By Dave and Mary

Our Podcasts About Porch Construction

Table of Contents

In this section, we offer our transcripts and highlights of our former podcasts. We hope you find these helpful, fun and informative!

Podcast 3: How to Extend a Small Porch or Portico with Dave and Mary Morris (that's us)

Podcast 19: Tips for Staining a Concrete Floor with David Goddard of Goddard Designs

Podcast 20: Transform Your Wood Porch Floor into Stone with Bart Stuchell of Silca Systems ®

Podcast 21: Metal Roofs Have Come a Long Way with Bill Hippard of the Metal Roofing Alliance

Podcast 23: Creative Uses for Decorative Lattice Panels with Marc McAvoy of Acurio Latticeworks

Podcast 24: Outdoor Fireplace and Kitchen Ideas with Zach Watson of Embers Grill and Fireplace Store

Podcast 26: Choosing Paint or Stain for Your Porch Floor with Guest Experts from Behr

Podcast 31: Consider Glass or Cable Railings for an Unobsructed View with Kevin Harris of AGS Stainless

Podcast 35: Foundation Cracking Issues for Porches with Moises Cruz of A-1 Engineering

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Podcast 3: How to Extend a Small Porch or Portico

With Dave and Mary Morris of Front Porch Ideas and More

Porch Ideas Network Podcast Logo Dave and I are bring you tips to expand your existing small porch or portico and we help you overcome challenges that might be getting in your way.

You might be surprised at some of the ways you can extend your outdoor living space.

Show Notes: How to Extend a Small Porch or Portico

Listen to our Podcast about extending your small porch or portico. Mary and Dave host the show and give several helpful options and ideas to you.

Reasons that May Prevent Your from Having a Porch

  • Architecture - specifically adjoining roofs or low sloping roofs (codes/window placement)
  • Placement of 2nd story windows
  • Code or HOA rules
  • Cost

What Options Do Homeowners Have

More than you might think, even if you are faced with any of the restrictions just described.
  • Build a new porch like our son and daughter-in-love did. You must consider such things as cost, space, roof pitch, window placement of 2nd story windows. You probably will need professional guidance.
  • Add to your existing porch like our friends, Jami and Brian did. They converted their garage to living space and then extended their existing porch to go across their new addition as well. We always recommend you getting professional advice.

Options When Space, Cost or Codes are an Issue

Add a patio porch which can be less expensive than other options. You can make it as elaborate or as simple as you like. It can be a DIY project.

A great example of a patio extension to an existing porch

Considerations When Constructing a Patio-Style Porch

  • Location: find a suitable area for the patio porch. n front or to the side or your existing porch.
  • You may have to relocate landscaping. You may need to remove large shrubs.
  • Relatively flat areas works best. f you have a slope, you may need a retaining wall
  • Determine the size of area you need or want. Will it be just for relaxing? What kind of furniture would you like to have there? Will it be for one or two people or more?
  • Determine your true purpose. Are you simply wanting to add curb appeal to your home or do you want functionality? Or both?
  • Determine how you will access your new patio area. Would you use steps from your existing porch or portico? Will you need a new walkway?
  • Do you want your patio area to be covered or uncovered? If uncovered, this may fall in the category of a DIY project if you have some carpentry skills. If you plan a pergola-style roof or want to extend your home's roof, we suggest hiring a professional to assist you with that.
  • What materials would you like to use? pavers, cement pad, brick, stone, ground cover for a natural look, combination?

How Hard Is It to Construct a Patio Porch

It is a great DIY project with the exception of the roof (pergola or attached). You will need basic tools and to layout your area.

  • Remove the landscape/grass. Depending on the material you may need to dig down 3-4 inches for sand base
  • Build stand alone pergola roof or attach to house
  • Roof extension probably requires an expert

A fine example of adding a patio to extend your porch
A great example of one way to extend your small porch for more outdoor living

How to Create a Sense of Privacy

  • Best way is through landscape
  • Hardscape ideas
  • Create a sense of intrigue - what is behind that?

A wonderful example of a patio porch that is covered with a pergola style roof

What Kind of Furniture?

