Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Planning for a Job

Before the first hole is drilled, paint is scraped or post is set, a lot of behind the scenes action goes on over here at the bungled house. A lot of fast-paced, exciting action. Like this:Okay, so that picture was taken three years ago (about a week after we got Arlo). However, the job he is modeling, that of researcher, is of utmost importance.

For instance: the paint job on the exterior has not yet officially begun, but research has been conducted for months. Kevin and I spend a lot of time on this step. We look at tools, how-to guides, and products. I would say, in the last month or so, I have read no less than six "how to paint your house" articles. Everyone has an opinion about techniques, paint and primer. When their is disagreement, we try to find some actual research to back up claims. See, mom and dad, those liberal arts college degrees are paying off in ways you never thought possible.

So, I now present to you our research findings in,

How to Paint your House Bungled-Style*

*Subject to change once we get into this project and realize all our research was for naught.

1. We are going down to bare wood. First, neither of us like the look of a house where just the loose paint has been taken off. Second, we have massive, massive paint failure on the entire house.
See that? Yuck. We have the alligatoring too. And the blistering.

2. Okay, so that first one wasn't really a step in the painting process, more of a decision we have made. That decision, however, leads us to method: how we are going to scrape the house. The methods most people use are: dry scraping, dry sanding, the Paint Shaver (or similar product) heat (in the form of blowtorch, heat gun or Silent Paint Remover), chemical strippers or pressure washers. We are still debating this one. We bought a Silent Paint Remover, and while I think it will do wonders on the interior trim, I have my doubts about the exterior. The Paint Shaver is really appealing, but I have heard stories of gouges and it is expensive (though we could probably resell it for close to its original value). I'll keep you posted. If anyone has any questions about why we are not considering any of the other options, leave a comment and I will let you know more.

3. Wash the house. Some say to use TSP (tri-sodium phosphate), others say bleach, and others say mild detergent. I am leaning toward a lean mixture of bleach and detergent. The TSP can be harmful to landscaping, and though I know the bleach water isn't great either, it will do the job of fighting mildew well even when diluted significantly. We are planning to borrow my parent's pressure washer to do this, and use it on a very gentle setting.

4. Repair any damage to the wood. This is a good time to announce that we are in fact ripping out the asbestos siding. We are going to be gentle and use all the proper precautions. However, this means that we will have nail holes. A lot of nail holes. There may also be some split wood if a nail was driven too close to an edge. We are crossing our fingers on this one. We also have to repair any rotted wood, which seems to be focused so far on the front side of the house. I will let you know which products we use for this later. Any suggestions?

5. Sand. We are using 80 grit to give the paint something to grip onto. We will be using my Makita random orbital, though rumor has it Kevin broke it.

6. Prime. Here is a HUGE point of contention among pros. Oil or Latex Primer? I wish I could link to the article in Fine Homebuilding that goes into great deal about primer, but we have a subsrcription, so it's not free. Anyway, the main point is, a good 100% acrilyc primer will flex with the wood and last longer. There is a chance of water-borne stains showing through, but they are easy to find and those can be sealed with oil based primer without compromising the felxibility of the latex. If you are a research nerd like us, it's worth it to have a subscription to the online archives of FH. Another interesting fact from the article is that you should go with the "sister" primer of the paint you choose. So, Behr paint = Behr primer, Valspar paint = Valspar primer, etc.

We are still not sure how we are appliying the primer/paint. If we rent a sprayer, we'll have it for months, and that can't be cheap. So that is up for debate.

7. Paint. Honestly, right now I am leaning toward Duramax by Valspar. If you had asked me yesterday, I would have said Duration by Sherwinn Williams, but (notice a theme) according to my research, Duramax is about the same quality-wise if not a little better, and much cheaper. Again, all this could change. An added benefit of not using Sherwinn Williams is that there was an incident involving Kevin's dad, Sherwinn Williams and the Twins in the World Series that is still very raw, in that we were told never to use Sherwinn Williams paint.

So, there you have it. I am sure this will all change, and I think I forgot the step about caulking, so I will be adding on to this as we go. I just needed to wrap my head around the scale of this project. Which leads me to the next post: our plan.


Christopher Busta-Peck said...

I spent a summer painting houses with a company that tended toward the quick and dirty but now am inclined toward slower and better quality.

If I were painting a house that had been stripped down to the bare wood, I'd prime it with a brush. A brush will ensure a better coating with the primer, and will give the paint a better foundation, which, in turn, will last longer. Whether to use oil or latex is a holy war that I don't want to venture into.

I'd further encourage you to invest in good brushes. The $30-$40 brushes are worth it for the difference they make in both ease of use and finish quality.

As for painting the house with a sprayer once it is primed, I have nothing against that. Once everything is masked off, the main painting of the house should be completable in a day. There's a bit of a steep learning curve with the sprayers (at least there was for me), so it might be advisable to try to find someone who has experience with them if you haven't used one before. You might even consider trying to find a pro with the experience and equipment to just come in and spray it after you've done all the prep work.

I'm sure it'll look gorgeous when you are done.

bungled said...


Thanks for the advice. With the shingles, there's really not that much that we would have to brush anyway, so I think we're beginning to lean in that direction.

I also painted houses for a summer, but I feel like I forgot a lot of what I was trained to do.

Again, thanks. We need all the advice we can get.

Blurker Kate said...

I repainted my house last year using Valspar Duramax & loved it! My neighbors were so impressed with how it looked, they went out & bought the same paint (different color). Even though my house hadn't been repainted in probably close to 20 years, one coat covered in most places because it goes on so thick. One of the reasons I chose Duramax was because of the built-in primer since there were a few spots where I had bare wood.

However, because it is so thick, I doubt you'd be able to use it in a sprayer. Like Christopher said, I used a good brush for the trim, and both brush & a good roller for sections of T1-11 siding.

bungled said...

Lowes had a sale on Duramax, so it's official, that's what we're using. I can't wait to get to the painting stage, I feel like the prep work is taking forever.

We've also decided to brush it on. We have a friend who painted houses for a year, so he's going to help too.