When I originally started building instead of demoing, I was really looking forward to it. Building gives you a sense of progress that demo does not. After demoing you have a sense of accomplishment, but you can’t really say that things are “better” when you’re done. However, after months of construction, going back to destruction felt really good. While it’s really hard to build right, it’s hard to demo wrong.

So, what are we doing? The porch stairs are in the way of the new sliding door that we’re putting at the back of the house. I already moved the electrical, and I got the old radiators that had been sitting on the second floor porch down during the week, so taking out the stairs is the next task. They consist of two runs separated by a landing. The landing also needs to come out, and I need to make railings so that everything is safe for our son Derek.

Upper railing

Upper railing

The process went fairly quickly. I started with the upper railing, taking it off the stairs and re-purposing it to the second floor porch. Then with a bit of sledge hammering and prybarring, I took the treads and risers off, top to bottom. Then I pulled out the stringers, using my reciprocating saw to make short work of it. Next was the floor on the landing, followed by the railing, treads and risers on the lower stairs. Then I took down the structure of the landing and the stringer for the lower run. I left the stringer on the outside wall, since the porch isn’t built very well and I didn’t want to loosen anything (such as siding) by prying against the wall. I did cut the stringer back to make room for the lower railing. This one was a bit more involved, since it was an ‘L’ shape, it wasn’t braced on both sides, and the bottom didn’t rest on framing, so I had to add some reinforcement.

Lower railing

Lower railing

With that all done I started cleaning. I wound up filling two toters with the scraps. There wasn’t much that was worth saving, since it was coated in several coats of unknown paints. So far Derek and Emily have tested for low levels of lead and we want to keep it that way. I have a bit more scrap to cut down so that it will fit in the garbage, but otherwise it’s done. I started planning out the sliding door installation, so that’s the next undertaking. Back to construction!

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