What Were They Thinking: really bad old house ideas

Courtesy of This Old House

Courtesy of This Old House

So…I get up early this morning, 7:00 a.m. to be exact, excited that the carpenter was able to come by today and give me an estimate on porch work that needs to be done.  Everything was going well.  I showed Mike (our carpenter and friend), the porch boards that need to be replaced and the rotted column base that needed to be repaired.  He pointed out that the left corner of the porch was slightly sagging and that the column base was at an angle.  That made me curious.  So, I hopped off the porch to investigate.  Sure enough the column base that was rotted was a replacement so that meant work was done on the front corner of the porch.  I decided to pull off the fascia board and guess what I found…

front porch

Why would you do this on a corner?  It needs major support here…not a rig job.  This corner has a heavy column resting on it and water drains here.  Why in the world would you think that three pieces of junk wood would hold up over time?  Argh!  Off with their head!!!!!!!!!

front corner seal

Let’s examine the problem, shall we?


For the life of me, I cannot understand someone skimping on the repair job of something as important as a porch foundation.  It appears that the original beam (technically called a seal) had rotted.  We have had experience with this problem.  We had another place where the seal had rotted.  We had to have the house jacked up and a replacement put in.  It is not that big a deal and not as expensive as you would think.  In fact, if you have a little know how, you could buy a jack for $100 and do it yourself.

Needless to say, I was not excited in the least to find this kind of junk.  We have to repair this mess first before I can have the carpenter come back and replace porch boards.  I was looking forward to spending my holiday off next week sanding the porch so, when Mike was finished, I could prime and repaint the porch.  Now my plans have been foiled by a rotted piece of timber and a nitwit of a PO. (For all you non old house folks, PO means Previous Owner.  They are the ghosts that we old house folks blame every knuckleheaded idea on).  Argh!  This is just a typical occurrence though, for old house owners.  I laughed this morning (I mean, ya have to!  If not, you might go a little crazy!  CRAZY! Who you callin’ crazy?) and told my husband that this was not something listed on our home inspection report.  Oh well…what can ya do but fix it?  I guess you could track down the nut who either did this, or authorized someone to do it, and give them a good kick in the pants (or skirt).  That would make me feel better but, it ultimately would not solve the problem.  I wonder if one of the PO’s might log in one day and find my blog…..hmmm….I have this peabrained idea narrowed down to a couple of possible PO’s.  If you haven’t caught on yet, I am not too happy about finding this.  Anytime I think I have it bad, I head over to This Old House and look at the home inspection nightmare pictures.  Here are a few of my favorites. 

At least we did not find this:

Courtesy of This Old House

Courtesy of This Old House

Or this:

Courtesy of This Old House

Courtesy of This Old House

Yes folks, that is duct tape holding together a cracked support beam.

I think that the same guy who “reworked” my porch so nicely also did this:

Courtesy of This Old House

Courtesy of This Old House

Courtesy of This Old House

Courtesy of This Old House

My absolute favorite picture is where someone put a suitcase under a major support beam to hold up the porch.  For the life of me, I could not find it.  It was previously featured on TOH.  If you find it, let me know.  For more ideas for your lovely home, you can click here.

And lastly, my second favorite photo so far.  I guess it is because I can relate!

Courtesy of This Old House

Courtesy of This Old House




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