The Taj Mahal in Comparison

I have wanted to work on another old house ever since I finished my home. I put in offers on a few, but lost them all to higher bids. When 3067 Sidney Avenue, next street over from me, went on the market I jumped. From the sidewalk it look to be in decent shape, I have driven on street many times and never noticed it was vacant as the grass was always cut. The inside was a different story. I would learn the seller had purchased it in 2010, started his flipping work, but then stopped in 2014 and let his permits expire. He was asking $110,000, which was way too high for the visual condition. He had his electrical and plumbing roughed in, but his plan was flawed; seemingly based on maximizing the number of occupants (at closing he told me he wired 3rd to be two bedrooms, so potentially a 5 bedroom house). I offered $60,000, was rejected, but came back at $75,000 with no inspections. I really wanted this house…..I needed this house.

My $10,000 fixer was the Taj Mahal in comparison to true condition of my first flip. They have in common starting with no plumbing, electric, or HVAC, but even with the crumbling foundation at my home the bones were solid. I had a brand new roof. I knew there was a roof leak at Sidney before I purchased, but the extent of the leak didn’t manifest until after the close and I entered the house after a hard rain. The floor of the back bedroom was saturated and that leaked down to the first floor kitchen which leaked down to the basement. The rubber roof had about 15 holes in it. Laughably at closing the seller said I could fix that myself. Although not as severe, the asphalt roof over the third floor showed signs of leakage too. Depending on which roofer contractor you listen to the box gutters were shot too (spoiler alert: the box gutters were shot too). Oh yeah, I had snakes in the basement. The pics make them look bigger than they really were. I just hope I never run into their parents.

I’m a house restorer, not renovator, so the one thing I had decided to do from the first walk through, before purchasing, was to restore all the windows back to their original heights. All of the original wood windows, except for the two in the front, had been removed and the openings reduced in size. There was filler, approx 18″, above every window, but you can see where rosettes and moulding once resided. There were two windows on the back and the only window on the right side of house completely covered. This meant I would need to remove the hideous faded yellow siding (oh darn) from the entire house to make the proper corrections.

I had this naïve notion that under the vinyl siding would be perfectly preserved original wood siding that I’d clean up and then paint as I could see mint condition original siding inside the the toilet room the seller left as part of the full bathroom he was creating on the first floor. After the closing I started pulling the siding from around the front door just out of curiosity. Unfortunately it revealed that under the vinyl was fake brick look asphalt siding and under that the original wood siding not in mint condition. The margins on this project would not allow for the removel of all the asphalt siding, so I would need to re-side the house once the windows were reframed.

I stopped removing the asphalt siding, but continued pulling the vinyl when suddenly the right corner of house crumbled to the ground. I thought the entire porch was going to fall on me. Uncontrolled water has got to be one of the worst enemies of any home. For years the down spout from the roof gutter was left to dump water on the corner of the house and to make matters worst there was a hole in the metal roof of the porch right in that area too. The vinyl siding was the only thing keeping the house in tack. The rot had gone through the asphalt siding, the wood siding, all the way to the corner post of the house. My first project was connecting a corrugated extension to the down spout to channel the water away from the corner.

Believe it or not, as bad as it looked I wasn’t overly concerned because the plaster on the inside at that area was in tact; showing no signs of water damage. Now that was not the case in the upstairs bedroom where the floors were wet from roof leak. That plaster was peeling and flaking so I decided to start removing it. For the life of me I don’t know why the seller cut channels in the plaster to run his electrical and plumbing instead of taking the whole house down to the studs. What I uncovered was wood erosion and mold, so extensive that the first roof joist was floating. I knew then I’d need to go down to the studs in the entire house. It would be my only way of knowing the full extent of years of neglect the house had endured. Now I am starting to feel concerned and I most definitely over paid for the house.

Earlier I said I needed this house. This house needs me too. I can see the finish clearly in my minds eye and she’s going to be beautiful again. What isn’t as clear is if she’s going to yield profitability, but as my sign states….I’ll do it right or not at all.

