Chicago Porch – Rebuilding of Porches – Correcting City of Chicago Porch Violations

Chicago porches have been occupying front pages of local newspapers for a while now. Associated with several accidental deaths and injuries, they became one of the most sought after structures the Chicago Building Department inspectors evaluate. The results of those inspections vary a lot but violations that require Chicago porch architectural drawings and complete porch rebuilding are very common.

Not sure if your Chicago porch requires rebuilding or repairs?

Call 1-847-724-5600

All Estimates are Always FREE for property owners.

Just like any other structural component of a building, porches must comply with the Chicago Building Code. No matter if these are only single story tall porches, wooden porches spreading over multiple floors, small, large, rear porches, or front porches, safety of anyone using them is equally important at any level.

We don’t like to be told what to do, especially if it’s going to cost us money, but that shouldn’t matter when safety of the building occupants and their lives are at stake. That’s why building inspectors are so persistent in their “code compliant Chicago porch” crusade.

If you had your porch constructed based on a porch architectural drawings, had a Chicago building permit issued and inspection performed / porch structure approved by the City of Chicago building inspector, you should be in a good shape. However, if you have an old porch that, to your knowledge, has never been examined by a professional, you should schedule an inspection by a professional as soon as possible.

The number of Chicago porch problems that can result in serious injury or even death is quite large. Even potentially small issues, sometimes difficult to spot with an inexperienced eye, can lead to life threatening situations.

For detail Chicago Porch Guidelines, click the button below.

This post covers only some of the Chicago Porch building code requirements, for all details you’d need to gain access to / purchase the Chicago Building Code available after clicking the button below.  

Customer Reviews of EDMAR Corporation

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4.6 Stars / 47 User Reviews

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4.5 yelp stars
4.5 Stars / 35 User Reviews

  • A G. AvatarA G.

    They rebuilt my parapet wall quickly for a reasonable price! The wall looks great. I'm very satisfied with their work and customer service!!

    Brian J. AvatarBrian J.

    I was experiencing a leak through one of the front windows of my building, and worked with the Edmar team to completely rebuild the parapet... read more

    Maciek G. AvatarMaciek G.

    Greta People to do Business with ! Quality and fair price for Top Quality. I did Parapet wall fix and new concrete steps. They also... read more

  • Mr T. AvatarMr T.

    I needed my chimney tuckpointed. The crew came out at 8am, were finished in a few hours. They were professional and cleaned the job site... read more

    Michael P. AvatarMichael P.

    Thank you for the great service. We had some tuck pointing work that needed to be done on the chimney and foundation of our... read more

    Clara S. AvatarClara S.

    5 star rating I had Edmar Corporation do work on my house in Glenview in the summer of 2012, and I was very satisfied with their services. ... read more

  • Brett S. AvatarBrett S.

    5 star rating These guys did a great job on my chimney. Punctual and fast. Would hire them again in a heartbeat!

    Jonathan M. AvatarJonathan M.

    We just had work completed on our 7 unit building and the team did a fantastic job. Quick efficient, and effective. They had to... read more

    Heeyon C. AvatarHeeyon C.

    Edmar is the most professional construction with many skilled workers in Chicago area, as long as I know. If your priority is choosing a... read more

  • Tom O. AvatarTom O.

    5 star rating I called Ed and he came within the same day and after careful examining the
    the chimney he gave his estimate which was very straight...
    read more

    Jakub P. AvatarJakub P.

    5 star rating I used Edmar Corporation a few years ago to fix up my home in the north suburbs and was very pleased with their work. I... read more

    Tania M. AvatarTania M.

    5 star rating Edmar Corp replaced the front brick of our property this summer. Not only did Ed provide us a reasonable estimate but he was patient while... read more

  • Elizabeth S. AvatarElizabeth S.

    5 star rating We had a wonderful experience with Edmar. We needed a level of brick and capstone removed from our rooftop - the job was completed in... read more

    Loi P. AvatarLoi P.

