I'd like feedback about prepping my porch deck
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laurapartera



Joined: 11 Apr 2015
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Location: Small Town Northern Indiana

PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2015 8:22 pm    Post subject: I'd like feedback about prepping my porch deck Reply with quote

Hello, New here! I'm slowly working on fixing up my historic home.

There is so much to be done but my goals this year are:
A: learning how to restore my house properly instead of "replace and upgrade"
B: Porch Deck-prep, repair and paint
C: Repair, prep and repaint the back side of the house

Here is my porch deck story/plan:

History: Bought house in 2002, we had a couple young kids, husband newly disabled (sorta newly, it's a long story) and me being the working mom. In 2005 a local organization that helps low-income people fix up their houses insulated and repainted our clapboard house. The paint job really starting falling apart within a year but I'll post about that later. The porch deck was power washed, then primed and never painted.

Now, we are more financially stable, the kids are bigger, husband less depressed and I'm working part time so I don't go totally crazy and so I can do things like peel paint. I'm a few square inches away from having the primer and paint steamed off the porch deck. I'm then rough sanding it with a random orbital sander with lead precautions in place. Here is a picture of the T&G decking that is in good condition near the house that I'm assuming is Douglas Fir.


Here are some pics of the ends of those same boards-they haven't been as cleanly peeled or sanded as they are are a little punky and I feel they need a care plan in place before I touch them more. When I try to peel the paint I usually take wood along with it.




Clearly with exposure to weather for 120 years they are a little rough. But they are not soft all the way through. The underside of the porch deck is dry and in good shape. I'd like to avoid replacing the ends of the decking unless it really is the best idea.

I can ask about priming and painting later. Right now I'm wondering how best to deal with deteriorating wood.

Here is my is my initial plan:

1: Drill holes partially through the decking where it is rotting and cover to protect from rain for a couple weeks.
2: Use borate treatment-rods or liquid based on the moisture content of the wood.
3: Use Liquid wood consolidant in the other drilled holes per John Leekes wood epoxy repair compendium.
4: Use the wood putty epoxy to reshape parts of the boards that have lost significant mass and sand that flush with wood.

Here are my questions, please be honest:

Should I be aggressive in removing punky wood/cubic rot and replace extensively with wood putty epoxy? Or should leave wood in so-so condition and harden it with the liquid wood? Please keep in mind that as far as appearance goes I'm far from a perfectionist, my house is old so the ends of the deck don't need to look brand new. I just want to do this job right for the longevity of my decking.

What about the cracks between the boards that are soft or not perfectly butted up together? Should I pick/scrape the softer wood out? Should I let the cracks remain or fill them in somehow?

Thanks so much,
Laura

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johnleeke
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PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2015 10:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Laura, welcome to the Forum, and kudos to you for saving your old porch!

1: Drill holes partially through the decking where it is rotting and cover to protect from rain for a couple weeks.

Good, this will help the wood dry out.

2: Use borate treatment-rods or liquid based on the moisture content of the wood.

Do you have access under the porch deck? Are the bottom side of the deck boards bare wood? If so, apply a product like Boracare diluted 1:1 with water by brushing it onto the bottom side of the deck boards.

3: Use Liquid wood consolidant in the other drilled holes per John Leekes wood epoxy repair compendium.
4: Use the wood putty epoxy to reshape parts of the boards that have lost significant mass and sand that flush with wood.

This would work well on condition like in the second and third photo.

The fourth photo shows where you have lost wood at the butt joint between the boards. Here there is so much wood missing and in poor condition that it would be better to replace the ends of these boards with new wood? Do you have the woodworking skills to find good wood and shape it to match the existing boards? If not there may be a local woodworker who could make the boards for you. The two key skills needed are finding and selecting good wood, and shaping the wood to match, probably using a table saw. If so, we could give you some step-by-step guidance to cut out an old board, and replace it with a new board. There might be a few or several boards to replace, cutting out the the old damaged boards back a foot or two to a joist, then cutting new boards to length and nailing or screwing them into place.