Serving Her Purpose

People that have followed my three year restoration journey have frequently read things where I talked about my vision for my home. Recently the vision of hosting friends as overnight guest materialized when my former employee, but more important descriptor friends Vicki Schwartz and her husband Steve spent a long weekend with me. Vicki worked for me when I ran the “good” visitor center that used to be located on Fountain Square in what is now Graeter’s Ice Cream. That center closed in 2005, but I have maintained a friendship with Vicki and her husband ever since. So much so that when I’ve traveled to North Carolina anywhere close to Winston Salem, which is where they live now, they have hosted me at their home (once by myself, once with a teenager, and once with my two dogs, now that’s friendship). They come back to Cincinnati at least once a year and they got to see my house during construction, I didn’t have walls yet. I told them then when it was finished they must stay with me on one of their visits. Covid delayed that opportunity by a year.

They got to stay in the Janet Suite and I gave them a key, so they could come and go as they pleased. They arrived on a Thursday night after an eight hour drive.  I was prepared with cheeses, ham, turkey, and a variety of chips; something light as I thought they’d be more tired than hungry.  What Steve had a taste for was a peanut butter sandwich, so thankfully I had that in the pantry. Vicki joined him and had PB&J.

Of course they loved the house.  I’ve shared pictures of the finished product, but they said the images didn’t do it justice.  They truly did not want me to put up a fuss.  For breakfast I had fresh baked muffins for them.  Steve just needed two cups of coffee and Vicki brought her own tea bags.  Friday they spent the entire day out visiting other friends.  I had not gotten a chance to give the yard a fresh cut, so I did that.  It warmed my heart to see clearly how at ease they felt in my home.  I loved seeing my “bathroom of positivity” (decor is filled with positive motivational statements) so lived in.  Friday night they had dinner with friends, so an easy day of hosting for me.

Saturday was hang out day for me and Vicki and Steve got to visit some of his car friends (he has a vintage Alfa Romero that he’s had in the Cincinnati’s Concours D’elegance many times).  Vicki was part of the original docent class for the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, so she wanted to go there and hoped she see any of her former fellow docents.  We lucked up and caught James (Jim) Brock as he was arriving for his shift.  Before moving to Winston Salem Vicki hosted her docent colleagues at her home, so I quickly offered to host them next year when Vicki and Steve make their trip in 2022. They had recently lost one member of the original class, Verneida Britton who also use to work for me at the Visitor Center, to cancer.

Saturday evening I hosted a Visitor Center reunion cook out.  Our boss, Joan Kaup, and two other of my staff, Carolyn Sherman and Sandra Bowen came with their husbands.  I am the age now that these ladies were when they worked for me.  Sandra and I recently reconnected when she came to my first open house (I didn’t know she was following the journey), but Joan and Carolyn I have formed friendships too.  What was amazing is that it turned out Vicki and Steve knew Joan’s husband Rick from when he lived in Mariemont (where they lived) with his first wife and Vicki actually use to work for Sandra’s husband.  It turned out Vicki’s and Sandra’s tenure didn’t overlap.  It was an evening filled with great conversation and no concerns about Covid-19 as the entire group had been vaccinated.  It was nice to remember that I actually had some enjoyable years of employment at that start of my CVB career.  I’ve gone on road trips with Joan, Carolyn, and Vicki as a testament that friendships can be formed at work. 

Sunday during the day they visited more friends, but that evening they took me to dinner at the Chart House. I hadn’t been there in years. Beautiful setting as our table was near a window with clear views of the Ohio River. Great food, more great conversation, and awesome key lime pie for dessert. I’d get that pie as a carry out it was that good.

Monday was the departure day. I was able to pack them turkey and ham sandwiches for the road. In route to home they had planned to stop at the cemetery where Vicki’s parents are buried to place flowers and do any needed clean up. Vicki sent me a text sharing they were back on the road after consuming their delicious sandwiches. Not that I want to monopolize their visits to Cincinnati, but I hope they will chose me over other friends when they make the trek next year. It was nice having them visit. My house was filling the purpose for which she was restored and now with the mask mandate lifted I hope more visitors will come.