    Best company I've dealt with. Owner and employees perfect

    Sarah V. AvatarSarah V.

    This company is really excellent. I hired them to come and redo the siding, soffits, gutters, and downspouts on the addition of my 1927 Mediterranean-inspired... read more

  • Jonathan M. AvatarJonathan M.

    We just had work completed on our 7 unit building and the team did a fantastic job. Quick efficient, and effective. They had to... read more

    Margaret B. AvatarMargaret B.

    Edmar Corporation did a great job fixing several problems with my 100 plus year old beautiful greystone. Edmar and his partner help me resolve difficult... read more

    David D. AvatarDavid D.

    5 star rating Without question the best experience I have ever had with any contractor, Ed is direct and honest; no surprises. I rarely write reviews unless I... read more

  • A G. AvatarA G.

    I am a case manager who works with people with disabilities and one of my clients needed her roof repaired due to a big hole... read more

    Peter L. AvatarPeter L.

    Great service.

    Don M. AvatarDon M.

    Very professional and great work on rebuilding my chimney. Recommend

  • Tony R. AvatarTony R.

    By far the most professional and highly skilled company I've worked with.
    I had a chimney taken down and rebuilt from the roof line up. ...
    read more

    Dan W. AvatarDan W.

    5 star rating My job wasn't large, but Edmar treated me like I was their most important customer. The concrete work they did is just about perfect. I... read more

    Brooke L. AvatarBrooke L.

    Edmar did a great job repointing the stonework on the front of our house. We requested quotes from a few companies, and they were the... read more

  • Aida A. AvatarAida A.

    Our condo association hired Edmar Corporation to do some much needed repairs on our building. It came to our attention that there were leaks on... read more

    Elizabeth P. AvatarElizabeth P.

    They replaced lintels on my 6 flat. They were fast, professional and a pleasure to work with.

    Kevin K. AvatarKevin K.

    The owner, Ed, was awesome to work with. Genuinely nice guy, honest and a true professional in his craft. We had some extensive masonry work... read more

  • Tony R. AvatarTony R.

    By far the most professional and highly skilled company I've worked with.I had a chimney taken down and rebuilt from the roof line up. ... read more

    Irena S. AvatarIrena S.

    Great work, great price.

    Todd B. AvatarTodd B.

    5 star rating The team did a fantastic job repairing water damaged block and metal I-Beam above the outside of my garage. Good communication through the project and... read more

  • Margaret B. AvatarMargaret B.

    Edmar Corporation did a great job fixing several problems with my 100 plus year old beautiful greystone. Edmar and his partner help me resolve... read more

    Gene P. AvatarGene P.

    5 star rating We had some cracks in the masonry on our building, it wasn't a big job but Ed came by to take a look anyway. Compared... read more

    Meltem A. AvatarMeltem A.

    Edmar cooporation build a new porch for our condo association. They were very professional, kept their promises. Very quick great work friendly and professional service.... read more

  • April B. AvatarApril B.

    5 star rating Nice concrete work and the grading helped to move water away from the walk. Very professional and worked with us to address water issues.

    Mary M. AvatarMary M.

    We hired Edmar to do tuckpointing on our entire red brick facade and touch up much needed spots around the rest of the house. Our... read more

    Rick B. AvatarRick B.

    5 star rating We had several issues to address, including retaining walls, parging, tuckpointing and replacing old lintels. Ed came out to review and estimate, was very... read more

  • Paul P. AvatarPaul P.

    5 star rating Excellent work. Work was done in 2 days. Walkway was re pitched to align better with stoop (which showed large cracks at base where walkway... read more

    A G. AvatarA G.

    By far the most professional and highly skilled company I've worked with.
    I had a chimney taken down and rebuilt from the roof line up. ...
    read more

    Montana C. AvatarMontana C.

