Take Two, but Worth It For the Sweat Equity Cost Savings

The time, energy, and money on a quart of Sherwin Williams’ All Surface Latex Enamel Primer for the work I did last weekend was a complete waste. Just days after applying a coat of that product to my metal areas rust stains were bleeding through. I knew Rust-oleum had the product I needed, but I called my local SW store in hopes I could get an equal product, but have it tinted to my final house color. I got a young kid that clearly did not know their product line well and he steered me towards the latex enamel and sadly it turned out I couldn’t get an exact tint anyway. I did speak with the manager who said I should have gone with the oil based enamel instead and he was willing to give me that can at no cost, but after reading a Bob Vila article I decided to get the Rust-oleum Clean Metal Primer from Lowes. Hopefully that manager will apply credit on a future purchase.

The manager told me I could apply his oil based product on top of this, but I decided to remove it prior to applying the Rust-oleum product. My Don’t Take a Knife to a Gun Fight analogy came to light again. I decided to invest in a Dewalt corded grinder. I had the ENTIRE house cleaned and painted in about five hours. I put my stopwatch on when I did my neighbor’s side of my house and I had the entire side cleaned in 10 minutes, 39 seconds.

I bought another 4.5 each grinder, but now wish I had gotten the 7″. Cleaning the paint from the flat areas of my windows with the grinder works great, but once the flap disc begins to wear down the blade guard interferes with keeping the grinder flat. The aggressive grit will get into the wood once it eats through the paint and preventing/minimizing that is hard if I hold the grinder at an angle. I’ve never worked the grinder without the guard, but i’ll try that before investing in a 7″ model that would give me more depth to stay flat even with a worn disc.

My painter has quoted me based on the time he thinks to scrap and paint my house. I won’t touch the upper windows (I don’t have the proper equipment to work with heights), but all the prep I can do on the lower level is less they’ll need to do, so that saves me money. I wouldn’t have half of the features I have in my house if not for my willingness and ability to put in sweat equity.

Don’t Take a Knife to a Gun Fight

Well this most certainly will be a Memorial Day weekend we all will remember. No BBQs for me even though I have my prized grill with me again. I just didn’t feel like firing it up for a solo meal. Instead I decided to tackle the metal flashing that goes around my house. About a month ago I tested scrapping an area to the left of my back door. I used my paint scraper with a carbon graphite blade and a heat gun for about an hour to get that area cleaned. I thought I’d tackle a small area each evening, but then the sheshed project got all my attention. Good thing as my favorite Jack of all trades, Tom Milfeld, stopped by to see the project and he told me to use my sander with 60 grit paper to eat through the paint.

Left side of rear door, hand scrapped

Saturday I got started and I selected my belt sander to work with. I bought 50 grit belts and started on the right side of the door. It worked awesome, in the beginning. I got about 10 feet done before I needed to change the belt. I only bought one pack, which comes with two belts. The rain brought an end to the project, so I went to my computer with the intent of ordering more belts for in-store pickup, but an idea popped in mind to look at grinder accessory. The belt sander worked great on the vertical side, but not so great of the top near the house and I thought my grinder could get closer. I found exactly what I was looking for, a flap disk. At this point I have about 3 hours into this project and about 1/4 of the house complete.

Sunday, with more rain in the forecast, I turned my focus on my yard. Last year I seeded the right side and what I call nappy grass took over. It died out over the winter and my first lawn treatment of the seaosn should insure it doesn’t come back, but I had a lot of bare patches. There is a family flipping a house across the street from me and the husband is a landscaper. He stopped by and gave me some great ideas. I want to plant one tree and I’ve been considering a River Birch (grew up with that at my old house), a Star Magnolia (ode to Fixer Upper), or a Canadian Clump Cherry (also planted at my old house). He suggested an Eastern Redbud and recommended Bzak Nursery, so I decided to go out there for bags of top soil, seed for the lawn, and to see in person all the plants he recommended. They had everything, but the Redbud. Rhonda, who works with DIYers tweaked his suggestions a bit, so I can’t wait to turn my attention fully on the flower beds. I got the top soil and seed down and half the yard cut just as the rains started to fall.

I really didn’t want to deal with a big box store, so Monday morning I called the Ace Hardware in Clifton to see if they had my sander belt size, they did so I bought 32 and 40 grit. I wanted to get more paper in case the flap disc didn’t work of if they didn’t carry it. They did, so I bought two 36 grit GatorBlades. On a scale of 1 to 10, hand scrapping was a one, belt sander a five, grinder with the flap disc TEN!

