8 Easy Steps to Fix that Old Front Porch
Given enough time and exposure to the elements, even the most well-constructed front porch can begin to fade, peel, and crack. Boards that are severely worn, cracked, or warped aren't just unsightly--they could be a trip hazard that invites serious injury.
Front Porch Remedy: How to Fix Those Old Boards
If the floorboards on your porch are showing signs of wear, remedy the problem with these 8 easy steps.
- Patching the floor can leave unsightly differences from one plank to another. Instead of patching, consider replacing full planks. Start by setting your saw blade to the exact width of the board that needs to be replaced, so as to not damage the joists underneath.
- Saw lengthwise through the boards that need to be replaced. Then split the boards by cutting them along the middle, avoiding any nails.
- Pry up the old decking with a pry bar and hammer. Have a chisel on hand for those boards that are tough to pry up. Finish one full board before moving on to the next.
- Make sure your new boards match your old ones. On old house porches, the wood might have been milled many decades ago, when standard sizes were different from those today. If you can't find what you need, turn to a professional carpenter to handle the milling for you.
- Prime the new boards on the sides and bottom with an oil-based primer to protect them from moisture. Use a thick bead of polyurethane adhesive on the joists to add additional strength. Then place the new board firmly against the old one and fasten it to the joist with nails or screws.
- Go back and pound all the nails down underneath the face of the wood. Fill the small space with putty, scrape it flat, and let it dry thoroughly.
- Sand down the new section. Use gradually increasing grits of sandpaper to even out any blemishes and imperfections in the new wood. A power sander works well for larger areas. Take special care with the edges of the boards to help eliminate potential splinters.
- Seal the porch with your favorite sealer or paint the entire surface with an all-weather paint. Your old front porch will look as good as new, and you won't have another worry about trip hazards for years to come.
Always be quick to fix small problems with your front porch. At the first sign of a problem, get it fixed and avoid a larger issue down the road.
Shannon Dauphin is a freelance writer based near Nashville, Tennessee. Her house was built in 1901, so home repair and renovation have become her hobbies.