Home>Discussions>EXTERIORS>1947 house with lots of bad DIY...new porch?
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1947 house with lots of bad DIY...new porch?

Hi all,

I'm the proud new owner of a 1947 brick house. The front porch is brick and cement and seems like it's settled a bit since it slopes away from the house.

What's more annoying is that the porch is barely wide enough to stand on and open the storm door. I am worried about my mom, 90-year-old neighbor, child, etc. falling off the porch and hurting themselves. Would the best solution be to just add a railing? Or could I widen the porch somehow? I'm thinking the railing would be more budget-friendly and more within my DIY ability, but if that's not a good solution I am open to other ideas.

I'll try to post a picture to clarify what I'm talking about. Thanks in advance!

Re: 1947 house with lots of bad DIY...new porch?

You can post your pictures on a host like photobucket and then post the link here.

If you're worried about somebody falling off your porch, a handrail is the least you should do.

However, if the porch is so narrow, maybe it would be smarter to widen it first. The picture should help us see what's going on.

Re: 1947 house with lots of bad DIY...new porch?

Ideally, tear it out and build a new porch. To prevent settling, the porch needs a good foundation, built on mineral soil (clay), not organic soil (humus).

A quicker, cheaper solution is, if you have enough clearance under the door, build a larger wooden porch over the top of the existing porch and steps. Or build it over the first step down up to widen the landing, with new steps. It will likely be uglier and not last as long as a properly built replacement porch.

Re: 1947 house with lots of bad DIY...new porch?

IIRC the newest codes require 32" in the clear beyond the furthest point an outswing door reaches and it must be at least 32" usable floor width (might be wrong on the last one). A stair with more than 2 risers requires a rail and if the top of the rail ends at a porch or landing it too must have a railing.

So if you extend or redo that porch it will need to meet the newest codes. Your homes insurer may also require that even if you have no code inspections where you live. Good porches are like good fences; they enhance the value of a home. I'd demo the old and build something nice with extra space as long as the house design allows that.


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