The only drawback was I’d blow through a battery about ever 6′. I have three batteries, a rapid and regular charger. I was burning through batteries faster than they could charge, so I stopped to finish cutting the grass and to throw down a couple more bags of top soil I also bought at Ace and more seed. I got from the blue section of the back, all of Stock Ave side, and the left side of the front sanded. Skies turned black and wind picked up, so I thought rain was coming again. I stopped and ate lunch while watching another episode of a new Netflix series I’ve gotten hooked on, Blood & Water. I also read the can of Sherwin William’s All Surface Latex Enamel Primer I bought to apply to the metal once all the paint and rust was removed. It stated that bare steel must be primed the same day. I noticed that some areas I had scrapped the day before had rusted again with the rain, so I re-sanded that area and decided to apply the primer to all the areas I had already scraped.

What a difference it makes. I wanted the primer to be tinted to Sea Serpent, but that couldn’t happen because the base is white. This color is 50% of that.

Before calling it a day and weekend I decided to try the GatorBlade on my prized stain glass window frame. Regardless as to who I select to paint the house, I’m handling the stripping of that window. The disc is getting pretty worn, so I thought it would do less damage on wood and I was right. I’ll probably put the new one on to complete the metal flashing stripping, but I’ll use the worn one to finish the window.

Rent A Heat Gun

I’ll never use stripper again.  I bought a heat gun from Home Depot when I needed to strip the paint off my 1st bathroom door.  It didn’t put a dent in the layers of paint.  The scraping tool that connected to the end of it actually bent.  The paint never came to a blister.  I returned it and bought stripper, hence my post The Battle of the Strippers.  Assuming all heat guns are created equal when it came time to start stripping the office door I found at Columbus Architectural Salvage I immediately planned to buy Citristrip, but I also remembered a conversation I had with Britt Sang, the guy who painted my door when he came out to give me a quote on painting my house.  He said he’d use a heat gun to remove the paint from around the windows.

I decided to try a heat gun again, but this time I was going to rent a professional one.  Unfortunately the door was returned to me too late to rent one last Saturday.  I had already lost 8 days when it was not returned on the 21st as communicated by Scotti at the WoodShop, so instead of doing nothing until Monday when the rental store opened I ran to Lowe’s and bought Citristrip.  It took two gallons of Citristrip and two days to get one side to the state you see in these pictures.  The fine grooves in the two vertical panels still had paint on most of it.

Frustrated by the slow process (I swear it worked better previously) Monday I headed out to Schuloff Tool Rental for a $12/day heat gun.  Before leaving the shop I asked for tips on using.  He said to heat an area, put the gun down and scrap.  He recommended using a 5-in-1 tool, which I wasn’t sure what it was so he sent me to a Beck Paint and Hardware Store 20200106_083406down the road from them.  When I saw the tool I then knew what it was because I had two of them.  I asked the clerk about getting paint out of the grooves and he recommended the Hyde Coutour Scraper.  You get a handle and six different attachments.  I used the one you see pictured.

Heating an area and then scraping did not work.  As fast as it bubbled up, without the heat it cooled down.  Remembering how the attachment from the one I bought worked, I put my scrapper down and held the gun inches above it and once the paint started to blister I pushed the blade..  The paint came up like butter.  I was amazed.  In about 5 hours I had the door completely stripped.  The Hyde tool worked fabulously in the grooves.  I was so focused on that area that I didn’t take any pictures.  As you can see from the pic on the left I singed the door a bit, but wasn’t concerned due to my dark stain.

The bad thing about paint strippers is that they do something to the molecular nature of paint, as when I turned the door over to use the gun to clean up the strip side, the heat just made the residual paint gum up.  When I tried to focus on the grooves I unfortunately held the heat gun to the plastic handle of the scraper and it melted the mechanism that held the attachment rendering it useless.

I decided to just sand the door and then apply the stain.  I knew the next day that I had not sanded enough. I could tell that the lighter areas still had residue of the paint/stripper.  My sanding pad gummed up quick and instead of changing it I used it for the entire door.  Once gummed up sanding pads are not effective.  I decided to sand the lighter areas again, but instead of using my belt sander I used my orbital.  I went through 3, 80 grit pads, which means there was a lot of paint residue on that door.  I used the orbital on the heat gun side too.  In comparison I used one pad and it never gummed up.

I knew after one coat the heat gun side was going to look better, so thankfully that is the side of the door that faces the hall and will be seen the most.  When I thought I would have the door back before Christmas I decided to hold a Birthday Open House, so the eight days I lost stopped me from spending more time cleaning up the detailing.  Perhaps one day when I’m bored and I get another Hyde Contour Scraper handle, I’ll go back and clean up the grooves.  For now it will just have to work.

