DIY Industrial Outdoor Bench

Hey y’all! As usual, work is crazy- crazy enough that we realized we have a few projects we totally spaced on and never posted about. One that we are super excited to share is our DIY bench!

We wanted to create some flexible additional seating that could be used inside or outside. So these were our requirements for the bench:

1) it had to be ok to use outdoors and indoors

2) it had to fit 2-3 people

3) it had to be relatively cheap and easy to make

We pictured in our mind something industrial looking using metal and wood. Basically we pictured this: (spoiler- it’s our finished bench)

IMG_7430 We went to Home Depot and found some aluminum angle stock that we could use for the legs/frame. Totally did not know that’s what it was called until writing this post, but hey we are all learning here! Anyways, this stuff is great because it’s lightweight, cheap, and rust-proof. Perfect!

For the top of our bench, we got some pressure treated wood. It’s a little more expensive than normal wood, but it will hold up outdoors against the elements so it was a must. And it’s fine to use indoors too unless you’re preparing food on it, which we didn’t plan on doing.

So first off, we decided what size we wanted our bench to be. Based on research of what’s out there, we decided about 4 ft wide by 10.5 inches deep (the depth of three 2×4’s) and 14 inches tall. So we measured out 4 legs and 4 pieces for the frame. The aluminum is pretty light/thin, so we were able to just cut it with our jigsaw.

IMG_6900 IMG_6902 We cut our legs first. And got really excited about it :D

IMG_6906 The cuts were pretty rough, but we sanded them down. You can see the difference between unsanded and sanded in the photo below.

IMG_6908 For the legs, we left the cuts at right angles. But for the frame pieces, we cut them at 45 degree angles for a nicer looking seam.

IMG_6922 Once our frame was cut we could see it coming together!

IMG_6921 We laid it upside down on the garage floor so that we could fit the legs into place. We tucked them inside each corner and used a sharpie to mark where we wanted to screw in the screws to hold it all together.

IMG_6924 Each leg was attached to 2 pieces of frame. In the photo below, you can see the leg (the vertical piece) and one side of the frame (see the 45 degree cut in the corner?). Hope this helps make sense of how everything was attached.

IMG_6929 IMG_6933 The awesome thing about this frame is it is so light!

IMG_6941 To add a little extra stability to the legs, we also took these flat aluminum pieces and attached them about 1/3 up the legs on both sides.

IMG_6942 Woohoo finished frame!

IMG_6945 Next up we tackled the wood we wanted to use for the top. I was on sanding duty while Evan made the cuts.

IMG_6948 We used three 2×4’s with a short trim piece on each end to finish it off, which we attached with pocket screws. We may have gone overboard with the pocket screws… but the kreg jig was still new at the time and we got excited.

IMG_6956 We set it on top of the frame to test the size… perfect fit!

IMG_6957 We took it one step further and gave it a nice stain.

IMG_6966 With the wooden top upside down on the ground, we sat the frame on top of it and screwed through the aluminum into the wood.

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IMG_6973 And tada, finished bench!

IMG_6974 Not the most glorious completion photo since it was late at night in a dirty garage, so we got some nice photos of it where it used to live on our patio:

IMG_20141123_101944 And where it currently lives in front of our living room windows:

IMG_7428 IMG_7430 Evan even 3D printed some little feet for it so it doesn’t scratch our floors (you can see them in the photo above). But you could also use felt pads (or just not worry about the feet if it’s gonna live outside full time!)

Well there you have it! A simple industrial bench that was easy to build, can live inside or outside, and didn’t cost much at all.

How to Patch Siding

Some DIY fixes work like a charm. Some don’t work at all and you end up making things worse than they started. Others work just long enough for you to get comfortable and forget about them. I’m looking at you old siding patch.

You may remember a post from about a year ago when we noticed some holes in our siding and patched ’em up using this badass goopy stuff. If you don’t remember, click the link above :) Basically, our T1-11 siding (which is pretty much cardboard) had some weak spots at the bottom where rain had splashed up over the years. We patched it with Ready Patch (the aforementioned badass goop), let it dry, slapped on some paint, and called it good enough! It was pretty awesome for a year… and then the floodgates opened (literally, it flooded like crazy here in Houston) and our patches decided they had taken enough wear and tear.

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We decided ok… time to suck it up and pay to get this siding replaced. But while talking to the siding guy, he said if we didn’t want to replace the whole face of the siding, we could just patch the bottom of it with a protective board. He pointed to the board you see along the bottom of the siding in the photo above. See that? He said that was actually a patch that the previous owner had probably done. Basically, as long as there’s no moisture currently trapped, you can just patch over the bad stuff with a new board to protect it!

