Thursday, November 10, 2016

Refinishing the Porch Floor

If you recall this post or have been following me on Instagram (floor pictures here), you may remember that we’ve been working on our porch floor for what feels like forever. This is roughly where we started (from a home tour back in February). 

To (not so) briefly recap, we knew our porch foundation needed some repairs.  Matt tore up some of the carpet on the porch, hoping to find a trapdoor or access to under the porch without have to tear out all the brick foundation.  He did NOT find that.  But we DID find some beautiful hardwood floors. 

We’ve torn up a lot of other flooring in our downstairs (kitchen, bathroom, stairs) none of which had hardwood floors underneath.  We also covered the hardwood floors in my office with bamboo.  Probably still something the husband is wondering how I talked him into.  

So after about 2 minutes of discussing it, we knew we needed to restore the porch floor.  This was the middle of August.  I realize this is the middle of November, a good 3 months later.  This isn’t me being very behind on blogging, that’s almost as long as the project took.  The last rug has been down less than a week.  It was a very long project.
Matt’s first focus was the porch foundation but with a week off and some rainy days, the inside porch got some attention too.  He sanded down the floors, making a giant mess in the process.
dust mess
After cleaning - those are rain drop on the was a rainy week
 We painted the ceiling.  I painted the back of the front door.  I cleaned up the dust mess.

Pre-painting.  For comparison's sake.
Then the rain stopped and Matt was back to working on the porch foundation for over 2 months, weekends, nights, whenever he could (although we did go to Boston and take 4 lake trips during this…so I realize we are partially to blame for this dragging on).  When we went to Boston our house was up on jacks.  Just how you like to leave it for 5 days when you are many states away.  

During the whole two months he was working on the foundation we had the majority of the porch furniture in our front room, packed around the dining table.  It was not fun.  I really really don’t like the house torn up, especially when it’s part of our main living areas.  I did move some of the furniture back to the porch after about a month, mostly to measure for rug sizes but also to sit on and read.  I do a lot of porch reading in the nice months.

Once the porch foundation was FINALLY done and things cleaned up, it was back to the porch floor.  Since the floors had been sanded but then walked on for 2+ months, they needed sanded again.  Matt talked me into buying a new sander which apparently worked much better AND, big selling point, could attach to a shop vac, greatly cutting down on the dust mess.  It was much better the second time around.  This is where we were after the second round of sanding:

We had bought stain and sealer back in August but then after living with the raw wood for 2 months we decided we liked them unstained.  We went back and forth many times, knowing whatever we do in the porch is what we’ll have to do in the front room when those floors are inevitably/hopefully refinished (next summer?).  It was hard to really be sure about our decision, not knowing what the floors would look like sealed until they were done.  But, partially motivated by less expense (we could return the unopened stain) and time (less applying and drying time), we went with no stain.  

The coats of polyurethane turned out to be really easy and quick.  The process was very similar to our old janitorial floor waxing days during college (where we met!). I realize I probably have a very small reading audience who has waxed a floor but if you have, poly-ing floors will be easy.  Even if you haven’t, it’s easy, or seemed to be since I merely observed/kept Luke off the wet floors.   Matt poured some of the poly into a paint roller tray and then could use a swiffer like pad to apply (NOT actually a swiffer but that’s what it looked it).  Each coat only took about 10-15 minutes and needed at least 2 hours of dry time.  That meant he could easily do two coats a night.

We did 5 total coats of poly and then had to stay off the floors 24 hours for their final dry.  After that it was a recommended week (which turned into 10 days) before we could put furniture back or rugs down.  We mostly stayed off the floors during that time other than necessary things like getting the mail and doing the finishing touches.

baseboards in need of some paint
We had taken off all the quarter-round back in August.  Matt cleaned those up and painted them in the garage while I gave all the baseboards and the door frame two coats of a high gloss white paint.  The baseboards were pretty dirty from use and the door frame had taken some abuse when Matt was rewiring our doorbell.
after baseboard painting
 Once everything was dry Matt put the quarter-round back down:


Caulked all the gaps, and I did some paint touch-ups.


THEN the part I had most been looking forward to.  We could FINALLY, after 2 1/2 months, get all the porch furniture out of our front room.  The clutter was bothering me.  Getting to the blinds to open/shut them twice a day bothered me.  It was difficult to get to our pretzel M&Ms (which may have been a good thing…).  And yes...we did all this work to mostly cover it with rugs.  I get the irony there.

New rugs down, weighted down on corners with books for about a week.  Furniture back, fall decorations in.  It was WONDERFUL.  I've been back out on the porch reading during many quiet times reading.  Luke can play out there as temperatures permit.  It's so so nice having this space done and back.  

Except now I’m thinking I might need to tone down the bright colors a little?  The blue/green carpet tied it all together before but now with that gone...I think I need to make some changes next year.  I'm considering recovering the all the furniture cushions, and replacing the foam in the one spot I sit in all. the. time.  Plus they will be 11 years old at that point so maybe due for an update.  My instinct is navy or a dark blue but blue is ALWAYS going to be my go-to so I'll think about it over the winter.

We also want to replace the ceiling fan, probably with another ceiling fan since we use it a lot.  We've just never liked that one and it doesn't really fit our style or the style we have going in the house.  And for that reason I never really cleaned it after the dust it's dirty.
But for now, I am so excited to have the porch back and have been reading out there as the weather allows.  The floor refinishing process went much smoother than we expected, once we had the time for it.  Definitely not a project we ever planned on but one I’m very glad we took on. Now to convince ourselves to tear up the whole downstairs for the real floor refinishing project.  If I keep admiring my porch floors I think I’ll be able to convince myself it’s worth it.

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