Friday, June 20, 2008

It Was Uplifting! (Not the President's Visit)

Yesterday Pete and I raised the back porch roof. It was an excellent example of the "mushroom factor" so common in old house projects. In this case, the porch floor was bad and needed to be replaced. In order to remove the floor, we needed to first take out the columns sitting on top of the floor, in order to take out the columns we had to first lift up the roof and support it some other way. In brief the mushroom factor is: "To do project 'A' you must first do 'B' which means you must first do 'C' which means you must first do, so on and so on up to 'N' which is a VERY LARGE number.

To start we put blocks along the porch roof, and then screwed a 14 foot long 2 x 12 onto those blocks:


We then measured the distance from the bottom side of the 2 x 12 to the ground. We notched out 4 x 4 posts 1/4 of an inch HIGHER than that distance. We got John's 30 ton hydraulic jack and started to lift the roof:


When the roof was just high enough to slip the notched part of the posts under the 2 x 12 we slid them in and screwed the posts to the 2 x 12. We then lowered the jack and took it out. This height allowed the columns to be free from the bottom of the porch. We cut the nails at the bottom and twisted the tops out. Here is one column removed.


At this point we had to stop and look at the presidential helicopters that were flying overhead as George Bush came to look at flood damage. We gestured appropriately (at least we thought it was appropriate) at them, and got back to work.

This pic from today's Iowa City Press Citizen website was too good to not include:


Bush is kissing Iowa City mayor Regenia Bailey. In the background is Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, and Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff. Baily was my senior high school prom date.

After the excitement of the helicopters flying overhead, we could finally remove the back porch decking!


Here is the frame for the porch. The porch was only four feet deep and six feet wide.


I have decided to add two feet to each side of the porch. We then measured and dug footings for the new portion of the porch. Today we will fill the footings with cement and get ready to increase the frame.

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