Primer Failure

Posted by Steve on Fri, 06/24/2011 - 1:49am

I know it's been six months since my last update here but there hasn't been much DIY stuff to blog about at Brooklyn Row House... not even something worthy of a Facebook status.  Fact is, most of the work here is done but now I'm facing Phase 2 -- maintaining all the new stuff which has begun to show the wear and tear of the years and the many boisterous animals.  For that reason I think I'm going to jog this blog into slightly different direction, beginning with this post.

Three years ago, I had the back of my house professionally prepped and painted by Wallcoat. While I'm not thrilled with the color that I chose (my fault) I'm happy to report that it's lived up 100% to its claims.  There's not a scratch on it, which is more than can be said for one of my neighbors' Thoroseal jobs done roughly at the same time.  I give Wallcoat five stars.

Far less impressive however was the paint job I did on my back deck.  With my new, blue wall I wanted something other than a black steel deck.  So I went to my local Home Depot and had a custom light gray Rustoleum mixed for me. After I pressure washed and wire brushed the deck, I laid down a coat of rusty metal Rustoleum primer.  Because of the ornate metal railings, it was a lot of work with a 2" brush but it looked great.

Fast forward one year and the deck didn't look so great.  There was definite foot traffic wear down to the primer, especially on the stairs.  To me, this showed a failure of the paint.  I knew it was only going to get worse so I repeated the clean/prime/paint ordeal, this time with a stock Rustoleum gray color.  Perhaps the failure was the fault of the tinting.  Who knows?

Well, that one started flaking off last fall too.  WTF??  This is Rustoleum paint, after all.  It's the stuff that professional painters use on steel fire escapes every 20 years or so.  It's among the most durable of retail paints.

So last weekend I once again power washed, brushed and carefully laid down yet another coat of Rustoleum rusty metal primer.  But before painting on the top coat I decided to check Rustoleum's web site to see what I might have overlooked.  It was there that I found the source of my problem.   Note well: you won't find this information posted on the can nor on the product page on the web site.  You have to dive into Rustoleum's FAQ to learn it.

In 5 years I'll make another plan

Posted by Steve on Tue, 09/16/2008 - 11:08pm

Want to know how out of shape you are? Paint your house. Between squatting down to cut in baseboards and torquing your body into dramatic poses while standing at the top of a ladder with a roller, you'll find out. Do it for several days and you'll have lactic acid boiling in muscles you didn't even know you had.

Construction Gibberish

Posted by Steve on Tue, 09/09/2008 - 12:08pm

It's not complicated enough that a novice DIYer has to learn the skills, tools, techniques and best practices for what is otherwise a simple job in the hands of the All Knowing. He also has to learn the Babylonian nomenclature for the stuff he needs to do it. For instance, last year I was derailed for two days trying to find the name for a particular type of moulding I needed for the wainscot in my master bedroom renovation.

old roof cap I had the same problem trying to find the rooftop vent "thingie" for my bathroom fan. The not-too-bright helper for the GC I'd hired to rough-in my upstairs bathroom a few years ago had installed the wrong kind. It's not called a "fan vent". It's called an "exhaust roof cap". It took me an hour in Google just to find the correct name for it.

Igor may have known what it was called but not what it was for. It's intended for a pitched roof. I have a flat roof. As a result, this was the source of three years of water leaks which were damaging my pristine walls and kept me scratchin' and fixin' until I sussed out what the problem was. After finding the product (a Broan #636 roof cap) it took three seconds with the literature to find "DO NOT INSTALL ON A FLAT ROOF".

On a pitched roof, the exhaust port (on the right) is oriented "downhill" (I'm sure there's a construction term reserved for that). What happens on a flat roof is that any storm force wind blowing into that port will pop open the lightweight damper and the rain will pour in.

Ready for paint? I wish.

Posted by Steve on Sun, 09/07/2008 - 3:56pm

I'm gonna change the name of this blog to something more relevant, like Life Sucks And Then You Renovate. My apologies to anyone who might currently be using that name. I feel your pain.

