The Porch Saga

If you follow me on Instagram, and specifically Instagram Stories (twotwentyone), you know about our current porch situation, which has been dubbed “The Porch Saga”. But I’ve been given some other great names for it– “Cement Stories” and “The Real Concrete Disasters of Indiana”.

I decided to write this blog post because some people have missed bits and pieces, while others don’t have Instagram (I’m sorry, come again?) so they’ve been unable to follow along.

Please note that we didn’t hire this concrete company. They are a subcontractor/trade partner of our home builder, so we haven’t really had any control over this situation.

For clarity, I’m going to go in chronological order because The Porch Saga dates back to June 2.

Let’s begin.

June 2, 2017

The front porch concrete is poured. However, when smoothing out the concrete, the rake must have skipped or something because it created a bunch of waves in the concrete. You could also see where they didn’t smooth out the big section at the same time. It’s like they divided it in half. Whatever the reasons, it seemed like a very rushed job and there was a complete lack of attention to detail, something that is important with concrete because it’s not easy to correct errors after they’ve dried.

They also poured the driveway and walkways on this day. There were/are noticeable waves in the concrete on the driveway and walkways as well. We asked the builder to address at least one section of the walkway. However, we aren’t entirely happy with the walkway. It’s uneven in parts, there’s waves, and there are some cracks in it already.

June 5, 2017

We contacted the project supervisor and let him know our concerns about the concrete. We were told it was being looked at.

Here’s how everything looked once it dried.

June 9, 2017

I followed up with the project supervisor, asking for the status on the concrete. I was told “will be corrected”.

June 13, 2017

I went over the house and saw that a coating had been put on the porch and step. However, the coloring looked splotchy and it was very gritty– you could hear the sandiness when you walked on it. Also, where the step met the porch was already cracking because the concrete mix was so bad. Furthermore, we knew after the first freeze, this coating would start to pop off.

When we had our independent home inspection (I highly recommend doing this) on June 14th, our inspector noted the condition of the porch and said it needed to be corrected.

One section of the walkway and one section of sidewalk by the street were also replaced.


The section of walkway on the left was replaced. But as you can see, more sections should have been replaced as well, but that didn’t happen.

June 19, 2017

During the final walk through of the house, the project supervisor said the front porch and step would be removed entirely and replaced.

June 25, 2017

We went over to the house to have a few family photos taken in front of the house (I used them in this blog post). It appeared that the porch had been removed and replaced because the concrete supports were still around the porch.

June 26, 2017

I received a call from our project supervisor informing me that the concrete crew was supposed to remove and replace the porch over the weekend. However, they were afraid they’d damage the structure of our house with all the jack hammering, so instead, they put a 2-3 inch cap on top of the existing concrete porch and step. Doing so also created a code violation because the step was now too tall. The porch concrete also jutted out past our pillars and the step was wider than the walkway. You can also kind of see where the concrete oozed out of the form where the step meets the porch.

Since we were moving in in a couple days, our only option was for them to remove and replace the porch and step after we moved in because we didn’t want to risk them having the porch torn up when we needed to move all of our stuff into the house.

July 7, 2017

The project supervisor contacted me saying they would start removing the concrete on July 14th. I said that day should work.

July 14, 2017

The concrete guy showed up in the morning and rang the doorbell. I went outside to talk with him. He told me about an optional plan that would be less invasive than tearing out the entire porch and replacing it. At this point, we were open to that because we were so tired of dealing with this damn porch. His plan involved removing the step and putting in two 7.5″ steps that would be the width of the the inside of the pillars. Then, he’d pour a walk way section to fan out and meet the edges of the step. I told him I thought it sounded like a decent plan. I also added that this plan may be more beneficial to my stepdad who has a physical disability and steps are difficult for him– having shorter steps in height that spanned the width of the entryway where my stepdad could hold onto a pillar to steady himself.

I told the concrete guy I wanted Brad to talk with him in person as well. He said that was fine and that he’d come back at 4PM when Brad would be home from work. In the meantime, I drew Brad a third-grade level rendering of the plan and texted to it him. He agreed that it sounded like a decent option. So that was the plan– put the project on hold until we could all meet at 4PM to discuss the options. Or so I assumed.

