Saturday 18 May 2019

Decoration in progress

We've had a few days of good dry weather and a gap in bookings at the same time, so I was able to start some exterior paint works. The first job I've tackled is repainting the front door. I'd notices that the paint on the door glazing bars was beginning to flake, exposing the underlying wood to the elements. This could lead to wood rot and also didn't look too good. The previous paint was just two years old, but didn't seem able to resist the harsh conditions in the street. I decided to up my game and invest in some genuine yacht paints. 

After a lot of Internet research, I chose Rawlins Teamac Marine Gloss (Colour RAL2002) and Teamac Marine Undercoat (White). This is an oil based paint, rather than the more modern water based paint. After the usual hours of work to sand down the door, removing damaged paint on the glazing bars, I was pleased to find the undercoat paint applied like a dream. It was smooth, with a run free surface. Being oil based it needs at least 12 hours between coats. The top coat was equally good and dried with a nice gloss, requiring just one coat to provide coverage. I'd run out of time between holiday bookings so I'll apply a couple more top coats during the next gap, but the door is now weather proof.

One of the reasons why the paint had cracked on the front door was a failure of the filler material used to fill cracks in the woodwork. When selecting paints (for the door frame) I came across some specialist wood filler (TouPret). It seems to work really well, with a 20 minute pot life and can be painted over after just three hours:

I also decided to tackle the awful red tile paint which had been applied to the roadside brickwork by a previous owner. It is flaking badly and needs stripping off. After some experimentation and a lot of research I'd chosen an eco-friendly paint stripper which wouldn't damage the underlying brickwork and mortar. The stripper is designed to remove graffiti from walls. This stripping is going to be a long time process of several weeks, with many visits, as the paint stripper is quite slow in its actions. At least it doesn't cause the paint to sink into the brickwork.
When I tried a few sample areas, I discovered the mortar filling the gap between the front door frame and the brickwork was crumbly and rotten. It was right next to the front door I was in the process of repainting. By the time I'd hacked out the failed mortar there was a deep finger-width gap the height of the door frame. This had to be fixed and reinstated before the new guests arrive at the end of the week. 
So it was time to jump in the car and head off to Screwfix for a mortar gun and a pail of mortar mix. Yet more expenditure!  In the evening, more Internet research at home, as I learned how to make the mortar suitable for injecting from a mortar gun. It was not sufficient to just mix it in a bucket, I had to add plasticiser and then use a paint "whisk" to aerate the mortar before loading it in the gun. The following day, it took some experimentation to get the mix the right consistency; fluid enough to flow from the gun, but sufficiently solid to stay in the vertical gap in the brickwork. I was please to have a set of specialist brickwork trowels left over from the winter's plastering session. These implements made life a lot easier.
Sorting out the mortar around the doorframe, stole 48 hours from this week's decorating schedule, but in the process I spotted some other high level gaps in the mortar of the wall brickwork which will need some attention before the autumn rains.

I then had to paint the door frame to cover the paint gaps wood work arising from the new mortar. As I was running short of time, I chose Zinsser All Coat Exterior white paint which is water based, covers well, has a tough finish, and is touch dry in 30 minutes and allows a second coat in one hour. The manufacturers claim up to 15 years lifetime for the paint.

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