There is a balcony on the back
portion of this house. The balcony overlooks
our backyard with a "beautiful" view of the back lot
of some commercial property. The balcony faces
south and you can just see Ciudad Juarez, Mexico off in the
distance, between the buildings. The balcony
is accessible through either the living room or
When we moved in, there was no roof above this
balcony. We noticed that the two other houses
on the block, that were built the same time our
house was, had added a roof to their balconies.
For 20 years, the sun and rain did a number on the
balcony floor and the two French doors that lead to
A few years after we moved in, we hired a contractor
to replace the wood on the flooring of the balcony
and add a roof to shelter it. The roof helped keep
the rain and sun off the balcony floor and the
French doors. It also now provided a nice
Fast forward 10 years to 2013. The balcony
roof had suffered a few leaks where it met with the
main roof of the house. We eventually fixed
this. However, there was some damage to the
underside of the balcony ceiling. Also, the paint
on the beams was undergoing massive paint failure.
The wrong paint had been used. Bare wood was
exposed in a few areas.
While the construction on my
bath was being done, I started
stripping the paint from the wood beams and pealing
off the ceiling paint. I was also able to keep
an eye on the contractors working on the inside
bathroom while I did this ;)
I also decided to change the color of paint on the
balcony. It had been painted a terra cotta
color. Let's just call it orange. I
wanted to use the almond color that was on the
frames of the vinyl windows we had been installing
over the years in our house. This almond color
is actually a light beige khaki.
The to-do list for the balcony was:
||Strip the remaining
paint on wood and repaint. Paint walls
of the house under the balcony the new color.
||Add moulding between
the outside wall of the house and the
balcony floor so it looks more finished and
to protect it from water damage.
||Add moulding on other
sections of the balcony roof to make it more
||Get rid of the astroturf on the floor of balcony
and find something better for the floor.
||Repair all of my
broken wind chimes that used to hang on the
||Put a couple of coats
of polyurethane on the Adirondack furniture.
The clear finish on the wood was wearing
off. It only needed a couple coats of
clear paint to make them look new again.
||Paint the two French doors the new
colors after stripping and repairing the
|Again, this was a project
where I did not take any before pictures.
My apologies. However, you can see what the
astroturf, balconies look like by
looking at the neighbors' balconies.
Don't even get me started on the weeds next
door! These people are the laziest,
While I still had the old astroturf on my
balcony, I painted the Adirondack furniture.
This way I did not have to deal with a drop
The balcony was also used to store the
toilet while the
master bath was being worked on.
It also gave me a chance to clean the toilet
upside down before it was reinstalled.
The astroturf was good for all of this since
I knew I would be ripping it out.
Since I do not have the before pictures, I
will show you the after pictures and explain
what I did.
Astroturf seen on balconies of neighbors
photo at the left shows the finished
balcony. The beams and ceiling were
all stripped of the peeling paint. The
wood beams sanded and filled where there
were knots in the wood.
Moulding was added underneath the cross
beam. The cross beam is actually two
pieces of wood next to each other. I wanted
the beam to look like one piece of wood.
I found some moulding that fit underneath
this wood exactly. The wind chimes are
All of the moulding that was already on and added
was then caulked.
The beams and ceiling were first primed with
oil based exterior
primer from Sherwin Williams.
The final paint that was used was a custom
mixed color to match the vinyl color on our
windows. The brand I used was
Sherwin Williams Duration.
I really like this paint. It goes
on smooth. It is not cheap, but I bought it on sale.
I also painted underneath the roof and replaced the
oval roof vents in this section. You can see
in the upper left corner the orange part of the roof
eave that has not been painted yet. I will
have to rent a scaffold to paint this.
bronzed metal privacy screens on the side
of the balcony were not new. I purchased them
on the Improvements website. We have had these
for a few years. They provide privacy from the
neighbors houses on both sides. They are
attached to the wrought iron railing with zip ties.
They have stood up pretty well and do not have any
signs of rust yet. Even the one section I have
attached to a gate outside in the yard.
Balcony west corner
All of the wind chimes had been
damaged over the years with strings that had broken.
I actually kept all of the parts. I spent a
couple of days restringing and gluing pieces on
until they were all repaired.
The pull down blind you see attached to the beam in
the above picture was also something we bought years
ago. It provides privacy for the bedroom if
the door is open. You can open the door of the
bedroom for fresh air, lower the screen and not have
to worry about people seeing in the bedroom from the
commercial lot behind the house.
The moulding against the bottom
of the wall is new. Shown in the above photograph
with our Basset Hound, Griffin looking out of the
There was actually a large gap between the wall and
floor that collected pine needles, dust, and water
if the floor was hosed down. I placed a large
amount of silicone in this crack and then nailed the
moulding on, applying more silicone to seal it off.
A new light fixture was added
that matches the light fixture below on the backyard
patio. All of the cables were painted.
There are multiple cables out here for the internet/tv
cable and the satellite.
cap table with Roxie
The one thing I did not
originally plan to do, was add a table. But it
made sense. The only place you had, to set down
a glass, were the arms of the loveseat.
For over 10 years I had been collecting bottle caps.
I did not know what I would do with them, I just
kept collecting them. I then came up with the
idea to create a table top with them. This
idea is not new and you can find many others like it
on the internet. Adopted shelter puppy Roxie
helps model the table in the above photograph.
