Keeping your porch sturdy and beautiful

July 28, 2015

A well-maintained porch offers you a naturally cool and shaded place in summer to enjoy the outdoors and host guests. Here are six tips to keep your porch sturdy and beautiful for a long time.

Keeping your porch sturdy and beautiful

1. Do a seasonal inspection

  • Prepare for the wear and tear of rough winter weather with an annual fall inspection of your porch's structural elements.
  • Before the new season rolls in, repair damaged steps, leaking roof, loose boards or rails, split or rotting wood, missing nails or screws and loose or missing anchors where the porch attaches to the house.

2. Prevent rot and banish pests

  • Proper maintenance of a porch starts at the top — of your house, that is. Roof edges and clean gutters should allow rainwater to drain well away from your porch's footings; otherwise, accumulating moisture will be an open invitation for the rot and pests that can cause structural damage.
  • Also make sure that mulch and soil don't come into direct contact with wooden porch posts.
  • Every year, prevent dampness from soaking into the porch floor by sealing any raw floorboard ends with a water-repellent wood preservative and topcoat of porch paint.

3. Break out the broom regularly

  • Fallen leaves and pine needles aren't just an eyesore on your porch — if you let them accumulate, they can shorten the life of the structure.
  • Such debris captures moisture, which in turn attracts rot, mildew and such pests as the dreaded termite.
  • Sweep your porch once a week (and more often if needed), making sure to get the bristles between the floorboards and into other collection points, such as the bottoms of porch posts.
  • A putty knife works well if you need a little extra help clearing out debris that has gathered in narrow crannies.

4. Line it with lattice

  • A great way to conceal a porch's framing and whatever might lie under it — without restricting essential airflow — is to install a perimeter lattice enclosure, or skirt, between the porch's floor and just above the ground (to protect the skirt's edge from moisture).
  • Ready-made lattice is sold by the sheet at most home-improvement centres, in finished and unfinished wood varieties or made from synthetic materials.

5. Use the right paint for your porch's various surfaces

  • The right finishes will enhance the beauty and longevity of your porch, but you'll need different types of finishes for different parts of the porch.
  • Posts and railings look best painted with exterior gloss or semigloss paint, both of which are durable and easy to clean.
  • For the floor, use specially formulated porch floor paint made to stand up to a steady flow of foot traffic.

6. Steadying wobbly rails and posts

  • Porch railings get their strength and solidity from vertical structural supports — newel posts at the ends and evenly spaced porch posts at intervals in the handrail. If a newel or porch post is unstable, your railing will be, too, creating a serious safety hazard.
The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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