Back Porch Paradise
By: Danny Lipford
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 FoundationAfter 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.
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.
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.
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 TrimTo 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.
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 AmenitiesOther 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
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.
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.
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.