What 'bad' might happen to this porch floor left over winter?

la_koalaOctober 30, 2012

Dear GWers, you have always given me great advice in the other areas (kitchen reno, painting), and I'm hoping to get some about this situation.

My story:

- My house is in Massachusetts, it's the end of October, and I am a newbie DIYer.

- The floor part of my front porch is (was) basic wood boards: stained and and covered with a clear coat.

- Because the stain was really faded (no idea when it was last taken care of), and I didn't know enough to take care of it myself, I arranged with a guy to "refresh" it. The plan: powerwash to get the dirt off, sand, and then stain and coat of poly. He said he could do it before it got too cold.

- Last month, he did the powerwash. But now due to various weather delays, he's behind on his other more lucrative ventures, and would like to bow out.

While this split is amicable (no hard feelings, I understand, etc), given that accuweather predicts lots of upcoming rainy days, I am now concerned that there is no time left between now and the start of winter to have anyone complete the work on the floor boards.

What bad things might happen to the floorboards if I simply leave it over the winter? A winter that is likely to have rain, freezing rain, snow, etc, etc?

What sort of things would I be facing in the spring then? Will the boards rot out? Freeze/thaw cycling in the cracks--would that make them break apart and have to be replaced by then?

Is it better for me to rush and put down a coat of something (poly, varnish) to protect it from the elements, and plan to have it stripped off and done right in the spring?

With night temps in the 40s, is it already too late?

Thanks in advance for any opinions you have (even if it's to simply tell me "You dope!")

Here's a pic of the floor:


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Nice floor.

DON'T PUT POLY ON IT. You will regret it. I don't know why, but no product I know of will endorse such use. Try Cabot clear solution or similar product. Pick a nice fall day [and yes, it might be too late in the season] and don't put too much on. Follow the label directions or you'll regret that too.
If you decide it's too late in the season [or Mom nature decides for you] I see no huge harm in letting it go for the winter as is. It may be worse to rush it at this late hour.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2012 at 8:38PM
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Oh, thank you Jumpilotmdm! (wow, that's a neat posting name!)

Thanks for the suggestion about Cabot clear solution! I wouldn't have thought to look for something else.

And I take your comments to heart about making it worse by rushing it now. That goes right to the core of what I am worried about! I feel like I'm between a rock and a hard place: I don't want to make it worse by rushing, and don't want to make it worse by leaving it to the spring.


    Bookmark   October 30, 2012 at 9:51PM
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I'm your basic DIYer living in an old house. IMO, one winter exposed is not going to destroy the wood. Keep the leaves off it, get the snow off quickly, and take up the project in the spring if you have to.

I'm looking at painting a small porch before winter and wonder how much leeway there is in the minimum temperature on the paint can. I figure the paint companies use a conservative estimate, like when they say, "dry to the touch in 1 hour, recoat in 4 hours," but painters will say you can recoat as soon as it is dry to the touch.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2012 at 11:11AM
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Thanks for weighing on graywings!

Well, that's two in agreement. It's funny--I was expecting more 'debate', as I've seen in other of the forums. :-) I might cross-post to the Paint forum to see if anyone who hangs out there and not on Porches would not concur. (I always learn a lot from the discussions)

graywings, have you posted that question to the Paint forum? That "dry time" rings a bell--that I've seen it discussed before. I tend to think like you do, that the manufacturers' want to be conservative. They don't want you suing if it peels and asking them to pay for a new paint job.


    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 7:20PM
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