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laurapartera



Joined: 11 Apr 2015
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Location: Small Town Northern Indiana

PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2015 11:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks so so much for your reply.
Here is a pic of my "access" to the underside of my porch

As you can see the ventilation/access is pretty small and (presently) painted shut. I'm about 5'5" and about 135lb so I MIGHT be able to get in there but I'm not excited about being in there. I'm not pathologically claustrophobic but its low and there is sharp crap in there.
I guess I could try.

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laurapartera



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Location: Small Town Northern Indiana

PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2015 12:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Regarding replacement of sections of the decking.
I certainly have access to a dad with a woodshop and various friends that would help recreate the decking to match. However, I think if there was a commercially available option (obviously the quality of the wood would have to be paramount concern) I'd be interested in that because I feel like the skills I'm learning now are time consuming enough. Possibly my best bet is working with a local Amish owned and operated lumber yard in the area?

I'd like to post a variety of close up pictures of the decking and guess if they are boards you would recommend replacing or repairing.

Photo A

This is the only area where the boards are actually bowing up. That is the largest gap between any of the decking. The wood is pretty solid there. As you can see the boards are cut around the masonry there. The columns are on not resting on the decking anywhere but rather on the masonry. From looking at other porches I gather I am quite fortunate. My guess is you would recommend replacing the decking a joist or two back because these are so distorted.

Phote B

Here is some decking that is in good shape. It about a foot in from the side of the porch. I'm hoping you think the little gaps can be vacuumed and the boards prepped and painted (no final decisions on products or techniques, but one thing at a time).

Photo C

Here are the ends of the boards above the front concrete steps. Certainly they are weathered but not rotten or soft. The stupid old white primer is annoying to remove, but I haven't spent much time on it as I'm not sure if they should be kept.

Photo D

Same end boards as photo C

Photo E

This is were the wood was the softest and I thought I was doing a good thing by chiseling out the cubic rot. I'm pretty sure you'd advise replacement of those ends.

Photo F

This looks like it should be replaced, yes? (Pay no attention to the block supported balustrade, sigh, one thing at a time). It looks like the fascia below that front section of the porch might need to be replaced at the same time?

Photo G
This nastiness was the result from steaming and peeling the paint. The paint removal was actually very quick and fun where the wood was hard. This soft stuff, not so fun. This softened wood is pretty near the end grains shown photos F and G so I'm thinking if I remove and replace back a joist or two I don't have much epoxy work.

Photo H

This pic is taken leaning over the porch railing looking straight down so it is quite disorienting. From the top of the pic to the bottom what we are seeing is: Wood chips in my "garden", peek of green peeling shakes of the skirt of porch, the outermost decking that is breaking and sagging, and the white stuff is the lower balustrade and a block of wood propping it up. In the right hand corner we see the masonry (pier?). Anyway, if I'm replacing decking, that is a good candidate.

Thanks for viewing.

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johnleeke
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PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2015 12:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your deck boards don't look like a typical commercially available flooring product, but it could be worth checking the Amish lumber yard. You might find another wood "product" that you can cut up into floor boards, such as Douglas Fir stair treads, etc., that could be easier to find than plain lumber.
You want boards that match your deck boards:

First the wood itself, get wood that is thicker and wider than your boards if you will be making your own boards:

--A dense durable species like Douglas Fir
--All heartwood
--Same annual grown ring orientation (if you are splicing in short sections)
--Ring count of at least 15 to 20 growth rings per inch

Then you can look for a wood flooring product that has the same size and shape as yours. If you can't find it, then you'll be having some made. Making floor boards is really just basic table saw work: rip the wood to width, then rip the wood to thickness.

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Last edited by johnleeke on Sun May 17, 2015 12:45 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2015 12:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would say that ventilation opening is too limited to get in under there.
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laurapartera



Joined: 11 Apr 2015
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Location: Small Town Northern Indiana

PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2015 1:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh thank goodness you said I can't get in there. Because I feel like I really don't want to!

Got it! Go find the right wood and cutting it to size isn't that intimidating. My dad has a table saw and would be happy to help me.

Did you think I'm about right on which historic boards to keep and which to replace?

Thanks again. I drive around for my job so I'll just stop at all the lumber places. Could be fun.

