porch & exterior, part 9: porch finishing details

07.06 - 10.06 making sure our tetanus shots are up-to-date

click to see the full photo gallerySo we finally had the house painted, but as with everything else, that wasn't quite the end of the story. There were the screens to build, of course, but that still left a gazillion minute details to finish. Oy vey. And because we tend to get waylaid quite a bit by other projects, and work, and life, and, well, things that are way more fun than finish details, it kinda took us awhile to get them all done.

Sal removed the stairs before work on the back porch repair began to give the contractors access to the porch. They were shoddily built anyway. Which pretty much goes without saying. Y'know. Of course, without those stairs, that made getting on and off the back porch...an adventure. Prone as we are to accidents, I'm frankly surprised neither of us broke or sprained anything, actually.

Anyway, we waited to rebuild the stairs until after the house was painted because we wanted the new porch skirting underneath to be painted to make sure it weathered well. So after the house painters did their thing...and a few months passed while we were distracted with other projects...we finally got around to rebuilding the stairs. And by "we", I of course mean "Sal" because that's the way these things go. (I would also point out that he's become quite the skilled craftsman and you'll note the way he scribed the steps where they met the house so they'd follow the profile. Awww...my very own little woodworker.) The results are stairs that are now level and, AND! they don't shift when you step on them. Because that could've been, like, dangerous 'n stuff.

Once that was done, the back porch was ready to be prepped and painted. Which we totally did right away. Um, a month or so later. Timeliness? Not our strong suit. We finished it just in time for the weather to cool down (yay procrastination!), so we didn't actually get to enjoy our lovely and totally awesome screened-in back porch during the summer heat. But next year -- next year, there's no holding us back. And in the meantime, I can troll craigslist for the perfect set of wicker chairs, maybe a small side table or two.... With some inexpensive cushions, some rag rugs, and a small footstool, our back porch will be the perfect place to read on an unusually warm April Sunday, with the cats sunbathing nearby and maybe a cup of tea to ward off the chill.

And speaking of chill...with the prospect of the autumn rainy season bearing down on us, and the fact that it'd been, y'know, SIX MONTHS since the house itself was painted, we decided to buckle down and tackled the last of the exterior painting -- the front porch. Which first needed to have the large gaps between the porch fascia and the front floorboards filled up somehow and about 90% of the nails removed and replaced with deck screws. Yes, you read that right. Nails, people...they used framing nails to fasten the porch floorboards down. Framing nails, for the love of Mike. I mean, I'm obviously no carpenter or anything, but even I know that you use PORCH SCREWS BECAUSE NAILS WOULD INEVITABLY POP UP AND GIVE YOU TETANUS WHICH YOU WOULD TOTALLY DESERVE IF YOU WERE THE ONE WHO PUT THEM THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE AND ALSO THAT EXPLAINS WHY FIFTY BAJILLION OF THE NAILS IN OUR FRONT PORCH WERE POPPING UP AND THREATENING TO KILL US DEAD WITH TETANUS EVERY TIME WE STEPPED OUT OUR FRONT DOOR AND THE NAILS WEREN'T EVEN STAINLESS STEEL SO THEY RUSTED ALL OVER THE DAMN PLACE AND TELL ME AGAIN WHY YOU THOUGHT NAILS WERE A GOOD IDEA BECAUSE I'M CONSIDERING REVOKING YOUR MEMBERSHIP IN THE ANIMAL CATEGORY AND PUTTING YOU IN THE VEGETABLE CATEGORY.

Stupid people annoy me.

Well anyway, Sal spent two days patiently prying up (STUPID! RUSTED!) nails and replacing them with deck screws. At which point we also discovered that in some places, they'd drilled holes for the nails, but they'd never actually, you know, nailed anything. So our porch was only fastened by one or two nails in some places. AAAAGGGGHHHH THE STUPID IT BURNS ME!

ANYWAY, Sal finished all of that, as well as blowing out all the crevices with the air compressor (they'd fastened the decking as if they were tongue-and-groove floorboards, leaving no gaps between them, which means the crevices got wedged with dead leaves and dirt and other detritus since decking isn't the same as tongue-and-groove and is thus meant to be fastened with a small gap between the boards so that stuff can fall through AND TELL ME AGAIN WHY YOU'RE ALLOWED TO OBTAIN A DRIVERS' LICENSE IF YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DECKING AND TONGUE-AND-GROOVE FLOORBOARDS OMG???)

Whatever. Sal took care of it because he's awesome that way, and in yet another display of his innate awesomeness, he also filled in the quite largish gap between the porch fascia and the front floor boards -- a gap of as much as an inch in places) by filling it with carefully fitted scraps of wood and then filling that with house bondo and then patiently sanding it all nice and smooth so you don't even know there's anything there. Note to the POs: THIS IS CALLED DOING THINGS PROPERLY WHICH I UNDERSTAND IS AN ENTIRELY FOREIGN CONCEPT TO YOU BUT I ASSURE YOU IT'S ACTUALLY POSSIBLE NOT TO DO THINGS HALF-ASSED.

While he was toiling away on that stuff, I spent a Saturday fastidiously oiling down our porch swing and our beautiful Adirondack rocking chair. The swing we bought at the same home and garden show where we signed up for the stars. The Adirondack chair we bought this year for our anniversary; we'd been on the lookout for one for months and we got an amazing deal on it, so of course we snatched it up. It's made from eucalyptus, so it's a sustainable hardwood. Oiled up, it has an amazing range of color and it's just stunning.

Finally -- finally! -- we were ready to clean (blech), prime (double blech), paint (yay!), and touch up (meh). And we brought out our cool welcome mat, and the very cool zinc planters, and then we spent the next several Saturdays of glorious autumn weather sitting on our front porch and reading and watching the world go by and walking around in our bare feet on our front porch without getting tetanus.

click to see full photo gallery