This photo showed me it was time to address the graying wood of my pergola. Stay tuned for the first “maintenance” project for my restored home.

That’s What Friends Are For

20180726_112023Some friends say they are going to do something and others do what they say. My friend Joan falls in the do what they say category. She was the only non family member that performed physical work on my house without expecting to be paid. In my pre-electric days she or her husband Rick would come and change the batteries in my Simpli Safe security system if I was not able to do so. The batteries had to be changed every 3 days. She got down on her hands and knees to pull staples out of the floor and to clean the floors after the dry wall crew left them a mess. She painted walls. Many days she worked, since she had the key, while I was out of town on business travel.  She called Sista Girl with Skills about hiring her for some repair work and projects at their new condo; her friend showed up instead.

From close to move-in was only about 20 days, but fortunately she had access to the space prior to and was able to line up some key tradesmen to start the day of the close.  I felt like I was testing my GC (general contractor) skills as I was able to connect her with two tradesmen I used on my project.  There were noticeable fade marks and some deep scratches on the composite wood floors.  I referred and she used my kitchen floor savior, Sergio Sosa of Sosa Flooring to fix them and he did a fabulous job.

I also got to dabble a bit in interior design. The finish had worn off on the master toilet paper roll fixture. I found some Kohler Devonshire fixtures that were a perfect match to her existing faucets. She ordered and I installed them. Also in the bathroom for some bizarre reason the builder put a door with a huge glass opening for the water closet. The previous owner had grandma looking sheers covering it. Joan found this really cool patterned, static cling product that we applied to the inside of the glass. It obscures enough when door is closed.

The initial call included asking if I could replace the tile floor in her guest bathroom. She hated it. It was hideous red color and looked like a brick floor. It was it perfect condition. The first time I walked through another of her friends was there and suggested that she just paint the floor. I agreed and even reminded her to call Miracle Method, a company she had told me about. The floor wasn’t the only issue. The border in the tub area was red too. My biggest victory was getting her to leave a perfectly good, well made, dovetail drawers, vanity alone. She did not like it either. She called Miracle Method, they painted the floor white with black specs and painted the border black, the bathroom is gorgeous. That vanity just needs new knobs.

I helped put up curtain rods, set up the wifi, changed out some light fixtures and removed the existing closet wire racks, which left a boat load of holes that I had to fill and then paint the walls, so that she could get her California Closet systems installed. I so wish I had taken a picture of the wire racks before I took them down because she gave them to me. I’ll be able to use them in my garage project. It is amazing what limited pops of color can do to mundane spaces. Joan was the person that gave me the idea to wallpaper my closets, so that guest will get a pleasant surprise when hanging their coats.

My most time consuming project was patching holes created by my electrician Mr. McGhee. She needed several new outlets and he had to make small holes to fish wires through. Honestly I hate patching holes, drywall is not by strong suite. Plastering is truly an art. I have not quite mastered the feathering technique, so I over apply mud and have to sand a lot. I decided to try a new technique learned on YouTube, the California patch. You use the paper from the drywall as the tape. I will admit I was patting myself on the back after this work, my best patches to date!

My last project may become another side hustle, cabinet shelves. Joan had two boards, one painted white and another laminated particle board that she asked if I could cut down to the right length to give her some additional shelves in her kitchen cabinets. She did not care that they wouldn’t match the originals. The laminated board was too narrow and could not be used, but I planned to cut the white one down to size on my miter saw. I had not thrown away the scrapes from Cassandra’s bench project, so I told her I could make one for the smaller cabinet.

Her original shelves appeared to have a laminate meant to imitate birch. I ripped the scrap down to the right width, cut it to the right length and then applied 3/4″ pine trim on the outer edge to hide the plys of wood. I sanded them and then coated them with polyacrylic I had on hand (3 coats on the top, 2 on bottom). When they were done it was hard to discern which was which, especially the shelves I made with birch plywood. I hated the thought of her having this one white shelf, so I made one for that too. These turned out so well she asked me to make two more AND I even made one for my own kitchen. I had wanted an extra shelf in the cabinet where I store my coffee mugs, but they wanted $50 for that one tiny shelf. Since this was scrap wood, not all the grains were running horizontal, but that wouldn’t be noticeable and did not impact function. Hence the potential new side hustle. Need a shelf, call me.

