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Our Porch Has 99 Problems

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!


  1. Well, I’m impressed. Had to google sash stop. Windows intimidate me for some reason, but you all are whipping them around like no big deal, so maybe there’s hope for my DIY knowledge yet! And our dog would be so long gone if he had that window-free porch… Goose for the win! Can’t wait to see more!

    1. Haha! Don’t let them intimidate you! You can do it! And you know, I totally expected Goose to run for the hills but I think he was all “scared-ie-Goose” about jumping out…I’ll take it!

  2. I am still trying to figure out a word for the blank in the song…I cannot find one either…lol I guess we are both sad or so schmart that our brains are crammed with other super important information. 😉 Looks like you have your work cut out for you, but I know you guys will make it look amazing!

  3. Wow can’t wait to see the end result. I’m still waiting to sit on the porch with you and do some major rocking chair rocking.

    1. Oh the rocking chairs…I cannot wait until it gets to the rocking chair point! Soon enough! And can’t wait to spend some time with you (hopefully soon!).

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Angie's Roost Campbell Family in front of home in 2021

Hi there! We're the Campbells. We traded in Maine city living for the country life in Vermont. You'll find us here fixing up a circa 1781 historic home, growing our own food, and filling this home with the memories and things that matter. Read more about us...

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