    They rebuilt my parapet wall quickly for a reasonable price! The wall looks great. I'm very satisfied with their work and customer service!!

  • Azar K. AvatarAzar K.

    My building hired Edmar to do a tuck pointing project and we couldn’t be more impressed. Peter the project manager came out to our building... read more

    Peter L. AvatarPeter L.

    Great service.

    S K. AvatarS K.

    5 star rating If it were possible to give more than 5 stars, I would! We had to reconstruct our brick and wrought iron fence after the... read more

  • Amelia F. AvatarAmelia F.

    We hired Edmar to rebuild our parapet on our brick multi-family house during the summer of 2020, and they did an outstanding job! The brickwork... read more

    Bri C. AvatarBri C.

    Our condo association will definitely be hiring Edward and his company again this year. They completed two projects for us, some tuckpointing and brickwork on... read more

    Cyndy O. AvatarCyndy O.

    5 star rating We had Edmar complete 3 separate projects at our home. Replacing garage siding/windows, entire front and rear porch. In any home project we have had... read more

  • Alex F. AvatarAlex F.

    5 star rating Ed along with his crew did a fantastic job on a few of our commercial building. I always recommend Edmar for all thing masonry to.... read more

    Andy W. AvatarAndy W.

    5 star rating These guys came thru. After some problems getting the work completed they came back out and finished the work as well as some additional brick... read more

    Adam N. AvatarAdam N.

    I had EDMAR rebuild my chimney. They did such good work I called them back to replace a rusty lintel above my windows. ... read more

  • Emily R. AvatarEmily R.

    Excellent experience from Edmar from start to finish! From the first estimate, I enjoyed the experience of working with Ed and his team. They rebuilt... read more

    Bill C. AvatarBill C.

    4 star rating I couldn't be happier with Edmar corporation. He gave me a quote on the extensive brick work my 2 flat needed. It was a... read more

    Elizabeth E. AvatarElizabeth E.

    5 star rating We have a small house. Sometimes it feels like tradesmen are not very interested in taking our business. However, Ed made me feel... read more

  • Karen D. AvatarKaren D.

    positive review  I had EDMAR repair my brick chimney a little while ago. The crew took apart everything above the roof, fixed the brown clay tube inside... read more

    Dema D. AvatarDema D.

    5 star rating I decided to hire Edmar based on excellent Yelp reviews and I was not disappointed. The work I hired him for was to repair my... read more

    bri c. Avatarbri c.

    Our condo association will definitely be hiring Edward and his company again this year. They completed two projects for us, some tuckpointing and brickwork... read more

  • Lara M. AvatarLara M.

    positive review  I own 3 story rental in Chicago and got building violation ticket for the rear porch… this was last summer. The porch was old and... read more

    Ellen P. AvatarEllen P.

    5 star rating I am a case manager who works with people with disabilities and one of my clients needed her roof repaired due to a big hole... read more

    Adrian F. AvatarAdrian F.

    positive review  Last December we experienced some serious problems at our condo building. Many widows from 3rd floor units were leaking water along their top frames. We... read more

  • thomas g. Avatarthomas g.

    5 star rating So happy. These guys were fast and friendly and clean. I collected many quotes. Edmar Corporation was the lowest $ with the highest rating in... read more

    Pamela R. AvatarPamela R.

    My experience with Edmar Corporation from beginning to end was excellent!! I wish I could rate it high than 5 stars! The quote was... read more

    Dan P. AvatarDan P.

    5 star rating I had Edmar rebuild a portion of my parapet wall. I had gotten quite a few recommendations and estimates from different local companies. ... read more

  • Jolanta J. AvatarJolanta J.

    Edmar Corporation did an outstanding masonry job on our Condominium BLDG!!!! We are very satisfied with the work!!!! Mr. ED came for the estimate and... read more

    A G. AvatarA G.

    Edmar is the most professional construction with many skilled workers in Chicago area, as long as I know. If your priority is choosing a... read more

    Ted T. AvatarTed T.