I thought all was done and I got a request for three more shelves for the guest closet. They discoved the condo basement storage is minimal, so she wanted some additional shelves for her California Closet system. These would be painted and I didn’t have enough scrap left so I bought a 2’x4′ piece of 3/4″ pine and I did not get the good stuff. It was full of knots, especially on one side, but I thought they’d cover with paint. NOT. After the first coat I ended up filling the knots with wood putty. After 3 coats on bottom side and 4 coats on top side the shelves looked great, but lesson learned to buy quality plywood if I’m asked to make anymore.

The cover photo is a view from their balcony. I was in high school the last time I went downtown for the Labor Day fireworks. I was my mother’s number two when she was invited to her colleague’s Lytle One apartment for a fireworks party. I said then I’d never get in that crowd again, a private balcony party is the only way to go. Well I’ve already been penciled in, so now finger’s crossed that Covid-19 will be at bay enough to let the show go on.

The Cherry On Top

The sheer curtains I hung in the windows when I moved in were always meant to be temporary. I had no idea they’d hang for two years, but with the house painted, landscape in, it was time for to address the window coverings. I turned to Google and played around on several sites, leaving contact me info. The only one to reach back to me was Budget Blinds; Missy Weinheimer. She was super responsive even after months went by after our initial contact. I grew up in a house with mini Levelor blinds at the windows and vertical blinds at the patio door. Because of that I was fixated on doing something different in my first house; specifically I was leaning towards Roman blinds.

20201028_110108The inspiration for my house interior design was the 2017 HGTV Urban Oasis giveaway house.  I was pulling pics to prepare for my final post on that house when I noticed that the kitchen had blue gingham roman blinds at the windows.  I had used blue gingham contact paper to line the shelves of my built-in, so I definitely wanted those for my windows.  I emailed Missy the picture and she got back to me in less than 48-hours with a very expensive option.  Of all her vendors only one carried that fabric and it was a vendor she called the Lexus of roman blind manufacturers.  I was looking at $1200 for just those two windows, so that idea went bye, bye.  I scheduled an appointment with Missy to come out on September 11 to show me other options.

Missy spent over two hours with me.  Prior to arriving she had spent time on my blog.  She had a great feel for my house before walking through the door, but she remembered our initial conversation 20200911_155041and my desire to do something different than blinds.  Missy made five trips out to her van bringing in fabric books, different shade samples.   At my request she held samples in my window so I could go outside to see what would great people. I wasn’t feeling any of it.  I guess I really didn’t know what a roman shade was or how it operated.  In the price range of my budget the backs of them look terrible in the window as you see all the mechanisms that make them function.

Missy never grew impatient with my lack of decisiveness. She even pushed back her next appointment.  On her last trip to her van she came back with a sample of faux wood blinds with tapes.  That was it!  I didn’t understand what a tape was until she showed it to me, but the width of the slats, the valance on top, and the tapes combined was exactly what my house and windows needed to stay true to my restoration journey.  The variety of colors was awesome.  I was able to match the blinds and tapes to the wood tones of my existing moulding.  I was able to select two different shades of white to match the two different whites I used upstairs and down.  Most importantly she assured me she could mount the blinds inside the moulding.  After months of restoring that wood I was not anxious to see screw holes go back in them.

Installation was scheduled for October 14, but FedEx shipping delays due to the California fires pushed it back another week to October 21. Missy’s son Alex is her installer and typically she lets him work on his own, but she fell in love with my house and wanted to be on hand and help with the install. They worked well together. She placed each blind and its related hardware at each window and Alex handled the mounting. He had to trim each valance as Missy intentionally gave some extra margin. Better too long than too short. They arrived at 10a and had all 21 windows done by 1:30p.

