There is no choice in the finishing of porch floors and steps, except between good paint, especially made for the purpose, and ordinary paint. Paint gives the only durable finish for hard usage and exposure porches get, but ordinary paint, or even that made for inside floors, is not good enough nor properly adapted. The right paint is made to dry slowly enough to give the requisite durability under the severest exposure and hard wear. The colors used on porch floors should harmonize properly with the rest of the outside painting. Porch floors and steps should be painted once every year or two. It is economy to do so, besides, it helps to improve the general appearance of the property. Dull colors are most suitable for porch floors; light-olive drab, deep buff, gray stone, light gray, dark lake, and brown stone are all most suitable colors for this purpose. In them will be found color tones which will harmonize satisfactorily with any colors which might be selected for the exterior of the house. Further information regarding this subject will be found in Chapter XV (Proper Protection For The Exterior), "Proper Protection for the Exterior." For porch floors which have been previously finished, the following directions are most applicable. First - Remove all loose paint. Where surface is hard and smooth add one pint of pure turpentine to each gallon of paint, brush out evenly and well. Two coats of material are necessary for satisfactory work. The second coat should be applied as it comes from the can. For the finishing of new floors, specification No. 8 should be used.

The care of any finished floor is very important. All parts which are subjected to extremely hard wear should be refinished before the old paint or varnish has been worn down to the bare wood. If this condition is allowed to exist, all dirt and other particles become ground into the wood itself and cannot be removed without scraping. An extra coat of varnish applied to these parts occasionally will eliminate all such difficulties. If the floor is waxed, this wax must be removed by means of turpentine, before the floor is refinished. In any event, all grease and dirt must be thoroughly removed before any new finish is applied. A little floor varnish should be found in the equipment of every well-regulated home.

One of the latest and most unique methods of decorating floors is by means of stencil borders. The operation itself is a very simple one, and the success of such decoration depends upon its harmony with all other decorative details in the room as well as upon the character of the materials used. The most suitable foundation for stencilling of this kind is the painted or enameled surface.

An old floor, therefore, is quite as capable of receiving these decorative borders as any new one. The proper surface may be produced as described previously for "Painted Inside Finish."

The stencil itself figures largely in the results. Only such designs as are both bold and simple should be selected. The Greek Key and the simple Moorish border designs are especially attractive. The contrast between the stencil color and the floor color should be held of medium strength. A shade approximating the strength of Fumed Oak is attractive over the light oak floors, while browns of the Old English order should be applied over the dark oak floors.

When grays or greens are selected for the floors, one is safest in choosing a color for the stencil similar in tone but darker than the floor color.

The following illustrations represent some of the possibilities in decorating the painted floor.

Painted Floor Finish Outside 159