Same as you would place on your porch: Bistro table chairs, outdoor lamps, porch swing / glider, hanging baskets and amenities

To summarize, there are numerous ways you can extend your porch space to enjoy your outdoor time even more and add charming appeal to your home.

Have You Seen Our Porch Illustrator?

A basic ranch home with a small porch / portico
This is a basic ranch with a small portico / stoop

How a patio can extend your small porch
Take a look at one way the outdoor living space could be expanded.
Visit our Porch Illustrator to see how a basic ranch home or a two story home can look with different styles and sizes of porches.

Just by clicking through our simple slide show, you can see how the house can be transformed right before your eyes. We hope it inspires ideas for your porch.

For the Details, Listen to Our Podcast: 00:18:20

Mary and Dave, founders of Front Porch Ideas and More Dave and I hope you will listen as that will allow us to keep bringing you more programs from experts in the porch industry. Thank you!

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Podcast 19: Tips for Staining a Concrete Floor

With David Goddard of Goddard Designs

Porch Ideas Network Podcast Logo goddard design logo Before staining your porch's concrete floor, walkways, or your driveway, listen to David Goddard of Goddard Designs as he explains your options and offers tips to make sure your project turns out well.

Our conversation reveals some interesting facts you may not have previously considered.

For example, knowing the calcium and fly ash content of your concrete can prevent your project from becoming a disaster.

David explains the difference between concrete staining and concrete stamping along with helping you select the right color for your porch, concrete pads, and even indoor concrete applications. David answers lots of questions you may have about staining your porch floor and whether it's the right for you and your lifestyle.

We welcome David to our front porch to share his professional concrete staining tips and ideas!

Program Highlights: Tips for Staining a Concrete Floor

Podcast: Wonderful discussion with David Goddard about staining concrete. As a professional, he educates us on the concrete staining and stamping process. A great program to listen to for ideas on staining your porch floor, driveway or patio.

  • Can you stain broomed concrete?
  • What's the difference and cost between stained and stamped concrete?
  • Can you stamp concrete after it is cured?
  • How important is sealing concrete stain?
  • Does concrete staining make your porch or walkways slippery?
  • Can I use salt or snow shovels on my stained concrete porch or driveway?
  • How can I choose the right color of stain for my concrete?
  • How permanent is stained concrete? Can I change the color?

Excerpts with David Goddard

stained concrete front porch by Goddard Designs
Beautifully stained front porch by Goddard Designs

Stain Colors

"I found over the years that clients tend to favor warm earth tone colors.

There is a stain called cola which looks like Coca Cola® if you are to pour it in a glass and then hold it up to the sun and there are some different mild reds like English red that are pretty popular also."

Stamping Concrete

"Essentially stamping is a very time intensive technique. And what I mean by that is you have to plan what it is you are doing with the concrete down to the last minute.

So you have a small window where you can allow the concrete to get hard enough to where you can sit on it and it is supporting your weight while you're putting the pattern on it."

On Slickness

"When you put the sealer on your are sealing all of those grooves and tiny holes and pores so depending on how much sealer is applied you can potentially eliminate some of the traction that the concrete inherently has. "

Scratching the Surface

"You want to take care of your new patio; you don't want to scratch it, just like you wouldn't like to scratch your blue ray disc.

When it comes to patio furniture especially, wrought iron, you want to avoid dragging those from out underneath the table. So the responsibility and maintenance goes up when you have freshly stained concrete."

stained concrete front porch by Goddard Designs
Beautifully stained front porch by Goddard Designs

aesthetically pleasing stained concrete driveway
Striking stained driveway, walkway, and front porch by Goddard Designs

stained concrete patio by Goddard Designs
Expertly stained concrete patio by Goddard Designs

You can reach David by emailing to:

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Podcast 20: Transform Your Wood Porch Floor into Stone

With Bart Stuchell of Silca Systems ®

Porch Ideas Network Podcast Logo silca system logo Mary and I have discovered a fantastic wood deck design idea that can transform an ordinary deck or porch into a spectacular outdoor living space.

