water intrusion and moisture buildup problems. Inside, Cyrus Beasley rips out the under-stair closet and assesses the stair support required while the plumber disconnects the old soapstone sink. The Monzons then clear out years of junk and demolition waste before calling 1-800-Got-Junk to stack, sort, and dispose of everything to donation centers, recycling sites, and the dump for a set price. Larry Janesky of Basement Systems reviews the exterior drainage problems of the home with Bob and then explains how they will reduce moisture on the inside. The crew breaks up the concrete floor to create an interior drainage trench, applies Clean Walls to isolate the stone walls and send moisture runoff to the drainage trench and sump, installs Thermal Dry radiant barrier behind finished walls to prevent moisture transfer, and creates a hole for the sump.</p>
  • Episode 2 - Basement Waterproofing, New Plumbing, and On-Demand Hot Water

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  • Episode 3 - Moving the Oil Tank for New Heating, Cooling, and Air Filtration

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    <p>Bob is in Melrose where John Ambrosino of Total Temperature Control installs the new heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system. Because of clearance issues, the unit is installed horizontally and tied to the joists with steel rods. Ambrosino explains how the unit pulls air in for exchange, to be heated or cooled, then pushes it through a fan and into the ducts for circulation. The 16 SEER unit is very big for maximum efficiency, quiet operation, and up to 45 percent savings over current energy costs. Mark Hagan shows Bob the Trane CleanEffects whole-house three-stage air-cleaning system that cleans the air of 99.98 percent of particulates, filtering first for large particles, then charging the small particles and capturing them in a collection filter for healthy indoor air. Don Adams of Bond-Tite Tank Service shows Bob how they move the oil tank, reattach it, set it in a trough to catch leaks and drips, and apply Tank-Guard to isolate condensing water and prevent tank corrosion. Bob talks to Howard Brickman about how to control squeaking floors either by drawing the wood floor tight against the subfloor with screws, connecting blocking to the joists and subfloor from below, or shimming the space between the subfloor and joists.</p>
  • Episode 4 - Basement Finishing System and Custom Windows

  • Episode 5 - Exterior Upgrades for 1921 Gambrel

  • Episode 6 - Hardscaping, Removing Rot, and Fighting Insect Damage

  • Episode 7 - New Backyard Fence and Basement Half-Bath

  • Episode 8 - Basement Carpet, Storage, and Closet Design

  • Episode 9 - Low-Maintenance Landscaping, Gutters, and Pantry

  • Episode 11 - Basement Moisture-Proofing, Home Audio, Blinds, and Appliances

  • Episode 12 - Exterior Lighting, Audio, Video, and D├ęcor for the Melrose Home

Hi. I'm Bob Vila. Welcome to the show here in Melrose Mass for today. we're putting finishing touches on our project, mostly on the exterior of the house.

We'll be giving you some tips on exterior painting even when the weather gets cold. Also we're putting finishing touches on the wood decking using Ipay and tiger claws for the installation. Putting shutters up and building a trellis. Stick around.

This house was built in 1921, and the original stucco surfaces, the sidewalls are in very good condition except for just a few spots that needed repairs. But the woodwork was a bit of a different story: eighty year old wood, New England winters.

We've had to do a fair amount of repairs and replacements, some of it, most of it, really, using Western Red Cedar, which is a very good wood to choose for this kind of work.

And then of course we replaced the gutters up on the gambrel roof.

One thing that's important in New England winters is to keep water and ice from forming on the eves of the roof.

There were some areas of the house however that had pretty serious damage, the porch columns, for example.

After we discovered insect damage, we decided that the best way to strengthen and preserve these columns was to fill them up with concrete.

So mason Kevin Latham wound up doing all three of them just to be safe.

Once that was done, there was plenty of patching and repair to do, as well as some new stucco to add where we removed the back door and added the new kitchen slider and the small window.

Kevin starts with wire lath over felt paper over plywood. Then he adds a brown coat, and lets that cure.

Next comes the finish coat, which is as much fun to watch as it is to apply. You just have to have good aim. With all these different surfaces to deal with, painting the house was not going to be a simple job. So we called on CertaPro painters to help us out.

You know, like a lot of homes here in New England this house is eighty years old and like a middle aged Hollywood starlet different parts of the house, are different ages. Some of them have held up really well over time, and others have needed a little bit of work.

So on this particular home, we've got some old stucco, which is in really good shape. We've get some new stucco, which in this case needs to be primed and then we're going to paint it with a couple of coats.

This window is an area where we've got a couple of different materials. This is, of course, our old natural wood. But going around it, we've replaced the frame here with AZEK material, which is a man-made product, which sounds like wood, does not actually need to be painted. Although we're going to paint it to make it match the rest of the trim.