Laura

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PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2015 1:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Did you think I'm about right on which historic boards to keep and which to replace?


Yes, I think your are getting it about right. You might even replace a few entire boards, and then use the good ends of the old boards to patch in on the outer deteriorated board ends.

You mention tongue & groove boards, but the photos of the ends of the boards look like butt joints, not tongue & groove. Do you have two different kinds of boards?

In any case, feel free to post more questions and photos as you get started.

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laurapartera



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PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2015 2:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just realized at the same time they aren't T&G! That much easier to replicate!
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laurapartera



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PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2015 1:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My main questions at this point are:
If I cannot find a source of vertical grain Douglas Fir for the repairs locally is there a recommended source to order from?

Should I worry about the small gaps between the solid floor boards? Should they be caulked, epoxied, painted or somehow bridged over or just paint those old but well prepped boards and leave the gaps? This question also applies to the inevitable joint between new wood and old wood which will be about 1-2 joist back from the edge of the porch-unsightly in my opinion (although much of my house is unsightly)-is there a way to hide it?

Regarding using boracare in drilled holes surrounding areas of minor fungal rot; can I cover those holes with liquidwood consolidate or putty epoxy before painting?

What nail or screw best to secure new or loose boards to the joists?

Based on my research I'm going to use an oil enamel. I'm going to add 10-20% mineral spirits to that first coat. Am I headed the right direction? I'm under the impression that first coat with the mineral spirits is used instead of a separate protectant or primer. Yes?

If you would rather I post all the blog info directly here just say so!

THANKS!

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johnleeke
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2015 4:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
If I cannot find a source of vertical grain Douglas Fir for the repairs locally is there a recommended source to order from?


Do you have a lumber yard or building supplier? They should be able to order some for you.

Quote:
Should I worry about the small gaps between the solid floor boards? Should they be caulked, epoxied, painted or somehow bridged over or just paint those old but well prepped boards and leave the gaps? This question also applies to the inevitable joint between new wood and old wood which will be about 1-2 joist back from the edge of the porch-unsightly in my opinion (although much of my house is unsightly)-is there a way to hide it?


Make the joints just like your old ones. You can cover your joists with a flashing of roofing felt to keep any water that drains through the joints out of the joints.

Quote:
Regarding using boracare in drilled holes surrounding areas of minor fungal rot; can I cover those holes with liquidwood consolidate or putty epoxy before painting?


I would not use a borate treatment if just filling voids of less than 3/4" x 2" at the surface.

Quote:
What nail or screw best to secure new or loose boards to the joists?


Hot dipped galvanized steel nails.

Quote:
Based on my research I'm going to use an oil enamel. I'm going to add 10-20% mineral spirits to that first coat. Am I headed the right direction? I'm under the impression that first coat with the mineral spirits is used instead of a separate protectant or primer. Yes?


Yes, correct.

Quote:
If you would rather I post all the blog info directly here just say so!


Please do.

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laurapartera



Joined: 11 Apr 2015
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Location: Small Town Northern Indiana

PostPosted: Sat Jun 13, 2015 10:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here is my Blog entry. The blog is basically to keep notes and records for myself.

Iím eager to start experimenting with techniques and learning skills related to wood replacement, wood epoxy repairs and actual PAINTING!

So, instead of keeping my entire porch floor at the same stage in the process Iíve chosen a section 18 boards wide on the North side of the porch. The section is a good starting place. The boards are neither in the best nor the worst shape.


If any of the decisions or methods Iím using on this section really tank I can make new plans and change course before messing up the whole porch.


In this section, in the last few days I have:

Sanded with 40 grit sandpaper with an random orbital sander. Vacuumed thoroughly.
Scrubbed the boards with mix of TSP replacer, bleach and water, then rinsed with hose and let dry.
Pulled out really loose rusty nails-only a few were so loose they could be pulled out with a needle nose pliers.
Chiseled out the cubic rot, punky wood and primer residue left in all the nail holes. I only had to slightly set some of the intact nails, most are set securely already.
Drilled holes partially through the depth of the boards in and around the rotten areas which are almost exclusively surrounding the nail holes nearest to front edge of the porch which is the most weathered.
This really was informative because I could feel and see the extent of rotted wood vs intact wood based on softness while drilling and appearance of the dust brought up by the drill bit. See? Iím learning!
These holes help dry out the wood before epoxy repairs.
The holes are going to be used to apply Bora Care and/or Liquid Wood Consolidate to stop the fungus and make wood solid again.
Covered the section with plastic because there is an exciting thunderstorm coming today but I want this section to be dry for the final steps coming up.

