Before & After Bliss: Pillar of Strength

We’re back with yet *another* Labor Day weekend makeover!  Only this time we’ve moved from the back of the house to the front of the house!  It’s been mentioned before, but our house was previously a foreclosure with some….ahem….issues.  One of the most obvious problems was the very first thing that greeted you at the front door.  Actually, it was even before the front door on our front pillars:

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Pretty bad, huh?  What’s worse is what you can’t see – the fact that the wooden base of these pillars was essentially wobbling off!  This was more than likely due to the fact that our front door faces west with very little tree cover, which means the wood probably baked, shrunk, and then freed itself of the mortar and glue.  And that white film?  Oh, who knows what it was, but probably a “There, I Fixed It” type of fix – we’re guessing it was probably bathroom caulk that was never painted over, therefore cracked, therefore allowing moisture into the seams, therefore speeding up the rotting process.  Oh, and did I mention that the previous owners also took all of the touch-up paint with them.  Le Sigh….so what to do?

Rebuild the whole stinkin’ thing, of course!!

The first thing we did was to remove one panel of the pillar and take it to Lowe’s so they could do a color match with paint – important tip whenever you don’t have the right paint color to touch up a problem area.  Be sure to specify interior, exterior, and do your best guess at a finish (flat, eggshell, satin, etc).  The paint store should be able to do the rest of it for you.

After we had a full gallon of mystery paint (color tested on the same piece of wood just to be certain), J ripped off the old pieces of wood and removed the extra caulk so that we would have a nice clean finish to work with:

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Once all of the pieces were off, we decided that since they were in reasonably good shape (and already shrunken from years of sitting in the sun), they made good candidates to re-use again (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!).  We did have to clean up the underside where the wood met the stone – bad mortar and bathroom caulk = cracked mortar = wobbly pillar base!

Then it was time to rebuild the piece – just like a puzzle we re-built it precisely as it had been before, but this time we closed the gaps and used Outdoor Clear Caulk (we used Dap brand) to glue the base back onto the stone and mortar – whoo-eee!  Stinky stuff!  Then we nailed the wood pieces back into place.  Honestly, after a while of hammering away, we got lazy and used our new staple gun!  Much easier on the shoulders!

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…and finished off all of the “gaps” and “holes” with the same outdoor caulk in clear:

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Clean up the edges with a paper towel or the side of your finger as much as possible and always remember – paint can cover a lot of ills!  But allow the glue to dry for at least 24 hours if possible (just to be safe).  Then get ready to get your paint on!  Here is the pillar after the repairs, but before painting:

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the same pillar after painting….

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Instant curb appeal makeover!!!  Overall, since we reused most of the materials, this is the rough price breakdown minus obvious tools like hammers, nail guns, and the like:

  • Caulk: $3.98 from your local hardware store.  Be sure it’s graded to work OUTSIDE!
  • Galvanized Nails: $5 for a box of hundreds!
  • Paint: Around $20 and we even got a $5 refund!
  • Total:  Less than $25 for a huge impact makeover!

What about everyone else?  Were you guys busy at home this Labor Day weekend?  Are we inspiring you to get some things done outside before the weather turns sour?

L

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6 thoughts on “Before & After Bliss: Pillar of Strength

  1. Pingback: Before & After Bliss: Baseboard Bonanza! « Tell'er All About It

  2. Pingback: Gimme a break, will ya? « Tell'er All About It

  3. Pingback: Hooray for dead presidents! « Tell'er All About It

  4. Pingback: Let’s take this outside… « Tell'er All About It

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