Sunday, December 23, 2012

Project Flashback: Porch Redo & Power Washing

Before we started tackling our kitchen, building an entertainment center, planting a veggie garden, and adopting a puppy and a kitten, we were busy with a few other projects earlier this year that might be of interest.

Not long after we arrived here in May, we quickly realized that our porch needed immediate attention. For starters, all of the screens needed to be replaced. The originals were two layers: a fine mesh metal screening, which in theory would keep insects out, then a heavier, wider mesh that helped to keep debris from coming in during storms. I mention how the screens should work in theory, and I’m sure when they were originally installed 10 years ago they did a good job. But over the years, the metal rusted, holes were formed, and I can state for a fact that pretty much any flying insect found their way into our house. And I can also state for the record that these babies bite…big time. Attempts were made over the years to repair the various holes with duct tape, but clearly that wasn’t the ideal solution.

What the interior of the porch originally looked like.

We took a trip to Lano’s Hardware in town and discovered they sold shade cloth, which is a fine mesh nylon type of screening that would work just great. David then started taking apart all of the frames and discovered the original screens were installed with pretty much any type of fastener you can imagine – nails, brads, staples, carpet tacks to name just a few. No matter what was used, all were rusted.
While he tackled the screen installation, I started painting. As with the screens, no new paint had been applied in 10 years, and everything looked rather dingy. Painting the inside walls wasn’t a big deal, but the wrought iron work? Oy. I thought painting louvered doors was an exercise in Zen, but all those iron curlicues almost did me in. And just for the record, the wrought iron window coverings are welded to the wall, so it wasn't like we could just hit 'em with spray paint and call it a day. Nope, each freakin' curlicue had to be painted with a teeny, tiny brush.
Wrought iron door and window covering. With the two window coverings now repainted on the porch, it only leaves 12 more to do on the house. Don't even want to contemplate the ones on the workshop.
During this time, we also purchased a power washer. Call me crazy, but I love using a power washer. Once I get that wand in my hand, nothing, and I mean nothing, is safe if it isn’t nailed down.
One of the first areas I blasted was the walkways on either side of our driveway. This is what it looked like before:

And after:

The front, outside walls of the porch also needed attention. Before the power wash:

After the power wash:

After being painted:

Those bedding plants you see have all been ripped out and replaced with sunflowers and marigolds.
Back to the screening, we opted to paint all the frames white to give the area a more open feel. Here's what our efforts yielded when the paint was on and the new screens in place:
Suffice it to say, our interior insect population plummeted and the number of bug bites dropped dramatically.

As an aside, you may notice the ceiling fans in some of the interior porch shots. These were rusted beyond belief, but could move massive quantities of air. Instead of replacing them, at least for now, David took them out to his shop and gave them a complete makeover. You wouldn't even recognize them now, 'cause they look so purty.

In an upcoming post, I'll share more project flashbacks including what it took to replace our septic tank (what fun that was!) and the main breaker box (our first experience finding out what it would take to break through concrete walls. Thank goodness for hammer drills.)

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