Road Trip for the Elusive Office Door

20191123_114730Saturday I made a quick trip up to Columbus, OH to pick up the only missing door in my house; the elusive, 2-panel (vertical), approx 32″x 80″ door for my office.  You cannot restore old houses without having an arsenal of salvage stores to shop.  I found Columbus Architectural Salvage‘s website months ago when started searching for doors for my house.  They have always had the 2-panel vertical style I needed, but not until last week did they have one in the size I needed.  I paid for it in advance to ensure it would be there.

What a super cool store and so well organized, I could spend hours.  It was sensory overload.  The budding up-cylcer in me was roaring to come out and buy, buy, buy for project ideas.  I resisted and came home with just a door, a mortice lock to fit it, and a couple of hinges I will need for my master bedroom refreshment center project, stay tuned for that one.

The door will need to be stripped and stained to match the others in the house, but this won’t be my first stripping rodeo.  It will also need to be reversed as it is currently 20191123_151632oriented to swing in the wrong direction.  I’ve already solicited Scotti, from the Wavepool Wood Shop to tackling getting it fitted for the door jamb.  One day I will learn the process of retro-fitting doors and jambs, but at this stage of the project I’m invoking my old time is money adage.  At my current skill set (which is advanced and getting stronger) I would take days to fit the door and that’s not time I have to give at this stage.

Having that door allows me to truly see the light at the end of the tunnel.  The first floor trim, moulding, and setting of five doors is all that is left from calling the inside of the house complete.  I’ve put myself on the clock to have the inside complete by my birthday in mid January, so no holiday trim the tree gathering again this year.

The Battle of the Strippers

One of the things that I loved when I first toured my house was the fact that the doors and trim were unpainted, except for two doors.  Actually 1.5 doors, the 1st floor bath linen closet was painted white with a white glass door knob and the inside of the bathroom entry door was painted white.  White glass knob on inside, clear glass knob on outside with a dark brown stain.  Both were peeling badly and would need to be stripped just in order to refresh the paint.

I decided to turn the entry door into a pocket door as I had three doors within a 3′ area (linen closet, hall closet, and entry door), why too much swinging in tight quarters in my opinion.  In order to use the original knobs I will need to turn the door around, causing the painted side to be on the outside.  Just to avoid needing to completely strip the painted side I looked into boring a new mortis lock hole on the other side, but a professional carpenter advised me against that.  I have only that one door, so no room for error.

20180804_190354I had started trying to strip the linen closet door first and was getting absolutely nowhere with the Jasco Premium Paint & Epoxy Remover.  This was recommended to me by a Home Depot employee.  States is starts working in 15 minutes.  It did, but removed one layer at best.  I followed that with the Star 10, a product recommended to my by an employee at Woodcraft.  Stripper of choice by wood craftsmen, or so he said.  It didn’t do much either as you can see.  Both gave off strong fumes.

Nicole Curtis (#nicolecurtis) of Rehab Addict (#rehabaddict) always talks about an orange, safe stripper, so while I am not sure of the exact product she uses I went back to Home Depot and got CitriStrip Stripping Gel.  The carpenter pointed out to me that I needed to have the door inserted before putting up trim and I need the trim up in order to lay tile, so the entry door moved to the head of the line.

I started stripping about 11am and believe I could have gotten the entire door done in a late night, but I had to get home to let out and feed my dogs.  This is how it looked at the end of day one.  I believe one treatment went through at least three layers as I saw white, yellow, and mint green:

20180804_212132I actually applied a second coat, but when I realized the time I knew I couldn’t give its full time to work.  In the short time it was on it did not bubble as you see above, it actually got milky white.  As I rubbed one area with the paint brush I could actually see wood.  It was liquefying the remaining paint.  I wasn’t sure if I would return the next day, so I  wiped the door clean instead of letting it sit overnight.

I did return the next day, applied another coat that sat for about two hours before I used a putty scraper to get to the picture on the left.  A third coat aided by a bladed scrapper and small steel brush (for inside panel edges) got me to a completely stripped door shown on the right.   The directions suggest using Odorless Mineral Spirits with an abrasive stripping pad to loosen remaining residue.  I dipped my brush in it, but did not try a pad.  Before staining I’ll use a fine grade sanding pad on my rotary sander to open up the pores.  I used the entire 64 oz bottle on this door and about a 1/4 of a new bottle.  I believe I could have gotten by with one if not for the abrupt ending on day one.

20180805_181635I won’t strip the stained side, just sand it, apply a primer, and then paint it with semi-gloss paint.  The harder challenge will be in matching the original stain.  Stay tuned.