The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Porch building tips

Cross-wise rafters on a porchBradley says he's only going to charge us $175 for all of his hard work building an 8 by 16 covered porch.  We're trying to talk him up to $200....

Meanwhile, Mark and I have been dropping by and watching him work as we take breaks from our own regular tasks.  If it wasn't planting month, I'd be tempted to have us both "help" him for the whole project, because I can tell Bradley has a lot of experience to impart despite his youth.  Here are a few pointers I've picked up already:

Building with all new materials goes fast if you know what you're doing.  It looks like it's going to take Bradley only about nine hours to build the entire porch with no help.  I estimate that Mark and I, working together, would have taken twice that long (which means four times the man-hours).  With scavenged materials, we'd probably multiply our time by two again, but we would have saved a lot of cash --- we spent $660 on materials for this project.
Rafter support
To save on supplies with a metal roof, make your rafters run cross-wise.  The first two photos in this post show how Bradley made the roof rafters run the opposite direction from what you'd expect, which saved quite a bit of wood and was still plenty sturdy enough for him to walk on.

Use scabs and brackets to turn a two person job into a one person job.  Mark kept asking Bradley if he needed help with daunting tasks like setting the four by four posts upright, but Bradley had it Scab and bracketcovered.  He used wooden scabs and brackets to hold the posts erect until he'd built a box on top to provide structural integrity.

Floor joists

Plan ahead so you don't need to double up.  Although he envisioned the 8'x16' porch as two 8'x8' squares attached to each other, Bradley got by with one joist where the squares join by building directly onto the side of the central four by four legs.  (See above.)

We'll share more shots of the porch when it's done!

Our chicken waterer is perfect for chicks from day 1.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Very nice.
Comment by Irma E. Thu May 3 08:06:03 2012
What direction does the porch face? South? Southeast?
Comment by Terry Thu May 3 09:49:05 2012

Irma ---Thanks!

Terry --- This is our summer porch, so it faces north for the most shade.

Comment by anna Thu May 3 10:00:07 2012

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