Let’s just file this blog post under “really awesome tricks I learned from Colby (the PG-13 edition)”. Although, that may be a bit excessive, so I’ll just stick with the good ol’ “construction knowledge” category. So today we’re back on the porch remodel train and this time around we’re talking damaged wood and how to repair it instead of replace it. I tend to subscribe to the “it’s not vented, rip it out” school of thought but Colby is sooo good at saving wood, windows, etc. So when it came to the water damaged wood on the porch, we fought the urge to rip it out and put on our Nicole Curtis Rehab Addict hats on and opted to save it. And our porch had it…water damaged wood…lots of it! Damaged wood up the wazoo! What exactly is a wazoo?! Seriously?! Actually, maybe I don’t want to know.
After removing all the old porch windows we had some repair work to get to before putting them back in (hence why we removed them in the first place). Our main area of attack was the window sill which was riddled with water damage.
And peeling paint. So…much…peeling…paint. This is what we found underneath the old aluminum surrounding the porch window sill. It’s a bit rough, but definitely worth saving.
The first order of business was scraping. We had to get rid of the flaking paint and caulking and glue to see what we were dealing with. And when it comes to scraping, I don’t mess around. I typically pass on the wire brushes and go straight for the heavy duty scraper. But do you see the window sill damage here? All those dings, gouges and missing sections? That’s what we’re looking to smooth out and repair.
Now this is where I’m going to teach you a little sumpin’ sumpin’ so listen up. Do you all have your pencils sharpened? Notepads out? Ears…errrr…eyes at attention? So they make this stuff called plastic wood. It stinks. Like literally stinks not like Miley’s dance moves stinks, so you want to make sure you use it outside or in a well ventilated area. But this stuff is awesome! It’s like taking wood putty to another level. It’s a resin/sawdust mix which hardens just like wood. The stuff is even stainable.
This is the stuff that good wood repairs are made of. We’ve used it once before when we repaired our parlor floor, but this is my first attempt at blogging about it. You use the putty to fill in any wood areas that are cracked, pitted, or generally full of holes or uneven. In our case, the window sill was full of giant cracks, gappages, and all sorts of ginourmous holes. So Colby attacked the sill with a vengeance, scooping the putty out with a wood shim (although the more traditional application route includes a putty knife) and smooshing it into the cracks.
Here’s the before after for plastic wood reference sake. See how it fills in all the imperfections? It’s just like your basic wood putty except it’s one thousand times more durable after it dries. Don’t worry about being too messy with the stuff since you sand it down later.
As per usual, Goose supervised the whole process…once the putty dried of course. No need to have Plastic Wood tracked throughout our whole house.
The putty usually takes a couple of hours to dry, longer for thicker areas. Once dry, it’s fair game for sanding. We’re lucky enough to own a belt sander in our tool arsenal so out it came for the sanding portion of this program. But any sander would work (palm sander, orbital sander, etc.).
And voila…already looking so much better after just a good sanding.
Ignore the new piece of wood, the one building up the sill. We’ll get to that later in a “how we fixed our damaged windows” post. Until then, let’s just soak up all the glory that is a like-new, freshly painted, plastic-wood-ified new window sill.
And a shot of the exterior. See the difference between the new sill and the old window? What a difference a little Plastic Wood repair and some paint make!
And just so we’re comparing apples to apples, here’s the before shot of the same window/sill section. You can see the light, tan-ish areas where the plastic wood was applied and sanded down.
Next up in the porch renovation series, a little window repair. Spoiler alert…we totally trimmed the window sash on the table saw. And by we I mean the global we (aka…Colby) and boy was it scary! Let’s just say, measure twice and cut once has never been so important to us before. But all eleven windows survived and somehow I did too!
Pssst…Project spoiler alert. I’ve recently invested in some Annie Sloan chalk paint and may have just finished painting up a side table. I’m not gonna lie, totally addicted! Does Annie Sloan offer a 12 step program?! Have you guys used her products? Or milk paint?
