I finally threw in the towel on the house painting. Around this time last year (Dec. 2006,) I spent a week in a scissor lift and on ladders giving the house a polish. Basically, I did a quick hand scrape and light (very light) power wash followed by a prime. Nothing long-lasting, but I needed to get a clean coat of paint on her for the appraisal photos. My plan was to scrape the house to bare wood, repair any bad siding that we missed previously, and of course paint and caulk again. A project of that magnitude tends to be pushed back on the list, and so a year later it still had not been started.
I decided the best decision was to hire a contractor to scrape and paint so that I would be free to finish some other smaller projects. I know I made the right decision and couldn’t be happier with the company. I hired Richard Winkler Decorating from Alexandria, VA. I couldn’t believe how hard it was to find a painter willing to scrape the house, and also scrape it safely. I was very particular in that I didn’t want someone using a heat gun or torches to scrape the paint. Every time I looked for info on scraping paint I found a story on someone’s house burning from poor use of this method. I wanted someone familiar with the Silent Paint Remover, which used two infrared tubes to heat the paint for scraping. It’s safer for two reasons; 1) it’s temperature remains below the point where lead fumes are released, and 2) there’s minimal risk of fire. Mind you, I did have a board catch on fire in the basement when I got distracted once, but it was the surface of the board–not behind hung siding where you may not see it for hours. Rich had not seen this technology before and his painter’s had used the torch method for years with success. However, he was very interested in trying something new and promptly purchased two kits to try on my house. They did wind up resorting to torches in some corners where the infrared just couldn’t heat up enough because of the cold.
Like I said before, I couldn’t be happier with the choice in painters. Amilcar and his guys worked in cold, wind and rain to get the house scraped and primed before it got too cold for paint.
They even worked under tarps in heavier rains to get the job done.
The house was gorgeous in it’s original condition. I don’t know how many layers came off, but the raw natural wood was just breathtaking.
Especially the detail areas like around doors and the dormers…
We ran out of warm weather shortly before Xmas, but they got 4 sides primed and 3 sides caulked. When we get warm weather again (above 40 degrees and dry for a few days) they’ll come back to finish. I’m very excited because next week they’re calling for lows in the mid-40′s and clear all week! Whoo-hoo! It has been by-far one of the most expensive portions of this restoration, even surpassing the excavation or foundation, but now it’s protected for many years to come.