Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Summer Projects: The Front Porch

I have made more than a few crappy decisions in my life, I'll tell you what. Did I ever tell you about the time I accidentally dyed my hair jet black in the bathroom of my college apartment? Oh yeah. Hot. I've even made some terribly dangerous decisions in my life, like the time this future trauma social worker rode a motorcycle without a helmet.

But let me tell you all about the horribly stupid decisions I have never made. I've never smoked crack cocaine. I've never killed a man. And, in a deliberate lifestyle choice for which I am eternally and forever grateful and for which I should be praised by all future generations of homeowners, I have NEVER INSTALLED GREEN OUTDOOR CARPET ON MY FRONT PORCH.

We could spend a couple of hours contemplating what awful set of circumstances would lead a person to believe that green carpet on the exterior of a home was a good idea, but at this point that's neither here nor there. Besides, I have clear photographic evidence to unequivocally back up my position that it is nothing but inconvenient and awful. Note:

Do you like those cool paint footprints that happened when we were completing the initial renovations of this house 4 years ago? Yeah, me too. I'll tell you what I'm not going to spend time doing, though, and that's removing paint from forest green outdoor carpet.

So anyway, we pulled up the carpet. We anticipated adhesive stuck to the concrete underneath, but our sweet child-like innocence prevented us from anticipating that underneath the yellowish glue seen below, we would find they had used black roofing tar to glue down the carpet. Let me spell that for you in case you missed it: R-O-O-F-I-N-G T-A-R. Oh, how naive I used to be.

Maybe I dripped a little blue paint on the cement when I painted the door. Oops.

Have I mentioned how difficult it is getting to write this post without peppering it with profanity? No? Well, it is. Not wanting my posterity to someday think I sound like a hardened sailor is basically my only motivation to keep it family-friendly. POSTERITY!

And so it came to be that we experienced a taste of Dante's fifth circle of hell. (Anger, in case you were wondering.) Using a powerful solvent, a straight garden hoe (don't laugh)(OK, go ahead. Get it out of your system) and a metal putty trowel, we scraped that tar with nothing but our elbow grease and sheer force of will to someday, SOMEDAY, have this house ready to sell. Both Schmoopsie and I lost chunks of flesh from the palms of our hands and probably gallons of sweat.

It. Was. So. Awful.

I honestly don't have words for how awful it was. This is the kind of labor that should be reserved for, I don't know, violent felons or something. Terrorists should have to do nothing but scrape tar off of concrete in the middle of August, only I bet there's something in the Geneva Convention that prohibits that kind of inhumane torture. I'm serious.

(Posterity posterity POSTERITY.)

When the tar stubbornly remained stuck to the ground despite all of our efforts, the wizards of the Internet suggested we try soaking it in WD-40 before scraping. This actually worked fairly well, though it still took about 80 million applications. Plus, then I had to scrub the area with dish soap and a scrub brush before we painted it so the paint would stick.


We chose a paint that was as close to concrete color as we could get. We used a product designed for walkways and pool decks, and it has a bit of very fine sand mixed in so that the surface doesn't get slippery, even when it's wet. A bonus benefit is that the texture helped to mask whatever adhesive residue we couldn't get off the concrete.

You guys. The finished product looks SO GOOD. It was almost worth all the agony.

We've been walking on it for several days now, so it's getting a little smudged. It looked even better before that!

The before and after:



Lizzie said...

That looks so good! I was so worried when I saw the first picture after the carpet removed, but this looks great. Nice work!

Samantha Kennicott said...

Looks great! All that horrible hard work definitely paid off! :)

Michelle said...

It is AH-MAZING that you turned the green, to that awful picture after to that awesome looking porch! nice job!

Liv said...


I'm referring to the use of tar, of course, not the beautiful redesign you accomplished.

Alice said...

You are Awesome! I was a little worried for you, but 10 points for you guys. It looks great. I hope your hands are healing.

P.S. Did I ever tell you about the time I dyed my hair PEACH in college? Oy!

I also hopped on the back of a motorcycle sans helemt as a high school Sophmore because my friends dreamy Senior brother was driving. Who would have guessed we would one day find ourselve in a trauma bay wished EVERYONE wore helemts, with or without a motorcycle :)

katelinklug said...

That looks great. Sorry it was such a process, but defiantly will be worth it when you go to sell!

Brandon and Stacey said...

Oh my goodness! I am SO sorry!!! Amazing job though! It looks so much better!! I'm so proud of you! I would've probably just purchased new green faux grass and convinced myself it was supposed to be that way! Haha!! Such props to you guys for sticking with it!!! It looks a million times better!!!!