With not too much left to do in the front yard, it feels nice making progress on something we've been wanting to do for over a year: fix the weird bottom step
We had thought about working on it last year when our house was getting painted and we wanted to install our gate, alas we resolved that it would be better to put off. So now we're getting to it :)
Of course, this post could also be titled "The $75 Mistake" because we were idiots and completely spaced when we had the jackhammer when we were busting up the porch for the downspout/drainage work, so we had to rent it again this past weekend to bust out the step. Damnit.
We thought for a second the sledgehammer might be able to do something
So it was off to HD for another jackhammer rental
And then there's a big pile of ruble
With the step all cleared out Chris painted on a bonding agent to the area that got busted out so that when we attached the mortar to fill in the gap it adhered well
Then the mortar got mixed
And Chris filled in the gap
The top 3/8th's of an inch or so of that new mortar will be visible when the porch is done, so we made sure it looked all nice and pretty. The plan will be to do a mud job on the entire porch area to even things out and raise it a tiny bit, and then lay bricks out over the whole thing. With the height of the thin mud job + the height of the bricks, we should have our new step at a correct height into the step above it, instead of the tripping hazard the old tiny step was (and believe me, people tripped on it ALL THE TIME).
In order for us to get to the brick laying part I wanted to get the stairs clean, scraped and painted. Sure, I could do this step after the brick work, but I figured it would be easier and a better use of time to do it first so that the bricks went right up against the painted stairs instead of me being really careful with my painted line once they were in.
First off though I had to scrape off a lot of peeling paint
Normally I use a painter's tool when I do this, but I couldn't find it, so instead I used a drywall knife and scraped and scraped and scraped.
I also tried to use the drill attachment we got when we striped the wrought iron off the gate
I thought that would work well, but it didn't really do much at all, so it was back to the drywall knife
Our stairs have apparently been repainted red about 17 times over the life of our house because I just seemed to uncover layers and layers of it. I never really understood why people like red porches and stairs so much, it's like the go to stair color. Whatever floats your boat. Our stairs will not be red, because red does not float my boat.
The last step was getting the sander. After I scraped and scraped as much as I could (and spent nearly 90 minutes doing so) I went into the garage and got the palm sander and slapped some 60 grit on it and went to town trying to feather all the edges of everything I had scraped off
And after about 20-30 minutes spent sanding I hosed everything down
There are still some spots I wish I had scraped better
But getting in that angle was really difficult, so I'll take what I can get, and the rest of it is pretty good
I wanted to prime and paint it today before work, but we'll let the mortar cure a few more days till I get to that. In the meantime, don't our stairs look so inviting?