Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Scraping By

 Indeed we are scraping -- the back porch, that is. And no process that involves wielding a heat gun can be unexciting, believe me and my burns.

I dumped a bunch of photos here in the order in which they were on my phone, so I'm sorry there's not a great narrative arc. But it's still more coherent than the presidential debate.

This is the current state of the back porch, and to be honest, it's not far off what it's looked like for the past ten years, minus the screens being down. We've been intending to make this area a pleasant and useful part of the family domain since we moved in. Looks like 2020 is going to be good for something!

The porch was painted arsenic green about 60 years ago, probably about the same time the tiki lights (currently on the floor on the left side of the photo) were put up. Finally we have put up ceiling fans, and already the place feels more habitable -- especially on hot days.

The porch had always felt dark and unwelcoming. Then we pulled down the big lattice panels on the far side, and voila! It became sunny and welcoming, a place we wanted to spend our spare hours in manual labor.

The entire porch is screened in, and the screens are technically removable, but the huge walls of screen have been painted into place and are effectively permanent. These slimmer frames cover the built-in trellises (of which more later). Removing them makes for easier scraping. The heat gun makes for awesome scraping. The burns on my arm testify that I have skin in the renovating game, and the blisters on my thumb attest that if I were a pro, I'd wear gloves. Still, beauty is fleeting, but apparently you only need to paint the back porch once every half-century. That's how the previous owners felt, anyway. 

To be honest, the blisters on my thumb (and forefinger, and the inside of my ring finger) aren't from scraping, but from prying out old staples and nails from the screen. There are about three generations of screen fastenings in these frames, one on top of the other, and the wood rotting out under all of them. We're going to use a lot of wood filler here, but for the most part the frames have held up.

The other side of the screens, in the peeling white paint of the porch exterior. Since we're going to paint all the woodwork the same color (not white), we don't have to worry about two-tone screens any more. And do you dig the ancient peeling paint? 

Before our neighbors put us onto the concept of heat guns (and in the time we've spent this summer dallying over mere slats of wood, the neighbors have scraped, sanded, and primed the entire side of their house), this is what we were getting from scraping off chipped paint and sanding.

Here is the exterior side of the narrow screens. The molding strips were fastened on with a nail gun at some point, because when I pop them off with the pry bar, the nails stay in and have to be pulled out with pliers. 

Here's the meat of the post: the new color scheme! The walls will be painted the same white as the exterior of the house. All trim on the first story (currently the same white) will be painted a pale sage, very shadowy. The floor of the porch (and of the kitchen porch, and the cellar door), which used to be the kelly green in the right of the photo, will be this deep green, which I think Sherwin Williams deems "Rookwood Shutter Green"

All the woodwork will be sage, you ask? Well, we thought so. And then we started scraping up top and wondered, were these boards once stained like the ceiling?

Kinda looks like, doesn't it?

So the question becomes, should we try to stain these topmost boards again? They're clearly a different wood than the rest of the porch. And will we even be able to get the woodwork clean enough to stain? 

Ah, the trellises. With much effort we popped one off for more convenient scraping, only to realize that they were meant to be permanent fixtures. Fortunately the damage was minimal. So we'll scrape the rest in place, and get this one back up where it belongs.

A bonus shot of the front porch, with the heat gun, the real star of the show. These are the doors from the living room. (The front door is under that bit of roof you see.) The exterior is Tudor, at least since 1929), so the upper stories have half-timbering in a chocolate brown. But the trim on the first story was all painted white. As I said above, we're painting it a shadowy sage green for just a bit of contrast. The doors will remain as they are.

No comments: