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A blend of old and new

user-2409187's picture

I want to share this photo to illustrate that it is possible to blend existing and new work. Patience and a knowledge of how to use colors are the main requirements.  The steps (hand cast) and the walk-way were "aged" to make them resemble to concrete on the porch. The handrails were custom made to owner specifications. The cost: under $8K. Your thoughts are welcome.

Mel Fros

Looks pretty interesting. (post #215099, reply #1 of 10)

Looks pretty interesting. It's a nice idea to combine an old project with the new one. This takes less money and time investment. I guess that, if you need a new house in a short time, this could work well. You just need to plan that  in advance to prevent the mistakes and unpredictable situations.  

Thank you for your comment. (post #215099, reply #2 of 10)

Thank you for your comment. takes MORE money and time investment to do what I did :) After all, I had to search high and low for a close brick color. Then I had to apply toner (colorant) to get the bricks to look perfectly matched. I am glad you think it worth the extra expense. This is the kind of "bread and butter" work I love.

Mel Fros

I like the concept.  (post #215099, reply #3 of 10)

I like the concept. 

I like the idea also. There's (post #215099, reply #4 of 10)

I like the idea also. There's a nice contrast.

That's an elegant (post #215099, reply #5 of 10)

That's an elegant combination.

The handrails don't meet Code (post #215099, reply #6 of 10)

The handrails don't meet Code requirements in any respect at all.

Florida Licensed Building Contractor, 50 years experience in commercial remodeling, new homes, home remodeling and repairs and all types building maintenance.

I agree (post #215099, reply #7 of 10)

Florida says the handrails don't meet code. I agree. However, I took my plans to the local City of Urbana office and they said that a building permit was not needed. They expressed gratitude that I was re-building in the historic section of town. They agreed that the handrail design was OK for this particular application, with retaining walls on both sides. They asked that I observe other code-mandated stair specs, which I did. The project has garnered many positive responses.

Mel Fros

Mel, The rail certainly (post #215099, reply #8 of 10)


The rail certainly fits the house and looks nice. However, will the City of Urbana be standing by you in court when your  client or the milkman  sues you in a slip and fall lawsuit because you didn't install an approved rail? 

Since you brought up the steps I have a question there as well. The top step/porch is a little obscured by a shadow but looks to me like the rise is as much as 2 inches less than the other steps. It really looks like you either added the stair caps later or forgot to include them in your calculations. Is that the case?

Since you are posting on a website called "Fine Homebuilding" I wonder what kind of construction you think the rest of us have been doing ? I did my first brick matching job over  50 years ago when I was 19 and would imagine what you apparently  precieve to be something special is just common, everyday construction practice for the rest of us. 

Florida Licensed Building Contractor, 50 years experience in commercial remodeling, new homes, home remodeling and repairs and all types building maintenance.

in response to Florida (post #215099, reply #9 of 10)

Florida, do I sense hurt feelings? Surely you are aware that lots of homeowners and do-it-yourselfers post here. I consider this site far less "formal" than I do the magazine that sponsors it. Perhaps you see it differently.  No slight was intended. Nor was I 'bragging." The point simply is that all too often I see poorly matched brick work. Tuck pointing looks "terrible" 70% of the time. I don't wish to generalize; the main thing is to call attention to appearance...for me it matters a lot! 

You are right, the top riser is a tad (not 2") less than the 7.5" rise seen lower down. As I recall, it is 7.25". I can check.

And what shall I say in defense of rail design, in light of a lawsuit. Down the street there are similar, non-code-satisfying rails. Admittedly, they were installed epochs ago. Around here peeps are nice. I am known around town. I referee kids on the soccer pitch and run a park district program. This client has known me since forever (and I will hit 68 come July). So...all things considered...I am OK with the particular design and the retaining wall behind the rail. But your point is well taken. Normally I would go strictly by code. But here in Honest Abeville people are nice...and so am I...I think. :)

Mel Fros

Actually I think you (post #215099, reply #10 of 10)

Actually I think you overestimate the nunber of homeowners who post here. Even of those who do post questions here most don't come back to read the answers. 

I'm not slighted at all, just pointing out that you've posted a picture of a non-code railing and a non-code step and seem to be proud of it. I don't understand why you'd think it's "Fine Homebuilding." In my jurisdiction I've be tearing those stairs out and rebuilding them to meet code with the inspectore leaning over my shoulder the entire time.  I'd also say that your understanding  of your liability is a bit on the thin side. It makes no difference what the grandfathered neighbors have. As a contractor the rule is that once you touch it you own it. I can only assume that there are no personal injury lawyers in Urbana. 

Florida Licensed Building Contractor, 50 years experience in commercial remodeling, new homes, home remodeling and repairs and all types building maintenance.