Project Description

This family had a beautiful front portico that set the tone for their classically styled residence. Unfortunately, the original home builder had used a product to create the curved railing that topped the front porch portico that wasn’t holding up. Although the laminated Masonite product originally was designed for outdoor use, it was eventually discontinued due to inherent failures. We were called in to give the client several front porch repair options and discovered extensive wood rot in the process.

  • The first option we presented was a custom-manufactured curving white vinyl rail system with vinyl pickets. The strengths of this product were cost and durability: this least expensive option would never need painting and was virtually maintenance-free. Since it was designed to be an exterior product, it can also withstand the heat of our southern sun without discoloring over time. The second, mid-range alternative was a wrought-iron railing system that would be painted in the shop and then installed. The most expensive option was to install a laminated and curved wood system that would need to be caulked, primed and painted, and as such, also would need to be maintained.
  • The clients opted for the first option, which saved them almost $2,000 immediately – not to mention the costs in both money and time that would be associated with regular maintenance.
  • To create the made-to-order railing, we carefully measured the existing space and the radius of the portico’s curve, then had a company in the Midwest heat bend the vinyl to create a custom piece built to our specifications. Now the client has a beautiful and maintenance-free railing crowning their portico.
  • This project presented some challenges. When we went up to the portico roof to assess the situation, we discovered that the original rubber membrane was pulling away from the house and the flashing was compromised. If these issues were left uncorrected, rainwater was certain to run down the brick and eventually rot the structural plywood and framing underneath the membrane
  • To correct this issue, we re-stretched the membrane, tacked it back up properly, sealed it, and then replaced the flashing. The result is a watertight portico roof that further reduces the homeowners’ maintenance concerns.
  • Since the curved railing was a custom product, it did take some time to fabricate – approximately three weeks from the date we ordered it. However, once all the pieces were in, we were able to complete the roof repairs and install the new railing in a single day.