We asked Bart Stuchell, President of Silca System ®, to share how his Silca grate system easily converts traditional wood decking materials to stone, pavers, brick, travertine stone, granite, or other similar material.

You can easily install the grates on your existing deck or porch structure. Easy to use, it can be a perfect DIY project.

The honeycomb grates fit between standard spaced joists to create a flat surface upon which to lay your selected flooring material. Now, almost any elevated deck or porch, dock, or balcony can look amazing.

Made from recycled plastic polymer, the grates will last a long time and so will your porch! Join us as we learn more about this transforming wood deck design idea with Bart.

Program Highlights: Wood Deck Design Ideas

Home with patio and upper deck using Silca System grates
Extend your patio material to your deck
  • Discover the types of materials you can now use as deck flooring.
  • Guess what you can do with your old granite counter top!
  • Find out just how easy it is to install.
  • Transform your porch or decks steps too!
  • Find out why this is perfect for elevated decks, porches, docks, and so much more.
  • Extend your stone walkway and steps up onto your porch easily.
  • Learn other creative ways to use this grate system.

Excerpts with Bart Stuchell

Silca System Purpose

"...Silca® System is basically a subfloor that is screwed on top of your floor joists (or between joists) that gives you the ability to put natural stone, bricks, and pavers on a deck or any elevated surface like a deck, porch, dock, balcony, or gazebo."

How It Works

"...if you have a deck that you are tired of staining, painting, and doing all of the maintenance work, and high pressure washing and stuff, but your substructure is in good shape, you can simply pull off your composite lumber boards, and if you have the right threshold height, you simply screw the Silca® grates right to the top of your boards, and then whatever stone you want. "

Deck Weight Issue:

"Whenever you look at the load spread out over a large area, technically by building codes, there's not any additional structural requirements that we are aware of; however, we always recommend that your footings are six foot on center which gives you more than enough structural strength to carry the additional weight."

Ease of Installation:

"With our excellent website and step-by-step how-to, and YouTube videos, we can walk you through the process and you can call us and we will be glad to answer any of your questions."

An Innovative Wood Deck Design Idea

home with patio and upper deck using silca® system grates
Extend your patio material to your deck

upper deck using silca® system grates
Deck using Silca® System Grates

porch showing travertine stone being laid on silca® system grates
Beautiful Stone on Silca® System grates

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Podcast 21: Metal Roofs Have Come a Long Way

With Bill Hippard of the Metal Roofing Alliance

Porch Ideas Network Podcast Logo Bill Hippard of Metal Roofing Alliance Metal roofing materials have never been more alluring. Mary and I love the look of a metal roof over a front porch. Not only are they aesthetically pleasing to the eye, but also extremely durable while adding value to your home.

Whether building a new home or remodeling an existing one, our guest Bill Hippard, President of the Metal Roofing Alliance, explains the myriad of options available along with dispelling old myths.

It is difficult to travel anywhere in the U.S. without seeing homes with metal roofs.

Homeowners know that metal roofing materials outlast conventional roofs, comes in a variety of colors and styles, and are very cost effective for the life of the roof.

Mary and I are excited to share Bill's knowledge and benefits of installing a metal roof.

Podcast Highlights

combination vertical panel and metal shake roof courtesy of the metal roofing alliance
Combine different metal roofing materials for an awesome look
Bill shares
  • How metal roofs can actually be less expensive than traditional roofs?
  • Whether a metal roof decrease your insurance costs?
  • Discover an app to show metal roofing material styles and colors.
  • Are metal roofs recyclable?
  • Can hail damage a metal roof?
  • Can metal roofs be as quiet as asphalt shingles?
  • Find out just how long a metal roof can last
  • Are metal roofs energy efficient?

Program Excerpts: Metal Roof Materials with Bill Hippard

Metal Roof Appeal

"But in the last few years there have been a number of manufactures take that same metal and stamp products out of it that look like clay tile, cedar shakes, or slate.

It is virtually impossible from your yard to tell whether you have a cedar shake roof or if it is a metal roof that looks like a cedar shake roof.

