Home Stress: Stone Work to Be Done Around Our Property

We have a lot of stone on our property, and there’s been so much deferred maintenance by previous folks regarding its condition.

First, our front step and its current sad, sad state:

This stone step, based on previous photos of the house, is from the 1970s, so is not historical. It never fit under the broken arch pediment columns properly. It wasn’t long enough, so previous folks had stuffed a bunch of stones in the corners to try and make it look better, to no avail, as you can see here in this old photo:

On top of that, the stone sloped down toward the house when installed and all the blocks on the sides pushed water back toward the foundation, which caused a lot of damage to the wood threshold (which we recently restored) and the masonry behind where the front step goes (we re-did the masonry on the foundation when we did the front siding to fix this damage).  At least this photo reminds me what a darn mess the front of the house was before we re-did the siding, threshold, and took out the stone!  That is a LOT of peeling paint, cracked wood and irregular, sloping granite blocks …

Because of the size of the stone needed, it’s a real tough one to find. We need a stone that is about eight feet long, and 20 inches tall. We likely will have to get a standard piece of granite cut, but we’d love to more closely match the other historical stone around the property. As is, it’s tough to find granite that is big enough, a place that will do the right amount of ‘rough hewn’ look, and a vendor who will custom cut it so that it is level under our very not-level columns! It’s a big job, and so far, we haven’t made much progress finding anyone we trust to carry it through.

Also on the property, a granite post in our garden needs replacing:

Our suspicions are this was hit by a plow before we moved in. It was balanced in this corner, and when we replaced the cedar fence, the fencing guys discovered that it wasn’t attached.  Luckily it didn’t hurt anyone!  Yes, this has (shamefully) been on its side like this for two years. We need a piece that matches the others in the garden, and it needs to be dug way down and installed for stability. Other plow damage is this nasty crack:

This piece of granite holds up our firewood shelter, as you can see here:

It is not the easiest to replace because it holds up the firewood shelter roof, so you not only need to get this piece out, dig out the old piece, dig to install the new piece, and install the heavy new piece but ALSO support the roof while doing so.

At least the garden and firewood granite posts are just your standard Woodbury Gray granite that you can find anywhere, so matching them shouldn’t be as agonizing as finding our step.

These projects are the least satisfying kind, for sure. When it’s done you can’t tell anything is done. When it isn’t done, it’s ugly. You can’t do it yourself, there’s little to no design work, and you spend all your time trying to find vendors who can get you what you need, and contractors who are willing to carry out what for them is a tiny job with a lot of heavy lifting. This is the reason that people defer maintenance! It is a big pain, and I’m kicking myself for not doing it all when it was warmer out. Now it would be tough to dig out either post, given that we’ve had several hard freezes, and soon it will be too snowy to install the front step. So I’ll have a winter of photos of our sad, crooked stoop and nasty posts. UGH.