Passive Solar Porch Reno – Part 4

Porch Exterior Finished I finally finished my passive solar porch project this summer and it’s time to wrap up this series.

If you haven’t been following this project you can read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 to see how the project progressed from planning through construction.

This last phase focused on finishing the inside – including window casings. the beaded ceiling, painting, and installing the pine floor as well as completing some outside details once the spring weather arrived.

Exterior Finishing

The exterior finish work started by closing in the deck. My original intent had been to use lattice panels but I went with a contemporary feel that suited the deck style – using pressure-treated boards laid up as vertical panels. I used a solid stain on the vertical surfaces and left the decking and stair treads to weather naturally.

The final steps were parging the insulating foam on the foundation with a stucco-type material and relocating some perennial flowers from other areas on the property.

Interior Finishing

There’s no drywall in the porch – the paneling above and below the windows was cut from 1/2″ MDF sheets. I routed horizontal V-grooves in the panels below the windows which – along with the shingled wall – gives the space a comfortable cottage-like ambiance.

The window sills and jambs are select pine.The flat casings are a mix of 1/2″, 5/8″ and 3/4″ MDF to make use of the materials at hand and provide a depth change where horizontal and vertical components meet.

Window casings and beaded ceiling in progress prop to hold cove moulding for nailing



The coffered ceiling was divided into three equal sections to add some visual interest as well as avoid visible joints. I used pre-primed 1/4″ MDF tongue & groove beadboard paneling. I gave each 8″ wide panel strip two coats of paint in my shop – which is a lot easier than painting above your head – and secured them with panel adhesive and a brad nailer. I then added a cove moulding around the perimeter and touched up the nail holes with spackle and paint.

Shingle Wall

The original shingled exterior wall had suffered from the 70’s-era wall paneling installation. To flatten the wall for the 1/8″ wood paneling, the carpenter had ground off the lower edge of about 100 shingles, removed the headers above the window and door and chiselled off the front edge of the sloped window sill. I made new headers and the repaired the sill using a couple of weathered cedar boards from the door of my old greenhouse.

Replacing shingles on interior wall laying Tongue & groove Pine flooring



To replace the damaged shingles, I pried up the shingle above the damaged ones and used an oscillating flush cut trim saw to cut the damaged shingle off just above the overlap point between courses. I trimmed each new (pre-primed) shingle enough so the top would slip up under the shingle above to hide the cut when the lower edge was in line the shingles beside it. Once the wall was painted you couldn’t tell which ones were replaced.

Distressed Pine Floor

I ordered the tongue and groove pine flooring from a local sawmill in three widths to make it look like an old floor. I knew it would take me several days to match, cut and install the floor along with other stuff so renting a floor nailer wasn’t really practical. I used construction adhesive to prevent squeaks hand-nailed it with spiral finish nails. Once it was installed I sanded it with 180 grit paper to smooth out some joints between boards.

Since today’s pine is softer than the old-growth pine I distressed the floor before staining because it was going to get banged up from the get-go. I used a length of heavy chain, a pipe wrench and a few other tools to make the dents and scratches that add to the effect of a floor that has a ‘history’. I followed up with a coat of gel stain (without pre-conditioner) and finished it off with three coats of water-based polyurethene.

Finshed porch - east endFinshed porch - west end



All the furniture and accessories (including the beehive coffee table) were stuff I had around the house except the bookcase and cat hangout, which I made from MDF ‘leftovers’.

I thought I might need to add window shades to keep the porch from overheating in the summer but it’s performed quite well without them – that helped with the budget and maintains the crisp clean look.

This has been a really fun energy-saving project that creates a great new space and I’m looking forward to spending time soaking up the sun in comfort and style this winter.

Related Posts

Passive Solar Porch Reno – Part 1
Passive Solar Porch Reno – Part 2
Passive Solar Porch Reno – Part 3

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One thought on “Passive Solar Porch Reno – Part 4

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  2. Great project and congratulations on superb job and finishing it.
    Thank you for posting your accomplishment so we all can see it and admire.

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