Victorian gets facelift

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Q: I have a Victorian on which the porch and stairs are in dire need of replacement. The stairs are treated lumber, so I know they aren't original. The porch lumber, while original, is so dried and broken I can't make out the material. What porch and tread material would you recommend to restore it to its Victorian roots? I see some stairs and porches in the neighborhood that are stained a dark finish. Is that appropriate to the era? Should I stain or paint? A: Rebuilding the entry stairs and front porch is probably the single biggest thing you can do to enhance a Victorian home. If it's done right, even a small cottage screams elegance. Over the decades, original stairs and porches that have not been maintained will fall into disrepair. The ravages of wind and water take their toll on the exposed wood. Once-grand features are reduced to a patchwork of loose and dried-out boards. The original material is probably Douglas fir, which is often mistaken for redwood because it takes on a re...