The wooden brackets on this front porch had seen better days. They weren’t structural, so I wanted to replace them with a material that wouldn’t rot again: cellular PVC. After carefully removing the brackets, we used one of them as a template, first tracing its profile onto a scrap of plywood, then cutting it out with a jigsaw and sanding it smooth. Next we cut two 2-by-4-foot pieces out of 3/4-inch PVC sheet stock. The original brackets were about 1-1/2 inches thick, but I wanted the replacements to be a little thicker, so I added a piece of 3/8-inch PVC in between, then glued the three layers together with Trim Tight ( trimtight.com) PVC glue. To clamp the pieces together as the cement cured, I also drove exterior screws in from one side. After attaching the template to the PVC blank, I quickly routed the profile in two passes. A small scrap of plywood hot-glued to the base helped the router stay square to the template. We finished up the edges with light sanding.

We filled the screw holes with Bond&Fill (bondfill.com), a filler designed to work with all the available brands of PVC trim. We let it set up for about 15 minutes, then sanded it smooth, leaving the screw holes invisible.

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