In this episode we removed and replaced the rotten porch flooring on homeowner Sandy Reynolds historic bungalow and repaired the siding to get it ready for painting.
Exterior repair projects include:
- Replace Porch Flooring: The rotten wood porch flooring was removed and replaced with pressure treated, tongue-and-groove, 1” x 4” flooring.
- Repair Siding: In addition to caulking joints in the siding, construction adhesive was applied to cracked boards, and a scrap of lumber was screwed to each side of the crack to align the siding while the adhesive dried.
- Paint Floor and Siding: After all the repairs were complete, the new porch floor was painted with Glidden Porch & Floor satin latex paint in a Steel Gray color. The steps were painted using Behr’s Porch & Patio Floor Paint in a color matched to Sherwin Williams’ Quixotic Plum. The siding was painted with Sherwin Williams exterior paint in a Hearts of Palm color.
- Repair Concrete Landing: After the cracks in the concrete at the bottom of the porch stairs had been filled, a thin layer of Quikrete Concrete Resurfacer was mixed up and applied to give the landing a new look.
Read episode article to find out more.
- Repairing Rotten Porch Flooring and Railings (video)
- How to Replace Rotten Siding (video)
- Exterior House Painting Preparation (video)
- How to Repair and Resurface Concrete Steps (video)
Danny Lipford: This week on Today’s Homeowner, it’s all about the fall. We’re not storing nuts for winter, but we’re helping our homeowner knock out some outdoor chores before the weather turns.
Sandy Reynolds: I’m just so pleased with the way everything turned out. It’s just fantastic.
Danny Lipford: Sandy Reynolds is an active do-it-yourselfer. She creates unique yard art from recycled material she finds. And with occasional help from her daughter, who lives in the apartment above her garage, she tackles projects to improve this old home she bought just three years ago.
Sandy Reynolds: All my life, I’ve wanted a bungalow. I’ve wanted a cottage-style house, and so this house, when I found it, it was just perfect for me. Been working on it for almost two years, I guess, and I’ve always been just real handy with things. I like seeing something finished that I’ve done. It really gives me a lot of pride. You just have to have faith in yourself that you can do it.
Danny Lipford: At the moment her ambitious project is painting the outside of her house. But there’s a few maintenance issues standing in the way of getting it completed before winter, so that’s where we come in.
Sandy Reynolds: Hi. Danny Lipford.
Danny Lipford: Yeah.
Sandy Reynolds: I’m so glad to see you.
Danny Lipford: Nice to see you as well, Sandy. All right, so I hear you’re quite the do-it-yourselfer. You got a lot of projects going on but maybe need a little help on a couple of things?
Sandy Reynolds: There are some things that I need help on. I like to do painting. There’s a lot of things I can do. Nut then when it comes to some heavy stuff or some things I just don’t know how to do…
Danny Lipford: Sure.
Sandy Reynolds: …and I need some expert advice.
Danny Lipford: Well, it’s looking pretty good up here. I see some ambitious colors you have picked out.
Sandy Reynolds: Yes. This is a green, despite the fact that a lot of people call it yellow.
Danny Lipford: Oh, OK.
Sandy Reynolds: But no, it’s green, and then I’ve got some plum to go with it.
Danny Lipford: Well, that’s pretty cool. I like that combination. I don’t know if I’d have picked that myself, but it looks pretty cool. Now, is this the color for your deck?
Sandy Reynolds: This is a primer, and I’ll be painting it gray.
Danny Lipford: Now, I see you stayed with the traditional sky blue. Everybody in the older houses loved the sky blue. A lot of theories as to why people paint it blue.
Sandy Reynolds: I’d heard, you know, the sky blue would keep wasps and hornets from making nests, and I love color.
Danny Lipford: There you go. Well, it seems to be working. I don’t see any wasps’ nests or any spiders or anything else.
Sandy Reynolds: So far, so good. I’m happy with it.
Danny Lipford: As we walk around the house, Sandy shows me some of the prep work she’s done on her painting project, but the back porch needs just a little bit more than sandpaper and caulk.
Sandy Reynolds: Let me show you this. This is a big, big issue for me back here. And it seems to—it’s obviously rotted out.
Danny Lipford: Wow.
Sandy Reynolds: Then, over here, it’s…
Danny Lipford: Oh!
Sandy Reynolds: …I guess they call it spongy.