Owen and I left the house at 11AM to meet some friends and their kids downtown for the ice cream social. I got home at 1:30PM to see two guys working on the porch. They had already made saw cuts on the porch. They had also flipped the breaker to our outside outlet because they tapped into our electricity to power their concrete saw and when they tried to use the jackhammer, it flipped the breaker. I’m sorry, but I don’t think we should have to pay to power their power tools. The work had halted because they were going to retrieve a generator.

As you can imagine, I was rather upset because I thought the plan was to meet at 4PM and discuss the options. I immediately called Brad and said, “You won’t believe this. Or maybe you will…” (I also dropped a boatload of F-bombs, if I’m being completely honest.) By the time Brad got home, I was so upset and frustrated that I had given myself a headache. So I told him I needed to go lie down. While I was napping, Brad talked to the concrete guy and the concrete guy said he had spoken to the project supervisor and the project supervisor said he talked to me and I said that I wanted him to remove and replace the porch. Mind you, I never spoke with the project supervisor that day. I can only assume the project supervisor was referring to the initial plan to remove and replace the porch. So the concrete guy believed the project supervisor had spoken to me that day and went ahead with the removal of the concrete.

July 15, 2017

The crew showed up at 9:30AM to start jack hammering the porch. We already had plans to leave for the day, so it worked out nicely that we only had to listen to the jack hammering for a couple hours once we returned home. As we were leaving that morning, we saw them running an electrical cord across the street to tap into the power source of a house being built.

To remove the concrete, they’d jack hammer it up, place chunks of concrete in a wheel barrel, roll the wheel barrel down our front yard, empty the concrete into a bobcat, and then drive the concrete chunks over to the overspill lot. While this method was minimally invasive, it put a lot of strain on the sod in our front yard, and a large section of it has started to brown.

When we got home around 5PM, the guys were still working so we had to endure the jack hammering for about an hour.

When they were done jack hammering, the crew also pressure washed the porch area. However, they tapped into our water. Again, I don’t think we should have to pay to clean up their mess.

They finished up at 7PM. Before they left, Brad talked with them for a little bit. One guy said the concrete was 11.5″ thick, which explains the need to jackhammer for 9 hours.

Here’s what the yard looked like after they were finished with the demo.

July 18, 2017

The masons came out and replaced sections of brick that were damaged during the concrete removal.


July 19, 2017

The concrete crew arrived to start pouring the porch and step. One of the guys rang the doorbell to tell me they were starting the work. I probably said something along the lines of, “Ok, we’ll just be hanging out inside.” We were having our friends over for dinner that night, so I spent most of the afternoon cleaning up the house a little and prepping for dinner.

The guys finished up around 6:30/7:00PM but since our friends were over, I wasn’t able to take a good look at the porch until around 9:00PM. While I was peeking out the front door window, I thought the front porch step looked funny. So I excused myself and ran outside through the garage. As I turned the corner, I could see that something was not right with the step. It was almost double the depth it should’ve been. I ran back inside and grabbed a tape measure– it measured 33.75″ deep. For comparison, I ran over to an empty spec house and measured that step– it was 18″ deep.

I went inside, grabbed Brad and told him he had to see this. Brad was pretty dumbfounded when I showed him the step and told him about the other step being only 18″ deep.


July 20, 2017

First thing in the morning, I texted our project supervisor and asked if there was a reason why the new front porch step was poured to be almost twice the depth as the original step/what’s in the building plans. The project supervisor said he’d look at it. About an hour later, he texted me back and said the concrete guy mentioned that when tearing out the porch, I brought up that my stepdad has a physical disability, and that he poured the larger step thinking it would help him.

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the concrete guy’s good intentions and attempt at being thoughtful, but had he rang the doorbell again that afternoon and informed me of this plan, I would’ve told him it wasn’t a good idea because a deeper step isn’t beneficial to my stepdad. A wider step, where he’d be able to reach and hold onto a pillar in order to steady his balance would be more beneficial. So maybe the concrete guy got deeper and wider confused?

