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Front Porch :Scrape and Prime

Scraping, sanding, painting

The front steps to the RainyDayMagazine office was repaired a few years ago. We probably should have repainted the entire front porch at that time, but other projects took precedent. Three years later, things have gotten to a state where we could not put it off any longer. Fall is an excellent time for painting. The temperature is cooler, the air drier, but there’s still plenty of daylight. We checked the weather forecast. As rain was not on the horizon for the week, we pulled the trigger on the project.

As anyone who has taken on a painting project knows, much of the hard work is in the preparation step: cleaning, scraping, priming. To quickly remove the paint from the already peeling spots, we used a simple scraping tool. This tool had a carbide edge and made quick work of bubbles and loose patches. For the tougher spots, we brought in the Fein MultiMaster. It did an excellent job, especially in between the planks and in the corners.

In prepping the deck and the steps, we occasionally had to pound a nail back into place. The HammerHead auto-hammer came in very handy for spots where we did not have room (under the railing) or awkward (the ceiling) to swing a traditional hammer. The HammerHead is an excellent tool for anyone who don’t like swinging a hammer for fear of whacking their thumb.

The Fein MultiMaster would have worked just fine for scraping the upper trim and stairs. However, as we had to go up and down the ladder to scrape the trim, we thought it would be easier to use the cordless Craftsman MultiTool. The Craftsman MultiTool had a carbide scraper much like the Fein, but was lighter and easier to handle on a ladder. It was also quite effective at removing the loose paint. One thing we noticed was the handle got hot if the tool was operated continuously for more than a few minutes. For extended scraping, we would go with the Fein, but cordless was definitely the way to go anytime we had to take a tool up and down the ladder.

After two days of prepping, the ceilingsteps, and deck were finally readied for the coat of primer. Some might be tempted to skip the primer step, but that would be a false economy of labor. A primer coat is the foundation for good paint adhesion. If the paint does not stick well (and it won’t to bare wood, especially exterior wood), it will quickly peel and all the effort would be wasted.

There are a few types of primers on the market. We have always used an oil-based primer/sealer for our outside projects and have found that they work quite well. The downside with oil-based primers is that clean up requires the use of paint thinner. We should really experiment with some water-based ones to see how well they perform. It would be much easier on the environment, our brushes, and our hands if the water-based primers provided an equally effective alternative.

Even though the interns have been at it for a few days, there is still more priming to do. The missed spots show up only when the light is right. Once we are done with the ceiling, trim, and spindles, we’ll paint all of the white parts. When we have all of the white pieces painted, then we’ll tackle the deck. The goal is to have this project wrapped up by Sunday. Looks like it is going to be busy weekend for the interns 🙂

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