Top Shows

Back To Basics


Today the house sports a symmetrical and decorative front porch, which is a hallmark of bungalow design. It was an important aspect of smartening up the place and well worth the six thousand dollar price tag.

What is wrong with existing porch?
- Poor materials and detailing
- It's out of proportion with the house
- Villa detailing was not used in this period
- Out of scale
- Not constructionally integrated

Porch - Builder or DIY?
On a level of 1 to 10 (10 being the highest level of difficulty) this job would be up there, so for the serious, more experienced DIY person go for it. For everyone else it would be wise to employ the expertise of a professional.

Choosing a builder
Rates vary but a good builder is worth paying for. A recommendation from someone who has been happy with the workmanship and integrity of their builder is often the best way to go.

My plan
Ensure that the architectural plan actually works in the practical sense. Quantify and cost all materials before starting. A porch of this magnitude is not cheap.

Remove and clear away the original porch. Start at the top and work down until the area is clear. Make sure you wear protective gear such as a hard hat, safety glasses and if required, ear muffs.

Cutting wood to the same length every time tip
If you hate measuring the same length time and time again, here's a quick tip.
- Cut your first piece of wood to the correct length
- Then screw a piece of wood to the end to act as a stop.
- Lay wood on top of new piece to be cut.
- Mark line

Drilling holes before nailing
If you want a professional look on your deck
- Grab a straight edge lay it right down along the joist
- Scribe a line and use that line to put your nails in
- Drill a hole just through the wood
- And when you put your nails in you definitely wont spilt the wood

Re-build the base / platform and ensure that it is level across the house and has a fall away from the house. To ensure it is square to the house use either a 3 4 5 triangle or (as I do) the Pythagorean Theorem.

That is: for a right triangle, the square of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides: a2 b2 = c2     

Steve's 'right angle tip'
example:  if 'a' =  7      'b' =3.5 
what does 'c ' = ?



the square of  a = 7 x 7 = 49
the square of  b = 3.5 x 3.5 =12.25
add  a and  b  = 61.25
the area  c = 61.25
now find the square root of 61.25
that means 2 numbers when multiplied together = 61.25
the answer to that = 7.826 ( rounded down to 3 places )
If length c is greater than 7.826, the angle a c is greater than 90 deg.
If length c is less than 7.826, the angle a c is less than 90 deg.
When length c equals 7.826, the angle a c is 90 deg. and your building will be nice and square.

Build the walls. Cut the posts and fit to position. Position the beams and bolt it all together.

N.B. Check to ensure at every stage that the structure is going to plan. It's easier to correct a mistake now than to discover it at the end of the project. With everything checked off and correct, nail to finish.

The Roof
Fit wall plate to house wall, level with the top of the front beam. Cut and position roof joists. Nail off. I used joist hangers to hold everything in place. To obtain a fall from the house I took some 75 x 50 tan H3 timbers, cut them to length and split them, turning them into two large wedges. I then nailed them down to the top of the roof joists.

Over the top of that I fixed four 75 x 50 H3, laid side to side and equally spaced. These served as battens to fix the new roofing materials to. Colorsteel roof was fitted after this.

Underneath the porch roof, 'V' grooved plywood was fixed in place and edged off with 20mm quadrant.

Plywood was used for the ceiling it's known as 'plygroove' and comes in sheets. It has a similar effect as tongue and groove and saves heaps of time.

When fitting the weatherboards to the walls a 'flair' was fashioned to the bottom four rows to provide a look in keeping with the period of the house.

Tip: Before you put up your weatherboards sand the edges, it will give you a better finish and your painter will love you for it.

Make sure the bottom weatherboard is cut to the correct length and is level.

Then work your way up, lining up the bottom of the next weatherboard just below the top of the last. When nailing off each new weatherboard make sure the nails only pierce the top weatherboard.

As a lovely traditional finish to the porch we are going to make some outriggers.

First, you need to start with a template. These outriggers are part of the grand plan for the porch. Which aims to replicate what may have been originally and will reinstate the bungalows traditional façade.

See plans on construction.

Steps plan 
Finally, the capping / handrail was made. This was cut from 300 x 50 H3, then cut and scribed around the support post