    1 star rating A bunch of scammers and crooks. I got a letter from them indicating building violations. The letter makes it seem they are working on behalf... read more

  • Ross U. AvatarRoss U.

    5 star rating I usually do a lot of research before I let someone touch my home. After talking to a few tuck pointing companies it was obvious... read more

    Linda Q. AvatarLinda Q.

    5 star rating My husband and I bought a foreclosure on Newcastle and needed to do some work. In order to attain inside look of the kitchen we... read more

    Ellen P. AvatarEllen P.

    I am a case manager who works with people with disabilities and one of my clients needed her roof repaired due to a big hole... read more

  • Antonio R. AvatarAntonio R.

    5 star rating Top Notch Masonry Contractor. Had a new Chimney rebuilt from the roof up. The Crews were professional and we're highly skilled tradesmen. ... read more

    Sorin B. AvatarSorin B.

    Peter and the staff at Edmar were very responsive and professional. I’ll definitely call them out for my next job. I highly recommend them.

    Nefe D. AvatarNefe D.

    Very professional and exceptional work!

  • Laura M. AvatarLaura M.

    Edmar completed tuck pointing work and replaced the sidewalk by our house. They did an excellent job for a very fair price. We highly recommend... read more

    Cecil S. AvatarCecil S.

    5 star rating I needed some tuckpointing done on a condo I manage in Chicago and called Edmar for a quote through a mutual friend that had used... read more

    Melissa H. AvatarMelissa H.

    5 star rating This company fixed some stairs for a customer of mine. They were quick to contact customer as it was a closing issue contigent on... read more

  • James M. AvatarJames M.

    Can't thank you enough for all your help with our repair. Donna appreciate your help and thank you to both the professional gentlemen that... read more

    Daisy M. AvatarDaisy M.

    I got several quotes, Edmar was honest and priced very well. Their efficiency and neatness were most impressive, thanks for a great result!

    Maciek G. AvatarMaciek G.

    Greta People to do Business with ! Quality and fair price for Top Quality. I did Parapet wall fix and new concrete steps. They also... read more

  • Matt M. AvatarMatt M.

    Edmar is the best in the business. I’ve owned buildings in the city for a while now and I’m telling you there’s no one more... read more

    Brian K. AvatarBrian K.

    3 star rating I would give closer to 3 1/2 stars if I could. I was pleased with the work that was completed. I had 4... read more

    Emily R. AvatarEmily R.

    5 star rating Highly recommend. Ed came out, gave us a quote and started our project all very quickly. His crew kept the area very clean and did... read more

  • Mark U. AvatarMark U.

    I asked for a proposal to tuckpoint our commercial building and Peter came out and inspected it with me and answered all my questions. ... read more

    Jeff G. AvatarJeff G.

    It's always frightening to undertake a project that requires dismantling the infrastructure of your home. Thus, it was no different with me when I asked... read more

    Maciek G. AvatarMaciek G.

    Greta People to do Business with ! Quality and fair price for Top Quality.

  • Frank M. AvatarFrank M.

    Peter and his crew did a fantastic job with replacing our worn chimney. Peter was great with clear estimation, straight forward proposal and answering... read more

    Karolina AvatarKarolina

    This company and its owner were a pleasure to work with. We needed some masonry repairs on our single family home in Lincoln Park and... read more

    Peter J. AvatarPeter J.

    I haven’t been so excited in my live, the work is finally done! For the past five days I had a crew of 5 working... read more

  • O A. AvatarO A.

    5 star rating Edmar did some work for our condo building. He gave us an honest quote for the work that needed to be done, and did... read more

    Roberto G. AvatarRoberto G.

    5 star rating Truly one of the most honest men I have ever met. Me and my family will be using and recommending Ed for all our... read more

    John F. AvatarJohn F.