I didn’t think the blinds would have the impact that they did once I saw them installed. My house truly looks complete; they are the cherry on top of what has been a miraculous journey to restore my 1924 Cape Cod styled home. My restoration work is finished. It is home maintenance from this point forward. I held another Open House on October 24. Despite the alarming news coverage of the growing spread of Covid-19 about 30 friends, colleagues, clients, and family came through. No pics, but I’ll have a final post on this journey out shortly.

She’s 100% Complete and Beautiful

DIY Nightstands

20200613_152621With the plan to ditch the top and side shelves in my original headboard design, I needed to come up with something to get rid of the TV tray I had been using as a nightstand. My first thought was to buy something, so I started surfing various online retailers. Nothing I came across would compliment my headboard. I decided to check out Etsy, which is full of unique products made by independentEtsy Nightstand sellers.  After just a few clicks I came across several sellers making floating nightstands, which instead of purchasing I decided to make.  Doing so would allow me to use material that would match the headboard.

I still had some bead board, but not enough for an entire nightstand, let alone two.  I could have used the oak boards I had, but everything in the master is pine.  I didn’t want to mix wood.  I could have 20201026_000646purchased more reclaimed wood from Building Value, but then I’d need to join several pieces together for depth.  Then I remembered I still had the original shelves from the 1st floor bathroom linen closet.  They are 12″ x 24″, covered in paint and contact paper.  I bet myself that underneath was a solid piece of old pine and I was right.

I took the four flattest boards to the Manufactory and ran them through their planer. I really need to invest in one as I spent more time driving to and from their facility than I did working on the four boards. I took the clean boards home, measured the space, and decided I would make 18″x11″x6″ nightstands. First step was ripping all the boards down to 11″ depth. Second step was ripping down to 18″ length and adding the miter angle. I cut the miter on one side of all boards, set my table saw to 18″. Unfortunately I didn’t place the first board correctly and cut the angle in the wrong direction. I was able to make the right cut, but now they are only 17.5″ wide. With the tops and bottoms cut I focused on the bead board. I glued four boards together and once dried ripped off the tongue and groove to reach 11″. I then used the same miter cut process I did for the top and bottom to create the four 6″ tall sides. I applied natural Danish oil to the outside of the of the bead board, painted the inside Indigo Batik, and applied dark walnut Danish oil to both sides of the pine.

The only piece left to address was the back. I have so much plywood that I decided to use 1/2″ plywood for the back. I painted the inside Indigo Batik, but applied the dark walnut Danish Oil to the back. Keep in mind I have no plans to follow, but my instincts told me to create a channel for the back panel to rest in. I had no room for error since I only had the four shelves for the top and bottom. I decided to make a prototype out of scrap plywood. I used my router to create the channel. My instinct was right. The prototype was very sound. The top and bottom of the back locked in place and I cut the width perfectly so there was no gaps on the sides.

Now it was just a matter of replicating the process on the actual wood. I ran the tops and bottoms through the router table, cut the backs to the appropriate sizes, and then prepared for the glue up. I remembered to use the “sizing” process I learned from the Woodworkers Guild of America YouTube video. The process went remarkably well. I used my pin nailer to help hold the pieces together until the glue dried. The next day I applied three coats of polyacrylic to the tops, since I know I’ll be setting glasses, mugs, or bottles on top and may not always have something underneath to protect the wood from stains.

The final step was attaching them to the wall and for that I used hanging cleats I ordered from Amazon. I had to trim a bit off due to my early miscut. Due to the width of the headboard I was not able to hit two studs, so I went to Northside Hardware and purchased six drywall anchors rated to hold 40lbs each. I love independent hardware stores as I was able to buy only the anchors (I was able to use the screws that came with the cleat) and the exact number I needed vs. a full pack. I decided to put three plus the stud screw for each nightstand.

With that a picture on Etsy turned into actual nightstands and the completion of a custom bedroom furniture set. Goodbye TV tray.

I’ve decided I’m going to make more of these stands out of all that oak wood I have. They were asking $150 on up for those on Etsy, so Sista Girl w/ Skills my have a shop on Etsy real soon!

