Our Sad Looking Front Porch

Do you have an area of your house that has so much potential, but you just can’t seem to find the time to work on it? And every time you see it, you get a little embarrassed? Well, that’s our front porch for me.

Every time I walk up to our front porch, I have to remind myself of my personal mantra for the year: I’m just one person, and I only have so much time. I’m going to do what I can (while truly trying to use my time efficiently), not do what I can’t, and feel zero guilt about it.

I’m doing pretty good at not putting needless pressure on myself, or piling heaps of guilt on myself for not doing more. But at the same time, there are some things that can’t be put off forever. And when it comes to the exterior of a house, and dealing with materials and finishes that are exposed to the elements, putting off projects and maintenance can end up getting more expensive as time goes on.

It was about this time last year that I showed y’all the front porch, and how the wood boards were holding up compared to the PVC boards. I had hoped to find time last spring to do some maintenance on the front porch, and yet, here we are. It’s one year later, and the front porch is still looking worn and sad, and still needs maintenance.

So while I want to stay focused on my studio, and I’m determined to do my best to get it done by the middle of August if at all possible (but no guilt if I can’t), at some point before the really hot weather gets here, I need to spend some time focusing on the front porch. It’s looking pretty sad these days, but there’s so much potential here! This is what it looks like as of this morning.

Everything needs a good pressure washing, and then all of the cedar porch boards need to be sanded and refinished/sealed.

And do you remember the tape lights that I put up a few years back? They were so pretty in the evenings!

installing LED tape lights around front porch roof - lights installed and turned on at night

Well, they’ve come down (because just relying solely on the tape adhesive to keep them up in the humidity outside doesn’t work), and the lights are just hanging straight down on the left side of the front steps. I need to get those back up and find a better way to secure them so they won’t come down again.

I always have random stuff on the front porch — an empty box that I put out for a stray cat during a rain storm, items left over from projects because I use my front porch as a work bench since I don’t have a workshop, etc.

The porch ceiling also needs attention. When I painted it the first time, I did so without priming first. Why? I have no idea. I know better than that, especially when painting over boards that are filled with knots. And now all of the those knots are showing through. So the whole thing needs to be primed and painted.

And then there’s the faux stone skirting. I can’t even remember when I started this project, but it’s been half finished for a very long time now. I do remember that I was making great progress, but then had to stop because it started raining. And it rained, and rained, and rained, so I moved on to other projects and never got this finished. It’s been like this for an embarrassingly long time now.

This is the part that I showed y’all at this time last year, and I’m still trying to decide how I want to handle these columns. Learn from my mistake and don’t use primed fingerjoint boards outside. Even if you plan to prime them really well with oil-based primer before using them, just don’t. For outdoor projects, use PVC boards if at all possible.

The primed fingerjoint boards that I used, even though I primed them really well with oil-based primer, haven’t held up well. But the PVC boards that I used have held up perfectly. They need to be cleaned, but the boards are in perfect condition, and the joints (which were put together using the PVC glue) are still perfect as well. None of those joints have split. My shutters, which I also made out of PVC boards, are also still in perfect condition.

You can see the stark different between the two below.

So at some point in the next few weeks, after all of our rainy days have passed, but before the really hot weather gets here, I’d like to spend a few days focusing on the front porch. I just wanted y’all to know to expect that so that when I’m in the middle of a fun studio project, and I stop to work on the front porch, y’all won’t get mad at me and tell me that I need to learn to stay focused. 😀 I just simply can’t put this off for another year. I don’t want to find myself in a position of having to replace porch boards because I’ve put off the maintenance too long and too much damage has been done.

And I really want to finally have this front porch finished! I’d love for guests to drive up to our house, and for our front porch to give them a real glimpse of what they’ll find inside. Because right now, our front porch just gives off “sad and neglected” vibes. That’s not really what I want people to think about or expect from our home.



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  1. Absolutely right! I see you suffer from humidity ( mold , algae) sticking to your outside just like I do in the northeast. I look around and see all this plastic (vinyl) but it is the easiest to clean. Do what you have to do, don’t worry about what all us spectators say!

  2. Hi Kristi, instead of pressure wash, consider soft wash. I have had it done at two homes and it is amazing at how clean it gets your surfaces with less effort in such a short time. I have been a bit obsessed with trying to learn out how to do it on our own at our home because it’s not cheap to hire a pro but very effective and it is not prone to leaving depressions on wood/drivit or other softer surfaces. It involves bleach (but it’s worth it to me) and surfactant but I haven’t been able to find a good formula. If anyone else has insight, I’d love to know

  3. Please keep in mind all your fans and the praise and awe sent your way. I would find it difficult to be in the public eye, like a pressure to come through, to live up to. Most commenters tell you they have projects that aren’t complete, projects they put off or give up on. You also live life with a dear husband, family, friends, church groups, study, beloved pets,and all the regular chores of every day life. I am thankful you have been able to expand your lives, the two of you, out and about, enjoying guests. Remember most of the rest us of pause to read a book, maybe stop one project and start another or just relax. We admire your skills, and just back you as you do what is best for you. Your front porch is lovely and we are all ready for some nice days to be out and take care of our outdoor projects. You will have the porch looking its best in time. God bless you both as you do life one day at a time.