I replied to the project supervisor that while I understood his intentions were good, that’s not what we agreed to. The project supervisor agreed and said they’d tear out the incorrect step and redo it the following day.

July 21, 2017

A couple of guys showed up and started working on removing the old step and pouring a new one in the afternoon. I’m guessing they worked until 6:30/7:00, because we had left around 5:30 to go out to dinner with my parents. When we got home, Brad and I went outside to check out the step. I immediately noticed that one side was longer than the other. To be sure, I ran inside and grabbed a tape measure. Sure enough, one side is 1/2-inch longer than the other side. The step also isn’t level.


Not only that, but where the step met the porch didn’t look good. There were two chunks missing from the front of the porch where the porch met the step.

And while I was looking at the rest of the porch, I noticed that I hadn’t seen the side of the porch from when it was poured two days before. It appears that they completely forgot to smooth out the side of the porch, leaving the concrete all lumpy and bumpy, which won’t be good in the colder months when water gets into those crevices and freezes.


The guys also failed to cover our landscaping with tarps, so everything was covered in a layer of white dust.


July 25, 2017

Photos of the step once it dried.

July 24, 2017

I texted our project supervisor first thing in the morning to ask when he could meet with Brad and me at the house to discuss the front porch and step. He never responded, but a couple hours later his boss, the area construction manager, showed up and rang our doorbell. He said our project manager sent him over to take a look at the porch. The construction manager said the porch and step looked bad. He said that they’d bring in a different concrete crew to remedy the situation, beginning this week, and worst case scenario, they’d have to remove the entire porch again, and re-pour the porch and step.

I’m preparing myself for the worst.

I mentioned making the step as wide as the inside of the pillars and fanning the walkway out to meet the edges of the step. The construction manager said they’d do that as sort of an apology gift. He also said they’d have landscaping come back.

Here’s the super fancy rendering I slapped together.

So there you go.

I’ll definitely keep everyone up-to-date on Instagram Stories. But I’ll probably write a follow up post too.

And before you go, I want to say thank you to all of you who’ve sent me messages of support and those of you who say you’ve been following this saga like a reality TV series. Who would’ve thought a porch would be so captivating? I appreciate the laughs and commiserating.

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  1. Oh for the love of all that’s holy. That is beyond a mess. I can’t believe it took so long for the construction manager to step in! Here’s hoping that it all wraps up soon!

  2. Although I haven’t commented up until now, I’ve been watching everything on Insta-stories and can’t believe everything that you’ve gone through. They owe you more than just the fanning of the walkway! As if moving weren’t stressful enough. Hopefully once this is all fixed and looking beautiful you can one day look back in this and have a good laugh.

  3. WOW!! Just insane that you’ve had to go through all of this. I would be livid. I hope this sage ends soon for your own well being. Whew. Have a drink or eat a gallon of ice cream. Whatever works for you.

  4. GOOD GRIEF!!!! What a nightmare!! Good thing you’re a young’n but I’d have more than a headache with all that. I would probably have been through 3 bottles of wine by yesterday!! AND they should really give you guys a GOOD gift!! NO bill LOL!!! You remind me of me, as I would have noticed all the discrepancies as well!! I still have some in my house we built that drive me crazy. Workmen do not take pride in their work any longer!! A shame!! hang in there!!!

  5. OMG…I have had cabinetry problems with one of the most well known big box companies in the U.S. when I remodeled my kitchen two years ago but this project tops that.

    I would have definitely put in a wider step to begin with – love the drawing.

    I hope you are getting compensated nicely. I would be talking to your local BBB. They resolved a problem five years after I had windows installed again by a nationally known high end company – they never put in the flashing and the windows swelled…led to rot under my siding.

    On your state level you should have a Commissioner that oversees contractors and licensing. I would do some snooping to make certain he has skilled concrete folks and not college students or for that matter high school kids making summer dollars.

    We had some foundation breakaway being in Minnesota with the salt. Blocks had to be restored and we changed our driveway to concrete from asphalt. We also had a new garage floor poured and never had any of this happen.
    I used a home builder who contracted the concrete people and he was there every day monitoring. It was worth the extra dollars.

