Books on designing & (re) building porches for old homes

I need to completely rebuild the (covered) front porch for our 1870's Italianate clapboard house.
I am looking for 1 or more books for the following two purposes:
1. Basic construction plans, tips & techniques for constructing the bones of the porch. This should not be too style dependent. I am looking mostly for general rules & codes for choosing the spacing and size/span of the various beams, joists, posts, and footings. Also, best practice suggestions on how to attach & flash the ledger, etc. I need to first draw up a plan that will pass muster with my local building department.
2. Design ideas for the railings, roof support posts, and trim that would be consistent with Victorians in general and with the Italianate style in particular. For this I am focused on style suggestions more than construction details
Any recommendations would be much appreciated! Thanks
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Books, old home design, with porches.... maybe not so much Italian, but nice. Don't know if there are any specific drawings within these search results.
http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1T4GGIE_enUS397US398&q=A+Hayes+Town
Sonny
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I don't know much about American Architecture so I can't answer your query. I do know something about old buildings so I will comment on the general procedure.
First thing is conservation. It's too easy to say replace and rebuild. If the building is old or rare it needs to be preserved in detail and that means not knocking bits down and replacing them. It's never the same. The old stuff will be lost forever. So the first thing is to look carefully at repair, renovation, mending and strengthening what is there. If you really need to make bits new they should be as carefully copied from the old as you can do. You should avoid at all costs any imaginitive re-creation of what you think 1870s carpentry was like. You will always be wrong.
If the porch or parts of it are actually missing and lost then you have no choice but to try to recreate it. Again you should avoid all impulse to be imaginitive or creative in any way. The key is to research and find patterns and similar structures (as you are doing) hopefully close by and local but most definitely strictly period. That means well within ten years of the date of your house. Then copy.
Good luck
Tim W
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Find out from your local building department what code they've adopted. Most likely it's the IRC or a slightly modified IRC. Your local code and/or state code will have the design load information you will need to size any structural elements. If that proves problematic, your local building department should be able to tell you the design loads. The Canadian Wood Council web site has a span calculator, the rafter calculator will be fine, but I'm not sure if it has 'porch' as one of the categories for floor loads. Your local library will have Fine Homebuilding and other books by Taunton Press. They're very good for flashing details and such. This Taunton book is getting a bit long in the tooth, but it's still a good place to start: http://books.google.com/books?id=T-mLmRlxC6wC&lpg=PA10&ots=jYYwtNMLsS&dq=taunton%20press%20porch&pg=PA22#v=onepage&q&f=false Google has the first couple dozen pages online.
It's very likely that your 1870's construction wouldn't pass muster with today's code requirements, and you may be required to up-size beams and such. Depending on where you are you may be required to submit drawings sealed by an engineer or architect, so the building department will not be going out of their way to help you design it yourself. They'll just tell you to contact a design professional.

Google - Italianate porch detail, and click on the Images tab on the results page. That'll give you hundreds of pictures and many leads to more information.
R
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wrote:

[...]
It's very likely that your 1870's construction wouldn't pass muster with today's code requirements, and you may be required to up-size beams and such.
Really? Round here the Conservation Officer (who has responsibility for historic buildings) trumps the Building Inspector every time. Surely you don't have local Council technical know alls empowered to wreck heritage buildings ??? That sounds like a desaster.
Tim W
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We can't assume this is historic preservation for the benefit of society. Considering the info given, I understand this home to be a private home, with no historic relevance, and does not qualify for historic conservation exceptions to updated codes, despite its age. If this is the case, then I would think the local building inspector has the last word.
I don't know codes or rules, so just speculating: I would also think, if a homeowner wants to preserve a private dwelling to a large degree of its original construction, local codes may have modification clauses to help accommodate some aspects for original work.... not be held to the letter of the updated code(s). Example: Construction elements remain original, but aspects like fire safety, plumbing and other safety/health factors updated. The only construction elements required to be updated would be those that are required for accommodating the fire, safety/health, etc. updates.
Sonny
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B:
A trip to a larger public library, the use of interlibrary loan for volumes outside your system or a leap to Amazon on a search for "Victorian" plus any combination of "houses" "house plans" or "construction" would probably yield great results in the "books" category. Find the most interesting and best-rated volumes and see what they tell you. Certainly look at what Internet images catalogue.
As Rico said, you local building department would be a first stop. Some cities have a modified set of rules for houses in a "heritage district" or the like. Check if you are.
There is a famous book "Painted Ladies" which I believe deals with San Francisco Victorians. That is one quakey place. Logic would say that they build or re-build porches tough and in a way which may give you inspiration.
Regards,
Edward Hennessey
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"High Cliffs" by Eileen Dover had a chapter wherein she describes a summer spent doing exactly that.
-TES
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