DIY Headboard

I started working on my headboard in July 2019 (see From Toilet Surround to Headboard post). At the end of that post I wrote “So what to do.  Use the oak I purchased or create a fully salvaged headboard and use the pine.  You’ll have to keep checking my blog to see how this project is going to end.  Anyone want to lay bets?” The winner was pine. Not the floor joist I referenced, but reclaimed barn lumber I purchased Building Value. All the weeks and hours I spent building the top shelve out of oak and side shelves out aspen were scrapped.

First step was going back to the Jen Woodhouse plan I purchased for her Evelyn King Headboard. I had cut off 10″ of the back for the top shelf. My first step was reattaching it. The only blessing in my stupid decision to cut it off was that it led to my not following her plan precisely from the beginning. If I had I would have had a 100% glued up headboard that would NOT have fit up the stairs leading to my master suite. The seam is noticeable, but by turning that end towards the bottom the seam is hidden by the mattress. After that I went back to her plans and added the other section of plywood it called for minus a couple of inches as I had made the bead board panel longer than her plans. I plugged the pocket holes and then decided to paint the back side the same blue, Indigo Batik, as the bedroom walls. I still had the sample quart, so no need to spend more money on paint.

Since I had gone back to the plans, I also decided to build the side and foot rails. I had plenty of bead board (it was going to be used for my beverage station project) to work with, but I also had two unique pieces that I thought would make great side rails. I had the sidelights from the original front door. After removing the remaining glass the outer frame was perfect. They were longer and slightly wider than what the plans called for, but a couple of passes on a table saw and chop on a miter saw made them the right size. They were covered in paint and peeling veneer. I knew this could be cleaned up with a couple of passes through the Manufactory planer. I used my heat gun to remove the remaining paint from the decorative edge. I only needed three pieces of bead board per panel to fill the opening. I wanted more definition between the sides and the bead board, which I had treated with natural Danish Oil. I used dark walnut Danish Oil on the frame.

The next step was preparing the side pieces. The plan called for 2x4s, but I didn’t want to use new wood for it. I didn’t want to rip down the floor joist given two me (I want to make a farm table with them), so I went to Building Value and purchased several pieces of reclaimed 2×6 pine beams. They were still filled with nails, so they only cost $1/foot. Once I had removed all the nails I ran them through the planer and joiner to create smooth surfaces. I could have left the rough saw marks, but that seemed too rustic for my bedroom. I was going for rustic chic given all the old repurposed wood I was using. I made all the cuts per the plan. I applied dark walnut Danish Oil to them. Once dried I attached the short legs to the side light panels and plugged the pocket holes. I decided to paint the insides blue just to clean them up.

With the side rails complete I turned my focus on the foot rail. The plan called for just one 2×4 on the top with the design boards underneath, but I made another slight alteration by putting what was basically a 2×2 at the top and bottom with the design in the middle. I was trying to replicate the side rail look. The plans also had the design boards running horizontal (same as the side rails), but I decided to run the chevron to match the headboard. I wasn’t concerned with precise cuts for the sides and bottom as my plan was to run the board through my table saw to trim the bottom and miter saw to trim the sides. I painted the back to cover the plywood board in the same fashion as the headboard.

With all the pieces complete it was time to move the pieces upstairs. The connecting of the headboard sides and top will need to take place in my bedroom and I’d need help carrying it upstairs, so I took the side and foot rails up and put them together with bed frame rails. I wish I had gone back to Jen Woodhouse’s website with the bed plan as she recommended a specific style rail. I purchased Surface Mounted Keyhole Bed Rail Brackets from Rockler. Rockler had the style she recommended also, but the one I selected allowed you to enter a screw for security, ensuring they would never come apart. I’m not sure why I was concerned about that. I was excited to get the headboard up, so I reached out to my cousin Zachary (young muscle) for help getting it upstairs.

I picked him up after his work shift. We carried it up the basement stairs, out the back door, around the house, through the front door, and then up the stairs to the master. It took us hours to get the side rails attached. Poor Zach had worked all day and then I held him hostage another 5 hours. I was so engrossed in attaching the sides, trying to get the mitered corners right that I didn’t take any pics, but finally we got it erected and leaning against the wall. Attaching the side rails to the headboard I thought would be the easy part since I had successfully attached the bed rail brackets to the foot and side rails. NOT! The rails I bought didn’t work the way the rails she recommended based on the headboard design. I finally gave up and took Zach home. I slept on the floor that night.

