Revitalizing an older home through an old front porch remodel can be a daunting task, but it can also be a rewarding one, especially when it involves updating the porch to match the historic character of a neighborhood.
Matthew and Carey Bradley live in a historic home in midtown Mobile. Built in the 1940s, this house has seen its fair share of wear and tear over the years. But thanks to the Bradleys’ hard work, many repairs have been made, including replacing the rotting front porch.
While the new porch is structurally sound, it’s lacking the finishing details it needs because the project was put on hold once the couple found out they were expecting their first child. So, we’re here to finish the job and give this porch some love to make match the historic charm of the others on the block.
Front Porch Makeover Tip 1: Remove Tall Shrubs
The holly bushes in front of the porch may be tall and provide some nice greenery, but they’re blocking the view and making the space feel cramped. So, what’s the solution? Well, we’re gonna have to get rid of ’em! Not only does this open up the space, but it also makes it easier for us to do work on the old front porch remodel.
To make the job easier, we attach straps to the crown of the bushes — or base of the bush — then the other to my truck tow hitch. With a tap of the gas pedal, those bushes come right out, roots and all!
After clearing the space, it’s time to add some fresh greenery. We’re planting some boxwood bushes in their place, which won’t grow as tall as the holly bushes, and will complement the boxwoods that are already planted on the other side of the house. And, to add a little pop of color, we’re scattering some Coleus in between the boxwoods.
But, we’re not stopping there, folks! To really make those flowerbeds pop, we’re replacing the rubber plant bed trim with some stylish Pavestone pavers stacked on end. This’ll add some decorative definition to the beds and really make ’em stand out. All in a day’s work, folks!
Front Porch Makeover Tip 2: Add Railing
The key part of this old front porch remodel is adding some attractive railing.
The porch’s height technically doesn’t require a handrail. But to give the house some character that matches the neighborhood, and added safety since a baby will be here soon, we add a traditional wooden railing to wrap around the porch.
To prevent the railing from rotting, we cut an angled bevel on the bottom handrail to rainwater flows off it and does not pool up. We don’t want to add any extra posts between the columns and the house, so for extra support, we place a kiddie block under the bottom center of the railing.
We paint the railing and columns to match the trim to lighten up the space. To tie in the newly stained floorboards to the new railing, we stained the top railing to match.
And for added safety, we add a handrail on one side of the concrete steps. To make sure the hand railing can hold up over time, we set the post in Quikrete Fast-Setting Concrete.
Front Porch Makeover Tip 3: Paint the Door, Swing and Steps
A little bit of paint packs a punch in this front porch remodel.
The plain white door lacks character, to add a punch of color, we paint it a blue tone. Not only does it go with the porch’s haint blue ceiling, but it’s also similar to the color Carey chose for her nursery.
The white paint on the porch swing is peeling off and revealing a Dalmatian-like pattern of black paint underneath. This happens when you don’t properly prepare the surface before painting. So to fix it, we scrape off the peeling paint and give a good rub down with some sandpaper. Roughing it up with sandpaper helps the paint to properly adhere to it.
Decades of paint layers are peeling off the concrete steps leading up to the front porch. To give it a fresh start, Chelsea coats them in a chemical stripper. This powerful mix of chemicals melts away the paint, so it can be easily stripped off.
Once the old paint is scraped, Chelsea paints on a fresh coat of BEHR PREMIUM Self-Priming 1-Part Epoxy Satin Interior/Exterior Concrete and Garage Floor Paint, then tops them off with Daich Coatings TracSafe Anti-Slip Sealer. This creates a slip-resistant surface that increases traction to prevent any accidents.
- Removed wrought-iron column corners
- Replaced corner trim boards
- Installed new ceiling fan
- Painted side table and mailbox to match the porch swing
- Added potted plants
Matt and Carey’s porch was the perfect size for their home. But over the years, it had lost much of its character and appeal. The porch floor that Matt rebuilt was mostly hidden by a wall of holly bushes, and the peeling paint on the steps and porch swing and the lingering wrought iron details left the porch without much of an identity.
But now, the shrubs are gone and the porch has become the focal point the house needed. The new handrail suits the character of the house perfectly and defines the space without closing it in.
The new color on the columns ties the house and porch together, while the black on the swing and front steps add contrast. Also, the pale blue front door and the updated landscaping can simply say “welcome” to guests as they arrive.
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Products Featured in This Front Porch Makeover:
- Flowerbed: Boxwood bushes, Coleus, Vigoro Bagged Premium Red Wood Mulch
- Pavers: Pavestone Holland Charcoal Concrete Pavers
- Porch plants: Ferns, Pansies, Gaura, Creeping jenny
- Door: BEHR PREMIUM Satin Enamel Interior/Exterior Cabinet, Door & Trim Paint in Watery
- Swing: Rust-Oleum Stops Rust 12 oz. Protective Enamel Gloss Black Spray Paint
- Steps: BEHR PREMIUM Self-Priming 1-Part Epoxy Satin Interior/Exterior Concrete and Garage Floor Paint in Jet Black, top coated with Daich Coatings TracSafe Anti-Slip Sealer
- Quikrete Fast-Setting Concrete Mix
- Rocker: JACK-POST Children’s Natural Hardwood Porch Outdoor Rocker
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