Danny Lipford: Yeah. You better get back over here. Wow.
Sandy Reynolds: Yeah. So I’m concerned about what’s underneath the porch. And I do have the wood.
Danny Lipford: Oh, great.
Sandy Reynolds: I do. I have the wood to lay down for the floor, but then I was worried about the columns, how to cut around them. Of course, obviously worried about what’s underneath and what might need to be done, and so…
Danny Lipford: Well, it’s a fairly small footprint of a porch here, so I think we can take care of that.
Sandy Reynolds: Well, I am ready to go anytime. Just bring it on.
Danny Lipford: There’s also a problem with the concrete pad at the bottom of the stairs, which has some serious cracks and spalling—or corrosion—on the surface. It looks like we had our work cut out for us here. So several days later, I returned with Allen to get things started.
All right, get out into the middle right there.
Allen Lyle: Oh! It’s like a trampoline, man.
Danny Lipford: Yeah. So you see a little bit. And here’s Sandy. Sandy, I want you to meet Allen.
Allen Lyle: Hi, Sandy.
Danny Lipford: We’re about ready to get started here.
Allen Lyle: How are you?
Sandy Reynolds: Hey, nice to meet you.
Allen Lyle: Good to meet you.
Danny Lipford: With the pleasantries complete, it’s time to start making a mess.
Sandy Reynolds: OK, no going back now, guys.
Danny Lipford: The porch boards may be rotten on the outer edge; but they’re still in good shape where they tuck under the door threshold, so they’re a little stubborn coming out.
The rail supports and the porch posts are on top of the porch boards, so for now we’ll have to cut around them.
Money, money, money.
Allen Lyle: Money, money.
Sandy Reynolds: How much?
Danny Lipford: That’s mine. Don’t tell Sandy.
Sandy Reynolds: How much?
Danny Lipford: Lincoln’s looking at you.
Allen Lyle: Yeah. Lincoln’s looking at you.
Danny Lipford: That’s good. I’m making money today.
But as soon as they do, Sandy is right there hauling them off.
Sandy Reynolds: Hasta la vista, baby.
Danny Lipford: There’s good news in that there’s already a plastic vapor barrier under the porch. The bad news: there’s a lot of stubborn boards here.
Allen Lyle: Well, Sandy, the good news is, so far there’s no rot.
Sandy Reynolds: Really? Awesome.
Allen Lyle: It’s all in your boards, your deck board.
Danny Lipford: What exactly happened?
Allen Lyle: I don’t know if possibly something dropped that would have caused all the joists to come down here.
Danny Lipford: I know, but where did they not nail? I mean, I see nails. Did they just rust out?
Allen Lyle: I think they just rusted out. See, there’s one right there.
Danny Lipford: And look at that joist. Grab this again. You see it’s not on that ledger.
Allen Lyle: This corner looks like it has dropped.
Danny Lipford: Yeah, but see how it’s moving right here?
Allen Lyle: Yeah.
Danny Lipford: Boy, that’ll be easy to fix. I sure expected a lot more than this. Heck, you could have done this without me.
Allen Lyle: If any past jobs are indication, I will anyway. How many times have we seen it? How many times have we seen it? Allen’s out working, Danny’s in the air conditioner.
Danny Lipford: While the work and Allen’s whining continue here, why don’t you check out Joe’s Simple Solution for the week.
Joe Truini: If you have candlesticks in your home, chances are you’ve experienced this problem where an unattended candle has dripped wax all over a piece of furniture. Now, your first reaction might be to immediately scrape it up, but don’t do that. You’re better off waiting, and here’s why.
This wax is still soft, and you’re just going to end up with a mess. You’re better off letting it harden first, and we’re going to speed that process with a plastic bag full of ice. We’re going to set the ice on there, wait about 10 minutes, come back, and then scrape it up.
OK, it’s been about 10 minutes now. We’re going to remove the ice. The wax is now nice and hard, and we’re going to scrape it up with a plastic putty knife. Do not use a metal putty knife or a butter knife or anything else because you’ll only harm the table.
So you want to take the plastic putty knife with the bevel facing up, hold at about a 45-degree angle. I’m going to scrape it. If you hit it nice and hard, it usually pops up just like that in big chunks, and that’s what you’re looking for.
At the end, after you scrape it all up, there might still be a little wax residue on the tabletop, but you can buff that off with a dry paper towel.
