I think I might be an addict. I guess admitting I have this problem is a step in the right direction, right? Why do I think I’m an addict? I can’t seem to stop! You might remember in our “Bathroom to Bucket” post, we said “now that the rest of the house looks great, the natural wood porch doesn’t!”
Each time we drove down our driveway, we would comment on how awful the porch looked. And since we are firm believers that in order to sell a house it has to have a certain amount of “curb appeal” we (OK, I) decided that we needed to do something now rather than to wait until spring. In the picture on the left you can see how the new paint on the dormers and siding conflicts with the rather weathered drab lattice, steps, railings and posts. Not pretty at all!
The porch, railing and lattice are all pressure treated lumber so are essentially self maintaining structurally, but we hadn’t done anything cosmetically (painted or stained) during the 16 years that we have lived here primarily because we didn’t want the extra work of maintaining the finish. Guess now it will become a task for whoever buys our house! Although, if our experience with the house siding is any indication, the solid and semi-transparent stain finishes we are using will probably never peel like paint, they just kind of wear away gradually making recoating fairly easy (no scraping).
The week before Sandy hit, we had really good weather with temps in the mid to high 60’s, dry and sunny so after we decided to proceed with the porch improvement, the first task at hand was to power wash everything. Once again the bathroom remodel moved down the list in priority so Rob donned his foul weather gear and began to spray everything with a mixture of TSP, bleach and water. Cleaning the lattice work was a lot of fun (not)! Our original plan was to just do the lattice and the trim around the lattice and leave the rest for next spring.
While we waited for everything to dry, off we went to our home away from home (aka Home Depot), on October 23rd to buy some stain. We wanted to buy a few sample cans of stain but unfortunately they couldn’t mix the colors we wanted in the sample sizes.
So hoping for the best, we just picked a color, Woodbridge in Behr’s Semi-transparent line (after it was done, we thought that perhaps a somewhat lighter tone would have been better – oh, well!). If you ever decide to stain, word of warning if you live in a cold climate – purchase your stain before the summer’s end. For some reason, Home Depot doesn’t replenish their supplies of stain tint base (and probably other exterior products) once they start displaying Halloween decorations and Christmas trees!
Originally we thought that one can of stain would be enough but, wrong again, as our project expanded so expanded our need for stain – in the end we needed four gallons – the sprayer and the lattice really ate up the stain! Stock was running low on the required tint base so we had to go to several different Home Depot’s to find it.
For interior work we’ve usually bought our paint at Lowe’s and have had good experiences there but we weren’t so fortunate at HD. One pet peeve I have is with sales people who bad mouth previous customers in front of their current customer (in this case, us) which is what happened at one of the stores. And then when we bought the forth can at a different store, the HD employee mixed up the paint incorrectly (same color but wrong formula so it didn’t match our previous cans) which we didn’t realize until after we got home. So back we went to get it remixed! Luckily they had just one more can of tint base left! GRRRR!
Our plan was for Rob to spray paint the lattice and then I would use a roller and brush to do the trim and the posts. Since we didn’t want to remove the lattice, we had to staple some sheets behind it to avoid the paint going everywhere under the porch.
While Rob was spray painting, I painted the top trim board and the top of the frame of the lattice with the house color. Initially we were going to paint the entire frame of the lattice with the house color but then decided it would be easier just to do it with the stain.
Once we were done with the stain on the front of the house we decided we didn’t like the top frame board painted in the house color and that perhaps painting the frame in the house color was not a good idea. So Rob ended up sanding off the paint I just applied and I redid it with the stain.
We weren’t done yet but wow, what a big improvement! But darn, now that the lattice was done, the steps, railings and posts looked awful. Have you heard this story before?? Time to expand the project again! By now, Rob was busy rebuilding the landing at the garage back door and I had nothing better to do (HA HA) so I decided that I would continue and stain the step risers and railings and then paint the vertical posts with the house trim color.
