Front Porch Reno, Home improvement
Comments 11

Front Porch Renovation: Adding the Lattice

The front porch on a beautiful fall day.

The front porch on a beautiful fall day.

It is hard to believe that it is October. The fact that fall has arrived means that this project, which started in May, is yet another large and drawn out one. I knew it would be. My wife had hopes of this being simply replacing a few boards, but the board that was causing the problem was connected to another board, which was nailed to yet another board, etc. etc. All of the structure which supported the stairs had significant rot after only five years of use. One thing led to another and at least half of my front porch has been renovated.

But, long and drawn out projects can be fun. This one has encompassed everything from manly demolition to working out compound angles in my head. It has tested the muscles in my brain as well as muscles in my back.

Working outdoors has been enjoyable and I have used everything from my hand saw to my thickness planer with my cordless drill and my miter saw seeing heavy action. I even foresee borrowing some of my dad’s carving tools to touch up the joints on the hand rail. Again, a very different kind of project for me.

But, on to the progress since my last post

Hand rail completed

The last two sections of hand rail have been completed.

Removing some sad box woods.

Next, I start work on the lattice by removing some sad box woods.

Note in the photo above how the slope of the new stairs does not match the slope of the old lattice. This means new lattice is in order, of which I am glad because I had a love/hate feeling towards the old lattice. The box woods which are deteriorating need to be removed. This is a chore I dreaded because the dirt in the area is about as bad as it gets: extremely compacted and containing debris (gravel and chunks of brick) from when the house was built about 30 years ago. But the box woods come out surprisingly well.

Lattice demolition underway.

Note the skinny posts and if you look closely, you will see my yellow “wreaking bar” in the foreground. This industrial grade pry bar was extremely handy. My little pry bar may be good for removing trim inside the house, but it was no match for the 2x material and long nails used on the stairs. You get a real sense of power when using a wreaking bar. Every man should have one.

Adding faux posts.

I made mention above about the skinny posts which support the porch. They do the job just fine, but they are skinny. In an effort to make the porch look more grounded, I decided to add boards to them to beef up the posts. These boards will also push the lattice forward a little which, after testing, looks better.

Lattice Template

Creating a template for the lattice. I use scrap lumber and my old corded drill.

Cutting the lattice

Getting ready to cut the lattice.

Transforming a sheet of lattice into something useful for my stairs was as simple as running a pencil around the template and then using my reciprocating saw to make the cuts. Since the template fits, so does the lattice.

The current look of the project

So here is where the project stands as of this morning.

I would call this project about 85% complete. There are a lot of little things left to do. In the photo above, you can see strips of wood on the ground. I’ll use them to trim out the lattice, adding a finished look to the porch. Before I can do that, I need to patch the first section of lattice – it isn’t wide enough to fill the space left by the old lattice. I won’t go into any detail concerning how this came to be except to say I now know there is such a thing as defective lattice. I will piece some lattice together using some scraps.

I’ll need to add a finial to the top of each post; I am thinking about creating some like those I made for the Tornado Bed – that will look cool. Plus, if you look closely in the photo above, the first newel post is not plumb. I am not sure how that happened, but knowing it isn’t straight is killing me. I’ll have to fix it before I call this project complete.


  1. Tony K says

    Jeff, I also noticed that the supports for your porch were lacking in strength. It looks like you did beef up the one by the top of the stairs,which was good. I could not tell if it was a 2 x 4 or a 4 x 4.. I would have used 4 x 4 all the way around and lagged the ones against the foundation to it. The main reason I’m replying is to find out if you did put a 4 x 4 behind the 2 x 4 in the right corner of the porch? A 2 x 4 is not going to hold out when you have too many people on it in a few years having a party. I hope I’m wrong, but I’ve see porches and decks come off houses for the cost of a few lag bolts or not having 4 x 4 supports. It does look great by the way.

  2. Tony, those are 4 x 4 posts all the way around. The heavier look I am trying to achieve is simply cosmetic. I don’t suspect the new boards have any structural value. So far the existing 4 x 4’s have been rock solid.

    Thanks for visiting my blog!

    • Tony K says

      Jeff, I’m talking about under the porch, not on the porch. The 2 x 4 under the porch in the right hand corn, and the 2 x 4’s that are against the the foundation. Did you beef them up with 4 x 4’s and lag bolt them to the foundation? It’s hard to see on the screen especially with only one eye.
      The wife always want it done yesterday. You have to explain to her Jeff, as shown in your work ,”QUALITY” can not be rushed, only admired. .

      • Tony, sorry, I did not understand your question. The skirt board for the stairs which is against the house is a 2 x 12 and it has a 2 x 10 stringer nailed and screwed to it. It is attached to the porch itself with screws and hangers designed for deck use. It is not lagged into the brick though.

        The posts under the porch itself are 4 x 4s and the board for the porch deck itself is a 2 x 12 and is lagged into the brick with four lag bolts.

  3. Betty Branch says

    I love the improved porch. Can’t wait to see it in person. I am so proud of you.


  4. The porch is just beautiful and so much better than the original. And I should know, I live here with you and appreciate all the hard work you have put into it. It still makes me mad you have had to spend all this time re-working something we paid for…thanks so much hubby!

    • What is the old saying, “if you want something done right, do it yourself.” That is not true all the time and I consider what I am doing the easy part of the project. The guy who built the wood porch did the demo of the original brick porch and clean-up. As I recall, even for him, it wasn’t an easy job.

      But this renovation gives me the chance to make it look more like what I wanted in the first place.

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