Since we didn’t want to pay $1000 for the whole face of siding to be replaced (after all, the rest of it was in good shape), we decided to try our hand at this new type of patch.

First things first, we had to rip off the old board patching the bottom. Evan used a utility knife to score the paint/caulk where the board met the siding. Then he used a tiny crowbar to pry it off. See below!

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Yep we are incorporating gifs now. But only sometimes. When we remember to :)

When Evan pulled off the board, it took off a good chunk of the old siding with it. Lots of damage, but all dry at least!

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Then it was time to put up the new boards. We needed about 10-1/2 feet of wood, so we picked up two 6-foot pieces of 1″x10″ because we couldn’t fit a 12-footer in either of our cars. We grabbed some bricks from our garage to support the boards and used a level to make sure everything was aligned correctly.

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Evan nailed it in and grabbed the second board. Halfway through nailing it in, we started noticing that at least one of these boards was not flat. Or maybe the side of our house was not flat. Either way, it was not good.

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It may not look like much in the photo, but every time we tried to hammer in whatever part of whatever board was gaping, it would pop out a different corner. With daylight fading, we decided not to waste any more time on dumb non-flat boards. We went back to Home Depot looking for other options. And what we found was even better than our original plan!

First off we found this roll of waterproofing tape called Protecto Wrap that’s typically used to seal off windows and doors. We decided since our wall isn’t totally flat/straight we might end up with gaps even if we buy new boards… so we should seal it with the wrap as extra protection.

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We scraped off all the loose bits from the old siding before rolling out the wrap. It was definitely easier doing this with two people. Evan held the roll while I pressed it against the house. This stuff was SERIOUS. The adhesive was sorta tar-like and it molded to all the grooves in our siding.

The second thing we found at Home Depot was some hardiplank siding we could use instead of regular wood. This was awesome for three reasons- one: it’s waterproof, two: it’s flexible, and three: it’s cheaper!

It wouldn’t fit in our car so we had to borrow Evan’s dad’s truck. Worth it though! You can see how flexible it is in the photo below.

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We cut it down to size with a jigsaw. It was a little tricky to cut because the blade wanted to do its own thing, so Evan used our right angle (and some elbow grease) to keep it in line.

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It did WAY better than the original wood boards. We did have some trouble finding places nails would stick on the left side (hence the bajillion nails you see in the photo below) but in the end we got it pretty secure. And to be honest, we weren’t tooooo worried about it because the real protection was coming from that wrap we used.

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After securing it, I took over with my handy caulk gun to caulk over the gaps. We went up the sides of the window frames a bit as well where the paint was cracking.

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OMG IT’S SO BEAUTIFUL

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That was sarcasm. It was pretty messy. But once we painted over it everything looked great!

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And now I know gifs make you looks like a crazy person. JUST PAINTING HERE I LOVE PAINT WANT SOME PAINT?!

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We are pretty confident about this fix! Guess we’ll check in again in a year and let you know how it’s holding up!

Fan vs Evan

Replacing the fan in the master bedroom seemed like a pretty dang easy project. After all, we had already removed a couple fans, so installing one couldn’t be that different right? Ha. Hahaha. We’ll take a moment of silence for Evan’s fingers and then we’ll get started on the post.

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So here’s how the old fan looked in our bedroom. Not absolutely terrible- but we did feel that it really dated the room.

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It especially revealed it’s age when you took a closer look. Mmmm, dat glass…

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So Evan, with his height and all, got to work disassembling the fan. He started with the blades and light covers.

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After he removed the base and snipped the wires (don’t worry, the power was off!) we were pretty confident it was going to be smooth sailing. But then we saw these.

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A bunch of nails- NAILS- holding our fan into a ceiling joist. No mounting kit, no screws. This meant it was going to be WAY harder to remove this thing.

Evan finally managed to pry them out, but those five nails cost him about half an hour and the use of his index finger (it’s hard to simultaneously use a hammer and pliers above your head while on a ladder. Would not recommend).

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You can see by the multiple gouge marks on the nails (oh and the one that BROKE IN HALF) that this was quite a battle.

The good news is that after this, installing the new fan was a breeze (Ha! A breeze! I’ll see myself out…)

Evan installed the base and the down rod (so that it would hang lower than the ceiling, like our old one). Then I hopped up and spackled/painted around the edges of the base, where we had kinda beat up the ceiling trying to get the old fan out.

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Then it was on with the blades and the lights! :D

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Somehow after that we never took an after picture… so I went and took one today! (Psst, you can check out the details of how our room has evolved over the past year here).

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We feel like the new fan suits the room MUCH better. The brushed silver ties in with the lamps and bed frame, and overall the look is way more sleek and modern. Woohoo!