Danny Lipford: This week, we’re helping Sandy Reynolds repair a rotten porch floor so she can finish painting her house before winter arrives.
This is where the bounce was coming in.
Sandy Reynolds: Right, right.
Danny Lipford: That’s an easy enough fix, but we’ve also found something more mysterious. Something has deteriorated, or eaten, or something, the back of these bricks. I don’t know if anything would chew on brick or not. And, if so, that’s a pretty bad little animal.
Allen Lyle: Well, I wouldn’t want to meet him.
Danny Lipford: It’s really odd. I mean, it’s not a structural problem. You can see that somebody stacked some brick there—solid brick— right beside it.
Since it isn’t posing any problems for us, we’ll just have to leave that mystery unsolved so that we can get on with jacking up the porch roof.
This will take the weight off of the column so that we can remove the remnants of the porch beneath it.
That’s it. Look a there. Look at how it lifted it out of there.
As those remaining boards come out, we discover even more rot in a band joist on the edge of the porch.
Now, Sandy, we have a little bit of rotten wood here on the outside, not too bad. We can take the face board off, get to it pretty easily. So look who shows up. Here’s my daughter Chelsea, Sandy.
Chelsea Lipford Wolf: Hey, Sandy. Good to see you. I got the primer you asked for.
Danny Lipford: Perfect, perfect. I’ll tell you what, that’ll help out so much if you guys can go ahead and prime all the edges of the porch boards.
Chelsea Lipford Wolf: All right, sounds good.
Sandy Reynolds: Let me show you where those boards are. They’re over here in the garage.
Danny Lipford: Meanwhile, Allen and I are removing that trim board and cutting out a spacer board behind it to reveal that damaged joist.
The piece we’re replacing it with is treated wood, so we shouldn’t have that problem again. Then we can reattach the trim board to cap it off.
Inside that corner, we’re removing the damaged part of the ledger board and replacing it.
All right, let’s see if we—I’m going to lift this up. See if you can stick it right in that old mortised hole there.
Allen Lyle: How am I supposed to see that?
Danny Lipford: I don’t know. Just saw it. I’ll help you. OK. Keep threading, babe. All right, now drop it down in the hole. No, not that hole. That hole over there. Over there. Go down. Down on just on that side.
OK, now you’re set to go in. Now hammer it. Yeah, there you go, there you go. Yeah, this is high level work. I’m just glad you’re doing the low level part of it.
Allen Lyle: Yeah, I noticed that.
Danny Lipford: Once the ledger is secure, we add another board alongside the loose joist. Finally, we’re ready to install the primed floorboards. Here you are, Allen. There’s the first one I cut in length.
Allen Lyle: Good. I’m going to have to mark it through one little notch.
Danny Lipford: Good. I can notch that easily. Hey, the reason that we wanted to prime all sides of the one-by-four, tongue-and-groove flooring is that it’s so important to do everything you can to keep moisture out of the wood. Not only because of wood rot, but the expansion and contraction that can take place on a porch floor can really make it look bad.
That’s another reason we were really glad to see the plastic vapor barrier that was already right on the ground to keep that groundwater from migrating up into the wood. That’s a good thing. This is going to be a great looking porch.
After a few notches along the wall and the rail, the rest of the boards start going in pretty quickly. Using a scrap piece of flooring to protect the edges of the board, we tap the tongue-and-groove together tightly and shoot a finish nail through the tongue of the new board.
Oh! Did you see how I was acting like you nailed it to me?
Allen Lyle: Yeah, I saw how you were acting like that.
Danny Lipford: Like going to the theater.
We’re also using construction adhesive to ensure that these boards stay put. Since Chelsea has jumped into helping saw the porch boards, I’m going to help Sandy with some of the other small repairs.
Now, you’re about to do a lot of painting on the outside of the house, trying to get it all tightened up before the winter. But I see a lot of little things like this that need some attention.
And, of course, you know, it’d be nice to replace that piece of wood. This siding’s kind of hard to come by, but I think I have a trick that I can help tighten this up a little bit for you. I just need to get my tools.
Sandy Reynolds: That’d be great. That’d be wonderful. Thanks.
Danny Lipford: This repair is as simple as using a screw to re-align the pieces of the siding, then coat the edges with construction adhesive before using a scrap of wood to hold it in place until it dries.
