December 10, 2019

How We Updated Our Entryway with Cedar Slats for a Modern Appeal + Video

DIY, House Remodel

A typical Floridian home gets a modern twist. Or something like that as we take down our broken front screen and try to create a more appealing entryway! Our landscaping needs a good bit of attention and love too but one thing at a time…but imagine jasmine vines and no weeds and a crisp white (or black? hah) exterior with black windows! That’s slowly what I’m aiming for and taking down the screen (or hiding it) with these cedar slats is our first step! 

Our screen had holes that lizards, frogs, and bugs would get through and have a harder time to get out for some reason (ew). And our ceiling was just painted drywall that was chipping away. Needless to say, we didn’t like to use our front door and very embarrassing for when random door knockers and the UPS man would drop by and probably notice the under watered plants (I wasn’t kidding when I said I hated using the entryway – even to water the plants). So in a quick decision, I decided to tell Leo what I wanted to do to give our entryway a little love! Or something like that hah. You can watch the before walk-through and ideas I have on Insta under the Exterior highlight.

Watch the video to see how we did it and read below for all the details! 


Music: Voyage by Ikson

  • cedar (cut down to 1.5 inch by 1.5 inches from a 2×4 purchased by a local lumbar guy – our HD and Lowe’s didn’t carry a 2x)
  • 1.5 inch screws
  • 2 inch tapcons (to go into floor and walls)
  • hooks (optional)
  • drill
  • tablesaw
  • mitersaw
  • border pieces (for ceiling – we used poplar but it’s not the best choice)
  • tongue and groove
  • painting materials
  • nail gun with nails
  • tape measure
  • level
  • trim square (for finding the correct place to screw)
  • rubber or wooden mallet or hammer
  • hammer drill (to drill into concrete floor and stucco walls)
  • 100 grit (or so) sandpaper 

1. Preparation

(please excuse our dirty driveway, we’re getting on that with another project lol)

  • we unscrewed the screen and simply took it down in one piece 
  • and did the same to the front screen door
  • where the screen border was, the stucco is slightly discolored and left black residue (we are planning on repainting the house in the near future) so we just scraped the black residue as best as we could

2. Measuring and Cutting

  • because every big project involves measuring – you gotta make sure the cedar slats are cut to width you prefer (you will cut height to exact size in step 4), your border is cut to exact height and floor length, and your support pieces are cut to length and width (we had to use a few pieces to cover the floor and a couple pieces to cover the length to support the slats  – see 0:26.0 in video)
  • when you cut down your cedar, make sure it’s the width that you prefer (but wide enough to where it won’t warp easily – ours are 1.5 x 1.5 inches) and a height that is a little taller than what you need so that you can cut down to EXACT SIZE in step 4 to get it to fit snug 
  • to make your cedar slats less rough, use a table saw to run your cut cedar slats through to where they only between the side of the blade and the guide wall – see 0:21.4 in video

3. Border

  • make sure the piece running on floor is square/straight with the walkway
  • using a hammer drill  into the concrete floor, then take a 2″ tapcon screw and impact drill to secure the wood plank to the floor
  • do so every 2-3 ft depending on the space you’re working with
  • do the same process for the sides that go against the walls -that starts your cedar slats
  • before you add the next of cedar slats, make sure your first one (border) is level and go off of that

We did not add a top piece that goes above the slats but that is recommended if you do not want to add a support piece in the middle (depending on height of the slats, of course.

4. Slats

  • here you have to measure and cut each and every cedar slat to EXACT SIZE to ensure it fits snug because stucco is never perfectly straight (ours started at 85 inches and ended at 86.5 inches) and our entryway is at a slant for drainage purposes
  • space each one apart using a cut block to the size spacing you would prefer
  • use that block as you go, for the top and bottom of between each slat 
  • make sure your floor piece is secured as you add the slats but if not, add an additional tapcon
  • if the slat seems loose, use a nail gun at an angle, towards the floor piece to support the slat before you add the horizontal support piece – see 0:50.6 in video

5. Support Pieces

  • add your horizontal support piece(s) where you want to add it, height wise (doesn’t matter where and if you added a top border piece above that slat, you actually don’t need to do this)
  • attach your support piece(s) by using a drill, screws (we used 1.5 inch screws for this), and a trim square
  • the trim square is to make sure that each screw is in the center of each slat and center of the horizontal support piece you have running across all of them
  • as you go, use that spacing block to make sure your spacing between each slat is the same as the slats might’ve readjusted itself 

6. Front Entryway/Doorway Piece

  • create a top piece for the front doorway to the entryway (optional – Leo and I are still unsure if we will keep this top piece attached but it will look better once we repaint the entire house)
  • the top piece was made with the same concept as the cedar slats – just attach slats to a support piece by screws and use a sized block guide for even spacing
  • attach to stucco on top of doorway to entryway by using tapcons and a hammer drill (the same concept as how the border was made)

7. Ceiling

  • as you can see, our ceiling needed a tad bit taking care of – to do that, we simply installed tongue and groove boards to cover the old drywall
  • to install the tongue and groove, you measure and cut to size and install by placing into the grooves like a puzzle and nailing with a nail gun
  • we than placed a border of poplar (poplar isn’t the best choice but it was what we had on hand) to give it a clean look
  • we finished off the ceiling by giving it a paint job with of course, black (a sprayer could have been easier to use than the 4 different brushes and roller I had to use to get into every groove but I’m scared of over-spray – and hate paint prepping heh)
  • we updated our ceiling light with a very budget friendly option that wasn’t basic

8. Touching up the Floor

  • sweep and mop the floor from any dirt and sawdust and bugs
  • if you want, take this chance to repaint and refresh the floor – I decided not to stencil the floor after going back and forth about it as the sun and cedar slats already create lots of pattern play
  • let repainted floor dry and cure

9. Sanding & Final Touches & Decorate for Christmas 😉

  • once all is set and done, go ahead and sand down all the rough cedar with sandpaper
  • add the hooks if you want em
  • touch up the floor with some mopping and repainting if needed
  • might want to repaint that front door if you need to, since you’re at it – or replace the hardware (we will have to buy hardware eventually)
  • and finish with styling

Unfortunately, previous owners did not leave any leftover exterior paint, if there was any. You might notice some discoloration in the stucco and a door handle and exterior light that needs updating, however that will be fixed with the next phase, when we repaint and landscape our house – hopefully sooner rather than later!

Also, you gotta let us know if we should keep that top piece above the doorway! Leo and I are still unsure if we should keep that piece up or not…hmmmm…!

You might notice this stool that I thrifted and had here. They complete both spaces so I guess I just gotta find another…or buy me a 3d (or 4d?) printer. 

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