Approximately one year ago I decided to tackle the unsightly cement stoop that leads from our kitchen to our side yard. The cement was stained and cracked and the metal railing was covered in rust. I’d cringe every time I was outside on that side of the house and was visually assaulted by the hulking eyesore. It didn’t look so hot from the inside either. Hiring someone to jackhammer it out wasn’t an option from both a noise and a cost standpoint, so I decided that I would stain the cement white to match our house and de-rust and re-paint the metal railing. I headed to Lowes and came home armed with TSP (a heavy-duty cleaner), white cement stain, Naval Jelly (a rust remover), and glossy black, oil-based paint for the railing. And then…well, and then nothing, really. The stuff just sat in the basement for an entire year and I sort of forgot about it. Sort of. I still hated – hated – the sight of the thing, but I couldn’t exactly work out there in subzero winter temps so once the cold hit, the makeover was delayed until the return of warm weather.
I had also let the stoop makeover fall down on my project priority list – which is an actual thing, a file I keep on my laptop and add to and delete from as I work on projects or new ones come up. I pop projects in where I want to prioritize them and the stoop kept getting pushed down. But finally I thought, “I have all the things I need, let’s just roll up the sleeves and get this thing done!” Rah, rah!
Certainly not improving the look was the green gunk that had accumulated on the siding and around the door. What is it, even?? Mildew? Pollen? Slime??
I donned my painting clothes and some rubber gloves and used a heavy duty scrubbing brush to scour the stoop and green-mystery-substance with a mixture of TSP, water, and bleach. The green came right off the house and while the cement didn’t really look any different yet, I knew it was clean and prepped for stain. I let the cement dry completely overnight and then applied a coat of white cement stain.
Next came the railing. Ugh…the railing. Messy, tedious work. I coated the whole thing in Naval Jelly, which is sticky pink goo, let sit for 5-10 minutes as the bottle instructs, and then rinsed with a hose. Shards of the goo were all over the house, the door, you name it, so it took me awhile to get everything goo-free. More drying time, again overnight, and then came the painting. I taped off the areas around the bottom of the railing to protect the cement and then curve by curve, spoke by spoke, I applied Rustoleum Oil-Based High Performance Protective Enamel in Gloss Black. And as the paint went on little by little, I started to see the realization of what I had envisioned a year ago and all the mess and tedium suddenly seemed worthwhile. Shall we take a little before and after look?
The only thing I purchased this year was the new doormat from Lowes. I moved the planter over from our front porch where I had two of them but one actually seems to work better. I had my moments where I thought maybe this wasn’t a worthwhile endeavor but comparing the before and after shots it actually has made a tremendous difference. We could still use some landscaping work along this side of the house, but now instead of an ugly old stoop off the kitchen, we have pretty white stairs and a glossy black iron railing. It looks so purposeful now instead of a rusting leftover from who-knows-how-many-years-ago.
Time will tell if the rust will start to creep back, but I’m pushing that thought back for now and enjoying the view. Now if I could just get the black paint off of my skin I’d be all set…