Restoration Work

This morning I talked to Woody, the preservationist who is working on the exterior of the original part of the house, about the work going on there. It sounded so interesting that after work I hurried over in the last of the daylight and climbed up the scaffolding to check it out.

Stripping the siding

Woody's process is pretty involved, but I've seen the results he gets and they are the level of preservation that I want and that the house really needs. He strips the wood down bare -- all old paint, caulk, whatever, then works up from there. It's a little tedious and time-consuming but it works.

Parlour window head stripped

He and his crew have been working on the house for a couple of weeks and gotten quite a bit cleared off -- they haven't been there all day every day so I'm not expecting miracles. Basically, he's not the guy you go to when you have a super-tight schedule. I knew that going in.

Missing piece of trim

As the paint gets stripped off, we see things about what the trim originally looked like. There was a diamond-shaped ornament here, for example, and it fell off before the house was painted turquoise (very, very longtime readers may recall that the house was sort-of turquoise when we bought it, or at least the remnants of paint on the house when we bought it were turquoise). We believe that coat of paint was applied around 1958. The next coat of paint was the gray we put on.

The other parlour window

You can see the slow, methodical process of removing the old paint. The newer guys work on the big fields of siding, and those with more experience work on the fiddly pieces of trim.

Broken trim

Sometimes there are missing pieces. This broke off at some point. Woody will fabricate a new piece to make it whole again.

For the most part, he told me, the wood has been looking good. Our neighbor had a lot of rotted wood but we've mostly dodged that bullet, which is great news.

Missing button on the scroll

Here's another missing piece of trim. There was a little round button on the side of this scroll. Again you see the turquoise paint over what had been bare wood.

Another missing button

And another one. It's like the house was just shedding them. If they were anything like the little buttons at the roof corbels, they probably fell off if you looked at them wrong.

Keystone decoration

The windows have this interesting upper trim detail, which looks to be in great condition. The keystone piece looks so much better now that it is stripped and you can actually see it clearly. I'm not sure I'm a fan of the motif on the panels, but it has kind of grown on me over the years, and it does look better not all gummed up with paint and dirt.

Exploratory stripping

Walking around the house I saw a bunch of places where Woody had done some exploratory stripping. We are in discussions about the metal roofs at the bay window and front porch, which may be restorable (unlike the metal on the actual roof, which was not because it had been nailed through a million times). I know Woody is stripping away paint here and there to figure out how things are fitted together and see what things look like and where they can be restored versus where they need to be replaced.

Wood at the kitchen bay window

The wood under the paint at the kitchen bay window, for example, had been stripped a little and looked great. I should look so good at 141.

In the meantime, the other painters did this:

Back wall of the house

Most of the addition is painted now, with a few remaining parts. I've got Noel working on making us some movies from the site cameras. The painting is particularly satisfying to watch (unlike the roof) because it went very fast.

posted by ayse on 04/13/17

3 Comments

I've stripped a lot of wood on my house using a heat plate (basically a big heating element on a handle). It is an incredibly tedious and time consuming process, but when it's done it looks so much better. Is your exterior wood redwood?

Every time I think the end is in sight for you, you post something like this that makes it clear you have a very long way to go... Any idea when you can at least hope to be home again?

Rae, we expect to be able to move back in somewhere in the July timeframe. Some of it is under negotiation, because Noel would rather not live in the house while the paint removal is being done.

Steve, the exterior siding and trim are all redwood, yes.

Note: We're getting pummeled with spam comments, so I've turned off the ability to use any HTML or include any links for the time being. Email with any issues.

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