So…remember back when I made this awesome outdoor storage bench for our front porch? It was a super popular post and was even published as part of a feature for The New Pioneer magazine! Unfortunately, sometimes bad things happen to good DIY projects. In this case, there was an epic battle between the storage bench and the wettest Seattle winter on record. The rain won.
So sad! The bench is kept on our porch and protected by a small overhang, most of the time. But on one particularly windy and rainy day, the gutter over the bench overflowed and drenched the front edge of the lid. It was only a matter of time before it started peeling up layers of plywood and growing mildew and other nastiness. It got to the point where the quarter round trim surrounding the lid was separating, exposing the brad nails and becoming a safety hazard. The rest of the bench was salvageable, but it was time to make a new lid!
This time around, I wanted to use solid wood that is weather resistant. Our deck is made of cedar, and still looks brand new after two winters, so that seemed like the best way to go. The widest cedar boards I could find were 1×8’s, and planking three of them together would be almost the exact depth of the original lid. Perfect!
I had one cedar board left over from a previous project that was a darker color than the rest, as you can see above. I was going to paint them all white anyway, so the mismatched wood tones didn’t matter. I drilled pocket holes using my newest, most favoritest tool, the Kreg Jig K5 (affiliate link). I can’t believe I’ve lived without this thing for so long! I had all the pocket holes drilled perfectly in a matter of minutes!
I made pairs of holes about 10 inches apart down the length of two of the boards, then lined them back up and attached them all together with 1 1/4″ Kreg screws (affiliate link).
I wanted to make the lid stronger so it wouldn’t bend when the bench was used as seating, so I added cross supports underneath. I used a cedar fence picket cut to the interior dimensions of the bench, minus an inch. I predrilled countersink holes in the picket pieces, then attached them to the underside of the lid, making sure to place them far enough away from the back edge so that they wouldn’t interfere with closing. Check that your screws are shorter than the combined widths of your supports and lid so they don’t poke through the top!
To prevent any water from seeping between the boards, I caulked the gaps between them on the top of the lid. I didn’t fill them flush with the surface so I could keep the planked look. I also applied more caulk to the rest of the bench where it had cracked over the winter. Luckily, other than a little bit of expansion on one of the top corners, the bench itself survived pretty well!
After applying two coats of primer and paint to the lid, it was time to attach it to the bench and roll the whole thing outside!
Honestly, I like this lid better than the first one! I think the planked look gives it a bit of a farmhouse feel. This one will be more resistant to the elements as well. To get the tutorial on how I made the rest of the bench, you can check out my post here.
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