Painting My Old House Porch: The Rest of the Story

Happy weekend!
Remember when I told you we’d had the front porch of our old house painted after a roof leak took 106 years of paint back to the raw wood? Well, there was more to the story. When you’re blessed with an old house, there always is …
And remember when I told you how to have hanging ferns that are the envy of the neighborhood? Well, those gorgeous ferns are part of the same story. The not-so-pretty part.
This past week, it was the wood porch floor that needed attention. You see, a few weeks ago when the wrap-around porch was being painted, we noticed that some of the floor boards across the front of the house were damaged. Strike that. They were rotten. Why? Because years ago, when we hung ferns for the first time, Yours Truly ignored everything she knew (but didn’t want to think about) and focused on aesthetics … and Renaissance Man graciously followed her lead.
We hung those pretty ferns directly over the porch railings where they dripped on the porch floor … twice a day every day for more than half of every year. Over time, the water seeped under the paint and started making its invisible mess. The boards didn’t dry out; the rot began. This week, as Dave Ramsey says, we paid the Stupid Tax.
Fortunately, “Elmer” has some wonderful products on the market today, and we didn’t have to cut and splice the boards. Instead, we were able to let the wood dry out thoroughly … then stabilize it … then fill it with a 2-part epoxy. A quick sanding with a hand sander and the porch was ready for painting.


Our painter recommended Sherwin Williams’ DeckScapes. The “black” it comes in wasn’t dark enough for me, so I had it custom-matched to my newly-painted black front door. Did you notice?



I love this color! Oops! There I go with the aesthetics again. I also love that DeckScapes gets great reviews for being long-lasting and mildew-resistant.


Now, about those ferns…

Renaissance Man moved the hooks further away from the porch … up under the eaves. Of course, that caused the ferns to hang too high, so we added a length of chain to “drop” them to the perfect aesthetically-pleasing position … then re-attached the drip line. Now when we water the ferns, we water the front flower beds, too … and the porch stays dry.


I’d like to say “all’s well that ends well” … but I still have an issue with the newly-painted front door. That’ll have to be a post for another day.

You know, the last time I did a post about “Elmer,” it was a lot more fun … and more than you ever wanted to know

Do you have “old house love” like I do? Want to keep up with the continuing saga of My Place? Sign up to receive new posts via email!


  1. Susan- We lived in two old historical houses and you are right- you are never done-it is always something. I must say though that I miss the wonderful feeling of living in an old house. How do you like the black floor? I painted ours dark green in the last old house and it showed every footprint…but I loved the looks of it- xo Diana

  2. Well I dream of having an Old house like yours…so my grand kids can come and hear the sound of the old house and the character that only an old house can have. I also love that there is upkeep…that allows my creative side to come out. Now salesman isn’t into that so I would be out there myself.
    I LOVE your porch…a place for memories to be made.
    Great job and I too only haven’t used Elmers except with my kids…last week we made slime!

  3. Your porch is amazing and I love your ferns. Great fix for the problem. Hugs, marty

  4. Yes, I have old house love. Unfortunately, in true Do It Yourself fashion, I’m just going to have to live in this one until she gets old. That’s what God said a few years ago when He finally got me to stop begging for an old one.

    Even in this big fat ’80s house of mine, I repeatedly have to pay the stupid tax. (Love that btw.) I also LOVE LOVE LOVE your porch and want to look into the products you mentioned.

    We have outdoor issues that greatly need addressing, and as you might suspect: There’s a fund for that. I think it will grow faster after I write that last check to Mercer University.

    Rambling yet again. Sorry.

  5. I know, I know…old houses, hard work, but aethetically it’s all beautiful. I think the black looks awesome! Thanks for the Elmer’s wood tip. Speaking of stupid tax…I just bought an old picnic table sight unseen, because I really wanted an old picnic table. The guy told me it was sturdy…one of the legs on the bench FELL off, and one of the table legs is almost there…So I paid for the table and now we’re paying for products to repair it….BUT I HAVE MY OLD, RUSTIC PICNIC TABLE!! 🙂 It’ll be in a post someday, hopefully before fall. 🙂 Good to stop by, Susan. ~Zuni

  6. Jim (old Luther estate) says:

    I just bought an old house that was built in 1910 in Hartsville, SC. The house is beautiful but the front and back porch/deck are in need of repair after years of neglect. The house is white with red metal roof (replaced 10 years ago) and the decking is painted gray. I need to sand the old paint off and repaint it. In addition there are areas that are in need of rescreening and wood replacement due to weather and exposure. Most of cause is due to no guttering in the back part of the house and deck which I plan on fixing. Any help is appreciated. Would post pictures but do not see attachment option.