    5 star rating Edmar Corporation Masonry was contracted for three projects on an industrial building in the City. The first project was to rebrick part of a doorway... read more

  • Cassie M. AvatarCassie M.

    5 star rating Peter and crew were very professional and did an excellent job installing a new sliding glass door for us. The install included fixing some siding... read more

    Jessie R. AvatarJessie R.

    Our condo association requested evaluation of our building’s masonry structure from EDMAR CORPORATION so we can plan our 2019 budget. We didn’t make our decision... read more

    Allison W. AvatarAllison W.

    positive review  EDMAR came to replace 35 feet of sidewalk by my house. They busted old concrete one day and poured new sidewalk next. NICE JOB.

  • Jargren S. AvatarJargren S.

    5 star rating I just have to say the work, the crew, and Ed were wonderful. Their quality of work and maintaining the job site in an... read more

Let’s take a look at just a few building code requirements for the Chicago porches that affect safety of their occupants.

Chicago porch footings by EDMAR Corporation

Chicago wooden porch rebuilding – concrete pedestal example

Chicago Porch Footings

Just like your house requires foundation, the same principal applies to a porch as well. Without proper footings under walls, columns, or piers, the entire porch load would not be properly distributed. Shifting the porch’s load onto one side, because of the faulty foundation, could have catastrophic consequences.

Porches come in different sizes, and their footings sizes must be proportional, positioned in such way that guarantees proper distribution of weight and minimizes possibility of uneven settlement of the entire structure.

Also, your patio and sidewalks cannot be used to support structure of a porch. Freezing – thawing cycle during the cold season causes ground to expand and contract.

Whatever is supported on a few inches thick concrete slab, will move up and down, sometimes by 2”-3”. Heavier porches resting on such “foundation/slab” will crack it and could tilt, slide off / separate from the building structure, and even collapse. Chicago climate forces us to dig deeper holes for footings in order to alleviate problems associated with that freezing – thawing cycle, and to ensure that they can support up to 3 story tall Chicago porch structures.

Chicago porch footings / depth requirement and materials

All Chicago porch footings must extend at least 42” (3 feet and six inches) below the surrounding ground surface. There is an exception from this requirement (https://www.chicago.gov/content/dam/city/depts/bldgs/general/EZPERMIT/PorchGuidelinesMay2011.pdf  – CHAPTER 13-132 FOUNDATIONS 18(13-132-100) FOOTINGS – DEPTH REQUIREMENTS) that applies to single story buildings only.

The Chicago porch foundation footings should be constructed using:

  1. solid masonry material
  2. reinforced concrete
  3. or plain (without reinforcement) concrete (details in CHAPTER 13-132 FOUNDATIONS 18(13-132-110) FOOTINGS – CONSTRUCTION).
Single story Chicago front porch building by EDMAR Corporation

Chicago front porch construction – single story porches

Chicago Porch Material – Pressure Treated Lumber – Wolmanized

To clear the confusion, we have two definitions for the type of wood (Pressure Treated Lumber / Wolmanized) normally used when building Chicago porches.

PRESSURE TREATED WOOD

Also known as “treated lumber” or “Wolmanized Lumber”. The wood treatment process involves injecting the wood cells with various chemical mixtures capable of destroying / killing micro-organisms and variety of insects. The injected mixture slows down decaying process and significantly prolongs lifespan of pressure treated wood to approximately 10-20 years.  

This lifespan doesn’t sound correct? Well… it is different from what the manufacturers put on labels (25-50 years) and varies considerably. For us, taking into the equation Chicago weather, it will probably be closer to 10-20 years.

WOLMANIZED LUMBER

Refers to the same type of wood, pressure treated, but it’s a trade name.

