Tearing up and rebuilding wood porch floor

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Old 07-27-15, 12:44 PM
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Tearing up and rebuilding wood porch floor

Hello all - long time browser, first time poster.


I'm looking into helping my best friend rebuild his porch. Before we get materials and start tearing into it, though, I had a few basic questions and I hope someone can help with them. Thanks in advance for any advice/tips/etc.


The basic layout:

[ATTACH=CONFIG]53874[/ATTACH]


The measurements may not be exact but like I said, I have a few questions before we actually start ordering materials.


1. Do we need to get a permit from the township to repair an existing porch? We're not adding anything to it, just replacing the old wood.

2. It appears as though the idiot that previously owned the house put a new layer of porch over top an old layer of porch. There's now about 4" thick of old wood on there. Basically there's two layers of plywood on top and then a couple of layers of those old-fashioned 2" - 3" wide slats on the bottom. Is there anything I need to be aware of in tearing all that stuff out?

3. I'm guessing we need to put 2 layers of plywood down. The first one presumably being some sort of OSB and the top layer a standard plywood. I don't think 1 layer would do it. But what thickness would be recommended for each layer? I have read that 3/4" plywood is recommended.

4. Obviously we're going to put a fresh coat of primer and paint on the new plywood. Do we need to prime/paint both sides? How about the bottom layer? Does that need to be primed and/or painted on either or both sides? This porch has a roof over it but the sides are all open-air with just metal railings along them.


Again, thanks in advance for any help.
 
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Old 07-27-15, 12:58 PM
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Welcome to the forums!

Is this a covered/enclosed porch or an open deck? if the latter, I'd never use plywood! PT decking would be better. With it be cobbled over like that there is no telling what you'll run into. Are you able to inspect the joists from underneath?

Permit requirements vary a good bit from one locale to another, the only way to know for sure would be to call your local permit office and ask.

Just reread your post and see that it's covered but open - decking would still be best!
 
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Old 07-27-15, 01:20 PM
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Wow - thanks for the quick reply!


This is a porch with a roof over it but the sides are all open-air. Just metal railings to keep people from falling off.

I should be able to get underneath it to check out the joists. I had looked at them briefly a few months ago and I seem to recall they looked good but a closer inspection would be warranted.

I called the borough and they said if we're just replacing the wood there's no need for a permit although if we end up replacing the railings we do need one.

Can you recommend a good decking material? Perhaps a link to Home Depot or Lowe's?
 
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Old 07-27-15, 01:25 PM
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Pressure treated wood, cedar or redwood or other rot-resistant species of wood or composite decking are basically your choices.

PT will likely be the cheapest but also the ugliest. It can be painted or stained but must be dry first and this can sometimes take months. Cedar (I don't think you'll find redwood in NJ easily) will cost more but look a little better. It should be stained to prolong the lifespan. There are other woods like Ipe which will cost more. Composite decking will likely be the most expensive (other than the exotic woods like Ipe) but is maintenance free in that it does not need to be stained.

I'd start reading through some of the deck threads to get more info about your choices and then hit us with questions again.
 
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Old 07-27-15, 01:29 PM
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This is what most folks use - Shop Severe Weather Max Standard Ecolife Treated Decking (Common: 5/4-in x 6-in x 12-ft; Actual: 1-in x 5.5-in x 12-ft) at Lowes.com

You can also get it in T&G although I don't know if that is available from a big box store. Some opt for composite decking since it requires less maintenance.
 
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Old 07-27-15, 02:46 PM
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I certainly agree with all the previous posters, you definitely don't want to use plywood! Especially when laid flat like this it does not hold up well outside. If it's had that many major revisions are ready I'm betting that you're going to find the joists also need to be replaced to do the job correctly.
 
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Old 07-28-15, 05:09 AM
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No one mentioned the old standard, vertical grain Douglas fir. Many old porches were covered with that and it performed for decades. Of course, that was all old growth material which generally is a better grade.

I have seen that material recently at HD recently. Material availability varies area to area but NJ has been, traditionally, a Douglas fir state. You could check with other, real lumberyards, as I am sure they will have it. A proper installation requires priming the back and edges before assembly to keep the water from getting into the hidden edges of the wood. This is the material you will probably find under everything as you rip up the floor. I have seen jobs where the flooring was the thicker version, 1" to 1-1/8" and it has been sanded by a floor refinished.

Whatever you do, in ripping up the old material, be cognizant of the dust issue and protect yourself and others against the possible lead paint dust that may have been applied.
 
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Old 07-29-15, 09:07 AM
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Just my 2 but I would not put fir outside even painted and covered unless it was pressure treated first.
 
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Old 07-29-15, 04:45 PM
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Depending on the depth of the pockets, you could consider IPE or Ironwood. Not cheap, but permanent.
 
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Old 08-01-15, 01:45 PM
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Thanks again for all the good advice. Yes, I'll definitely be protecting my eyes and breathing. Safety first!


I do have one (I think) last question, though:


Going by my crappy little diagram here, we're going to start at the back end of the porch where the red rectangle indicates. (since we have no idea what sort of nightmare is hiding under all the old wood)

[ATTACH=CONFIG]54045[/ATTACH]

If we lay down the new wood in the direction I've indicated, and do likewise starting at the front left side, what happens when we get to the corner where they meet? Is there a way of laying the wood down in a pattern that brings the two sides together smoothly, or do we need to pick which end to do the "overlap"? (see other attachments)

[ATTACH=CONFIG]54046[/ATTACH]

[ATTACH=CONFIG]54047[/ATTACH]
 
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Old 08-01-15, 01:55 PM
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If we lay down the new wood in the direction I've indicated, and do likewise starting at the front left side, what happens when we get to the corner where they meet?
You'd have to look at the framing underneath in order to know which way the supports are setup.

If you change support framing you'll need a permit.
 
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Old 08-01-15, 02:10 PM
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As Pete says, it will depend on the existing framing. I like door #2, but it will require additional framing to give you something to attach the board ends to. Can you give us an idea how the existing framing is?
 
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Old 08-05-15, 05:17 PM
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I'll find out for sure on Saturday. I'm going over for the evening but I'm going to pop my head under both ends of the porch, take a look at the joists and maybe even get a few photos.
 
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Old 08-16-15, 01:18 PM
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I just wanted to thank everyone again for their help and suggestions in this project.

This is something I feel I NEED to do. When I was a kid my dad did all of our home repairs and upgrades... new fence, roof for the garage, new water heater, finishing the basement... when I was probably 6 or 7 I was up in the crawlspace helping him run new electric lines. And I used to do woodworking and painting as part of my job 20 years ago. But not having steady access to tools and experience over that time I've sort of lost the knack for it.


Anyway, here's a couple of photos of the rotting porch and the (pretty much) exact measurements:


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Old 08-16-15, 01:36 PM
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It looks as if there is T&G planking under the plywood. The plywood is laid grainwise along with the planking. So it looks as if you need not only to remove the plywood, but remove the planking as well and start from the floor joists. Only then can you tell the direction you need to lay the new flooring.
 
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Old 08-17-15, 11:03 AM
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Correct - there's at least 2 layers of wood there because the lazy-ass former owner of the house just covered up the old porch wood with new plywood.
 
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