Now that all the vacation recaps are done, I can get right back to our on-going projects. We’ve got a few that have been outstanding for a while, but we’ve spent the last couple of weeks since returning getting them wrapped up. One of those projects literally got ‘wrapped up’ – the porch!
Last time we checked in we had poured the walkway.
You’ll also remember we added stone around the porch supports. This is to act as a barrier between the dirt and building materials and prevent one of the original problems, the siding and untreated wood sitting directly in the dirt. Instead, Mike used Azek trim, a type of PVC trim board along the base.
You’ll also notice we got new steps!
There’s a place down the road from us that makes precast steps and we called in our dimensions and when we were ready, they delivered! I love the look, and while they’re concrete, they’re hollow, so it’s a little easier to move around. Mike installed the same PVC trim board behind the steps (there’s a hole behind the steps so we can access under the porch if needed).
We knew we didn’t want the carpet to extend down behind the steps like before, and the PVC trim worked perfectly.
Before adding the siding pieces back on, Mike wrapped everything in Tyvek house wrap for a water and air barrier.
Then comes the exciting part! For years Mike and I discussed ways to beef up the porch columns, eliminate the big siding box look, and generally add more curb appeal. During some of the plans to completely tear off the porch and start over we discussed adding stone bases. Since we decided against starting over from scratch (thank god!) we had to come up with something different. We talked about stone veneer, but we weren’t excited about the cost, or the additional labor. That’s when Mike found faux stone panels!
The brand name is Exteria and it’s a composite panel made using real stones as templates. They’re installed just like siding and give a stone look for a fraction of the cost and can easily be customized to the size and shape needed.
We found them at Home Depot, but right after we ordered, they stopped selling them (we know because we needed to order additional accessories). I just did a search and Lowes carries them. We had to contact the customer service department after Mike forgot to order the starter strip and they couldn’t have been nicer! Susan the Customer Service Manager made sure we had all the right pieces and shipped everything free of charge for the hassle of Home Depot discounting the system right after we purchased!
We decided to add a faux foundation and column bases. We figured this would give the appearance that the porch was more than an afterthought, and beef up the columns. We went with the ‘Bucks County Gray’ color since it had both gray and beige colors to tie in with the tan siding, but still stand out.
Mike started by installing the starter strip along the bottom and reused the j-channel from the siding along the stairs and edge.
It’s installed just like siding and the seams fit together and are barely noticeable.
The only part that gives it away is the corner pieces. Like siding, there are corner trim pieces. Since the panels are cut at the corners, there is no way to produce perfectly lined up stone corners. The panels are cut, then the corners are clipped on. I thought I’d be a lot more annoyed with the corners, but I honestly don’t notice them anymore.
Mike cut smaller sections of the panels to create the ‘column base’. We only needed one panel height along the base to create the ‘foundation’ look we wanted.
After the stone panels were installed the siding that was removed at the beginning was pieced together and filled in above the stone.
The top piece of siding was left off until after Mike addressed the wooden cap (the red wood piece). He wanted to beef that up as well, but we also had to take into consideration that people sat on this ledge when we hang out on the porch. The old aluminum wrap was dented and warped and we wanted something that would be more durable.
From a distance the corner faux stone pieces are indistinguishable from the panels, and with landscaping it’s become even less noticeable. We’ve had people walking by compliment us on the change and I think it’s made a huge difference while still keeping the integrity of the house.