When we purchased our house, we were so delighted to have a porch. When I was growing up, my mom had a porch and we loved it. We played out there more than we did the backyard because it was shaded. But then she decided to enclose it for a second living room. I saw this area as a place to relax, to play and conversate. Since our house was built in the late 70’s, the porch was covered in epoxy resin with small pebbles which I later found out to be Chattahoochee. I do like a house with character and personality, but the issue we were having with the floor was the small pebbles were coming off because over the years it wasn’t resealed and when the girls went swimming in the pool, the rocks were too harsh on their feet.

So one day I started chipping at the floor with a shovel and a good chunk of it came off. But there were some areas where the stone was literally stuck to the ground. We looked into getting some quotes, but they were quoting us upwards to $2500 for our square footage. I was not comfortable spending that much so I convinced my husband that we could tackle the project ourselves. Boy, we didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into. We tried to do research by looking into youtube videos but couldn’t really find what we were looking for, so we went to HomeDepot to ask for some advice. We were told to get a floor stripper, then re-level the floor with concrete. We proceeded to rent out the tools to do the job. It took us about a day to remove all the rocks. Just the 2 of us. We wore a mask during the process. We noticed an immediate difference. Once we removed all the rocks. Then we poured layers of concrete ourselves then smoothed it out.

When the concrete dried we noticed that the floors were a bit unleveled and uneven. We looked to see if we could just pour a self-level concrete mix, but was cautioned against it due to it being used for interior applications. Instead, we rented a concrete grinder to level out the floor. We were glad we did. The floors were so smooth and better leveled. There are some areas where there are imperfections, but not noticeable to the eye. We then stained the concrete and put a clear protective coat on top. The total cost was about $800 in materials and tool rental which was way less than the $2500 quoted us by contractors.

The porch was pretty bare for a while since I was waiting for particular furniture pieces to go on sale because I like a bargain. I bought the table and chairs from Ikea (here) during a 20% sale and bought this Walmart outdoor set on sale for $450. Our floors are not as dark as they used to be. We need to give it a deep clean and probably reseal it again. Also, we added hurricane shutters just before Irma hit us.

We proceeded to buy plants, pillows, lights and candles. I was gifted a Home Depot gift cards which funded most of my plant purchases and pots. The outdoor lights were purchased through Amazon.

The kids love to hang out here to eat, play, and read. Here is a shot of how it looks during the evening with the lights on.

I may change some items here and there in the near future, but for now, this will do. With the cool weather upon us, we are spending a lot more time out here. As you can see, with a bit of sweat equity and patience, we saved some money by doing it ourselves. Would I do this again…no. It was too much bending and pushing heavy machinery. Perhaps we could have just poured concrete over the pebbles, not sure if it would be the proper way. Well, we hope to get many years from this porch.

Here is another look at the before and after:

How will you be updating your outdoor space?