Self builders/ DIYers/ Tinkerists

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  • Self builders/ DIYers/ Tinkerists
  • kevj

    I am looking to build a open walled porch at the front of my house and wouldn’t mind drawing on others experiences.

    (Courtesy of I A Oakes).

    I want a large, chunky oak frame and traditional roof tile roof similar to the image above. The only difference is I am going to build a small retaining wall along the width of the house and the timbers will run into this. This means the open pathway will be left to right (And in the front door) rather than front to back as in the picture.

    What is oak like to work with? Am I better off using traditional connections or cheat and have a steel frame made (I work for a steel fabricator) and clad with oak?

    I want to do maybe 80% of the work myself and employ a good roofer to lay the tiles and tie the flashing into the brickwork.


    Interesting construction of the one pictured. Normal best practise would be for the (vertical) posts to sit on top of the (horizontal) Cill plates.

    Anyhow, use green oak (or fresh sawn) and it’s easy to cut and work, just a bit heavy. This means you can then utilise draw-bore mortice and tenon joints that will increase it’s structural integrity. The knack will be (and always is) to lay up each frame section perfectly level, so you don’t build in any twist and/or wind and it will sit nice and level.

    You could use steel, especially if you’re a fabricator, although I’ve yet to see a really nicely ageing steel/oak clad structure. Generally because the carpenter’s do not understand the nature of wood and how it can behave as it seasons. If you do go down the clad route, ensure that the oak boards are at least 3/4″ thick and are rift / quarter sawn, they will be more stable as they season. If some boards are not quite rift/quarter, then always fit them with the face closest to the heart of the tree facing out. They will then tend to cup in, rather than curling outwards and potentially splitting away from the fastenings.

    Talking of fastenings, stainless steel and other non-ferrous are your friends.

    I’ve done loads of porches, here’s a few:


    Nice….I love green oak! Ive got a chunky green oak porch and carport.

    One day I will build my own oak framed house.

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