    As for electricity and water…that’s the norm in Minnesota. But trust me I get your frustration with it…it’s like they have invaded your personal space.

    Keep us posted. One thing for certain I would not be paying what they have charged you to begin with.

    Don’t forget your state Attorney Generals office should have a consumer department to file a complaint with.

  6. Dorinda Selke says:

    Oh my gosh Chelsea what a saga! I’m so sorry to hear all this. When we bought our first home our land scaping had not been completed in our back yard and we ended up having to go thru legal channels to get satisfaction. Good luck with a happy ending to all of this ?

  7. Good job being assertive and sticking with it until the job is done right. Crappy sub-contractors know it is so much more of a pain for the homeowner to ask (and ask…and ask…) for corrections than to just live with the mistakes, that they do slap-dash jobs knowing they will probably get away with it a lot of the time. It must be hard not hiring the sub-contractors yourself and having to depend upon someone else’s judgment/hiring. At least you’ll get a custom step setup by the end which will hopefully be perfect for your stepdad! I’m loving your insta-stories about this, keep them coming 🙂

  8. Between your porch and another friend’s master bath, I’m kind of glad my summertime project is a DIY. Dang!

  9. Oh my goodness, I thought we were the only ones with luck like this! It’s why we’re so gun shy about home improvements that our bathroom has been gutted for 3 years waiting for us to find time to finish it ourselves. Good luck!

  10. If it were me I would. Get a sitter and stand over the men as they work!! Cement is hard (impossible) to change after dry! I would print out the rendering you drew w/ exact mesurements. All sides all angles all views! I would insist that the project manager be on site during the whole pour and I would also ask for a kick back. Something for your time and stress!! Less payment, a fire pit, something!!

  11. carol plant says:

    OMG!!!!!! i was exhausted and frustrated just reading this never mind living through it – you have waaaay more patience than me – good luck – other than this issue i hope you are enjoying your new home

  12. Oh for the love of pete! Reading this has given ME a headache!!! Hopefully someone will straighten this out for you eventually.

  13. This has been the highlight of my night when I sit down to watch instagram stories. Part of me feels so bad for being excited to watch this saga, but I just can’t turn away from it. Can’t wait to see it all play out!

  14. Wow! I still can’t believe you’ve had to put up with this but it has provided me with tons of entertainment. “Look we got a delivery” still makes me lol

  15. I must have missed the very beginning of the story on Instagram! This is WAY longer than I thought it was! I’m impressed at how calm you seem in our videos. How infuriating. I’ve got all my appendages crossed for the new new new new porch and wider not deeper step. ?

  16. OMG I’ve been following on instastories (yes it IS super entertaining btw!) And it’s so much worse when you see it all out together like this. I’d be going nuts by now!

  17. Holy cow. I cannot believe that this is STILL such a mess. All the patience in the world to you. Kudos for making sure it’s done correctly. I’d do the same thing (although maybe without as much patience as you have.) Here’s hoping that they can get it all together-sooner rather than later!

  18. I’m sorry you had to go through this- what a pain! We built our house back in 2010 and had no idea how stressful/exhausting it would be, and that was without any major issues. I really hope for your sake that they fix it for good next time! I can’t imagine all that jackhammering is a happy thing to listen to. I love your IG stories though- so keep them coming! 🙂

  19. Good lordy! Are you losing your mind, yet? I sincerely hope they are able to do it correctly this time. They managed to mess it up in such a wide variety of ways, I can’t fatholm in what way they could mess it up AGAIN.

  20. WOW as someone who built a house a few years ago, this is REALLY unbelievable!

  21. You poor woman! When I saw your first post I thought, that’s easily fixed, building a house is hard and problems arise. Then I saw another and honestly thought “this woman might be pickier than I am!” I’ve been on vacation, reading it all today, wow you’ve had more patience than I would have! I’d have been screaming like a sailor! Hope to see the next episode, hopefully finale, of “As the porch turns” with a perfect resolution!