Do you ever watch the TV show Holmes on Homes? We do. All the time. Not that we ever watch it on purpose, it’s just one of those shows that’s always on. A few years ago, right after we bought our little fixer upper of a home, we were watching an episode when Holmes started yelling in the homeowner’s bathroom, “It’s not vented….rip it out!” Referring to the shower. For some reason, that line stuck with us. And for an even odder reason, we tend to yell it at each other when we’re working on house projects. #oddcouple Case in point, blog topic du jour, our front porch demo.
Oh yes, with ever sash pull that came out and with every rotted piece of trim annihilated, we yelled “IT’S NOT VENTED…RIP IT OUT!” Our poor neighbors. I don’t know how they deal with us. Anyway, the porch demolition day was a breeze! Maybe it’s because this was the first demo day we’ve had in over a year….or maybe it’s because this is the first demo day that didn’t involve plaster and lathe (you can read all about our previous plaster and lathe removal project back here when we gutted out our master bedroom). But this demo day was all about (1) removing all the porch windows and (2) removing all the rotten, nasty wood. We started by removing all the sash stops….both the lower sash stops:
And the upper sash stops (go baby go!):
Now, for normal windows, ones that are functioning, when you remove the sash stops the windows would theoretically fall out. But with our porch windows there was water damage and warping and windows painted shut (my bad on that one). So it took a little bit of elbow grease to get those windows out. Thankfully I brought my muscle to demo day. #willworkforbeer
Colby’s a window removal champ. And for the sake of full disclosure, Colby has the ins. He’s a window guy. As in it’s literally his job. He used to be the Andersen Window sales rep in our area before he switched over to the Brosco side of his company’s operations. Now he sells Windsor Windows. So Colby knows windows…like KNOWS windows. He’s always getting called out on service calls or sent to window trainings in North Carolina. So this little project, which I can see how it could scare off some people, is like second nature to him. He even knows windows enough (and old homes enough) to number the windows and their locations after removing them to make sure each gets put back in their right spot since there’s nothing even, level or square in our home.
After removing the windows, apparently I got a wild hair. I have a few of those mixed in with the (gulp) gray hairs! I can’t say I was ever in love the lower paneling. I wasn’t even “in like” with it. “IT’S NOT VENTED!” Out it came. We were kind of hoping to find old balusters behind the paneling but no such luck. But we did find some old planking that I’m envisioning sanding down and painting.
While ripping down the paneling we did find a little surprise. Sadly, it wasn’t a can full of money (we’re still waiting to find that) but a ginormous old bees nest. Nasty (she says in her best “honey badger” voice)!
The only other thing we removed in our little demo project was the old, aluminum that was covering up the wooden sills. Here’s the before:
And after removing it:
I wasn’t kidding when I told you we had a water/rot problem going on. Theoretically, the aluminum should have been protecting the wood sill from water damage. Instead, the aluminum was up against the sash, the silicone bead wore out, the sash/aluminum warped and tilted towards the windows, resulting in water seeping underneath the aluminum and pooling along the bottom of the sash. Hence the rot.
In the span of a day we managed to take down all the windows, remove all the rotten sections of wood, and make the paneling disappear.. We still have to take down the porch ceiling, but one thing at a time. Rain was looming. Leave it to us to pick the rainiest weekend of the summer to remove and repair our porch windows….doh…so we didn’t get around to porch ceiling removal. Windows first.
Our porch looks so weird without any of the windows! I kind of like it. I’m almost sad that we’re putting the windows back in it. But I love those windows and their old hardware. Besides, we have the deck for outdoor living space and it will be nice to have an enclosed space for chilly fall days or rainy spring mornings. Ah…I can taste that porch coffee now! I may like the windows, but I’m pretty sure Goose is going to miss having a front of the house perch for squirrel lookout!
