Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Because they had to build the house in the most expensive way possible


One of the point-of-sale violations the city is requiring we fix is the peeling paint on the trim and stucco on the front of the house.

The faux Tudor elements are not in good shape. I've found it difficult to scrape without gouging, due to the slightly damp surface of the wood. Water has somehow been getting underneath the paint, even in places that are a significant distance from cracks in the paint. I'm not sure if this is because some of the boards are bowing up at the ends or if it is because moisture is getting in some other way.

I somehow ended up scraping a nice, clean, dry, area. This was probably to even out some edges and because I had an über sharp scraper. The wood underneath looked great. Further, it looked like it had a layer of varnish on top, which seemed curious, but didn't really register.

Dining room

The lone bit of good wood appears to be walnut. The color of the varnish would make it about the same shade as the house's interior woodwork. At first, I figured that there had been a leftover board and that they had used it on the exterior. Then I saw that some peeling paint by the windows revealed similarly varnished wood.

I'm now reasonably sure that the trim on the front of the house was originally unpainted walnut with a relatively light varnish. While this might have looked quite interesting, the lifespan was obviously quite limited.

The vertical boards in the first photograph will have to be replaced eventually. There is simply too much damage to the wood. There's no way to bring them back to their original appearance without an insane amount of work.

The question then comes as to what to do when replacement time comes. I'd like to have the house trimmed as it was originally, with unpainted wood trim. I imagine it would look quite interesting, and distinctly different from every other Tudor in the neighborhood. With the heavy duty varnishes that are available today, there might be one that would hold up long enough to keep me from going crazy re-varnishing every few years.

I'm going to look into this. I suspect my search will lead me to a wooden boat supplier. As always, I welcome thoughts on the insanity of this all.


Karen Anne said...

I'm just fixating on the photo of your great indoor rooms - the woodwork! wallpaper!

I have started to look for wallpaper for my second floor and my stairwell. What I've seen looks cheesy compared to what I remember of wallpaper from when I was a kid years ago.

Shane and Casey said...

I agree that you'll end up at a marine product supplier for exterior unpainted wood. You'll likely be using a urethane finish (what they use for boat hulls that aren't painted). We used the stuff on our window 'seat' in our living room as we have plants on it and wanted something that can handle a bit of moisture.

Chelsea & Liam said...

love that woodwork! that is a miracle. everything in our house has been painted white. I'm going to really do more stripping downstairs to get back to the wood.

Christopher Busta-Peck said...


It is a miracle. I can't believe how little has changed in our house. The only thing I can figure, is, as I'm slowly finding, that no one could ever afford to make any changes, because they were too busy with maintenance and upkeep.

I'm still dreading stripping the massive built-in in the guest bedroom on the second floor. And the third floor, well, they painted the woodwork up there for the first time, to prep it for sale.

Mike said...

You might not have to replace those boards. Besides working on the pergola in back I am also painting on the south side of the house. The top of the gables we have a modified board and batten triangular area. They are peeling awfully and the wood is very gray, but as I knew from our previous house, sand down 1/16 of an inch and there is still good wood... I'll be posting about that some time soon.