Labor Day Labor

Ready now? Everybody cheer: 3 DAY WEEKEND!!!

Aside from my daughter’s sleepover, which was a labor of love by every definition (and maybe a little insane), we decided to follow in the footsteps of many homeowners and use our extra weekend day to work on some projects around the house. Remember the spreadsheet? I’m able to click the X box on a few things on that list this weekend.

I was really feeling the fall colors already, even though we’re still forecasted to hit triple digit temps today. I decided to greet September with some fall colored flowers to replace the previous ones that couldn’t take summer’s heat. I really wanted some burgundy and white pansies, but after stops at Home Depot and a local nursery, I found out they’re not yet in season. So, we went with Petunias in red and white. I also added a few random plants to the pots on my porch.

Our other project, which was an important one, was replacing some rotten wood on a column on our porch. It looks like the wood wasn’t properly primed or sealed during consruction, so rain and weather have slowly caused the wood to rot. Again, I caution to thoroughly check out builder inventory homes if you’re thinking of buying one.

To tackle a project like this, you don’t neccessarily need to hire a professional. We are new to power tools, but I think we did a pretty good job. You’ll need wood, a table saw (we borrowed one from a relative), nails, hammer, tape measure, exterior caulk, caulk gun, and paint. The exterior grade paint and primer in one is so great, and saves you a lot of time! I highly recommend it. For the wood, we opted for a pre-treated and primed wood that is sold for decks or exterior trim. It comes with a no-rot guarantee! Worth every penny.

We measured the wood and cut it before we pulled off the rotten wood. Rookie mistake, don’t do this! Pull it off first. We learned afterwards that there was a second base layer of wood behind the trim wood that also needed replacing. We didn’t find treated wood the exact same size and depth of the original wood. It was thicker, so our pre-cut trim would be too short. We could have cut 1/4 inch off of each side to make our trim wood fit, but it was easier to get a second set of trim and recut the corners to the right length, so we did.

We put the base wood on and measured each side. Never assume that a square in construction is perfect, there almost always is some difference on each side. We measured the length of each side with the base and used then made our cuts. We marked the lengths on the wood and set the saw at a 45 degree angle to get the mitre cut corners needed. We fed the wood with the markings on top and the saw blade matching up with the line on top, allowing a perfect corner to angle outward.

Don’t worry about perfect cuts. Caulk can hide many imperfections. Our cuts were actually quite rough! Nail the wood on, seal your edges and corners with caulk (also fill in any holes or cracks). I also smeared some caulk over the nails to prevent rust. Once the caulk is dry, you can paint and viola! Since I’m re-painting the entire column (paint is peeling off above the problem area) and matching door trim, I opted to use a semi-gloss that will be more water resistant than the previous flat paint. I took a chip of the original paint in to have the color matched, and it worked out very well. I think it looks better than the original did!

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