Thursday, May 16, 2013

Worst First

Y'all, I know I said that this year I'd finish painting the west side of the house and then move on to the back and finish all of it, too, or at least as much as I could.

But I changed my mind.

Instead, I think I'll triage my house.  Y'all know what triage is in emergency medicine--the sickest people get treated before anybody else does.  Or, in two words:  worst first.

This is where we left off last year, on the west side of the house.
That big swath of yellow (and bare wood) in the middle is the only unfinished part of the west side of the house.  Why is it unfinished?  Because that paint---will---not---come---off.  The bare wood there took us days and days to finish, with both of us working on it.  We tried.  We tried with the regular pull scraper, a belt sander, White Trash Bob's Metabo paint stripper, an orbital sander, a heat gun, and Peel Away.  The only thing I haven't tried yet is what my bestie Greg jokingly suggested:  a propane torch.  Yeah, not really wanting to burn my house down.

Reluctantly, I have to agree with whoever said, "If it ain't comin' off, it ain't comin' off."  Yup.  That's the truth.  (I distinctly remember having that conversation...I just can't recall who with.)

It doesn't make sense to me to keep chipping away at paint that's stuck tight to the house while in the meantime, paint's literally falling off my house in other places.

Like the back of the house, a little bit...

Worse on the front of the house...
Not so much up there...but looky here by the front door...

And over on the other (west) side of the stained glass windows...

That's bad enough to get me a warning ticket. "Failure to maintain a historic property" is what they call it.  I really do not want to pay a fine.  Even worse, I really do not want to replace clapboards because they got wood rot.  With all that paint flaking off, that's a possibility.  Water is the enemy of wood; paint and caulk protect it.

And then there's the east side of the house on the "new" (post-1910) addition, which I showed you last time and which, after Wednesday, looks like this:
Believe it or not, that looked even worse than the front of the house.  (Of course I forgot to take good pics before I attacked it with my scraper.)  This part of the house definitely moved to the top of the triage list.  The paint was curled up like dead leaves, some of the clapboards are cracked, and there are small gaps between the clapboards and the trim.  I spent a lot of time out there Wednesday with wood filler, caulk, backer rod, primer and paint.  The clapboards from the bottom to just below the windowsill are completely finished.  The trim by the downspout and the clapboards behind it are finished, too.  I managed to re-hang the downspout all by myself, which is a first.  (Usually, I start and fail, then call in help.)  My goal is to have as much of that yellow paint gone as I possibly can before I go back to work Saturday night.

So.  Worst first.  Triage the old girl.  Folks, she's gonna look worse before she looks better...


  1. Aggh :-) A ticket for the appearance of one's house :-) I think a lot of us reading this would be in jail :-)

  2. I told WTB that I was worried about getting a ticket and he said that he thinks the city's more likely to give warnings/tickets to folks who aren't actually working on their houses. Whew! Don't have to worry--I'm workin', I'm workin'!

  3. Wow! You have a lot of hard work ahead! It should look great and be in better condition when you finish. I think "worst first" is a great motto, but being a librarian, our motto was left to right. I wish I could come help! Interesting project!

  4. It still feels like yesterday that you were doing this the first time. *sigh* Repeat after me, "We love our old houses. We love our old houses. We love..."