Continuing on our quest for curb appeal, we’ve tackled the next major step in our exterior project list at our “new” house, and I must say, I absolutely LOVE the results!
As we mentioned in our first post in this series when we talked about how we spruced up our flower beds, this summer we’ve also decided to approach improving the curb appeal and address some deferred maintenance items of our American Foursquare home in three distinct phases.
- Flower/planting bed beautification
- Addressing exterior paint issues
- Overall porch projects and paint
Yes, the exterior paint is the next major item on our list of projects, and boy is it needed. As you can see from the following photo, we have several examples where the paint on our siding had been compromised and was simply bubbling and peeling off.
This issue in the photo could been seen on all sides of the home’s exterior. Alex even did a little bit of work last year to address some of the absolute worst sections on the front of the house.
Now, you know us as DIYers to the core, right? Well, we also like to fein that we’re reasonable homeowners from time to time. When dealing with something that’s a large scale project that requires many people to get it done in a timely manner, and would require a lot of work up high on ladders, my preference is to hire it out to the pros. As a result, when it came to painting our home (both now and when we last had our home painted in Alexandria), I look to a dependable painting crew.
But before the crew could get to painting, we had some color selections to make, as well as some prep work we wanted to tackle ourselves.
The prep work included two significant elements. The first dealt with repairing and replacing some significant wood rot on the front porch decking and steps.
Alex worked to repair those when we were working on the garden this Spring, and was able to install new boards where necessary to make the porch whole again.
We also removed the handrails from the front porch because they were a soggy, rotten mess. We may build new ones at some point, but rather than get bogged down for the next several weekends building new ones, we decided to patch the railing and live without them for now to see how we like the look.
The second was the fact that there were many rotten pieces of siding that would need to be replaced when the painters came. But this isn’t siding you can just go pick up at the big box. Oh no! This is 100+ year old siding that is flat, not beveled. It’s 5-1/2″ x 1/2″, so not your standard size that you can go buy. As a result, Alex picked up a bunch of cedar boards that were all 5/8″ thick, and planed them down to 1/2″ to match the old siding profile and reveal.
It was a ton of working running them through the planer (and then pre-priming all sides of the boards with oil-based primer), but it was work that was necessary to make sure the new boards looked appropriate with our existing siding. This, in and of itself, was a full day project, but one that was important to help correct the issues in the right way.
Next up, we had to make our color selections. This is one of those cases where you can often reach project paralysis at a fairly rapid pace. I was sure I wanted the overall color of the exterior of the house to stay white. Rather than dive down the rabbit hole of different shades of white, we kept it simple here and went with our painter’s recommendation of using Sherwin Williams factory mixed bright white. That way if we ever have to touch up sections, we don’t have to worry that the paint might be mixed differently than the color on the house.
The porch floor, porch ceiling, and the metal roof colors all needed more deliberation. We’d already painted our front doors Benjamin Moore Wythe Blue, and I love how that turned out, so I wanted to make sure I chose colors for the porch floor and ceiling that would complement the Wythe Blue. I certainly wanted to stay in the blue family for the porch ceiling, and opted for a shade lighter than the door, which is called Rainwashed by Sherwin Williams. We landed on this color after determining the equivalent Sherwin Williams color to Wythe Blue, and then moving one shade lighter on the chips.
When it came to the porch roof, which was installed with a factory hunter green finish, I wanted to find a shade that wasn’t quite so green. The old paint had failed in places and was beginning to rust, so we wanted to get a coat of paint on it to protect it. This seemed an idea time to change the color to something we liked a little better. At the same time, the shingles on the upper roof are a gray/green/black combination, so I didn’t want the metal roof making the upper roof color stand out. Really, I just wish the shingle roof was gray or black, but we’re not replacing the roof anytime soon so we’ll have to embrace it. My preference for a roof is to always use a dark neutral color when choosing shingles, so you never end up with this situation when you want to change things in the future.
We ended up choosing a very dark gray with the slightest hint of green to work with the upper roof. We used Sherwin Williams Andiron, and I feel like it really nailed the color I was going for. It has just enough of a green undertone that it works for the asphalt shingles, but it also tones down the green tremendously.
While the house, porch ceiling, and metal roof colors all came together pretty seamlessly, the porch floor has been a major saga. What we were looking for was to change the existing brown tone to gray. So we chose Sherwin Williams Chatroom. a gray with a hint of green to work with the roof color, selected off the same chip as the Andiron color for the metal roof. But after Alex repaired the rotten sections of the porch, and we put on the first coat, it ended up looking really green. Far too green for our liking.
At this point, we knew we didn’t like it but the painters hadn’t started yet, so we decided to reserve judgment on the Chatroom color until after the rest of the house was painted (and it actually dried).
As far as the professionals go, our painting crew ended up spending a full week painting the house. They power washed everything, removed loose paint, repaired rotten boards, caulked where necessary, corrected splits and gaps, and generally made our house look 10 times better!
It was amazing to see the house transform from slightly dingy with siding cracks to a clean and crisp historic waterfront home. As far as the porch floor is concerned, we ended up revisiting the color after we realized it wasn’t the look we wanted (even with the new metal roof color). The Chatroom color worked with the roof, but when you’re on the porch, you can’t see the roof, and it just looks a little off. Though we’d already applied our paint to the front porch and steps outside the laundry room, we begrudgingly admitted we made a misstep.
After a lot of back and forth, we eventually landed on Sherwin Wiliams Dorian Gray. It’s more of a true gray, and after applying this color, I’m much happier with its look rather than a greige with green under tones. We still have a good amount of work to do on the porch, but here’s a quick comparison between the Chatroom (lower stairs) and the Dorian Gray (upper stairs).
As much as I hated having to repaint, we forced ourselves to look at it as primer and a failed experiment. Even before the new color was dry, we already liked it better than the old.
We’ll give you more updates on the porch in our next curb appeal post, as it’s still very much a work in progress. But we’re certainly headed in the right direction.
Driving up the driveway is a wonderfully welcoming introduction to our home. The fresh white paint is classic and just looks like it could have looked over 100 years ago. And if you’re seeing our home from the water, we decided to add a little patriotic flair to our facade in celebration of Independence Day.
The new roof color is far more neutral and looks great with the upper roof. While we won’t be changing the relatively new shingle roof, the new dark gray color on the lower roof balances the green and makes the coloring on the shingles far less apparent, which was exactly my goal.
But I think my favorite part of the whole project is probably the porch ceiling. The Rainwashed color we used is exactly how I was hoping it would look. The painting crew sealed it all up and painted/filled any significant cracks. And, at least for the next few weeks, all of the spider webs and bugs that usually collect on the porch ceiling, are all gone.
Our curb appeal’s second step is complete and looking great. We still have a lot of work to do to repair and spruce up our porches, but a freshly painted house is a huge weight off of our shoulders. We’ll be working over the next several weeks to address these larger porch issues. While it won’t move along nearly as quickly as the house painting project with a large crew, I think it will be just as impactful.
Hope you have a wonderful Independence Day if you’re from the States, and happy 150th to our Canadian readers. Have any projects on your list during your days off, or are you using the time for a little bit of relaxation?