REPLACEMENT VS. RESTORATION

So, here is THE ISSUE: I cannot find a source of vertical grain douglas fir locally. This is a common dilemma. So if some of the wood needs to be replaced Iíd have to special order it and Iím intimidated by that. Iíve been advised to replace the ends of some of the boards in the worst shape by John Leeke on his Historic Home Works forum. Iím not looking forward to doing this as I have to find a source, rip the wood to size, round the ends, cut out the old wood one or two joists back and then have a seam there. BLAH.

Here is where I think John Leeke is right (DUH)

These are sections of the wood in the worst shape. Between those two middle boards there is a rotted out cavern under the surface. You can see Iíve prepped it for borate and epoxy repairs but Iím guessing this is probably a waste of time and money to repair these pieces.

In contrast, here is an area that can successfully be restored:


The area surrounding the rotted nail holes is solid wood.

Shopping List:

rubbing alcohol for working with epoxy
plastic spatulas and pallets for working with epoxy putty.
oil enamel paint thinned with 10%-20% mineral spirits for the first coat of Ö. PAINT!!!
Questions:

Where to get good replacement Douglas Fir?
What kind of nails or screws to use to secure the new wood or loose old wood decking to joists?
Can I leave the very minimal vestiges of paint in the cracks or will those little places be an oil enamel wonít adhere well?
If I put Boracare in a drilled hole can the hole be covered and hidden with wood putty? If notÖum what should I do?
Much of the solid wood decking has significant gaps between the boards because over time the butt joints (my porch isnít actually tongue and groove) have separated.-Iím assuming that I should just leave those there rather than try to fill/bridge them somehow. Iíll try to pick out/vacuum as much loose chips of wood and paint in my final pre-painting sweep. Should I try to get paint down in there? Am I wrong?

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laurapartera



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PostPosted: Sat Jun 13, 2015 1:41 pm    Post subject: Industrial Oil Enamel - Gloss? Reply with quote

I just got back from the SW paint store. I'm not quite ready to paint the porch decking but it is hot and humid and Saturday so shopping seemed like good idea.

The guy there originally tried to recommnend their latex porch floor paint to me, I'm a 40 year old woman in a flowery skirt there with another female friend so I really look the part of homeowner walk in :-). I politely told him I'd take info on it and see what I could find elsewhere but it isn't what I wanted. Then he mentioned they DO have industrial oil enamel but aren't really supposed to offer that to walk-ins. I started acting way more interested. He seemed embarrassed to quote me $96 for a gallon and without my prompting or complaining he said he could get it down to $39 a gallon!

The only industrial oil enamel there is gloss. That sounds lovely to me-any reason I should not use that?
What do you think?
I took color samples home and I think have decided on a color and I'm inclined to get a gallon today. I'll need another gallon for a second coat-the porch deck is approx 250 sq feet. Do I need a non-slip additive for the second coat?

Thanks for teaching me what I want!

I told the guy I spent hours and hours and hours removing about 5-6 layers of paint and only want the best possible paint for my porch!

Laura

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2015 3:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Doing a sample section to learn on is excellent!

Do try to protect the wood from the rain storm, with sheet plastic, weighted down so it doesn't blow away. The wood must be DRY, DRY, DRY, for the wood-epoxy repairs and paint.

Wood-epoxy repairs:
Your preparations look good.
When the repair areas are this small I would not bother with borate treatment.
Post a closeup photo of the ends of the boards and I'll suggest a treatment for the end-grain.

Paint:
If you post a message with the manufacturer and specific product (exact name and any numbers) I'll look it up and tell you what I think.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2015 3:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've asked Tim Storey, a restoration specialists in Morroco, Indiana, to jump in here and give some advice on finding some good wood there.
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