Finishing the Flagstone Front Stoop & Steps!

I took the following photo of John on June 1st when he dug the footing for the front porch/stoop.

Fast forward five months when the masons began work in November.

They started by placing two courses of block on top of John’s inspected footing. The block went over the rebar that you can see in the first photo.

In the above photo, you can see the original stoop inside the new block wall.The masons poured the concrete over it to create the perfect pitch so that water would not pool.

After they poured the concrete, they made it smooth as glass. 

Meanwhile, the flagstone and old brick arrived.

After the the masons built the new stoop, they started on the steps leading down to the driveway.

They dug out large roots from small trees that John had pulled out back in July 2014.

Instead of parging the exterior block, the masons installed old brick to match the house. 

They installed the flagstone on the perimeter of the stoop so that the columns could be installed the next day.

While the masons worked, John was finishing up the Hardie straight edge siding on the front of the house.

Two days before Thanksgiving, the masons finished the job, including helping John install the columns. In the spring, he’ll paint them white to match the siding.

The day before Thanksgiving, Nick returned with his grandson. The final step was scrubbing the flagstone and brick with Muriatic acid.

After five months of stepping over (and tripping over) rebar and caution tape, I almost forgot what it was like stepping onto a stoop and walking down perfectly pitched steps with risers that make it effortlessly getting to and from the front door. This was a major TREAT!  (Merci Beaucoup, RRF!!!)

Before Nick left, I said, “It looks beautiful and it’s just what we wanted.” He replied, “It looks like it was built in 1954, when the house was built.” I said, “It sure does!”

It’s new with built-in character. 

And this morning, with a couple inches of snow on the ground, John wrote out a material list to finish the barrel porch. In January, I’ll decide on a new front door, and in the spring a new garage door. 

Next: Flooring!






New Front Stoop & Steps-Flagstone & Old Brick

It was back in early June when John dug the footing 3 feet down for the new front stoop (click here). Our mason who did the foundation for the addition and who also raised the chimney was booked solid all summer and into the fall. So before it got cold, another mason was recommended.

Nick Santoleri came over in October and looked at the job. I told him I wanted a flagstone stoop and steps leading down to the driveway. I also said that I wanted “old brick” for the side of the stoop so that it matched the old brick in the original part of the house. I showed him a photo that I found online and he said he would draw a sketch (click here).

In early November, the masons showed up to start the 2-week job. Nick handed us the sketch and the work began.

We were pretty impressed with the sketch.

The masons started right away with laying the block. They were happy that John had already done the footing. In order to save a little money, John bought the block in June where it sat stacked for five months at the front stoop. 

While the masons worked on the stoop, John continued with finishing the siding to their right.

On the first day, three masons showed up to start the job, Irving, Jimmy and Angel who have worked for Nick for decades.

Remember when John bought the two HB&G Permacast columns at Home Depot in May? He discussed with Nick how to install them on the front porch after the completion of the stoop. Nick said that his masons would help John install them. It was definitely not a one-man job!

Recommended Mason: Nick Santoleri in Wayne, PA PH: (215) 850-5616

Next: Front Stoop Progress



Installing Hardie Siding on Front of Brickhouse 319

In April 2016, John installed Hardie straight edge shingle siding on the back of the house and Hardie Plank lap siding on the east side of the house. He hired a local carpenter to help him. However, in all the time that passed since then, we didn’t finish the siding on the front.

Reason: Too many other projects on a very long list, budget, etc.

Four months ago when I stopped blogging, I said to John, “We have to get the siding finished on the front before it gets cold.” The Tyvek had been exposed since the addition had been built in September 2015 and had faded.

Tip: Tyvek is a Du Pont product that can only be exposed for 4 months/120 days.

John had remaining siding left from our initial Hardie order. He had it safely stored in the back yard wrapped in tarps (since it’s cement siding, it cannot get wet). We had enough straight edge shingles (4 ft length boards) to do about half the front of the Dutch face.

We purchased a roll of Tyvek at Home Depot, John took down the faded Tyvek, replaced it with new and I took these photos afterwards.

John was correct in the amount of siding we had left. He made it half way up the Dutch face between the two windows. Because I had stopped blogging I wasn’t taking step-by-step photos of the project. I will admit I was burned out and overwhelmed; I signed up for a weekly drawing class during my blogging hiatus which turned out to be a great way to relieve stress. I highly recommend it for any of you who like to draw or want to learn to draw.

When John ran out of straight edge siding, he measured the remaining front, and ordered an almost exact amount from Home Depot. It took two weeks for it to be delivered directly from Hardie’s headquarters in California.

In early November, he finished the siding. I took one or two photos when he was just about finished with it which I will publish soon. Siding the front coincided with a big project that was going on at the same time in front of the house…my next blog post will cover it.

A tip about purchasing Hardie Siding: We saved well over a thousand dollars by purchasing it at Home Depot. We got two other bids from local building supply companies that were much higher in price, one was outrageously higher.

If you’re renovating or doing a remodeling project, remember to sign up for a Pro Account at Home Depot for additional discounts based on how much you have purchased or ordered at the store. Each Home Depot has a Pro Desk. You don’t need to be a contractor to sign up. is Back!

Merry Christmas Everybody!

Well, after a four-month hiatus from blogging I decided a couple days ago to resume my Brickhouse319 blog. On Christmas Day I replaced the header photo with the front Dutch face where you can see a small tree in each window, I made the blog public again and started writing this blog post.

What a coincidence it happens to be four months to the day of my last post. When I stopped blogging, I made the blog private and had not accessed it until today. I really did go cold turkey with blogging and I just fell off the wagon and started it all up again 🙂 (Blogging can be addictive!)

Needless to say, the last four months flew by.

In a nutshell, I stopped blogging for several reasons. But, recently, I began to miss my blog especially after we got a couple of big projects finished; I kept thinking of my loyal followers and the comments that they would have written (as well as suggestions).

So I’ll pick up where I left off last summer and fill all of you in on the completed projects and the project we’re working on now. I hope most of you are still around!

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Susan & John