This AZEK material is relatively new, by the way. And it's especially effective in areas where there's a lot of moisture, a lot of recurrent water issues, where rot is really going to be a problem.

We've already replaced it once. They don't want to ever have to replace this again, and this should solve the trick here.

So we're gonna be able to put paint right onto the AZEK, but the natural wood is actually going to need to be primed and then painted with two coats to match everything else.

Now here's another area where we see a lot of texture, from old layers of old paint. And you can see where the water issue caused that peeling in sheets. Now you can also see a lot of alligatoring going on. That's all the checking marks going on in the paint, and what that is caused by is, in the olden days, which is to say 40, 50 years ago, when this was probably painted originally.

There are oil-based paints and there also lead-based paints. And they don't have enough flexibility for a New England winter and summer, where the temperature variances are huge , you know, from ten degrees below to ninety degrees. And so that paint cracks like that.

And you know, when you're thinking about your house, what's a realistic expectation of what it's gonna look like at the end of the process. And that alligatoring is really baked in the cake now.

What we're going to do is scrape down everything that's loose, chipping, and peeling. We're going to sand down the edges a little bit and then we're going to prime over it and go over it. But you're still going to see that existing texture coming through the paint where the old layers of paint are doing their job, which is that they're adhered to the old wood on the house.

So even when it is done, everything going to look uniform in color, and there won't chipping and peeling going on, but there will still be a lot of texture involved in it. Now, up above, what we've got going on here is, before these gutters and downspouts were installed, you had the lip of the roof coming down and slamming into all these shingles. And it's really just like Chinese water torture on those shingles all the time and causing all the paint to flake off. So, in fact, we've had to replace all of those shingles.

And we're going to hit them a solid color stain. Looks a lot like paint, but it won't chip and peel. It penetrates into the wood, and that stain is a self-priming product as well. So we aren't going to have to go over it with a special primer.

And again you're going to see a difference in texture between the old shingles, which are a little bit more horizontal and, or vertical rather, and the new ones, which will be smoother finish. That's part of that Hollywood starlet, where different parts of it are different ages, and that's something you're just going to have to expect with a home this age.

So, Fergus, what are some tips to think about when you are painting towards the end of the season and it is getting a little bit cold?

Sure , the key is to think about temperatures at night. As long as the temperatures are above thirty-five degrees overnight, and really ideally for forty-eight hours, you're okay. So if it's 50 degrees during the day and dropping down to the 45 at night, you're okay.

That's an interesting point then. It's not just about the temperatures when you're applying the paint, but also during that curing cycle, those 48 hours after you paint.

That's exactly right. And you know, the technology in paints today, we can go longer into the season and start a little bit earlier. That's especially important here in New England.

But in other parts of the country one of the biggest culprits to a good paint job is the humidity, right?

That's right, and in that case, you know, in New England where it's only an issue on occasion. But if you're in a Florida climate or something like that, with high humidity, it might mean that you can't paint certain times of the year either. So sort of the opposite effect.

Exactly. Well, thank you. It's a beautiful job.

Okay, thank you, Bob. Well, it's been six months since we began the work here, which was originally just a basement room refinishing project that grew to include finding more space for a growing family.

We're doing backyard , we're doing repairs to the house and we're standing on one of them right now--the front porch, the front entrance of the house, a nice wooden deck system that needed to be repaired, and not just the decking, but also the structure underneath, 80 year old timbers, many of which were rotted or insect damaged.

So we've done that, and now we're looking at the finished product, which is a tropical product from Everlasting Hardwoods, which is a renewable product.

And, I think one of the best choices for outdoor decking even though traditionally some people don't like to work with it because you have to sometimes drill it, doesn't nail easily.

We're using tiger claw, a system for installing the wood without any kind of face nailing obvious, which keeps the beauty of the wood right out there. Take a look and we'll see how these are attached.

Well what we're using today is a hidden deck fastening system from Tiger Claw.

And this particular fastener here that we're using, is made for extreme dense materials, like the ipe that we're putting' down today.

The fastener is very simple to use.

You could see it attaches to the edge of a board, and then a screw is installed through the fastener, down into the joist.

How it works is, the fastener holds the board and then the screw holds the fastener down.

Now you can see we've driven.

Let's take a look at the fastener here.

All stainless steel with a black oxide coating on them.

And, what the reason for the coating is, it helps it to hide very nicely in the seams of the deck so you don't see it even when you look down into the seams.

Now, the, every every retail package of fasteners comes with an installation tool. Now the installation tool is a very simple block.

You simply insert the fastener into the tool and set it right on your joist. Now that helps you to install the fastener nice and even, just the right height, and nice and square.

Now you see, I apply a little pressure to the top of the board with my foot. Give it a little tap and the fastener nicely goes right into the edge of the board, and I take my stainless steel screw also with a black oxide coating, and I just pop it in at a 45 degree angle and that's it. Simple as that.

