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Bullnosing Historic Front Porch Deck

flooron's picture

We are redoing our 1904 Victorian front porch with salvaged quartersawn fir 3/4" x 3 1/4" tongue and groove decking.  There is a typical positive slope away from the house with the newly installed fir decking.  The plan is to paint the deck floor with a high quality oil based "Porch and Floor" paint.

 Our porch is a bit unique in design in that the 10 foot wide front porch steps are recessed into the main porch floor area to provide a somewhat sheltered staircase.  This porch also has two aligned columns on each side of the stairs to allow a further protrusion (projecting penninsula) of the porch floor, (about two feet), towards the street.  This projection forward of the main porch floor provides a base for the two extra massive round columns that support the projecting porch roof pediment to help shelter the stairs.

The question I have:  Is there a good construction detail that would allow us to do a fir bullnose attached to the tongue and groove butt ends of the porch flooring visible from the street.  A good bullnose detail here would not only unify the projecting decking issues, but it would also allow us to "heavy up"  the look of the 3/4" flooring buttends on this massive wrap-around porch.  Lastly, a slightly fatter bullnose detail would give it a  nice tailored shadowline appearance from the street.  My difficulty is how to avoid (prolong) the dreaded butt end rott with a bullnose detail unless the bullnose could somehow be held slightly away from the buttends with undermounted steel brackets???

Suggestions from  a seasoned "old house" renovator/ designer/carpenter would be much appreciated as I see no good aesthetic way to do this while avoiding rotting issues.

Also, has anyone ever seen an old-school stair tread detail where the carpenter drills a series of 7/8" (or so) holes about 5" to 6" appart connected with a centered rip that goes all the way through a stair tread between the stair stringers (not above them)?  The purpose of this is to provide not only a natural drain for water but more importantly a traction grip for rainy days.  Stair treads get extremely slick and dangerous when painted with high-gloss porch enamel.  I guess the question is:  can this be detailed in such a way that it will not advance the rott issue when the paint wears of the upper corners of the cutouts?  My worry about doing this is that it will speed up the rotting of the newly installed quartersawn fir stair treads even if well painted on the endgrain of the cutouts.  I really do not like the look of applied tread grippers or adding sand into the stair paint so am looking for other creative ideas.

Thanks for reading this and for your creative ideas!!!

Can you post a picture of the porch? (post #193791, reply #1 of 1)

And you are correct in being concerned with a joining of material at the perimeter of the flooring.  Open end grain is a week point in the system, but so can be capping it off.  I've been successful b/4 gluing and screwing rather than just nailing it on.  It helps also to run the flooring long, then cutting to a line or using a straight edge to trim to the right length.

 Sealing ALL sides of ALL the members is important and I assume you coated all sides/cuts t's and g's of  this salvaged flooring already b/4 putting it down.

The tread detail I may have come across but time takes it's toll on memory.

We broadcast screened white sand on the treads just after painting.  Can be final coated over if necessary.

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