He spent the day on high squirrel alert! Next up on the porch renovations, wood repair. You can kind of get a sneak peak of the process in the Goose pic above with all that putty on the old, wooden window sill. But we have a few other quick and easy DIYs coming at you as well. And of course more Goose cuteness!
Pssst…Okay, so I have to give a HUGE shout out to Beckie at Knock Off Decor for featuring our West Elm inspired lamp makeover! You can read her post here.
Literally. We have 99 porch problems. I was trying to finish the sentence a-la Jay-Z style, “Our porch has 99 problems but a ______ ain’t one” and couldn’t think of a single thing that’s okay with our porch. Sad. So when we left off last week, we were planning on lofting our porch ceiling this weekend. Well, we took it a step further and pretty much took everything out of our porch except the ceiling.
Why yes, we decided to demo our porch. But have no worries, the windows are going back in, they just needed a little bit of repair. The entire time we were taking out the windows and paneling and other damaged pieces of wood, neighbors passed our house and asked if we were converting our porch to an open one. We learned that just about every house in our neighborhood had a front porch like ours only to tear them down thanks to neglect and general wear and tear. Our porch and one across the street is all that remains of the porched street of yore.
Anywho. I’ve got some serious filling you in to do. Like, why are we demoing? What’s going on with the porch? Why the sudden change in plans? Well, here’s the deal. We could do the porch…or we could DO THE PORCH. The more we inspected the porch in preparing to take the ceiling down the more we realized it needed some serious work. There was so much damage going on out there, we were afraid that if we neglected it for another winter/spring, it would be too late to save the porch. So, let’s dive in to our porch’s “99 problems” and our plan of repair attack.
Theoretically, the windows in our porch should open. They don’t. Scratch that, they open about two inches on a dry day (on wet days the wood swells even more and they don’t open at all). Considering the porch is fully enclosed and fully glassed, it’s one hot, stuffy, mess in the summertime. Our plan: take down the windows, trim them so they don’t catch on the sill, and reinstall them.
I love the old bead board ceiling in our porch, but unfortunately, it’s seriously water damaged thanks to an old roof leak. Many of the boards are warped and falling apart. Not to mention Colby wanted to “check something out” early in our home dwelling time here and ripped a few boards out already. Our plan of attack: replace the ceiling with new bead board. We were originally going to loft the ceiling but after careful consideration decided we were going to miss the bead board. Since the old style is hard to match (where the groove is and the width) we’ve decided to take the whole thing down and replace it. But we’re keeping as much of the old stuff as we can to use for another project down the road.
Before we bought our house, the front porch was a victim of a drive by shooting. As in it looks like someone shot through one of the windows with a BB gun. The window pane needs to be replaced. But one broken piece of glass out of 44 isn’t so bad.
We don’t necessarily have to replace the trim above the windows. It’s in pretty good shape, as in no rot. But it is seriously wonky. Like in the section above where they used about 12 pieces of scrap trim to piece it all together in a haphazard sort of way. It’s coming down…eventually…when we finally take the ceiling down…and we’re replacing it with something more consistent.
For the most part, the fir porch floor is in great condition (minus a slew of water stains), except for this part. Knowing that a porch remodel was on the horizon, we picked up some replacement boards at a local lumber yard on clearance that we plan to use to replace the broken/rotted out boards. We aim to sand down the entire floor, apply a dark stain, and poly the living snot out of the floor. Just in case that doesn’t work (or more importantly look good), the back up plan is to paint the floor.
Holy cow you guys, the amount of rotten windows sash stop on this porch is ridiculously! This section was extra ridiculous because on of the “planted too close to the house” bush is practically growing into the window and making regular rain water deposits on the sash stop. Since the water gets between the window and the stop and pools there, hello rot! Our plan of attack: rip out all the rotted sash stops and replace them with new, painted pine.
I’m almost almost ashamed to show you that pic of our front door. Good thing I have no shame. The kick plate actually fell off on its own (thanks to some serious rot) just a few hours before we started tearing into the porch. I think it was trying to tell us something, or scream out in desperation for a fixing. Our plan of attack: remove the entire frame and door (keeping the door) and replace it all with painted pine, or potentially oak since it doesn’t rot as fast as pine, although it’s more expensive.
