Home Improvement Expert Danny Lipford

Back Porch Paradise

By: Danny Lipford
In categories: Decks and Patios, Today's Homeowner
Completed back porch with fireplace, ipê wood flooring, and adjoining patio

Completed back porch with fireplace, ipê wood flooring, and adjoining patio.

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A beautiful back porch with ipê wood flooring, a massive fireplace, and adjoining patio was added to this two-story, historic home to turn the backyard into the perfect place for outdoor entertaining.

Since the house was located in a historic district, the addition had to be approved and comply with local regulations. Architect Nick Holmes of Holmes and Holmes Architects incorporated many of the architectural features found on the existing home into the design of the porch.

Porch and Patio Foundation

Laying concrete blocks on footing

Laying blocks on footing.

After the footprint of the addition had been established, holes were dug for the concrete footings and steel rebar added for reinforcement. Once the footings had been poured, concrete blocks were laid, then filled with concrete to provide a solid core for the foundation.

Concrete slabs were also poured for an adjoining patio, with wooden forms used to create troughs in the concrete for a brick border. A decorative diagonal pattern was cut into the concrete patio with a circular saw.

Porch Framing

Once the foundation was complete, sheet metal termite shields were placed on top of the concrete block piers. Pressure treated floor joists were used to frame the 17’ wide by 24’ long porch. To make sure rainwater runs off the porch floor, the floor joists were installed with the center of the porch a bit higher than the edges.

Posts to support the ceiling and roof were attached to the joists and notched at the top to accept beams. Ceiling joists were then installed across the porch between the beams.

Decorative scroll pattern was cut in rafter eave overhang

Decorative scroll pattern was cut in rafter eave overhang.

A decorative scroll pattern was cut into the bottom of the exposed ends of the rafters to match the design on the house. The roof framing was then covered with plywood decking followed by roofing.

Porch Fireplace

The firebox and chimney were assembled from precast masonry material made by FireRock, so it would have exactly the right shape to draw properly. The fireplace and concrete block foundation piers were then covered with brick that had been chosen to match the house.

Porch Columns and Trim

Adding crown molding to column capitals

Adding molding to columns.

To match the recessed panel columns on the front of the house, the pressure treated posts were covered with:

  • A layer of plywood.
  • Trim boards to form the center panels.
  • Corner boards made from 1×4 lumber.
  • Plinth blocks on the column tops.
  • Crown molding around the capitals.
  • Bases on the bottom of the columns.

The ceiling on the porch was then covered with wood beadboard to mimic the ceiling found on the front porch of the house.

Installing stainless steel screws in ipê flooring

Installing stainless steel screws in ipê flooring.

Ipê Porch Flooring

The flooring for the porch was made from a dense, tropical hardwood called ipê. Native to South America, ipê is naturally resistant to moisture, fungus, insects, and rot. The tongue and groove flooring was installed using stainless steel screws in predrilled holes. A small gap was left between every few rows of flooring to allow for expansion.

Added Amenities

TV installed over fireplace

TV installed over fireplace.

Other amenities on the porch included:

  • Cabinets for an outdoor kitchen were constructed.
  • Pressure treated lattice panels were installed around the foundation.
  • Mahogany door with glass was installed on the back of the house.
  • Mantel and flat screen TV were installed above the fireplace.

Other Tips from This Episode

Scrubbing a grill with aluminum foil

Simple Solutions with Joe Truini:
Cleaning a Grill with Vinegar

To clean the cooking surface on an outdoor grill, spray the metal grate with white vinegar, allow it to sit for a few minutes, then rub the surface with crumpled up aluminum foil. The acid in the vinegar will cut through grease and food residue while the abrasive foil cleans it away.

Hampton Bay Solar Rope Light box

Best New Products with Jodi Marks:
Hampton Bay Solar Rope Light

The Hampton Bay Solar Rope Light is great for accenting porch and deck railings or as a border on outdoor walkways. The 16’ long strand has 55 white LED lights. Since it’s solar powered, the light doesn’t require wiring, making it easy to install. The Hampton Bay Solar Rope Light is available at The Home Depot.

Standing water in yard

Ask Danny Lipford:
Water Drainage Problems

Poor drainage in your yard can cause fungus and disease problems in your lawn, as well as allowing water to seep under your house and into the crawlspace or basement. Fill in any low spots in your yard, and slope the ground next to the foundation away from your house, so water runs off.

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4 Comments on “Back Porch Paradise”

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  1. Chicago homeowner Says:
    October 23rd, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    Very nice project. Clearly some changes would be required for a northern climate (Chicago). I would also consider a version with windows to keep out bugs and to make this into a three season room. Where can more details (like dimensions, cost, timing, etc.) be found?

  2. 150 year old home Says:
    December 31st, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    I would also have to add screens in Wisconsin, we are removing an old leanto on our brick home and I enjoyed the episode, just wondering how much was this total project?

  3. marilyn Says:
    May 7th, 2013 at 8:23 am

    How much did the porch addition cost? Fireplace cost?

  4. Ree Says:
    January 2nd, 2014 at 5:57 pm

    What was the cost? Without the fireplace?
    It is beautiful!

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