Saturday, June 15, 2013

Summer Spruce Up: Columns and Rails Painted

If anything on the house needed some TLC, it was the columns and rails at the front entry. I've been indecisive about the look of these since we moved in over three years ago. I did like the rustic feel it gave the front and the stained wood was a nice tie-in for the brownish brick and gray siding. Two years ago, I went to the pain staking effort of stripping off the orange colored stain that was on them when we moved in. I sanded them down and re-stained them hoping for a more rich brownish color, but it didn't quite turn out that way. The whole time, my husband told me to just paint them. He hated the stain. I said I would give it one time around staining and if in a year or two it looks bad, I'll paint them. And here we are.
You know when you live in your house and you don't realize how bad something looked until you change it? Well, I have that feeling about these columns and rails. There are a number of problems here. First, the columns are all scratched up from the winter holiday lights and greenery that I hung from them. Second, the sun just beats on them in the afternoon and fades the lower portion. Third, the color is gross because it yellows from the sun and the stain never really went on very even.
To get them ready for painting, I first had to properly prep them. I sanded them down and got as much stain off as I could. I planned to use my sander for the larger flat areas, but in the middle of it all, I realized I was out of sand paper for it. I decided that by the time I clean up and go to the store to get some more, that I could have it done by hand. Let's just say, my triceps were burning by the time I was done. I probably won't make that mistake again.
Here is a crappy photo I took of myself with my phone while I was sanding. It's a dirty job, but somebody has to do it.
After sanding, I washed everything down and let it dry for at least 24 hours.
Here they are all cleaned and ready for the next step.

Next, I had to fill the gaps that had occurred from probably shrinkage over the years. The gaps at the base of the columns were quite large in some areas so instead of trying to fill them all with caulk, I first filled them with wood shim, secured the bases with long nails and applied a paintable exterior caulk.
After filling any gaps, cleaning again and taping off, I was ready to prime and paint. Yes! My favorite part. I chose a white that would match closely to the windows and exterior trim. The color is called Powdered Snow by Behr.
I was blown away at how bright and clean it all looked after finishing.
And here is the after shot.
I am SO pleased with the outcome. I should have done this two years ago. Does that mean I have to admit my husband was right? Just kidding. You can see that I am prepping for the front door to be painted. I'll share that transformation with you soon.

Have a great weekend!


  1. wow...... i'm an architect, but i could never get a job like this done! lol looks gorgeous and such a clever idea for the gaps! well done!


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