Our bad. Actually Goose’s bad. The screen door was in perfectly fine condition when we bought the house. That is, until an overly excited, must meet the mailman, German short haired pointer named Goose entered our lives. So now “replace the broken screen” has been added to the porch repair list.
Nasty, huh?! So not only were the stops and sills rotten, but the bottoms of the window sash were rotted too. Turns out, water was getting in there and just sitting between the stop and sash, pooling and eating away at the wood. The fix: we’re trimming off the rotted parts of the sash to save the windows, building up the sill and angling it away from the window so water doesn’t pool, and then putting the windows back in place.
The first casualty of the porch remodel. That’s the glass insert for our front, screen door. Colby broke it. See how I threw him right under the bus there? #thenotsogoodwife It’s an ironic story that I must tell you now. During porch reno time this weekend, the door was sitting in the dining room. On Colby’s trips up and down the basement stairs to trim window sash down in the workshop, he kept bumping the door with his tool belt. He feared breaking it so he moved it back onto the porch, leaned up against the railing, where it would be “safer”. The wind caught it (you know…because all the windows were removed) and CRASH…door hits floor, glass breaks. So now we have a door window pane to replace as well.
We have our work cut out for us. We’ve already managed to rip everything apart, remove the rot, trim the sash, and dry fit all the windows back in place. Look for the blue moon folks! Our porch windows are now functional! Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll break down the steps of our porch reno/repairs in smaller, bite sized pieces. I’m not gonna lie, when I sat down to write this post I went to my crazy, “oh-em-gee” we have so much work to do out here place. One step at a time! And just because what post is complete without a gratuitous cute Goose shot:
Goose loved having all the windows gone from the porch. It made his “squirrel watch” alot simpler.
Pssst…But enough about us, what about you guys? What were you all up to this Labor Day weekend? End of summer camping? An evening at the lake? Or did you get attacked by vicious rain storms like we did and decide what better time remove ALL your porch windows?! In hindsight, we probably should have waited for a sunnier weekend!
Nothin’ like a little Jake Owen to get a blog post goin’…you know…”The One That Got Away”…the song…by Jake Owen? Do you guys get the country pun-ie titles? Or is that just a I-grew-up-in-Northern-Maine kind of thing? Anywho…let’s talk about our one that got away…enter our dream home:
So I have a point here, give me another minute and I’ll get there. So after letting go of the old farmhouse we realized something. Our current home, as much as we would like it to be, is not our forever home. In fact, we’re aiming to sell it either this spring or more likely the following spring, and either look for our dream home or another fixer upper to build a little more sweat equity. But just in case dream home in a dream location pops up, there are definitely things we could be doing in the meantime to prep our house for a quick sale. Enter the porch makeover plan. When we first moved into our home, the front porch looked a little something like this:
So basically we have a blank canvas for a front porch and the porch makeover wheels are spinning! But before I commit to certain design decisions we have a few things to fix in here, which we’re planning on starting this weekend, you know, since we already have about a dozen half finished projects going on. Why not start another one?! And because I love lists here’s the porch repairs list:
- Repair the windows (they’re supposed to open but don’t, we need to remove the stops, take them out, shave the sash down and reinstall them)
- Repair the door (same problem as the windows, it just doesn’t close right and it lets all the rain come in)
- Repair the rotten floor boards and feather in some new boards with the old
- Refinish the floor (I’m thinking sanding it all down and staining it a nice, rich, dark stain to help hide all the wood imperfections)
- Fix the hole in the ceiling
The first project we intend on tackling is fixing the ceiling. You know, start at the top with the ceiling and then work our way down to the floor. We’ve already decided that the bead board is coming down. Although we are salvaging it for other potential projects since it’s old and real bead board, not the giant MDF sheets we usually use. So…ceiling options:
- Option 1: Loft the ceiling and reinstall the bead board kind of like in this picture
- Option 2: Loft the ceiling and install the salvaged bead board between the beams like this
- Option 3: Loft the ceiling and keep the beams au naturale like this picture
- Option 4: Loft the ceiling but keep the collar ties and just paint them white like this
Do you sense a “loft the ceiling” theme? We’re hoping to make the tiny space feel a lot larger with a higher ceiling. And honestly, option #4 is probably the one we’ll end up going with since it’s the easiest. We know there are collar ties (the beams that go across the porch ceiling parallel to the floor) to deal with up there and we could theoretically remove them but that’s beyond our skill set. We would rather the porch didn’t cave in on itself during a heavy snow…or slight breeze…or when Goose barks. So option #4 is our game plan (fingers crossed). And now it’s demo time! It seems like forever and a day since we’ve demoed anything! I’m off to grab my crowbar! And make a mess!
