This Old Erie House
By Linda Martin Community Blogger
Owners of old houses have so much in common that house talk comes easy between us. Please join in the conversation as we try to fix, restore and update our old Erie houses.  Read more about this blog.
Posted: July 2nd, 2009
The Front Porch During-After Photos

Please see the previous posts to see more before photos.

After much sweat and work, the porch floor was getting sanded clean of more than 8 decades of paint.


Starting to sand.


Some pretty wood showing through after first day of sanding.  It had an amazing red and maroon color to it.  Heart pine. I had to run to the store constantly for more sandpaper.  It gummed up fast with that old paint.


ABOVE: This photo shows what it looked like after the 2nd day of sanding. The paint was so hard and thick.


ABOVE:  This photo shows what it looked like after the 3rd day of sanding and we returned the rented sander.

When we got most of it off, I tried to sand it by hand and use a scraper.  I tried a harsh chemical stripper. I ended up going out and buying a grinder with lots of sanding discs to get the left over spots and along the edges because a regular hand sander just wouldn’t budge it.  The chemical strippers didn’t budge the bottom black, tarry layer.  But I got it up with the grinder and scrapers.

I never could figure out what the bottom layer was.  I’m thinking maybe it was some sort of creosote treatment.  It wouldn’t sand off.   In all we had the sander 3 days and my husband spent hours every one of those days sanding it.  I went back to the store so many times getting more sandpaper because it gummed up every few minutes.  What kept us going was the pretty wood that had been revealed underneath.  It looked to be in good shape.  I don’t know how that was possible given what it looked like before.


While my husband sanded the floor, I worked on the sides and the columns.  I cut the crown moldings (wow, that takes some practice to get the angle correct!) which required a few return trips to the store for more supplies during my learning phase.

I purchased a product meant for the outdoors, online.  I called the representative and asked if he thought it would work in my situation.  It was a covered porch.  He said he thought it would work great.  The stuff came a week later and I spent a couple of days on my hands and knees applying it.  It looked gorgeous!

I used dewaxed garnet shellac for the sides.  Shellac does not do well in water conditions (though dewaxed seems to do better) but this is on a covered porch that got snow on it occasionally and rain if the wind blew hard. But it is vertical so there isn’t standing water. It took a lot of coats to get the nice darker color.


ABOVE: This is what the wood looked like after the application of the clear finish.


ABOVE: After of column.


ABOVE: Before of the columns.


The columns after showing moldings.


AFTER: Porch floor.


AFTER: Looking other direction.


ABOVE: Remembering what the floor and sides looked like before.

No matter what I did to remove the white paint from the bottom of the weathered beadboard it just wouldn’t come off.  I tried chemical strippers and dental picks and still couldn’t get it off.  I went out and bought some siding boards made out of some kind of resin or plastic material and bordered the bottom to hide the parts I couldn’t fix and caulked it so no water would get behind it.  I painted it to try and match the garnet shellac color on the sides.  I think I did a pretty good job of matching it see -”AFTER: Looking other direction.”  It is working out well because when the snow does get on the porch, it is mostly touching the resin boards, not the shellacked beadboard.  The shellac has held up almost 7 years.  I need to retouch a few places this year but not much.  I’ll probably rub on another coat on the whole thing. It doesn’t take too long to do.


ABOVE: The steps stripped, repaired with Bondo-like material for wood, and repainted.  They lasted a couple of more years.  I have since built new steps as seen in a previous post. The color of the above photo is off as the color was more like the painted part of the stairs below.


And the pretty floor, how long and well did that product last?  That’s a whole ‘nother story for another post.

2 Responses to “The Front Porch During-After Photos”
  1. Kelli says:

    So how did the product on the porch hold up? We are undergoing a similar experience and I am trying to convince my husband to keep sanding although progress is slow. There could have been 6 or 7 coats of paint on this porch. We ran a belt sander over it with 20 and 36 grit for 1 day and are getting ready for day 2. I don’t want to repaint it after all this work but we are in disbelief that we are ever going to see all the old paint gone.

  2. Linda says:

    You can go to this link to find out how it turned out. At the top of the posts you’ll see a link for the previous post and the next post so you can navigate through the different posts. I’m still in the process of putting older posts onto pages in the right-hand frames for easier viewing. In a nutshell it didn’t hold up and we ended up painting it. It’s been several years so maybe the new deck products would have looked nice and held up but from others I’ve heard from just about all the deck products need to be redone in a few years or less. That’s a lot of work!