Old House Restoration

A real family makes an old house their home...for the 2nd time
The Splendido's renovate, restore and rejuvenate their home with their own hands - all while living in the house
and balancing their family needs...you know...like most families have to do it!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Every project WILL take longer than I think!

Let me save you some time, energy & money. When painting, if you ever wondered if you can skip priming when painting wood....the answer is an unequivocal, "NO!"

I could end this post now, because that is moral of this story. However, we all know that won't happen, because then it wouldn't be one of my excessively detailed (and hopefully partially entertaining) posts.

Now you may be thinking to yourself, "well duh John, of course you need primer on raw wood"...but in my defense, I thought I had this job well planned out, but then like all projects, Murphy's Law grabbed a hold of it and it grew and changed by the minute.

Winter Prep of Exterior Siding

After vacation, we really wanted to get back to working on the kitchen...however, unfortunately I have this ever-lasting nagging "To Do List" of outdoor jobs that I want to accomplish before winter sets in. These projects have resided on a various Post It notes stuck to a kitchen cabinet (classy!) for many months, and in one case a full year! *slacker*

All these projects are what I consider necessary evils. They are not flashy or sexy. Nobody gets excited about the finished product (except me...because I finally get to strike-though the item on those pesky Post Its). But if I don't do them the house will get run down looking...or worse...a chipmunk could lose its life (literally - more on that is a future post).

The first of these projects was repainting two sections of the exterior of our house. These two portions looked a little more weathered than the rest of the exterior and I was worried another winter would be detrimental to the old clapboard beneath...and they just happen to be very prominent from my hammock and new slate patio - so whenever I did get a moment to relax, I found myself looking up and saying, "ugh!" But in looking it over from the ground I figured it was nothing a little scraping and a new coat of paint couldn't fix. A few hours in one day. No big deal.

Step 1: Scrape any loose paint (Day 1)

I really thought it would just take me a few minutes to scrape the loose paint, however as I was climbing out my our bedroom window onto the roof to get a closer look two things happened:
  1. I remembered I am not a big fan of certain types of heights. Roofs are one of them. I love roller-coasters and any other scary amusement park ride that bring me a few hundred feet in the air, but put me 10 feet up on a roof and I am not comfortable.
  2. The paint looked much worse up close than I thought (see below picture)

As I started scraping, full sections of paint were just crumbling to the tarps I laid on the shingles.... and then as I continued to scape...even more paint chipped away...

...and then even more paint came off...

Paige keeping an eye on her daddy...she even brought me water and cookies to keep me hydrated and nourished

My initial thought was just to do the easy sections I could reach from the porch roof...however then I looked up and realized the area outside the attic was in horrible shape, too...as the fear of getting up to that height started to set in, I had a great idea. I will just take the attic window off the hinges and work from the window!


Here is the after scraping picture. Note: save yourself some sweat and heartache when scraping - instead of trying to get every last piece of paint off - just try to get the loose stuff off - especially if working on the 2nd floor. You will not notice any imperfections from the ground or from far away. Embrace the imperfections! They just add to the "character" of an old house!

Step 2: Paint (then realize you should have primed first) (Day 2)

There is only one scenario that I can suggest not using a primer. If you are re-painting over a paint that is the same color and is not a high gloss finish. Other than that, a primer should be used in all other scenarios. If you try to skip the primer - in the end you will have just found out that you wasted a gallon of paint - to then have to go back to Benjamin Moore to buy primer and another gallon of exterior paint.

I really expected to be in the "non-primer needed scenario." Originally I did not think so much paint would scrape off. I figured a little loose paint would come off and I would just paint right over the current paint -which was the same color and a flat sheen. The perfect scenario for skipping a primer....and just to be safe - I purchased a Benjamin Moore exterior paint that said it was "self priming on most substrates."

Of course more paint scraped off than I planned. I even mentioned to Karen my concerns, but after contemplating whether I should prime or not - I decided to test the self-priming characteristics of the B-Moore paint.
Wrong! While I was applying the first coat of paint - it may have just been my imagination playing tricks on me - but I really thought I could hear the slurping sounds of the paint being sucked into the exposed portions of our 1938 clapboard siding.

See all the uneven spots - the paint was sucked right into the wood - it looked like crap

Working hard from the attic window - all for naught. Looks terrible!

Even though the result was bad and it was going to take me longer than I expected...and cost more than I had budgeted - I did take two positives out of this unsuccessful first try:
  • Through some creativity I realized I can paint a lot of area without having to get too dangerous
    • Between hanging out of windows, extension poles and duct tape (what can't it be used for) I was able to reach all the nooks and crannies.
      • Especially proud of taping the paint brush to the end of my 8 foot extension pole and getting to the corners like I had Stretch Armstrong arms.
  • This small section acted as a great test area before tackling the whole house next year!
    • i.e.- I learned what not to do

Step 3: Prime with a REAL primer (Day 3 - the following weekend)

I went back to Benjamin Moore with a cell phone picture and explained what had happened. They said you definitely need a real primer (i.e.-not a paint that says it is self-priming). So they tinted a gallon of their Fresh Start Interior/Exterior Primer a dark grey. They said primer does not take browns very well - he said it turns pink - so the dark grey would be my best bet.

After applying the primer I could tell it was going to work. The primer was staying on top of the wood. It was not being sucked in. The can said it needed 4 hours to dry before you could paint over the primer so...

The twins and I headed over to Home Depot at 9am (yes I was done with the primer by 8:30am...I started at 6:30!) for a little birdhouse making! After all - the most important question to answer EVERY day is: "What are we going to do that is fun today?"

Future home improvement experts in the making

Step 4: Paint the Exterior of the House (Day 4)

By now I was becoming an expert at painting this section of the house. I painted the first coat in the morning and then we went on a family bike ride. That afternoon I painted the second coat (which is really the 4th coat of paint since the prior weekend!).

So it took me longer and cost me a little more than I planned, but in the end the paint looks nice and even. I am happy with the result...or course now it makes the adjacent sections of the house look worn out...I feel like a dog chasing its tail!

Now Karen and I need to figure out what color to paint the trim next spring/summer. We dislike the yellow (to put it nicely). Also the remainder of the house will get painted next year...we think we will keep it brown (Benjamin Moore Night Horizon to be exact), but not positive...let me know if you have any suggestions for the trim work or all new color schemes! We want to keep the color in character with house and the woodsy setting, but are open to suggestions.

1 comment:

  1. The house looks great! Scraping the old paint was a great idea, as it would be a lot easier to repaint that way. It's quite understandable to get excited in projects like these, which explains why you forgot to apply the primer before actually repainting. Haha! But in the end, you guys did a great job. Thanks for sharing!

    Richmond Gordon @ WaterLoo.CertaPro