Monday, July 14, 2014

Rach Makes a "New" Screened Back Porch

We bought our house in 2008 from the original owners who built it themselves in 1958. Needless to say while the little old lady who lived here was adorable, she hadn't updated anything in the house since the 1970s. We love our screened in porch. It is great for dinner or even breakfast and when the weather is warm we spend a lot of time out there. The bugs and rain can't get us. It is original to the house and is in need of some loving. All the wood and maroon outdoor carpeting aren't exactly our look. Not to mention the screen is starting to get some holes in it.
The Porch in its Original Glory - gotta love that light

Then one day my daughter was outside and she saw a bee. She said "Look Mommy, a bee!" and then proceeded to pick it up. Two year olds don't have much common sense. Needless to say he was not dead yet and stung her which resulted in tears - poor thing. After that she didn't pick up any bugs that were getting in but I figured now that I have some time on my hands this would be a great project to take on. Especially with it being the beginning of the summer and having the whole season ahead of us to enjoy it.

The Original Porch looking the other way - that's a lot of wood
So my theory when I started was I would rip up the carpeting, stain the cement floors and paint all the wood. For some reason in my head I wanted to have blue ceilings. I kept seeing pictures of porches with white walls and blue ceilings and loved how it felt like a beach cottage or house in the south.

I did some research  (thank you lovely ladies working the paint section at Home Depot) and found out that because the porch was made of pressure treated wood, it would need to be painted with a special oil based primer - yuck! Oil based primer is such a nuisance to paint with because you can only remove it with mineral spirits. It is stinky and it is thick. Then why should I use oil based primer? Well because the wood is pressure treated which means that it has been treated with chemicals so it has the ability to stand up against the elements. If you don't use this primer then the chemicals will leak through the latex paint and ruin the finish you put hours into.

The oil based primer needed for the porch
I set myself a goal of having the whole porch done in two weeks so I could show it off at our 4th of July Party. I originally thought the whole project would take me only one week but it took the two and we haven't quite finished it yet.

First I cut the carpet into strips and pulled it up and tossed it in the garbage. I swept the floor trying to get up any loose debris and adhesive. If your floor is like ours, this will be a lot to clean up and throw out.

That's a lot of gross stuff that was under my carpet!

Then I tried to get up the adhesive using some home remedies - boiling hot water and white vinegar. It didn't make a dent so I pulled out the big guns. I drove to home depot and rented a cement sander and brought it home. I got home and realized that I didn't have the upper body to lift it and wasn't sure if I could even control it. Poor hubby was still sleeping because he worked until midnight the previous night but I was so excited about our redo so I woke him up (nicely of course!) and explained to him that I had a large piece of equipment in my car I couldn't move... He looked at me like I was a little crazy but wasn't surprised (I have pulled these antics on him before). So he got up, threw some clothes and flip flops on, got it out of the car and started sanding the floor down.
Hubby demonstrating how to properly use the concrete sander'
UPDATE: Don't use a cement sander the way we did. Please wear sneakers and face protection. There is a lot of dust.

We found out quick that because I have no upper body, the machine controlled me instead of the other way around. So while he sanded, I swept. The sander creates a lot of dust that covers the ground. You can't see the floor while sanding because of all the dust. This makes this job great for two people. Remember when using the sander to go in sweeping motions and don't stay on one area too long or you will make a hole in your concrete.

After we thoroughly swept all the dust up, we started to remove the screen. We started just hammering at the screen and then pulled it out. It came out easy. We used a crowbar and hammer to pull off the trim. You want to make sure you remove any staples, nails or anything else from the wood. We used a flat head screwdriver to pop the staples out and a set of pliers if they broke before coming out. Prepping the surface properly will make sure your finished product lasts longer.

Once we removed all the screens, trim, staples, nails and everything else, it was time to power wash. We enjoyed power washing. It was messy and what but when I use the power washer I want to make that grunt that Tim the Toolman Taylor makes on that tv show.  Here's a reminder of what I mean We swapped out which helped with the arm aching situation. Once we were done power washing, we let it try for 24 hours before starting to prime.

Priming done!
Now it is time to prime! The priming is what is the most time consuming part of this job. My porch has 9 windows with 7 spindles in each window. Quick math means that I had to prime 63 spindles not to mention everything else. I used a 2" Purdy brush (I am a paintbrush snob) and painted all the walls which took 2 days. You will notice our ceiling is wood planks so we couldn't just roll it. We had to cut in between all the slots first and then roll it - ya that was fun....
Another view of the priming completed
The room already looked so much brighter. Although all that white scared me a little. Remember when painting the rule of thumb is ceiling, then walls, then the floor.

Snow Leopard Paint Chip
Shale Grey Paint Chip
Next (after a work-free weekend),  the walls and ceiling got the final coat of paint. Once you prime in the oil based paint you can use latex paint (much to my relief). We choose snow leopard for the walls and shale grey for the ceiling. I was gung-ho about having a blue ceiling but seeing that the two walls of my porch are the exterior red brick of my house I needed something that worked well with the brick. The grey in the blue balanced this well so it didn't clash. Its amazing how paint can transform a room.

Everything only needed one coat of paint. Thank goodness! After everything is painted, we stapled the screen back on. This was simple just staple the top, roll it down and cut it to size. Then staple around the edges. After that's done, we just need to put up the trim and then will be done. We installed a new ceiling fan according to the directions to finish the porch.

We plan to stain the floor as well but we had some cracks that we patched and you need to wait 30 days for new concrete to cure before staining so I guess that we will have to wait. In the meantime, we are going to enjoy our "new" finished porch bug free!

See how nice the Shale Grey looks with the red brick. I love it!

Looking out in the other direction of new porch

Back Porch

Kilz Complete Oil Based Primer
Latex Exterior Paint for Ceiling in flat finish
Latex Exterior Paint for walls in semi gloss finish
Ceiling Fan
Mineral Spirits
Drop cloths

Box Cutter
Cement Sander
Broom and dustpan
Wide flat head screwdriver
Paint Brushes
Power Washer
Roller frame with extended handle
(3) Rollers
Roller Tray

  1. Talk to your local home improvement store about your particular situation and any details.
  2. Cut carpeting into manageable strips (3-4 feet wide) and pull up
  3. Sweep area clean 
  4. Use cement sander to remove all the adhesive from the floor
  5. Patch any holes in the cement 
  6. Remove the screens, trim, nails and staples to have a smooth surface
  7. Power wash all surfaces, let dry at least 24 hours
  8. Lay down drop cloths on the ground
  9. Prime the ceiling and walls
  10. Paint the ceiling final color
  11. Paint the walls final color
  12. Staple the new screen up
  13. Install trim over the staples
  14. Paint or stain the floor

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