Sunday, July 17, 2005

Back Porch -> Living Space

I’ve been slowly trying to turn our backporch into living space. That’s tough when the backporch is an ideal location for staging remodeling tasks. But, I have a new pledge to keep this area as clear as possible, especially during the summer, so that it can be used as a great place to view the yard and enjoy the summer. Now, the saws are all in the garage, as are the bucket of screws, the cordless drill, the hammer, the level, the chalk line, that obligatory box of miscellaneous tools, and the piles and piles of scrap wood. I swept and I hosed it down. Jenn and I just started giving it a good oiling and it already is starting to look "finished". We’re hoping to finally live in this space this summer rather than just endure it. Who knows, we might even be ready for our first backyard BBQ since the remodel. Hope so.

I only use wood oil on cedar decking. I have learned never to use products that include either sunscreen or sealants (e.g. Thompson’s, etc). They leave a milky film behind that doesn’t age well and takes a belt sander to remove. However, the oil gives the decking a nice natural color and protects the wood from drying out. The oil I use is extracted from (some kind of) nut shells (I forget which).

One of the challenges with this backporch is that part of it is covered (under the roof overhang) and part of it is exposed to the weather. My experience has been that decking which is covered rarely requires oiling (perhaps ever 3-4 years). But, decking directly exposed to weather, especially Portland rail, may require yearly oiling. I plan to oil the exposed portion twice this summer and may end up oiling it every summer from now on. Ideally one should oil cedar decking whenever it is dry. As long as cedar doesn’t dry out, it will continue to repel water and look good.

In other house news, the cedar-shingle siding is weathering very well. It still has most of it’s color and doesn’t show any signs of aging. I’m going to wait another year before attempting to oil it.

The plum tree is now covered with nearly ripe plums. All of the heavy fruit is pulling the branches down, nearly to the ground. We also have a lot of raspberries, blueberries and strawberries right now. However, our apricot tree is not very happy. It appears to have some kind of disease or pest, don’t know what. Next year we will be sure to dormant spray all the fruit trees. Apparently dormant spray is not poison, but rather an oil that discourages insects. But, it needs to be applied during the last weeks of winter just before the tree's spring blooming. Our backyard now has the one plum tree, a grafted apple tree, an apricot, a pear, and two cherry trees. I hear you need to prune fruit trees too... I have much to learn about fruit trees. :-)

And now, some pictures:

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Anonymous Aaron said...

Greg, I continue to be very impressed with your back deck. I hope we can have one as nice ourselves some day...hope you don't mind if we copy blatently from your columns and railing. ;-)

8:32 PM, July 17, 2005  
Blogger Greg Emel said...

Thanks Aaron! Feel free to copy away (that's how I got the design ideas...). Hopefully you'll post lots of pictures of it on your blog!

10:23 AM, July 18, 2005  
Blogger Jocelyn said...

I know what you mean about using that space for projects. We use our patio (nothing fancy mind you) much more for project work than leisure. We won't redo ours till most of the 1st floor is done. I'd hate to mess it up!

Your porch is wonderful- columns are stunning.

11:15 AM, July 27, 2005  
Blogger Greg Emel said...

Thanks, Jocelyn. I've been meaning to post a better explaination of how I built the columns. It's really pretty simple. Someday...

12:53 PM, July 28, 2005  

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