Once you install the fastener at each joist, you simply take your next board. You slide it into place

Using a hammer board, and a small sledge hammer, you simply give it a little tap, and the board goes right onto the fastener.

Once you get it in place simply set another fastener and another screw .

And you continue on with that same installation process. I'm going to work my way down, hitting one time at each joist, any more than that can make your installation more difficult. Just hit once and you move along. And you can see I'm getting the perfect spacing. Automatic spacing as I move down. And our board is installed. Now I simply start that process all over again until I reach the end of my deck.

So one of the other things about the Ipe is that it's extremely strong and also naturally insect resistant. It doesn't have any kind of chemical applications.

Now the other wood that we have combined up here is Western Red Cedar, which we used overhead for the Newport ceiling, and just last week we made these trellises, which are a large format cedar trellis that will eventually allow a climbing rose to live here. And which the homeowner thinks might have originally existed here to provide a little bit of privacy from what is a pretty busy street.

The trellis is made of a western red cedar one inch . The trellis is held together with a lap joint secured with glue and some brads.

The way all the cuts came out so even is that after I made the first cut, I built this spacer.

This spacer has a piece of wood that fits into the previous groove.

That allows me to set my guide up for my next slice.

This also takes into consideration the amount of room that the router itself needs.

The spacer allows me to finish the cut and get a perfect one inch. It has to be slid into a groove that was here for the previous trellis. These little chucks down on the bottom that were going to use to hold it into place. They need to be screwed down to secure the trellis.

The homeowner wanted nice big blocks to let a lot of light in, but still give some privacy, and we have this cutout here for our hanging plant.

The last touch that we are putting on over here is a new light fixture, and John Travoni our electrician, are you all done? I wanted to see exactly what it looked like up there.

Yeah, we've got the electricity off, of course, and simple are in just white to white and black to black and the first thing you do is definitely ground the system

And then you just bunch them up and attach it in there. And I like a lot of these new light fixtures that they're making for exterior use that they have these, patinas on them so that they look appropriate to an older house.

Yes, they're very nice.

Where's the glass?

Then that's the wood.

OK. Alright, and the old-time glass bowl and vinyl which compliment the look.

Thank you Bob.

Very nice John, thanks. The next thing we have to do out here is work on the shutters on the windows.

As you can see here, we have one of the old shutters that had come off. It's in a lot of disrepair. We have some broken areas here. It's more than likely also covered with lead paint.

So, between trying to retrofit these and to fix them up and put them back on, it's really not worth the time and effort.

So we have these new shutters from J & L Shutters. They're a Permex synthetic material. They are pre-painted from the factory with a 10-year guarantee warranty, on the painting itself. They are movable.

They also have metal reinforcements down through the stiles so that it's a much stronger shutter, and you never have to worry, for the next ten years anyhow, as far as repainting them or fixing them.

These shutters from J&L also come with some historic style hinges. You can see on the back we've already installed the hinge section to the shutter itself. All the screws are stainless steel, so you don't have to worry about them rusting over a period of time.

And there's also the hinge part, the hinge pen which goes on the window casing itself, which will eventually slide in. And it will be a working shutter, as well as decorative.

I've already taken the time and done my measurements. You can see here, I've already identified the drilling holes that I want to put a pilot hole in. You always want to make sure that you drill a pilot hole,
Frequently, if you don't, what will happen is when you try to put the screw in, it will actually split the wood and your screw will not , will eventually weaken and let go.

With the pins on the outside casing, then you pick up the shutter, you line up the hinges on the back with the pins on the casing, and then it just slides right down in place. There you have a shutter now that is operable and functional.

The last thing to do is to put on the shutter dog, which goes down at the bottom, which actually holds the shutter in an open position. First thing we have to do is line it up where we want it, and then make a mark on the wall so that we can drill a hole.

Now because this is a stucco house we're going to use a masonry bit initially to drill a hole into the stucco itself. If we tried to do anything else, chances are the stucco itself would just flake off. Once we've gotten through the stucco we change over to a standard bit because we want to be able to drill a pilot hole into the sheeting itself. If we didn't, what would normally happen is once you put in the lag bolt it would have a tendency to want to crack the sheathing over a period of time and once again you'd lose the strength of it.

You could just screw these right to the house, but then you'd lose some of the historic value or appeal. You have the old-style hinges, when you want you can actually use them and close the shutter, so that it actually can protect the windows in the case of a bad storm. And these are also made of Permex material which will not rot, warp or, crack, so they'll last a very long time and you'll really enjoy them.

And that will wrap us up for today.

Next week we're going to be showing you a recap of the waterproofing system we've put in the basement as well as window treatments, some nice new appliances for the laundry room and a whole house audio system.

So then I'm Bob Vila, thanks for joining us.

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