I needed to make the table. First I created
the design with the bottle caps on the kitchen
counter. I needed to know how large of a surface I
would need, which was based on how many bottle caps
I had. I determined that I would need a piece of
wood about 2' x 3'. I bought a piece of project wood at the hardware
store and cut it down to 24" x 37 1/2".
The legs of the table were from some scrap 2" x 2's"
I had sitting around.
I bought some 1" moulding for the edges. I
used scrap wood I had on hand for the sides of the
constructing the table, I painted it with
Rust-Oleum Painter's Touch Metallic Paint in
Oil-Rubbed Bronze. It was primed first
with the primer they suggest using.
I spray painted some of the small bottle
caps with Rust-Oleum Hammered Brown. I
glued the spray painted caps around the
sides of the table for decoration.
The bottle tops for the top of the table
were glued on the table top between the
moulding that I placed around the edges..
At this point you are supposed
to poor resin on top of the caps to encapsulate the
bottle caps. I did not do this at the time.
The resin I discovered, is not cheap. What I
had on hand is a gallon of polyurethane that was
drying up. I lathered on the paint.
Making sure it seeped in all of the cracks. I
stopped at 5 coats. Letting it dry for several
days in between coats. I may go back later and
add the resin. In the meantime, it is
protected from the elements and is easy to clean
with a hose or cloth.
The little basket lanterns strung along the wrought
iron are some solar lights I added.
Yes, all of the planters are empty right now.
Next year I will add some plants.
The astroturf took a while to remove. There
were two layers of it. In fifteen years we had
replaced it three times. Astroturf does not
last long in a desert region like El Paso. It
just starts to disintegrate before your eyes after a
couple of years. It was also hard to clean
after the numerous dust storms we have every spring.
We had it nailed down good and then we had metal
flashing on the edges to keep the edges from
fraying. I will never....ever....use astroturf
on anything again!!
What did I use instead? First I measured the
area to see what my dimensions were. The
measurements of the balcony floor were 16' x 8'.
I first looked for an outdoor rug that would fit
within these dimensions. I thought about
rubber tiles like the ones I have used on my front entrance.
I wanted something that could handle the heat and
could be cleaned easily after a dust storm.
Wood grain reversible foam floor
I finally came across a
foam floor tile on the GreatMats
website. These particular foam tiles were
5/8" thick and were reversible. Wood
grain on one side and a terracotta color on the
GreatMats also has a
less expensive wood grain foam mat
that is 1/2" thick.
I decided to go with the more expensive mat
because it was thicker. I also liked
the idea of it being reversible. When
the wood grain fades over time, I can then
flip it over. I also liked the edges.
The edges were the terracotta color that
matches the bricks outside the house.
I did not like the white edges on
the thinner mats because you would be able to see it
when you looked up at the balcony from the backyard.
Even though the reversible foam costs more, it was
like getting two mats for the price of one to me.
The mats are two feet square, so I only needed to
purchase 32 tiles for my balcony. I really do
like them. I have had them in place for a few
months now and they appear to be holding up.
They can be swept and mopped easily. There is
a little bit of curling up at the edges, but not
much. You can see the seams a little in the
photographs above. Because they are foam, there
is a nice cushion when you walk on them.
However, they will show dents from furniture that do not come out. So it is best to place your
furniture in one spot and don't move it. Dog
toe nails will poke little holes in them also.
The privacy screens and furniture are helping to
hold the foam pieces in place. I installed the
flooring after our windy season. I will have
to wait until the spring to see if the winds work
any tiles loose. I kept the spare end pieces
that you remove when you piece it together. So
if an edge piece falls off and gets chewed up by the
dogs, I have extras.
The rug runner that I have on the floor is an
outdoor rug I bought a few years ago. If it
gets dirty, all I have to do is hose it down.
Yes, the rug does blow around a bit if it is real
windy. Which is why the table is on top of it.
I still need to paint the screen doors and the
wrought iron. I will do this when I replace
the torn screen on the bedroom screen door.
French doors were removed and repaired.
The doors are part of my overall
project. Each door took about two
weeks to fix.
The solid wood doors were still structurally
sound. None of the glass was broken
and all of the moulding between the glass
was still there.
However, these doors took a couple of
decades of punishment from the sun and rain
before the balcony roof was installed.
The paint was peeling and there was water
damage. The inside paint was also
discolored and needed to be painted.
The doors were taken off the hinges and
placed flat on work horses. The
stripping of the paint took a while. All of
my previous strip and paint projects were
done using metal scrappers and sandpaper.
I was having a hard time getting the paint
off around the glass.
French door to the bedroom from balcony
I decided to try out a chemical stripper to
at least soften the paint so I could get it
off easier. I did a little research on
paint strippers and came across
Citristrip which is more
environmentally safer than the older
It does work. The key is to put a
lot on. Do your scrapping while
the product is still damp. It will
work better on latex paint than oil paint.
I also had to apply and scrape a few times
in some areas. The odor it has is a light
orangey smell, but you get used to it.
I did this work in the middle of the living
room and the odor was not overpowering.
After the paint was removed, the doors were
sanded down to fresh wood. I had to
use a power sander for this.
I used wood filler to help smooth
out areas that were a little warped and then sanded
again to make the surface flat and smooth. The
doors were then given two coats of oil primer and
then two coats of latex paint.
A couple of weeks after the paint had cured on the
door, I sealed the windows panes on the outside with
clear silicone to keep any water from getting
between the wood and the glass.
What was my
The Front Entrance to the house.
See what I did