Monday, September 15, 2008

Our porch is gleamin' in the moonlight at night

Before we travel to our next galaxy of truly large projects (back porch removal/deck building, kitchen remodel, attic bedroom), we still have to complete a few other large-ish ones. We have progressed slowly on the thresholds project. The other big'n is to finish off the porch/front-of-the-house. A couple of weeks ago, as the weather was cooling off, we thought it a good idea to spend a full weekend getting a chunk of that done. So that's what we did over the weekend - the first really hot and humid weekend in a long, long time.

First thing to do was prep all the surfaces for painting. This includes scraping old paint and scrubbing and washing the surfaces. We put the tall ladder along the south side of the porch, up Erika went, scraper in hand. It was 1 o'clock, it was hot, the sun was beating, and I was having a hard time getting into it. Once she finished scraping the board that runs down along the side of the porch roof, as well as the eaves along that side of the porch, I went up the ladder with a scrub brush and a bucket of soapy water and began scrubbing it all down. Hosed it all off. It was looking better already.

Eventually, we were both scraping and scrubbing. Up on ladders, standing on the railings, stradling ladder and railing, holding on, leaning out, arms overhead scraping and scrubbing. Paint flecks in our hair and sticking to our sweaty skins. While we were at it, we scrubbed the outside of the gutters, which were long overdue for a cleaning.

By the end of the day (well, just after 7), we were thoroughly soaked, filthy, and worn out. But, the porch overhangs, beams, rafters, and columns had all been prepped. We roasted a chicken and mashed some potatoes. Yellow wax beans.


We got a much earlier start that day. In the bright light, a few missed spots were visible. Erika took care of those while I started cutting and installing quarter-round trim pieces at the bases of the new columns and cut replacements for the rotted ones of the existing columns.

Then we got to painting and priming. The eaves didn't need to be primed, they already had old coats of paint on them so we felt a couple of top coats on those parts would be fine. Erika got to painting, and I got to priming the bare wood railings and columns that we had built last January. The day went well. We had a nice coffee break. Kept the tunes mostly rockin' and upbeat, and just painted and painted.

You can see some of the difference in the eaves and rafters here:

Bare wood vs. newly primed:

We finally quit around 7, I think. Everything had its first coat of paint or primer on it, though we stopped short of priming the hand rails that run down the steps. It already looks so much better. And it felt good (in a sick way) to have physically pushed ourselves this far - it had been a while. We're sore, but we're glad to know that we've still got it in us to pull out a real weekend like this.

Once we quit and got cleaned up, we fried up some eggplant from the garden, and had pasta with the sauce that Erika had started in the morning (garden tomatoes and basil and neighborhood garlic, shallots, and stuff).

What's left of the porch project? Basically, a second coat of paint on everything (that's another day's work), and then we've got to sand down the porch floor and get a nice thick coat or two of dark red porch paint on there. It's going to look great!

- John