And the colors you can get are unlimited. I mean there are hundreds of hundreds of colors available."

Metal Roof Longevity

"Metal roofs have been on homes for hundreds of years already in the United States. If you go over to Europe, they've been on for centuries.

So a metal roof, especially with the technology today with zinc and aluminum coatings that can go on it, or if it is aluminum and the paint system that can go on it, your roof can last a lifetime.

As a matter of fact there are a couple of manufacturers that offer lifetime warranties."


"We have some pretty dramatic photos where a whole neighborhood has been devastated by a wild fire except for two or three homes in the neighborhood that have metal roofs because houses catch on fire from the roof down.

And when embers land on metal roof they just sit there and burn out, so you don't have that issue. Metal roofs are rated in Dade county for high winds because of hurricanes in Florida."

Metal Roof Noise - or Lack Thereof

"If you are in a home with a metal roof on it,the rain won't sound any different than it would with an asphalt shingle roof.

It is because the metal roof is on a very heavy duty underlayment that is on a plywood deck plus all of the insulation in your attic. You put a metal roof on you really won't hear any sound difference."

Metal Roofs and Lighting

"If lightening does strike your home a metal roof actually helps because it diffuses all that energy across the whole surface of the home and then down through the gutters. Better than going into one area like your chimney.

So it doesn't attract lightening at all. And there has been a lot of scientific tests that have proven that. People worry about that but it is a fallacy. It is a myth.

Metal Roofing Materials Made Beautiful

metal tile roof courtesy of the metal roofing alliance
Exquisite metal tiled roof
metal shake roof courtesy of metal roofing alliance
Fanciful metal roof shakes

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Podcast 23: Creative Uses for Decorative Lattice Panels

With Marc McAvoy of Acurio Latticeworks

Porch Ideas Network Podcast Logo acurio latticeworks logo Vinyl lattice porch skirting not only lasts a really long time but also can be custom made to enhance the look of your porch or deck.

Our guest, Marc McAvoy, CEO of Acurio Latticeworks, explains the benefits of using high-quality vinyl lattice panels to create curb appeal and extend the life of your skirting.

Podcast Highlights - Vinyl Lattice Porch Skirting

palm pattern on vinyl lattice porch skirting by acurio lattice works
White lattice porch skirting with palm tree pattern

What You Learn in Our Podcast

  • Find out the added benefits of high-quality PVC lattice porch skirting.
  • Discover what colors work best for outdoor use.
  • Find out how to use lattice panels for privacy or as decorative window treatments.
  • Create an amazing vinyl lattice fence design like no other.
  • Discover commercial applications for vinyl lattice
  • Learn the most favorite colors and designs for lattice porch skirting.
  • Discover how you can create custom vinyl panels.

Program Excerpts with Marc McAvoy

Audio Program: Using Custom Vinyl Lattice Panels for Your Porch, Deck and Interior Applications, too
Black vinyl lattice porch skirting

Why Vinyl Lattice

"If you put up wood lattice, we all know what happens, it is going to fall apart and look terrible. Vinyl, on the other hand, does not fall apart, so that is one of main reasons to choose vinyl over the traditional wood lattice. If you want more durability, longer lifespan of the vinyl lattice to put on your house, go with our lattice."

Vinyl Lattice Longevity

"Commodity lattice (like what is available at the home supply stores) is made out of cheap polyethylene, polypropylene, same thing as milk jugs and milk jugs are cheap. Commodity lattice is made out of cheap material and will warp, will bow, and will not last that long. But if you want to make an investment in your home and you want something that's going to last, without having to replace it every few years, then choose a quality lattice."

Black Lattice

"One of things you can do with our product is use black because it is a high grade PVC. And it goes well with traditional wood applications where you have wood porch, wood fences; black contrasts with wood and matches wood, like a brown wood, really well. It's a good complement to the wood and that's another advantage."

Lattice Color Options

"Obviously white and black are the most popular colors, but we also have a beige, a grey and a light grey; those are the most colors we use for outside. We also have blue, yellow, red, and green which you really don't want to those outside because there are fading issues with those colors and even with the grey and beige may have fading over time. But those colors are great for inside."