Chicago Porch Guardrails / Safeguards / Handrails

Chicago porch rebuilding, guardrails, safeguards, handrails, by EDMAR Corporation

Chicago Porch Guardrails / Safeguards / Handrails

Chicago porch guardrails are required everywhere we can potentially fall of the porch, so:

  1. At all edges of every space such as floors, balconies, mezzanines, and other areas used or anticipated to be used by human occupancy more than two feet above any surface directly below. The only exception would be loading platforms installed 2’ and more above ground.
  2. At all windows or doorways that have a sill installed 24 inches or less above the floor level of a room or area.

One exception, that last requirement doesn’t apply if such window or doorway opens directly above the following surfaces:

Ground | Pavement | Guarded space

and when their level is less than two feet below the sill of such window or doorway or unless the construction of the such window or doorway serves the same purpose.

  1. At all sides of every open areaway deeper than 3’ excluding the side that opens or provides access to a stairway.

Porch Handrails  

All porch stairways must have walls, railings, or guards, and handrails installed on both sides with 3 exceptions (please check the Porch Guidelines link and the Chicago Building Code for details – CHAPTER 13-160 EXIT REQUIREMENTS 10(13-160-320) STAIRWAYS – HANDRAILS)  

Porch Guardrail Types

“Porch guardrails” come in various flavors, depending on the porch’s design; a wall, balustrade, grill or railing at least 42” tall, area grating, or other approved device, can be treated as a guardrail.

With the Chicago porch guardrails we also have one exception: For single-family and two-family dwellings, and within individual dwelling units in other Class A-2 occupancies which are primarily permanent in nature, guards whose top rail also serves as a handrail shall have a height of not less than 34 inches and not more than 38 inches, measured vertically from the leading edge of the stair tread nosing. 

Chicago porch building code requirement openings in guards, balusters or ornamental patterns, EDMAR Corporation

Chicago porch building code requirement – openings in guards, balusters or ornamental patterns.

Chicago Porch Permitted Openings in Guards

This Chicago porch building code requirement applies to openings in guards, so balusters or any type of ornamental patterns. You can easily verify if your Chicago porch complies with this requirement by using a 4”, 6”, and 8” diameter spheres / balls.

There are 3 areas where you can test compliance:

  • Four inch diameter ball cannot pass through any of the openings in guards up to 34” high from the adjacent walking surfaces
  • Eight inch diameter ball cannot pass through any opening in guards between 34” and 42” above adjacent walking surfaces
  • Six inch diameter ball cannot pass through the triangular openings that are formed by the tread, riser, and the bottom rail along the open side of a stairway.

There are a few exceptions so please check the Chicago Porch Design Guidelines for details.

Treads and Risers - Porch Building by EDMAR Corporation

Treads and Risers – Chicago Porches by EDMAR Corporation

Chicago Porch Stair Risers and Treads

RISER is a vertical stair component made up of a board closes the space between any two treads or tread and a landing. The rise is the vertical dimension between each tread and it must be consistent between all of the treads in a flight of stairs.

TREAD is a horizontal stair component that we step upon to go up or down between the levels. The rise is the vertical dimension between each tread. The consistency of width of all treads and height of all risers must not vary within any flight of stairs.

Chicago porch stair risers and treads should have specific and uniform dimensions so we don’t trip when walking up or down. The maximum height of a riser should not exceed 8”. The minimum depth of a tread (without nosing) should be 9”, and at least 10” with a nosing.

Contact us for Complete Chicago Wood Porch Building Service and Help with Correcting Chicago Porch Related Violations

Call 1-847-724-5600

All Estimates are Always FREE for property owners.

  • Preparation of Chicago Porch architectural drawings.
  • Obtaining of required work permits at the City of Chicago Department of Buildings.
  • Meetings with City of Chicago Inspectors for any interim inspections required by the city regarding the violations.
  • Assistance in any administrative or court hearings regarding the violations.
  • Assistance until the City of Chicago determines the violations have been closed.
  • Single – Two – 3 Story porch rebuilding and repairs.
  • Front porches – Rear porches – Wrap-around porches.
  • Construction of stairs and decks.