Pssst…I know it’s early to be thinking weekend plans, but what are you guys up to? Any house projects penciled in the planner? Demoing a porch ceiling like us?
“We don’t have mistakes here, we just have happy accidents.” This quote pretty much sums up our whole house project/DIY experience. The million dollar question, who said that? C’mon…I know one of you out there in TV land knows this one? Dad? I’m counting on you here! Ok, ok…it’s the great American painter, Bob Ross. Remember when he used to turn his happy accidents into trees? Well, we turned our happy little accident into a new porch floor. My dad idolizes Bob Ross by the way so this blog post is sure to make him proud!
During our blogiversary tour I alluded to our porch discovery but I’m just now getting around to blogging about it. So here’s the dish with all the dirty little details. We were having one of those relaxing little Sundays grilling and chilling when I decided, totally out of the blue, that I was going to paint the porch floor. It wasn’t even on my already too lengthy to finish this summer to-do list! But I was adamant about painting that floor. We had planned to eventually replace the whole floor but I thought it would be nice to have a paint protection layer on it since much of the floor was flaking up when you swept it (it was in bad, bad condition).
So I start paint prepping by sweeping and vacuuming and Colby comes out to “help” which is more like hang out with a beer and inspect my cleaning job. He was checking out the area around the front door which desperately needed to be replaced. While investigating the situation he started lifting up on the floor to see if he could figure out what was underneath when, SNAP, a HUMONGOUS piece of the floor broke off! The initial round of four letter words quickly subsided as the happy little accident revealed some great hardwood flooring. See:
The old home owners had re-floored with some sort of particle board material that crumbled away like it was cardboard. Another what were they thinking in the seventies moment! So we spent the afternoon ripping up the floor:
Sweet new…I mean…old floor:
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m SUPER excited about the discovery. But what I’m not super excited about is all the sanding that’s going to be involved with this project. We have intentions of sanding the whole floor since there are stains and dings in it, then staining it a consistent color, and finally polying it to death. During test sanding it took about 20 minutes of sanding to finish half of one board. There are 72 boards out there. I know. I counted. This is going to take awhile!
Here’s Colby trying to figure out the sanding situation:
We’re a three sander household: two orbital sanders and a belt sander, and we tested them all out on the porch floor with various sand paper grits to figure out our best approach. I’m kind of liking the orbital sander/150 grit combination. The higher grit means a finer sand. Thus, by using this grit I’m getting a much smoother surface than with the lower grit papers (I also tried a 40 grit). The 150 grit also seems to leave some of the old streaking/weathering in the wood, which I’m really digging. I like that recycled/refinished wood look and this is definitely going to end up like that!
I’ll keep you updated as we work on our latest project, as if we didn’t have enough projects going on already! We seriously lack house project focus! We actually haven’t worked on the porch floor since discovery day two weeks ago. Ooops! We actually spent the evening drywall sanding in the hallways….sigh…I hate drywall sanding. And I’m about to hate floor sanding, I would rather paint/stain any day, but alas it will be worth it in the end!