Sprucing Up a Porch Floor

My customer wanted to increase the width of her 3-foot- wide porch by more than a foot, plus add a wavy outer edge that would meander around a large Rose O’Sharon shrub and mimic the winding curves of her cottage garden

The customer chose 5/4 x 6 mahogany for the decking. I tried laying out the framing on 16-inch centers, which looked okay except for a couple of places where a joist landed directly under a gap in the flooring, so I did a quick mockup with some decking scraps and came up with a 16-13/16-inch layout to avoid the problem.

We installed a double ledger along the house, pitched slightly from the inside corner of the porch, and attached hangers for every joist. To maintain an adequate slope away from the house, I had to notch some of the joists where they crossed the block foundation.

Where the band joist stepped out for each section of the curve, I added 45-degree transitions between the projections, then finished off with PVC trim.

Next I rough-cut the boards to length and lined them up on top of the framing; the 16-13/16-inch layout worked out great. I then handed my client a piece of chalk and went out for coffee.

When I returned, she had drawn the whimsical pattern she wanted without any meddling from me. We refined the curve on either side of the steps for a smooth transition, and I stacked the boards for installation.

I cut the curved ends with a jigsaw, setting each successive piece in place to mark where the curve of the previous board ended.

I eased the edges of the curved ends with a 3/16-inch roundover bit.

After rounding over the curve-cut ends, I hand sanded.

The drop-off on the open end of the porch was so slight that we could forego a guard rail, but I turned some of the flooring scraps into a decorative railing.

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