Things have been moving right along here on our home remodel project. I mean 3 1/2 years is good right? I’m sure we can all agree that as DIY’ers the project is never finished. We finish one task and I have already thought up 20 more things I want to add to our home. I have been looking up upvc suppliers near me as we are hoping to install new windows and doors soon.
Last summer we finally got around to the exterior of the house and then stopped at the stacked rock project. I had so many different ideas for brick and stone exteriors that it was hard to narrow down the choices of what we wanted as our final design. This will probably be our first and last time doing a project like this so I want to make sure that it is definitely something that we want, and when it was, I couldn’t wait to get started. I ordered the rock and had it all sitting in our garage, at that time we had intended t0 hire an installer for this project. Well it sat for a year and I finally my DIY partner in crime (my husband) to do this ourselves. So, we did what we usually do…. checked out youtube to see if we could get any tips possible. There are a few you can find, and we felt we had a good idea as to how this install would go.
I’ve added a list of the materials and tools we used on this project so that you too can add this great look to your home. All of the materials were purchased at Home Depot, and you can order all of these items through the link and pick them up at your local store! Doesn’t get much easier than that right?
Let’s start with a good old before photo. This is the house before we started any construction, and even before we removed that dangerous beast of a tree.
During the addition process we had all of our exterior walkways repoured along with the porch. This was fun to live with for several weeks.
Moving forward we had planned to replace our door with the perfect craftsman with a side lite. Well… when you live in a home built in the 50’s, you learn that every single addition has to be either special ordered or custom built. We had the door picked out and ordered….. when it arrived it was the wrong door completely. We didn’t have time to wait for another special order, so it was back to square one.
I found a door similar to the one we had ordered, but it did not have a sidelite. This is where that custom building part comes into play…. We improvised and centered our new door into the opening and hoped that our vision would eventually turn out in the end. Not having the sidelite seemed like a big loss, but in the end…. I am happy with what we chose to do instead. Not to mention about a $1,500 savings.
Once the new door was installed we decided to take the plunge and get the exterior painted. We had purchased a Graco paint sprayer at the beginning of our addition project, knowing we would get our monies worth with all of the painting we had to do. And let me tell you…. you should buy one if you have any large projects coming up!!
This is where the house sat for the last year. Paint was complete, porch had new concrete and we had a new door. It wasn’t pretty, but it was functional and that is all we cared about at that point. This summer we pulled out the stone and started working on the project by getting a rough idea as to how big we wanted our column to be.
Once we decided on the size, we built a frame around the post out of 2×4’s that would become the foundation for our stacked stone.
At the same time we installed metal lath to the walls surrounding our front door.
We placed 1/2″ plywood sheeting around the column frame (not pictured) wrapped it in Tyvek as a moisture barrier and then installed the metal lath. The walls next to the door do not require moisture barrier as they are completely protected from the elements.
Cover your concrete! Mortar does not come off well. Ask me how I know!
Once the base was complete, we gave the entire thing a layer of mortar which is called a scratch coat. This dried overnight.
We installed the stone around the door one piece at a time without the scratch coat, only because the pieces are smaller and protected. You could also do a scratch coat here if you wish.
The following day (or 3 days) we installed the stone around the column. Keep in mind that you will want to be sure and use corners and flats. You can make your column to fit the stones you purchase, or you will need to use a tile saw to cut them down to size as you go. (this is what we did)
Now onto the REALLY hard part….. creating a sloped base out of 2×6 atop the stone column. When you 45 your boards and try to slope them with a bevel cut at the same time, you run into all sorts of mathematical problems. Go here and use this to figure out your settings and thank me later. 🙂 This part took us THREE hours to get it to fit just right. We used a biscuit jointer to connect the corner pieces as there wasn’t really a better way to secure them. Be sure to use a lot of Gorilla Wood Glue
You can assemble this off of the column, but be sure you only assemble three sides so that you can then wrap it around your post (if you have one).
More glue, more glue and more Gorilla Wood Glue. Be sure not to let it drip onto your stones or onto the ground.
Then grab some clamps and tighten her up. We let this sit clamped overnight, but continued on with the column.
For the foot of the upper column we used 1×6. Using a router, we created a ledge along the top side of the 1×6 to create a resting place for the column panels.
We then used a table saw to bevel the bottom of the 1×6 so that it would rest perfectly on the base. You can find a number of ideal table saw units if you don’t already own one.
We assembled this on the workbench in two pieces and then installed it on the post.
We attached these with 1 1/2″ finish nails on the ends. We placed some scrap 2×4 blocks inside to attach the box to the post. (not pictured)
This is where I may fail you. We were in cruch mode to beat the sun and I didnt snap any pictures. Thankfully you can watch a great tutorial on how to build tapered columns here on youtube. We created a similar box for the top by using 1×4 this time. You will want the column panels to come up just past your box in order for things to lay right. Above where the panels end, you will add a 1×4 base that will be completely hidden by your final 1×4 box.
That was it, we called it a night and were completely overwhelmed with joy due to how well the days project turned out.
It was already such a drastic change!
The following day we filled all of the nail holes, cracks and any imperfections with sandable wood putty. If you plan to stain your wood, be sure it is also stainable.
Once the putty was dry, the entire thing was sanded with 150 and 220 grit sandpaper using an orbital sander.
It was then time to paint this beauty of a column. We used Behr Marquee Exterior satin finish in the ultra bright white. This is our go to color for our entire house, inside and out.
Once the painting was complete we went to our local masonry supply store and purchased a sealer much like this
We were in absolute love with the finished project. It looks wet/glossy in the photos because it was just applied, but it has more of a matte finish which is what we wanted.
This whole project made our front porch feel complete.
And there you have it, a DIY stacked stone porch post. And for good measure, here are some before and after pictures:
Stay tuned for the latest updates to the front exterior of the house, we’ve been busy!