  22. This honestly makes me cringe-y. It gives me anxiety just to read about it. I feel so badly that you had to LIVE through this. Honestly, I don’t know how they could be so incompetent. You have a toddler and had to endure unnecessary jack hammering. You work from home too so to have to listen to them clean up their mess SEVERAL times is beyond words not okay. I’m hoping this all wraps up soon and they are being kind with you. They’re lucky you haven’t lost your damn marbles on them hulk style because I bet it’s been seriously tempting. Good luck!

  23. Oh man, I was expecting a happy ending in this post. Hope it comes soon! Each “FIX” left it worse than it started. It went from a minor defect to a complete shit show. I really hope the latest repair is good and is what you want. I’ve dealt with contractors that just won’t do what is correct. And while you want it to just be done, you want it done correctly. Sometimes bringing in someone else is the only thing that can happen.
    I had wood floors done and our first contractor said it’d be wham bam 3 day job. So we moved EVERYTHING from our top floor to the basement. Where we thought we could “camp” for 3 days while the work was done. They TORE the flooring to shreds. Under cut our moldings. And ruined feet and feet of the flooring we had purchased saying it wasn’t holding together. We were in a fight with the contractor and the flooring company for 5 months. All while living in an unfinished basement with a 5 and 1 year old. Every week we’d be put off and no decision made if we could get a refund, if the flooring was faulty, if the contractor was at fault. Nothing. We finally had to purchase flooring 3 times as expensive, get a different contractor, and it was finished in 3 days. That contractor didn’t even take a deposit, he just wanted us to get our house back.
    Good Luck and I hope you get this resolved once and for all!

  24. Yikes! Not a good situation at all. Hard to understand why this has been such a long drawn out issue. Oh we messed up, lets fix it correctly !!!

  25. Wow. That is unacceptable! You’re a saint for being as patient as you have been!

  26. Such a surprise to me that a CalAtlantic contractor would do such low quality work. As a Ryland home buyer four years ago in the Indy area, every aspect of construction was top-notch. I hope it is resolved asap, and you are compensated well for your time and effort.

  27. I read your porch saga – all I can say is you and Brad have been much nicer than I would have been at this point.

  28. Wow! I can’t believe all the hassle you have been through. Working with contractors can be pretty difficult sometimes. Once we had a house built and the builder put the interior staircase in the wrong place so that it nearly bumped the front entry door when opened.

  29. Rachel Steck says:

    Owen could have done a better job. Geez-Louise. Keep us posted!

  30. And I thought the installation of the wrong color carpet in our new house was bad….you win! Hopefully it all works out. Love your delivery from Amazon humor. ?

  31. Things I would expect the a concrete person putting steps on my house to know.
    1. How to use a float
    2. What rise and run are.

    This sucks! I’m so sorry!

  32. Elizabeth says:

    This is absolutely INSANE. Does this builder not know that you’re a blogger with a huge following who shares her house on the Internet and social media for all to see?! I’m so sorry you’re going through this. What a freaking nightmare.

  33. I’ve been shocked following along on this “project”. It’s pretty clear from day one there were major issues and for them to deny it is a bit crazy! Even Owen is probably like “WTF are these waves on our porch”. And the repairs almost look worse 😐 Hope this gets resolved for you soon!!

  34. I’ve been following along this whole time on Instagram and whew!! I can’t even imagine! Definitely will make me think twice before ever building a house. AND I’ve seen the latest “fix” on Instagram and you might as well paint your porch caution-tape yellow so that you don’t have people face-planting on the top “step.” I’m not even sure it can be called a step. Sorry you’re having to go through all of this!

  35. That’s CRAZY! I’m so sorry it’s been so difficult, Chelsea, and I hope it’s fully resolved quickly!!

  36. Bless your heart! So sorry you’re having to go through all this shit!

  37. What a nightmare! I am so sorry you are having to deal with all this drama!

  38. Such an awful story! So hard when you invest so much in a brand new home to deal with all these setbacks.

  39. You poor thing! What a damper on what should be such a happy experience (building a beautiful home). I’ve been following along on IG and I’m so disappointed FOR you. I hope it gets resolved soon.

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