Rebooting the Front Porch Floor

front porch repainted with Fine Paints of Europe Slingblade - Atticmag I was able to have our beaten up floor properly repainted before all the autumn leaves fell.

The project began last Spring when I noticed the 10-year old boards on the front and sides beginning to rot. The culprit, I believed, was the water-based porch floor paint which didn’t properly seal the surface. Our porch faces west and takes a beating from snow blowing across it in winter and sun beating down directly during the summer. Five years ago I had the posts, newels and trim repainted with white Fine Paints of Europe Dutchlac brilliant, a high-gloss oil-based coating that’s generally considered to be the best of its type on the market (and priced accordingly). I put off redoing the floor as that required sanding before it could be primed and repainted.

sanding the floor of the front porch - AtticmagAfter the carpenter finished all the needed repairs I faced the dreaded sanding chore. And the project had a deadline. If the weather turned too cold or too wet, the oil-based paint wouldn’t dry properly. If it was too windy, leaves would be blown across the porch and might stick to the wet enamel. Fortunately, mother nature was in my corner.

our house exterior before remodeling and adding the porch - AtticmagWhen we first bought the house there was no porch, no access to the front door, and no cedar shakes. And when Mr. AM demanded that we change out the vinyl siding for architectural cedar shingles it was clear we needed to properly highlight the front entrance.

our house after being rendone with cedar shingles and a front porch addition - AtticmagOur contractor wanted to extend the porch all the way across the front of the house to help hide the ugly second-floor overhang. I liked that idea in principle, but then I realized that a 50-foot long painted porch would be a nightmare to maintain. I cut it down to 15-feet. (Our contractor, who’s also a friend still talks about changing it but I’ll leave that project for the next owner).

front porch before repainting - AtticmagMeanwhile, the floor had weathered badly.

weathered and flaking front porch floor - AtticmagThe front edge, just above the stone steps, had started to shear and the paint was flaking.

Off I went to Home Depot to see about renting a sander that would do the job efficiently and I could actually handle. They had a good one but the rental was about the same price as the Skil [above] with a catch basin I found at the local hardware store. Before sanding, I swept the porch and removed the big seagrass mat and the boot scraper. I strapped on my kneepads and went to work.

sanded front porch floor - AtticmagThe sander stripped off the loose paint layers beautifully – and surprisingly quickly. And it stripped the floor boards enough to have the oil-based primer adhere very well. The entire sanding job took about two hours. After sanding, I vacuumed the porch and went over it with a damp microfiber mop. I was surprised how much powdered paint came off on the mop.

partially primed front porch floor - AtticmagOnce dry, I began applying the Fine Paints of Europe bullet-proof oil-based primer. Wanting that to go on perfectly, I selected an angled brush that would be good for the floor board crevices, edges and bottoms of the posts. But it was much too small and the oil-based primer isn’t the easiest paint to use.

primed front porch floor - AtticmagPriming took four back-breaking hours leaving me so exhausted I could hardly bend over long enough to finish the job. So the front was a bit spotty. Not yet perfect.

I had taken on the tedious part of the job but my longtime painter and friend, Terry, was coming over to finish it. I had already purchased FPE’s Slingblade, a medium gray, in their Satin finish which would give the floor sufficient traction and not make it slippery. FPE recommended primer plus two coats of their brilliant (high gloss) finish under one coat of satin. Terry disagreed with so many coats of paint on a floor with a history of moisture.

porch repainted with Fine Paints of Europe Slingblade satin - AtticmagSo we went with primer plus one coat of satin. If we need to repaint next year there is enough paint left over. I just love how clean it looks.

repainted front porch floor - AtticmagThe painted porch needed three days to dry in the cool weather. Fortunately, there was sun and the temperature was moderate. For good measure, I left it roped off for five days to cure. I couldn’t be more pleased with the result. The floor has a slight sheen, looks like new and it’s clear that the satin-finish paint adhered well and dried perfectly. Just in time for the annual parade of trick-or-treaters!

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2 Responses to “Rebooting the Front Porch Floor”

  1. Scribbler October 21, 2013 at 10:43 am #

    This looks fabulous! Those oil-based products cannot be beat for durability, but they are vicious. (We just used one indoors with all the windows open, and we still just about had to leave home.)

  2. Marsha October 23, 2013 at 2:28 am #

    It brought a tear to my eye when I read that it was Mr. AM who wanted to tear off the vinyl siding…I’ve found it’s usually the men who want a maintenance-free exterior and love the vinyl. Vinyl siding is a pet peeve of mine…along with cheap garage doors on expensive homes.

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