These kind of chores are not uncommon with older homes, but if you’re building a new home or renovating one, you can choose materials that don’t need as much attention. A good friend of mine recently built a new house, and that’s exactly what he did.
Gunn Boykin: This is my sixth house to build, so I’ve learned from each house. You know, the pluses and minuses you want to stay away from, and which—like on the outside—I wanted to stay away from maintenance.
Danny Lipford: So all the surfaces on this house are low-maintenance, especially the siding and the trim.
Gunn Boykin: When I was picking out the siding, I went with an expert who knew all types of siding—you know—that would help keep the house safe, secure, insulated and everything.
Danny Lipford: The material they steered him toward was from Royal Building Products. The siding and trim has a high-end look, combined with the low maintenance that Gunn wanted. So he’s protected his investment and made his life a lot easier.
Gunn Boykin: Forget painting, forget—you know—having to recaulk or any of that type stuff.
Jodi Marks: I love the fall because you got football, you’ve got all your home improvement projects that you’re tackling before the winter hits, and of course you’ve got to deal with those pesky leaves that are falling in your yard. But if you are in the market for a blower, take a look at this right here.
This is the cordless blower by EGO. Now, you’ve got your electric blowers and you got your gas blowers, and they all have their good points; but let me tell you about this one right here.
First of all, it’s running, it’s operating on a 56-volt lithium ion battery. What does that mean? That means that’s got a lot of bang for its buck, baby. This thing is really powerful. As a matter of fact, when compared with other gas-operated blowers, it actually performed better because it’s got a lot of pack and punch.
You’ve got about an hour run time on this battery. It only takes about 40 minutes to charge it up, and let me just show you how powerful it is. Now, it’s got a variable speed, so I’m going to move it over to high. Watch this little flag right here. Whoo, baby!
So if you’ve got a lot of leaves to move, this is definitely the blower to get. I love it.
Danny Lipford: We’re helping homeowner Sandy Reynolds wrap up some outside repairs that stand between her and getting her house painted before winter. Allen and I repaired the rotten wood under her back porch, and Chelsea helped Sandy prime new porch floorboards before Allen installed them.
Then I helped Sandy tackle some siding repairs and gave her some caulking tips to improve the results of her painting project. We even mixed up some concrete resurfacer to fill in the cracks in the pad at the foot of the steps.
You know, I got to admit some days are better than others when you’re doing projects around your home. Yesterday was a very good day. Even though it’s a fairly small project, everything went so well for us.
So today all we have to do is Allen’s installing the last little bit of trim around the porch. You can see Sandy’s right behind him with the caulk gun. Chelsea has us some fresh paint supplies to finish everything off. And then I’ll be doing a little bit of concrete work at the bottom to make that look brand new. And all of this will take us less than a day.
The trim we’re adding around the porch floor is quarter round, just like you would use on an inside floor to smooth the transition to the surface around the floor. Once that’s done, Chelsea and Sandy break out the paint to touch up the siding and the handrails.
Sandy Reynolds: How do you like that paint color, Chelsea?
Chelsea Lipford Wolf: I love it. It’s weird. It looks kind of green in the bucket, but then it looks more yellow on the wall.
Sandy Reynolds: I know.
Chelsea Lipford Wolf: I like it.
Sandy Reynolds: I get that comment from people, but I love it.
Chelsea Lipford Wolf: Yeah, I like it.
Sandy Reynolds: Whatever color anybody wants to call it, I am good with that. Oh, Chelsea, that’s looking great.
Chelsea Lipford Wolf: Yeah, it’s looking good there.
Sandy Reynolds: Yeah, really making a big difference. Yeah, I think, you know, painting is just one of the least expensive things that you can do to your house. That just make the biggest impact.
Chelsea Lipford Wolf: And doesn’t require as much skill as other projects.
Sandy Reynolds: Right. It’s just amazing what paint can do.
Chelsea Lipford Wolf: Well, we are good people for this job, because Dad and Allen do not like painting at all.
Sandy Reynolds: Oh, OK. I just love to paint.
Chelsea Lipford Wolf: I agree.
Sandy Reynolds: Yeah. I’ve always liked to paint.
Chelsea Lipford Wolf: They just don’t have the patience of a woman, I guess.
Sandy Reynolds: I guess not. Maybe that is what it takes. Yeah, you can’t just get anybody to paint. My brother was the worst painter in the world.
Danny Lipford: And I thought Allen was the worst painter in the world. Despite that, he jumps in to help trim out the porch with some battleship gray porch enamel.
Sandy Reynolds: Oh, yeah, that’s a nice color.
Allen Lyle: You like that?
Sandy Reynolds: Yeah, I love it, love it. Wow, that’s going to be so nice.
Danny Lipford: You can use a roller for larger areas, but it’s best to follow it up with a brush, which is called back-brushing. This leaves a much nicer finish than a roller for a porch floor.
With this many hands at work, the porch floor is done in no time at all and they move on to the steps. On this concrete surface, the roller works just fine. And, boy, does that plum color make a statement.
I’ll tell you what, all the painting is complete now and it’s drying so fast because it’s pretty warm today. Now I can move forward with the final step, and that’s to apply the concrete resurfacer and make the concrete here look as good as everything else.
It’s important to mix this stuff precisely, and a mechanical mixing paddle on a drill is the best way to do that. Although it looks like concrete, it’s designed differently so that it can be applied in a much thinner profile than regular concrete. In fact, usually you would apply it with a squeegee. But for this small area, I find a trowel works perfect.
Once the surface is covered, you simply smooth it off to a flat, level surface.
Allen Lyle: That’s the sound of the men working on the chain gang.
Danny Lipford: That’s all I know. I wasn’t in prison like you were, so I didn’t, I didn’t learn all those chain gang songs. How long were you in prison? You’re still there now, huh?
Allen Lyle: Totally.
Danny Lipford: I see.
Allen Lyle: Yeah, with work release.
Danny Lipford: While I’m wrapping up the resurfacer, Chelsea and Sandy are cleaning up and mulching the flower bed to get it ready for winter, too.
But no matter how well-protected your home and gardens are from freezing temperatures, you won’t be very comfortable if the power goes out, so lots of homeowners have discovered that adding a stand-by generator is a great fall project as well. But it isn’t a do-it-yourself project, so who you rely on for that chore is very important.
Ed Leatherbury: When a customer calls wanting a generator installed, we go to their home and find out exactly what they want to run.
In this situation, we got the ground level, put the slab down, put the generator on, ran the gas piping, had an electrician wire the transverse switch and the generator in. And then our technicians come out and start it up. We do a break-in period and then we provide a maintenance program of coming out every six months.
Danny Lipford: When you’re dealing with damaged woodwork, the question that always follows is, “Do I repair it or do I replace it?”
The answer can be found in the purpose of the damaged component. If its function is purely aesthetic—like molding, trim, or siding—then it can often be patched.
Automobile body filler is a great choice because this two-part compound dries very hard, very quickly, so you can fill voids and make repairs very easily.
Once it’s dry, it can be sanded just like wood to create a smooth, finished surface.
Sandy Reynolds has chosen some exciting colors to paint her house, but she couldn’t complete the painting because of some serious problems with her back porch. The floor of the porch was spongy and unsafe, not to mention the siding repairs that were needed around it. And the deteriorating concrete at the foot of the steps.
By identifying and repairing the problems beneath the porch, we were able to rebuild the floor so that it’s not only beautiful; it’s also safe, sturdy, and should stand up to the elements. The small repairs to the siding made a big difference in the look of the porch, as did resurfacing the stair pad and completing the plum paint on the stairs themselves.
Now, with only $300 in materials, we’ve created a great little getaway for Sandy.
So, Sandy, I’d wait a couple of days before you started moving the furniture back up there or go running up and down these stairs. But we got you started, but you have a lot more work to do on the house.
Sandy Reynolds: Yeah. I’m just so pleased with the way everything turned out. It’s just fantastic. You all did just such a good job.
Danny Lipford: Oh, well, I appreciate it. We had a lot of fun doing it. And Sandy does have a lot of things to do on the outside of the house, but I’ll bet that by the time it gets cold around here, she’ll have all the caulking done, all the painting done, and this place will look fantastic. And she’ll be saving some money this winter on her energy bill.
Thanks so much for being with us this week, and I hope you’ll join us next week here onToday’s Homeowner as we help another homeowner with some projects they have on their list. I’m Danny Lipford, we’ll see you then.
All right, let’s get out of here. She’s going to talk us into other stuff.
Yes, sir, buddy, you’re solid.
Allen Lyle: I’m a solid guy.