Questions on concrete porch sleeper system...............

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Old 06-06-15, 03:44 PM
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Questions on concrete porch sleeper system...............

We are currently planning an exterior renovation of the house in NJ - new paint, capping of wood trim, some new windows, etc. One area that is an issue now is our front porch. It's a 5 x 22 foot concrete covered porch. It's in very good structural condition other than some flaking of the concrete in a few places on the side of the porch. But it's ugly, it's stained and it's blah. Wife hates it. And she is against staining it or painting it. One option is install a wood porch over top of it using a sleeper system.

If we were to go that route, some questions:

1) It's a mostly covered porch (edges can get wet as the overhand is not large) so I've seen people say you can lay the treated 2x4s directly on the concrete and possibly just seal the area where the wood meets the concrete with an exterior caulk. I've seen others suggest an underlayment over the porch then attaching the sleepers to that. I've seen others suggest attaching some flashing to the underside of the sleepers, then attach. And then I've seen others say rest the 2x4s on spacers such as pvc blocks. Thoughts?

2) The porch columns are the original wood columns and we are replacing them with fiberglass structural columns. Someone said that we should lay the entire decking down first then put the column on top of the deck - possibly create a pad under the decking made up of 2x4s. Someone else suggested set the column on the concrete and then build the decking around it and slide the base cap down after that covering the edges. Option 2 seems wiser to me.

3) As we may use Ipe, I want decent air flow under the boards. Should I be concerned that the air pocket under the boards might only be the height of a 2x4? Along those lines, I am torn on spacing the boards to allow some movement or using T&G given that the porch really doesn't get a lot of exposure to water and the decking would follow the gentle slope of the concrete porch anyway.

Any guidance or thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks!

 
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Old 06-06-15, 08:12 PM
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People get nervous when structure is involved. What are the columns supporting? Can we see a pic of what's on top? To answer one of you questions, yes I would take care of the columns before adding a deck. It's too bad that your wife doesn't like the porch. I like it except for the color. Is she the one who picked Ipe? It's one of the strongest & the most expensive wood available. Holes must be pre-drilled before a screw will pass through the wood.
 
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Old 06-06-15, 08:53 PM
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Ipe was just an option I looked at and am not locked into it if we decide to even go this route. I guess if we went natural wood instead of composite, I'd also look at red cedar, etc.

I don't have another picture readily available but will try to snap one and post it here. But the structure being held up by the columns (there are 4 in total, spaced about 7 feet apart) is a standard porch roof, normal pitch, no living space, etc above it.
 
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Old 06-06-15, 09:29 PM
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Use some temporary supports to hold the roof while you replace the columns. Whatever you use for the deck, just make sure that it doesn't cause a problem with the risers, from the stoop to the porch & the porch, to the house.

Don't get me wrong about Ipe. There is nothing like picking the best. Go for it.
 
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Old 06-07-15, 11:10 AM
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Another concern with ipe or any wood for that matter is circulation under the boards. If I lay them on a sleeper system over the concrete, there is only a couple of inches for ventilation. I probably wouldn't use T&G boards but just regular boards with a small space between each to also help with ventilation............. but I am not sure it will be enough.
 
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Old 06-07-15, 07:45 PM
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Is Ipe available in T&G? The only time I saw it used was for the boardwalk at Jones Beach in NY. They were 2x4s. I wouldn't worry too much about the circulation.
 
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