Clarity always comes in the morning and I had a plan devised. I needed to add pieces of wood to the bottom of the headboard to create a flush surface to mount the bracket. Fortunately I had plenty of scrap pieces to work with. Once I got those pieces glued and screwed in place I was ready to try attaching the rails again. I didn’t have the extra pair of hands, Zachary, anymore so I used my 4′ ladder and clamps to hold the headboard upright. I discovered I had actually installed the brackets on the bottom backwards. With all four pieces attached I then went back to the plans and attached the support pieces that would hold the box spring slats. I won’t need them, but I did want to put the support pieces in place for any future owner of the bedframe. Despite the splice at the bottom I think it turned out beautiful; not bad for an advanced DIYer. It’s sturdy and well built. My hopes would be that the headboard always remain in this space if I should depart this life while still living in the house. With the headboard complete I was back to the issue of what to do for a nightstand. Thanks to Etsy that problem was solved. Read how in my next post.

Peel A-Way Clean-up to Prepare for Oil Finish

After getting all the crown moulding on the front cleared of paint and ready for Joe and crew, I finally turned my focus on the porch ceiling bead board. Thanks to working on other projects for Mike Tanner, Joe is very familiar with painting my type of columns, so it is very important for me to get this project done before he starts working on the front of the house. His plan is to paint fully the Stock Street side, followed by my neighbor’s side. These areas call for his tallest ladders and will be the most difficult to paint. If I’m finished with my project he’ll paint the front next, saving the rear for last.

I had received the sample pints from Alan Bensen, National Account Sales Manager Dumond Chemicals, Inc., but I started with what I had left from the crown moulding. Alan sent me an email with reminder tips from our phone call. Somehow I forgot reminder one and paid the price for it.

  1. Apply Peel Away 1 like you are icing a birthday cake, and you like icing! 😊  
  2. Don’t let it sit too long or else it may dry out (24 hours max).  It may even work overnight (apply at 5-6pm at night), remove before noon the next day….it’s trial and error.
  3. When removing, use water, nylon scrub brush, and/or scotch- bright pad to remove. Don’t be afraid to use the garden hose!  Water and elbow grease working together does the trick.

When this product dries out on your surface it does not scrub off. I had to use my pressure washer and unfortunately in spots I furred up the soft pine boards. On the phone he had told me, based on the pictures I sent that the product wouldn’t need to sit for more than a couple of hours. It was drying so fast that for the third section I only let it sit for an hour. Applying it liberally is truly the key. The paint that was in the groves, especially around the edges was my primary concern. The re-treatment with the Peel A-Way did nothing around the edges; about 60% came out of the grooves thanks to the 20200813_081636pressure washer. The very thing I was trying to avoid, using my heat gun with a metal pick, is exactly what I ended up doing. The white along the edges I think was caulk and not paint because it was really gummy once hit with the heat gun. I burned the wood in some places. That didn’t concern me much as once I discovered I had furred up the wood in some areas I knew I’d need to sand the surface. The burns weren’t deep, so most would go away with the sanding.  I started with 80 grit, followed by 120.  I may go a step further before applying the oil.

I did the ceiling in three sections over the course of two days. My arms were so tired, as all the work was above my head with extended arms. I still love Peel A-Way and would highly recommend it, but given how much manual removal I ended up doing I could have eliminated the need to use the pressure washer and sanding if I had just started with my heat gun and pick.

Ceiling Before Peel A-Way

Amazing what the right product and elbow grease can accomplish. After doing some Internet searching I have decided to use Penofin Ultra Premium Red Label Pentrating Oil. I’ll let the Peel A-Way neutralizing agent set for a day before starting the Penofin prep processes. If all goes well I should be finished with my outdoor projects by the end of the weekend.

The Big Chop

Well there’s no undoing today, I did it. I’ve removed all my permed hair. How do I feel? Liberated, nervous, happy, sad; I’m a mixed bag of