I thought I would write about the exterior paint job we had contracted while I wait for the polyurethane to dry on the bathroom floor. Today I made the text-book error of applying polyurethane to the floor of our newly refinished upstairs bathroom. What’s the error? Today is the most humid, muggy day we’ll likely have all year. The house is damp and the weather is wet. The poly will likely not dry today …. I’ll save the bathroom for another post …
Back to the exterior paint job:
As Karyn explained in a pervious blog entry, our house would only qualify for a refurbish type mortgage. The primary reason: The house needed a full exterior paint job, some light exterior carpentry work and new rain gutters.
Neighbors tell us that pervious owners made attempts to paint small sections of the house, here and there over time, however a large house in the North East requires good paint with regular and complete maintenance. I’ve enjoyed many hours of watching paint fail in my Paint-Lab days at Golden … I’ll not enjoy watching the paint fail on our new-old house however…
The house not only appeared very dirty but there was cracking, peeling, blistering and allirgatoring paint on almost every surface of the house. Siding, shutters, porch floors and stairs all required scraping and sanding of old paint. Much of it came off easily but some was still well adhered. Every surface needed priming, some minor cracks and such were filled and stabilized before priming.
The photo to the left shows the green shutters we’ll later turn blue. White siding with green trim and shutter color is a very classic color combo for older houses in the North East. The lovely home to the west of us, the one which we share driveways with is a classic example of this color combo. We chose to differentiate to make the house stand out a little more and to add some visual interest to the neighborhood without being too obnoxious! It would be easy to get wild with color on a house like ours. For now, we chose to be more conservative with color. We did however vary from the traditional “porch gray” for the porch floors and stairs. The brown roof, being only 5 years old and in excellent shape drove us to the khaki porches and stairs. And we feel the blue shutters compliment the overall color scheme nicely.
As I mentioned earlier, we did not do the paint job ourselves. We were actually forbidden to do so by the bank. The
very nature of the mortgage required the work to be contracted and inspected by professionals. We were also not allowed to use any relatives for the work. We originally planned to work with my brother’s company “Pecktown Construction”. After researching reputable contractors, we wound up working with a local painter, Robert Birdsall, who in our opinion did an excellent job for us and the house.
Robert and his crew also did some light carpentry work needed. Directly behind Robert in the photo above is a missing staircase from the porch to the garden on the side of the house. The stairs were a pile of rotten wood. Luckily, the two handrails were salvaged. I found a local woodturner to hire for reproducing the 30 spindles the stairs required. He matched them perfectly to the already several hundred on the porch! This side staircase was one of the two outside stairs Robert replaced. He rebuilt the simple stairs leading off of the back porch as well.
A little more involved, Robert also replaced the front, center first-floor window on the Queen Anne tower a previous owner decided to “wall-over”. Honestly, this was the most insane choice for a “home improvement” in my opinion. As you can see in the first photo of this blog entry, the window to the side of the front porch is missing! Compare that photo to this one:
As you can see, the siding was in need of repair too. We were fortunate enough to find the original window sashes in the attic.
Although the carpenter had to rebuild the exterior window sill and side boards, the sashes fit perfectly and match the other two windows in this very prominent front room of the house.
The porch posts stripped very nicely. They were highly textured with allirgatored paint. Decades of oil-based paint tends to crackle in a patter resembling the reptilian skin of an alligator. Luckily, Robert and his crew were able to strip 100% of the paint bringing them back to their original, smooth appearance!
The entire paint job took about 12 weeks to accomplish however the winter of 2009-2010 interrupted the progress. We got a late start on the project due to a late closing. There was roughly 6 weeks of work done in the late Fall of 2009 and work resumed in the early Spring of 2010 for roughly 6 more weeks. Our final inspection turned out to be a very quick and informal process of having the inspector over one evening after work. He was absolutely impressed. He shared with us that he was the original inspector for the bank’s original assessment during the mortgage approval process. He got to see the before and after and was amazed!
We’re really happy with the results too. The house gets many compliments from neighbors we know and many
neighbors we don’t know feel good about approaching us to let us know how much they like the work we’re doing. I never realized that fixing up an old house would be such a good way to meet people in a small town. Folks who have lived here either all their lives or for only a short time like to show their genuine appreciation of “fixing up and old house”.