Porch Skirting

"What do you do with the underside of your porch; most people do nothing and want to conceal it. You can use brick but that is expensive and that's kind of the genesis of lattice. It covers a lot of square feet, it's attractive, you can cover up the space and still have good air flow going under that area."

tree of life pattern on vinyl lattice fence by acurio lattice works
Tree of life pattern on custom vinyl lattice fence panels

dove pattern on vinyl lattice privacy panel on deck
Dove pattern on privacy lattice panel

Navy submarine pattern on vinyl porch skirting
Porch skirting with the Navy Submarine emblem pattern

white vinyl lattice window covering in bedroom
Vinyl lattice window covering

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Podcast 24: Outdoor Fireplace and Kitchen Ideas

With Zach Watson of Embers Grill and Fireplace Store

Porch Ideas Network Podcast Logo embers fireplace and grill store logo Adding an outdoor fireplace to your porch or screen porch not only adds value but also immense comfort on those cool autumn evenings or frosty winter nights.

Zach Wilson, owner of Embers Grill and Fireplace Store in middle Tennessee, divulges interesting outdoor fireplace installation ideas Mary and I know you'll want to hear.

To get the most from your outdoor fireplace, you will want to make sure it is located in the right place, has the necessary foundation, in addition to learning about the different fireplace models available.

Zach's family has been in business for over 40 years specializing in outdoor living. Zach focus in on fireplaces, outdoor kitchens and everything that pertains to your outdoor living spaces and the way they can enhance that area.

Podcast Highlights

On this audio program, our guest, Zach Watson, gives you tips for installing an outdoor fireplace or outdoor kitchen on your porch or deck.
An outdoor fireplace radiates warmth and appeal
Zach Wilson discusses:
  • What's more popular - gas or wood outdoor fireplaces
  • Like real estate, it's all about location, location, location.
  • Learn an interesting consideration for installing a gas outdoor fireplace
  • Learn about a neat alternative to the traditional outdoor fireplace
  • Discover the relative cost of an outdoor fireplace
  • Learn about layout designs for your outdoor kitchen
  • Get ideas for outdoor appliances

Program Excerpts: Outdoor Fireplace Installation and Outdoor Living Ideas

On this audio program, our guest, Zach Watson, gives you tips for installing an outdoor fireplace or outdoor kitchen on your porch or deck.
Photo courtesy of The Porch Company
Excerpts from our discussion with Zach Watson:


"Everybody is different as far as fireplaces and what they really want and one thing we really try to do is try see what the customer is wanting on their porch.

Some people love wood; they love the smell of a wood burning fire and just really want to create that atmosphere."


"It is not the weight that people use to deal with years ago where they are building full masonry fireplaces that go all the way up to the roof.

It's a pre-fab box, so most of your weight is really coming from your finished material that goes outside of that fireplace, whether it be brick or stone or whatever you decide to put on the outside."

Innovative Fireplace Idea

"We have a fireplace that is made for indoor-outdoor application - a see through fireplace. So one side goes inside the home and the living room and the other side would be outside on your porch and this is a really neat application that we've done a lot so people can enjoy the fireplace on both sides.

It's going to be a sealed application and that seals absolutely with glass and that is going to keep bugs from coming in, it's going to keep cold air from coming inside the house and at the same time you still can enjoy your fire on both sides."

Outdoor Kitchen Considerations

"We also want to think about ventilation. We don't want to have this great porch that is going to fill up with smoke when you cook. So we do a lot of outdoor hoods on screen and porches.

These hoods are really designed to go up against the wall. It is not designed to build in an island application, you want to be able to block that wind and that is going to help pull that smoke up."

