Monday, July 18, 2016

Porch Masonry Project

This is how the bricks looked when we moved into this house in 2006.
I believe there used to be a set of brick steps here that were removed, but I could find nothing in any pictures I've been able to find. This also would have been a good spot to step into a wagon, though this neighborhood was built just as cars were coming into use (1910s). So, we don't really know what the original design looked like. With the width of modern cars, however, the stairs really don't fit so we didn't restore them.

Shortly after moving in, we hired A Better Chimney to repoint the bricks and also repair this bad patch. This is how it looked when they finished.
Much better, but we still had a step that dropped about 2 feet to the driveway. It was unsafe. So, last summer, when we wanted to install a charging station for Jeff's plug-in hybrid, we decided to get it fixed. We hired A Better Chimney again, but this time it didn't go so well.

Pedro came out and tore it all apart, but then he disappeared for weeks and weeks. I had to constantly pester him to come out and make progress. It turns out he was diagnosed with cancer and wasn't really able to work on this project, but we had a large hole into our basement all winter.
Finally, sometime this spring—after much prodding— he finished installing all the bricks. 
A couple months ago I got in a fight with Pedro and he hasn't spoken to us since or come out to finish the project, so we have realized he decided to abandon the job.

The black plastic package at the base of the wall is supposedly the cement cap for the top. I guess we'll try to figure out if we can finish this. I don't particularly care for the color of the new bricks as they really don't match, but we could not easily find a better match. I am going to explore brick dye and see if we can improve the color. (I've already bought samples to test.)


  1. How do you like the hybrid? Did you get a charging station installed?

    We need to hire someone to remove the 1 layer of paint on our chimneys and then repoint the bricks. I'm not looking forward to that project at all. So much to go wrong.

    1. We really like the hybrid. Jeff has gotten maybe 5 tanks of gas since we bought it a year ago. The charging station isn't installed yet because by the time Pedro finished this, our electrician was so busy he doesn't even answer messages. I either need to find another electrician, or wait until their slow season.

      For our chimney, they basically disassembled it then rebuilt it. If they do the same for you, maybe that's when you should strip the paint off. Or maybe they could flip the bricks so the unpainted side is out..... Just a thought.

  2. You know....I thought about them rebuilding it. We have 3 chimneys and two are for fireplaces and one for the old boiler. We are removing that one so we will have extra bricks if needed. I'm happy that there is only one coat of paint on them.

    Wow 5 tanks....I'd love that but I wonder have they would perform in our cold weather.

  3. Did you notice an increase in your electric bill?

    1. I have not. Honestly, we changed so many things in the remodel it's hard to tell how much impact it had. Short term the gas may have been cheaper, but we're gambling that gas prices will go back up. We also enjoy not having to go to the gas station very often.