It was supposed to be an easy, brain-dead job: just slap up some primer and paint over walls that had already been skimcoated and prepped several years ago. But I quickly got derailed and had to spend a couple of evenings last week dealing with this. That wasn't in the plan, however it's an old house so, you know, what else is new? But it gets better.

priming I managed to pick the day that Tropical Storm Hanna hit Brooklyn to roll on the primer. Even before the rain the outside humidity felt something like warm chowder. I knew it wasn't going to be a good day to paint but I also didn't want to push this off another week. The last time I did that, a week became eight years.

The priming was uneventful. Painting isn't something I like to do. It's boring and there's way too much bending, climbing and twisting, especially with my back in the shape it's been the past week. Fortunately, my next door neighbor is a terrific chiropractor so he fixes me every evening so I can mess it up again the next day.

Cutting in around the stairwell ceiling was a bitch because it's so high: sixteen feet from the ceiling to the stairs. I don't have a ladder this tall so I borrowed my neighbor's 18 foot articulating ladder. John's ladder is heavy steel and weighs about 75 pounds. Just unfolding that thing is a chore, especially in a confined space with nice, finished floors I didn't want to gouge. I had to put the ladder into three different configurations to get the job done. After I finished, I reminded myself that I had to do it two more times to paint the ceiling and to paint the walls. Yay, fun.

Huh? What happened?

Posted by Steve on Tue, 09/02/2008 - 12:57am

It started as an easy breezy project -- an (almost) laborless Labor Day. Seven years ago, I scrubbed, scraped, skimcoated and primed the first and second floor hallways. Last year, I did a little more scraping and added another coat of primer. So why have these walls not been painted since I moved in nine years ago? Call it Home Stretch Complacency, Last Lap Crash, whatever. I just never got around to deciding on a color. Primer white was fine for now.

This weekend my intent was to deal with this, or at least add another coat of primer. I narrowed the finish paint down to two colors and had every intention of painting it today. I'd decide on the color at the Benjamin Moore store.

It was gonna be such an easy job, something that this old house doesn't throw at me often. I mean, the walls have been prepped twice. All they needed was a tinted primer coat and paint. But just to be safe I decided to inspect the walls and take care of any nicks and gaps around the baseboards.

My Product Review

Posted by Steve on Tue, 10/23/2007 - 1:05pm

The last product I was asked to review was an in-floor Kryptonite locking system for motorcycles for Motorcyclist mag. I injured my knee tripping on that #*$% lock in the dark. Let's see if I have more luck with the EZ Clean paint brush that Jeannie from Houseblogs.netasked me to check out.

My project was painting my kitchen extension, which still had seven year-old primer on the walls. It's one of those Deferred Completion Syndrome items I was happy to check off the list for this product test.

Time to buy a bed

Posted by Steve on Sun, 06/03/2007 - 10:15pm

I can't freakin' believe it. All my tools are back in the shop where they belong, the paint's up, the room is clean, the nine-month saga of the master bedroom renovation.... so OVER!

Okay, there are still a few things left to do: the cabinet drawers and doors, the hallway stained glass windows, the doorknobs. I'll get around to it.

As If!

Posted by Steve on Sat, 12/30/2006 - 12:02am

Here's the dubious segue to an on-topic post.

My local dog run is under political attack from some panty waist co-oppers who started a petition this week to close it down because of barking dogs at 8am. Don't these people have frikkin jobs? But I digress.

So we're going to have a summit with the various Owls Head dog run groups: the 7:30-9am "breakfast club" (my dogs' pack), the 10-12 noon "lazily retired", etc., elect a spokesmodel and assert ourselves in The System to save our precious dog run and perhaps convince the Parks Dept to spend a few bucks making some sorely needed repairs. Screw these whiners; we need a new fence!

Wall Prep Tips

Posted by Steve on Mon, 10/23/2006 - 10:38am

I've got a lunch meeting with a prospective client today so I'll dive into the first priming of the master bedroom project this evening. This gives me an opportunity for some virtual renovation this morning: reading the Houseblogs sites and posting to my own.

Bill over at Enon Hall posted a cool Top Ten list. There are some good tips there. Ya'll should check it out (although my lumberyard likes to see double-spaced, typed materials lists with product codes and a letterhead, preferably faxed in advance).

Since I'm in "wall prep mode" I thought I'd post my own Top Ten in that area. So without further ado...

Subscribe to painting