Strangely I am probably one of the few people in the world who love to paint. If only it didn’t require the set up and masking and then cleaning the yucky brushes! Anyway, when I started, I naively thought that it would only take a few days to finish everything! HA! Silly me! I should have known better.
Doing the porch definitely pushed my love of painting to the limit. For three very long weeks, painting was my life and my full time job! I was out there just about every day in the morning except around the time that Sandy hit. And then after Sandy there were a few days that the dropping temperatures prohibited my painting. It eventually warmed up but then a second nasty Nor’easter hit which dusted everything with a light coating of snow. Mother Nature has not been very nice to the Northeast! Luckily after that storm, we once again had some warmer temps so I could feed my addiction.
In the midst of doing the porch, I decided that our somewhat faded garage door could use a little brightening. The previous owners had left an almost full can of the original Cottage Red paint so I decided to refresh the door with that color. Initially it looked good but once the lattice was stained, we decided that the burgundy red didn’t really compliment it. You can probably guess what happened next! Yep, I decided to repaint the garage door the same as the house color. Of course covering the deep red required two coats. We considered using the trim color but decided against it because it didn’t cover as well (probably would need at least three coats) and would probably show the dirt a lot more than the siding paint.
Finally three weeks after I started on Monday, November 12th, I painted my last stroke and cleaned my last brush! Woo hoo! We think that it really spruced up the house. In retrospect, as mentioned previously, perhaps a slightly lighter toned stain would have been more complementary, but we ain’t changing it now (maybe in the spring ha ha)!
We also still need to do something to the deck of the porch (which is in good shape since it is mostly protected from the sun and weather) and the horizontal step boards are weathered beyond repair (we may be able to flip them over), but those tasks will have to wait for the spring.
Just for fun, here are some stats:
- The porch which wraps around the front and left hand side of the house is about 84 feet long altogether.
- There are three laterals for the railings so that would total 252 feet of railing 2×4’s plus another 32 feet on the two sets of stairs. Total 284′ x 4 sides = 1136 linear feet
- Trim board above the lattice work. Total = 252 feet
- There are twelve 8 foot high posts requiring two coats of the trim color on all 4 sides. Total 96′ x 4 sides x 2 coats = 768 linear feet
- The front steps are 8′ wide with a total of 8 risers. Total 8′ x 8= 64 linear feet.
- On the side of the house, there is another set of 3′ wide steps with 7 risers. Total 7 x 3′ = 21 linear feet.
- Total number of linear feet that had to be painted for the porch = 2241 feet. A little less than 1/2 mile! This doesn’t include the lattice and frame, the house siding, the trim, the gutters and the downspouts. That would involve higher mathematics to figure all that out and after sniffing paint for the last few weeks, I don’t think my poor brain could handle it! LOL
And I’m sure inquiring minds might want to know how much paint we used to paint the exterior house and porch! Here’s the breakdown:
- 8 gallons of the primary siding color, Cabot Autumn Sand PROVT Solid Stain
- 3 gallons of the trim color, Cabot Linen PROVT Solid Stain
- 4 cans of Behr Semi-Transparent Woodbridge stain for the lattice and lattice trim
- 17 cans of Valspar Churchill Hotel Ivory Spray Paint for the gutters and downspouts
As far as the cost goes, we figure we spent $645 for the paint, $50 for miscellaneous items (rollers, brushes, masking tape, etc.) plus the $850 for the articulating boom lift so our approximate cost was $1545. A lot less than if we had hired someone to do it!
As for me, I certainly hope the urge to wield a brush again doesn’t return for a while as I suspect Rob is getting ready to arrange an intervention. But darn, we still have the bedroom, upstairs bathroom and downstairs office to paint! Sigh……but that most likely will have to wait until spring.
Now it’s time to chase around after the stupid leaves in the yard…..am I addicted to that task? Heck no! It always has been and will continue to be my least favorite thing to do.