  4. Well, as all the realtors say…curb appeal. Not that we care about selling, but we all definitely make a judgement on first impressions. But for you, the big thing is to not do the maintenance on the hard work you have already done is no good. AND, timing is everything…we live in Florida, so work outside needs to be done NOW, before the real heat of the summer…and inside work is great in the summer as we can stay in the A/C and avoid big projects outside more. So, I would not have been surprised or thought anything if you jumped to an outside project now, in between working on the studio project. I, for one, would have known exactly what you were up to. 😉 And it is the perfect time to dress it up, and put some plants in the planters, and a summer wreath on the door…and then work inside! Makes total sense to me!

  5. Pros and Cons of Smart Board Siding

    Replacing your home’s siding is one of the best ways to protect your property from the elements, insulate it for better energy efficiency and instantly improve its curb appeal. There are multiple types of siding, including wood, aluminum and vinyl.

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    1. I have considered that, but this is already done, and it’s not needing to be replaced yet. Doing a little sanding and refinishing is a one-day job since my porch is pretty small. So at this point, it’s not worth it to me to completely undo and redo the whole porch to save myself from one day of work every few years.

  6. Until you get to it… just a clean sweep, a rug, & some potted plants. Endure the “rustic” look for now. It really has great dignity and is still beautiful! Then get to it when you can. I love what I am learning from your experience and all the great advice from comments!

    1. I was thinking along those same lines (!) and would encourage you to some very well-deserved “job delegating” and hire a pressure washing outfit to do your porch and walkway. It’s such a good feeling to have tedious home maintenance jobs done all at once and the cost benefit of your time is so well spent considering your other projects. If there is a garden center that delivers, have them bring an and lay a couple of bales of pinestraw to freshen the bed areas. Enjoy your Spring and thank you for sharing your amazing projects and home!

  7. If it were me I would work outside until I absolutely could not stand the weather. Then I would move inside and work on the studio. Nothing feels better than driving up to the front of your house when it is clean and looks well kept. As Nike says, “Just do it!” Good luck!

  8. I had forgotten you painted the porch ceiling blue! I love it! True Southern charm. Your original post about your front porch is how I discovered your world here and I have read every post. I truly enjoy your work and writing. Thanks for sharing even your “warts” and missteps with us. That makes you incredibly relatable.
    I think working on the porch in the tolerable Spring temps is a very good choice. Perhaps some large staples wide enough to embed just beyond the tape lights would do the trick to keep them up?
    Will you be replacing the fingerjoint boards with PVC boards?
    When do the cabinets arrive for the studio or have you even ordered them yet?

  9. Can you attach the tape lights with those plastic electrical wire holders……made out of white plastic and has two tiny nails to secure the wiring to the studs? I agree, get the outside done before you need a snorkel to work in that hot humid weather. For me, I am in MN and waiting for another snowstorm today–6″ and a biggie coming Tuesday-Thursday with a total of 32″!

  10. I would definitely work on the porch before the studio. I would want the front of my house that everyone sees going past looking it’s best. Hopefully, the work that is required won’t take all spring to complete. Some pretty flowers in the pots, a couple of chairs and a table on the porch will bring so much curb appeal to an already charming house.

  11. Those who don’t experience the heat and humidity of Waco in the summer wouldn’t understand. April and May and maybe October are the only times you can work on outside stuff because temps go over 100 in the summer and into September. And, like you point out, you also have to dodge the rain. Save the studio for the rainy and hot days when you can be inside in air conditioning, for sure.

  12. Sounds like a great plan. Now all you need is for Mother Nature to go along with the plan!!! I suggest getting up early, be ready to start by no later than 8:30 am, and keep at it as long as you can! The later you start, the less you will accomplish! (This is how I have to approach a nagging project!)

  13. Front porch work sounds good, will look good. It’s just ordinary wear and tear, and ordinary learning re the columns and ceiling. Guilt-free year remember? Could fix the skirt and apply stone, but no beating up self.

  14. You do what needs to be done when you are ready and don’t worry about us. Your front porch definitely needs your attention sooner rather than later. Put your plan together, get your materials and when the timing is right, you will be ready to knock it out of the park.

  15. Kristi, get out there and finish that porch. Then, you get to DECORATE it which you never really did the first time. Then instead of negative feelings every time you see the front porch you’ll feel a great sense of accomplishment. BTW after the porch is finished you should no longer use the porch to cut wood Use the car port.

  16. As I read Kristi Linauer’s account of her front porch, I couldn’t help but relate. It’s the one area of our home that’s always in need of attention, no matter how hard we try to ignore it. Kristi’s approach is admirable – reminding herself that she’s only one person and can only do so much. It’s important to cut ourselves some slack sometimes.

    But as she rightly points out, neglecting exterior maintenance can lead to more expensive problems down the line. And as much as we’d all like to focus on other projects, sometimes the practicality of addressing a necessary repair must take precedence.

  17. Kristi, why don’t you do the porch first then do the studio. That way you won’t be tempted to put the porch off. The studio will still be there and you will have so much satisfaction for completing the porch. The studio can be done in hot rainy weather while the porch can’t be. You do an awesome job whenever, wherever you work.

  18. Kristi, Work on your front porch. Don’t let anything or anyone put a negative light about stopping your project inside. The front porch is or should be an annual part of home maintenance. Your fans can all wait until you get back inside. I just love all that you do inside and outside. As I have said before you go Girl!!

  19. Thank you for the heads-up on pvc boards. I am hoping to get a tiny screened-in porch on the south side of my house, and I’m such a wood purist, I was sure I’d opt for pressure treated lumber and stain. Now I’m seriously rethinking this. Please keep the updates coming on the porch, and, if you have and I missed it, please also discuss the various kinds- brands?- of wood substitutes and your opinions of each.

    You rock!