Prep Your Porch For Summer

Posted by: on June 4th, 2012 | 6 Comments
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When the pollen is done wreaking havoc in late spring, it’s time to freshen up that front porch. You want to while away those balmy summer nights in your porch swing, don’t you? Well, now’s the time to wash away that yellow film and breathe new life into your outdoor escape. Here’s your list of simple chores to make your porch ready for summer:

First things first: everything from the screens to the railing to the furniture needs a good scrub down. Nothing fancy, just a bucket of warm soapy water will do. The same goes for your cushions. Tackle any mold with a little bleach and elbow grease. Remember to wipe down the blades on the ceiling fans and rinse out the bulbs of the light fixtures, where bugs like to claim their final resting place.

Next, check the condition of the floor. It may need a good sanding or a coat of protective finish. For brick and tile, check the grout for mold, stains and cracks. You may need to break out the sealant again. Make any other repairs necessary, whether it’s a splintered rail or a broken screen.

You’ll definitely want to break out the painting supplies, too. Nothing says ‘welcome neighbors’ like a fresh coat of paint on the front door. And what about a bold new color on those rocking chairs? While you have the drop cloth out, look up and check the ceiling for peeling paint. (Interesting fact: Painting a porch ceiling blue, once a Southern tradition, is catching on across the country. Legend has it, it not only scares away evil spirits, but nesting bugs as well.)

Now for some pruning. Snip and clip the surrounding bushes, not only to show off your decorative railings, but also to keep wet plants from rotting the wood. Finally, top things off with a few new throw pillows and hanging plants. Your porch will be not only be clean, but also colorful and cheerful.

For cleaning supplies, paint and outdoor furnishings, be sure to visit your nearest Home Depot store and check out the outdoor living section on homedepot.com.

Have any more sprucing suggestions? Please send us a comment.

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  1. Fern Henley says:

    The western upstairs wooden deck is taking a beating from weather and hardly has any sealant or finish on it. Today I ordered the ‘deal’, 6.3-Gal. 1 HP Ultra Quiet and Oil-Free Steel Tank Air Compressor. What can I do with this unit to help the deck? Any ideas I can get done before hot weather sets in here in the Blue Ridge of Virginia? The wood seems to be sturdy but the grain is badly worn and eroded pretty deeply.

    • Shelley Decker says:

      Hello Fern,

      Following is a reponse from Ordjen, one of the top contributors on The Home Depot How-to Community.

      “It sounds as if your deck is getting “long in the tooth”. If your intention is to try to restore the deck and maintain a traditional type stain finish, it sounds as if some significant sanding is in order. You state that the grain of the wood is somewhat eroded. I would suggest getting hold of a belt sander to sand down the deck, first using a 50 grit paper and finally an 80 grit paper, always sanding with the grain. You will have to be careful to set any protruding nails or screws, as they will immediately rip a sanding belt apart.

      After having sanded the deck, you then have the choice of stains – water based or oil based. The advantages of an oil base is that they penetrate deep into the wood grain. Forming no surface film, an oil stain will never peel. The down side to oil stains is that they need almost yearly refresher coats of stain. Oil stains are transpaprent stains, allowing the maximum of the grain to show.

      Your other choice is a water based stain. They tend to last longer before needing a refresher coat. They do , however, form a surface film and there is the possibility of peeling. An older deck with significant cracks in the grain will allow water to enter deep into the wood and increase the odds of such peeling.

      Water based stains are available as transparent, semi-transparent and solid hide stains. The solid hide stain is almost like a thin paint. It will totally obscure the grain of the wood. It will however, also hide the discoloration of older decks.

      There is another choice for older decks with much grain cracking: RustOleum has a product called Restore which will totally encase the surface of the deck wih a heavy acrylic coating which has been fortified with sand. This product will bridge crack fissures up to 1/4 inch. Here is the website: http://www.synta.com/prod_restoredeck2.html There is a video on this website which explains what is involved.

      I am afraid your new air compressor is not much assistance for your deck cleaning task, unless perhaps, you intend to use it to power a pneumatic pad sander.”

  2. Durwn Mitschke says:

    I have a breezeway that gets dirty from spiderwebs, mud diver nest, and just dirt. The walls are masonite siding with wood trim. The ceiling is sheetrock covered with a texture and painted. What is the best way to clean the breezeway especially the ceiling?

    • Hi Durwn, Suzanne here with Home Depot. With masonite and sheetrock, you definitely don’t want to use a pressure washer. I would use a garden hose and a gentle household cleanser on the masonite and a cellulose sponge on the sheetrock.

  3. Michael says:

    Can anybody advise on codes if any regarding coaxial cable in dirt around exterior of house/ benefits of enclosing in pvc conduit and proper depth ?

    • Craig Allen says:

      Hi, Michael. I’m Craig, an editor for the Apron Blog.

      I’m afraid we can’t really help you much with local building codes, if that’s what you mean. You’ll have to check with your local authorities about that.

      To help you get an answer to your question about burying coaxial cable, I posted your question on our Community Forums for an answer from our experts. Just follow the link in the previous sentence to see what the Forums had to say.