Outdoor Fireplace Installation Ideas

beautiful outdoor fireplace installation idea from Embers Fireplace and Grill Store
Cozy up on a cool evening

outdoor fireplace on porch by Embers Fireplace and Grill Store
Great place onto which to hang your entertainment system and relax with family

outdoor kitchen by Embers Fireplace and Grill Store
Beautiful outdoor kitchen by Embers Fireplace and Grill Store

Outdoor kitchen on porch by Embers Fireplace and Grill Store. This beautiful porch is from The Porch Company
Beautiful porch by The Porch Company with outdoor kitchen by Embers

Outdoor kitchen on porch by Embers Fireplace and Grill Store. Porch is from The Porch Company
This outdoor kitchen, installed by Embers Fireplace and Grill Store, is an essential component of this porch (by The Porch Company)

Close-up of the outdoor kitchen by Embers Fireplace and Grill Store.
Close-up of the outdoor kitchen

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Podcast 26: Choosing Paint or Stain for Your Porch Floor

With Guest Experts from Behr

Porch Ideas Network Podcast Logo behr paints logo Need some exterior paint and stain ideas for your porch or deck this year? You've landed in a good place.

Our special guest, Rick Bautista, a product manager at Behr, walks us through the options for selecting the right exterior paints and stains for an amazing porch or deck floor. Whether your porch floor is wood or concrete, Rick shares some helpful ideas to make your project go smoothly.

Mary and I realize you can be overwhelmed with so many paint and stain choices on the market.

Besides choosing the right products, you also need to understand the differences between transparent, semi-transparent, and solid finishes - and in which scenarios to use them.

So we are pleased that the professionals at Behr, including Rick Bautista, Eric Lundquist and Duberney Ospina, joined our podcast to help us sort through the many wonderful options they offer.

Podcast Highlights

deck painted with deck over behr pant
Deck painted with Behr Deckover paint
We are most appreciative for the opportunity to speak with the experts at Behr for great tips on staining and painting your exterior floor.
  • Discover the two most important factors to consider for achieving a beautiful porch floor.
  • Discover when to use either transparent, semi-transparent, or solid paint products.
  • Get some great tips for selecting the right color and know that some of them are right at the store!
  • Discover how you can restore old porch floors or decks to make then look new again.
  • Discover how to paint or stain concrete so that it stays looking great.
  • Learn the differences between dying and staining and which one is safe for driveways.
  • Learn where you can find Behr products.

Program Excerpts: Exterior Paint and Stain Ideas

Product Types

"We have wood stain products with different opacities meaning how see through the coating, everything from transparent wood finishes which are typically used for newer decks and porches and wood that is in good condition that you still want to see the wood grain.

Then you move up to semi-transparent wood stains that give a little bit more color but you still see the wood grain coming through."

New Product

"We have a new product called Behr Premium Deckover, a solid colored cover that we are considering this as a re-surfacer, that can be used on wood or concrete surfaces and what it is designed to do is give your weathered deck a brand new look with a solid color that fills in the cracks."

Preparation Is Key

"You know how important the preparation step is before putting your coating down, making sure it is in sound condition, removing any rotting boards or unstable boards, you need to replace them and make sure the surface is clean of any mildew and dirt."

Concrete Porch Flooring

"If it's a concrete front porch and it is old, say having been around 30 years, then it has a lot more character to it. Now you have choices again. Do you just want to put down a solid opaque coating, typical porch floor paint to cover up all the blemishes or do you want some of that character to show through.

Then you have choices such as concrete dyes and stains."

Thanks to Our Guests

We especially appreciate the opportunity to speak with these fine representatives at Behr:

- Eric Lundquist, Director of Consumer Marketing, Stain and Specialty Products

- Rick Bautista, Product Manager, Consumer Marketing, Exterior Wood Care

- Duberney Ospina, Senior Channel Manager, Exterior Wood Products, Behr Process Corporation

Want to Learn More About the Behr Products?

Visit the Behr website.

Exterior Stain and Paint Ideas for Porches, Decks, and Patios

Beautiful deck painted with Behr's Deckover paint
Great example of using Behr's Deckover Paint

deck being coated with Behr deckover paint
Painted deck using Behr's Deckover paint gives this deck a brand new look and finish

solid color being applied to concrete walkway
Applying Behr's solid color to a concrete walkway

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Podcast 31: Consider Glass or Cable Railings for an Unobsructed View

With Kevin Harris of AGS Stainless

Porch Ideas Network Podcast Logo ags stainless logo Glass and stainless steel cable railings offer solutions no other railings can match.

Steel cable railings give you clean lines that are almost invisible, give you an interrupted view, are very low maintenance, and can withstand harsh environments.

Glass railings offer beauty, can protect you from the wind, and also offer a virtually transparent view.

Mary and I have learned from our friend Kevin Harris at AGS Stainless, the benefits, options, and ease of installation these innovative railings offer. Whether you use them on your porch, deck, or interior of your home, we know you will enjoy learning just how versatile these railings are and how they can add immense aesthetic value to your home.

Podcast Highlights: Glass and Stainless Steel Cable Railings

ordinary wood deck railings
Before - traditional wood deck railings

stainless steel cable railings by ags stainless
After - steel cable railings
We warmly welcome Kevin Harris, Director of Sales and Marketing, at AGS Stainless. AGS Stainless builds custom-made, all-stainless steel railing systems.

Many thanks to Kevin for speaking to us about these wonderful railing options.

On the podcast, Kevin shares...
  • Why stainless steel is superior to aluminum when it comes to porch and deck railings
  • The pros and cons of glass railings and when they are better suited than cable railings
  • Railing options to consider when it comes to pets or small children
  • The ease of installation for the homeowner or the builder
  • A story (true one) about how to keep puppies safe from alligators

Program Excerpts: Glass and Stainless Steel Cable Railings

Kevin discusses the following on our podcast...

Code Compliance

"One of the things we offer is a number of different infill options. We have glass infill, bar infill, and special panels for building officials who are not comfortable with cable railing.

There are a lot of different options so any homeowner can get a full stainless steel railing system using one infill or another".


"When you put stainless steel out on your deck or porch everyone who drives by your home notices it. Your neighbors will come up and will ask where did you get these railings."

DIY Ready Rail System

"And with Ready Rail you order today, we ship it out the very next day.

So what you are able to do as either the homeowner or the builder, instead of waiting for 12 weeks for a custom-made stainless steel railing system, you can order the Ready Rail product and basically be installing it within a few days.

It's a huge game changer in the railing industry".

Combining Cable and Glass Panels

"So although you don't want to be cleaning glass all the time, you'll primarily want to use cable to minimize the obstruction of your view, you might also want to have glass infill on the side with prevailing winds".

Glass and Stainless Steel Cable Railing Ideas

stainless steel railing kit by ags stainless installed on deck
Create an unobstructed view with steel cable railing
Kevin states, "You can have cable, glass, horizontal bars or even special infills.

For example, if your outdoor space is on top of a building rooftop and you don't want to have people in the next building looking over into your area, you can have inserts that have color and texture to obscure the view.

glass panel inserts and railings system by ags stainless for deck
Use glass panels to block the wind
Kevin explains that one of the reasons why cable rail has become so popular is because it has very minimal obstruction of your view.

Be sure to visit our Stainless Steel Cable Railing's page for more ideas.

So typically when you're kind of putting together designing your outside living spaces, you don't want to be struggling to look through the traditional wood pickets or big solid wrought iron bars.

Typically, you're trying to open up the space so that you can look out from your porch, deck or patio and just really enjoy the surrounding area. There are a couple of options if you really want to minimize obstruction.

Glass offers very little obstruction of your view but the down side is that you have to keep it clean. Cable offers very little obstruction but with a lot less maintenance. Stainless steel cable is very thin and it almost disappears.

That's one of the reasons it has become so popular for exterior spaces.

interior stainless steel cable system by ags stainless
Use for a multitude of interior uses also

Thanks to Our Guest

With sincere thanks again to our guest, Kevin Harris, of AGS Stainless for taking the time to share his expertise and passion for stainless steel cable railings and glass panels.

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Podcast 35: Foundation Cracking Issues for Porches

With Moises Cruz of A-1 Engineering

Porch Ideas Network Podcast Logo moises-cruz-a1-engineering Foundation cracking issues: "It's probably not your foundation's fault that it cracked," says our guest.

Whether its your porch or home's foundation, cracks and other issues are normally the result of external factors.

