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Weekend Project: Tackle that Back Porch Demo

Tired of that rotting, boring, graying, swaying, and buckling back porch? Well then, it's time to rip it up. Replace it. Do it yourself.

Before starting any wood porch projects, there are a few things any homeowner needs to know and acquire.

photo credit: Travis Gray via photopin cc

Remember, if the wood is in good shape, you may only be looking at refinishing the porch, rather than completely redoing it. There are some great products on the market for doing major refinishing using thick composites. These range from natural to bright colors and can be a great option for busy people and the budget-conscious. That said, if the wood is bad, the porch is shaky, or it seems to be breaking, it is time to replace it.

First, make sure you have a partner. There will be plenty of lifting, cutting, pulling, and sweating. If you’re not a professional, it really is safer and easier to have a partner. Especially if this is a project you plan to do in the summertime, a partner will keep you hydrated and encourage you to take breaks.

Second, do a little digging – literally. Take a look at how your current deck is built to see what kinds of tool you’ll need for demolition. If the deck was built properly, it’s sure to have some beams supported by concrete. If you plan to remove these, you’ll need to make sure you have the man-power and/or equipment to move them. You’ll also want to take a look at the beams and boards, especially those on the underside. Take a flashlight, get on your stomach, and assess the damage.

Third, decide if the wood is useful for another project. If it is, you can make good use of aged wood for stylish shelves, frames, and tables. This will add a step in removing nails and screws, but is well worth it in saved money and potential profits later.

When going about demo, make sure you have battery powered screw drivers, a handsaw, a sludge hammer, gloves, and a crowbar. Unscrew everything you can find – everything. Then, use your crowbar and sludge hammer to rip up each board. Breaking and tearing through huge sections at a time will only get you hurt and leave a massive clean-up.

As you get to buried beams – secured in the ground – you will want to dig them out, then lift with your partner. Be careful and don’t overextend yourself. If you can’t lift it with your partner, you’ll need to get some equipment.

As the demo continues, make sure to stack the wood you’ll save neatly. This will save you time later. The wood that can’t be salvaged can be burned, so pile it up for a celebratory bonfire.

Once the demo is complete, you can start planning your new porch.

Patty White

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