Mary and I had the pleasure of interviewing Moises Cruz, Principal Structural Engineer and Army Reserve Officer, with A-1 Engineering. Moises has a wealth of information that can help the average homeowner understand why foundations crack and what can be done to rectify the issue.

A home that cracks in the wall or foundation does not necessarily mean failure. The cracks are an indicator that something is moving. Moises elaborates in our podcast.

In podcast 35, our guest Moises Cruz speaks about the reasons for foundations to crack and when to call a structural engineer
Some of the key topics of our discussion with Moises Cruz

Podcast Highlights: Foundation Cracking Issues

front porch falling off home
Photo courtesy of USGS
Front porch failure
Topics Moises discusses on our podcast:
  • A crack in the concrete is not the same as the concrete breaking. A crack does not necessarily mean failure but it does imply that something is moving.
  • Structural engineers look at two things: what might be causing that movement and what other effects the house may be going through because of that movement.
  • When the soil fluctuates between being overly wet and overly dry, that causes volume changes in the soil and that's what causes the foundation to move.
  • Just because it's a porch and not a house does not mean it should be constructed with any less care than a house.
  • As a homeowner you want to be aware of where all the cracks are because those are your indicators. Those are the red lights that tell you that something is happening and a reason to get a structural assessment to determine why that crack might be there.
  • If you decide to enclose an open porch you need to get your local building officials involved to see what their structural requirements area.
  • A savvy creative engineer would try to find ways to modify or add to your existing foundation so that you don't have to start over.

Program Excerpts: Foundation Cracking Issues

Minimize Volume Changes

"A structural engineer who is familiar with your area can help to give advice on minimizing the volume changes in your soil and that is the key to a successful performing foundation."

Wet Soil

"Conversely in an area that is more wet than dry, for example Seattle, then it might be advisable to keep the area around the house more wet than dry."


"A structural engineer cares about how much the load is, not whether it's built from concrete or steel - it's about how much needs to be carried."


"Mud-jacking also can work but it can be more destructive to the concrete because of how it has to be inserted through hoses."

Soil Stabilization Goo

Although unpredictable, a material referred to as "snake oil" (also referred to as a soil stabilization goo) tricks the soil to think that it is in a swollen state so that the foundation moves.

A Word or Two About Press Pile or Push Pile Solutions

This system is relatively inexpensive as compared to other options and possibly the most used for home foundations; however, it is not without issues. The potential for future movement is very high meaning that your foundation may eventually move again.

Many structural engineers will tell you that press or push pile solutions may be temporary at best.

press piles installed under foundation
Press piles installed

press piles installed under foundation with foundation cracking
Cracked foundation with press piles installed

Caution! Before contemplating using concrete press piles or concrete piers, we recommend you investigate the precautions you need to take regarding these foundation stabilization systems.

Protect Yourself

Suggestions from Moises to Achieve Long Lasting Foundation Repair

  • Call a structural engineer before you call a contractor. Structural engineers are the only people who have the qualifications for diagnosing and recommending proper repairs for foundations. They can tell you if your foundation is safe; cracks do not necessarily mean your foundation is failing.

  • Check credentials. Not all engineers are structural engineers so be careful when a contractor says they have a structural engineer on staff.

  • Choose the right contractor. Avoid selecting a contractor based on lowest bid; you almost always get what you pay for.

About A-1 Engineering

moises-cruz-a1-engineering moises-cruz-a1-engineering A-1 Engineering was established to not only educate the public and homeowners regarding issues surrounding both residential and commercail foundations, but also to provide customers non-biased and objective consulting services for their everyday projects.

To that end, A-1 Engineering provides a myriad of reference materials to educate homeowners to enable them to competently address foundation cracking issues and repair options.

With offices in both San Antonio and Austin, Texas, A-1 Engineering provides direct consulation in those geographical areas and is most willing to give advice to others outside those areas as well.

We are most appreciative to Moises Cruz for sharing his expertise. What he shared is helpful to us homeowners to better understand the real meaning behind foundations cracking.

You can call A-1 Engineering at (210) 591-8829.

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