New Storm Door

storm doorSince the rest of the front of the house looked all clean and new with its fresh coat of paint, the old storm door really stood out with its dirty stained sheet metal and beat-up screen.  So after Jess painted the front door we replaced the storm door with a nice new black Pella ‘Fullview’ storm door.  It looks great and matches well, plus it actually seals so it should be much more energy efficient.  The only thing I don’t like about the door, is that the screen is extremely difficult to swap with the glass.

Despite having put one in before, and the excellent Pella instructions (which I apparntly forgot to blog about) installation did not go very smoothly.   The first problem was that the opening was about 3/8″ to small, so I had to cut the molding back on one side.   Easy enough except for the top and bottom, where the circular saw wouldn’t reach.  I managed to get that out with an old fashioned chisel.  Once I had the opening widened, I started installing, and then couldn’t find the bottom sweep for the door.  I searched and searched, and was about to give up and call Pella, assuming that they had forgotten it, when I noticed the handle kit was awfully large for just the door handle.  Turns out since the sweep is color matched to the handle it is in the handle kit.  Of course if I had acutaly read the instructions instead of just looking at the pictures, it would have told me that.  With those two hassles out of the way, the installation was a piece of cake.

Front is painted!


After the wet June, I finally finished most of the painting in July.   I’m just about finished at this point, all that’s left is to do a bit more of the trim.  For the garage we had originally planned on replacing the siding, as we didn’t like the vertical wood boards, and they aren’t in the best shape.  However we had wanted to replace it with Fiber Cement siding but Lowes has a minimum order of about $1000 worth, far more than we needed.  Instead I just replaced the trim around the garage and a bit of the gutters.  Jess helped out by painting all of the shutters too!  Now all that’s left is to replace the roof so it matches the house.

Painting the back of the house


I haven’t posted in awhile for two reasons.  The first is that my shiny, less than a year old, Canon XSI camera broke, and had to get sent to be fixed… Twice.  Since I couldn’t take any decent picutres I couldn’t update.  The next reason is that mostly what I’ve been doing has been painting, and well painting is dull.  I didn’t feel like posting a new update each time I painted a new patch.  Now that I’m wrapping it all up I figured I’d put up some posts that detail how long it took and what headaches I ran into along the way.

I started on the right side and worked my way around the back, pressure washing everything first and then putting one coat of Valspar Duramaxx Blue Skylight on.  I used a 4″ Wooster paint brush for everything, painting about 100 sqft at a time.  The extremely rainy May/June we had made it very difficult to get anything done, so it took alot longer than I excepected.  The only real issue I ran into was doing the part on the right corner, where there is a bush in the way.  This made getting the ladder into place very difficult, and I end up just breaking some branches out of the way.

Valspar Ultra-Premium vs Duramax

duramaxPainting the house is going to take me something like 40 or 50 hours to do, and I don’t want to do it again if I can avoid it.  Considering that the most expensive paint is only going to cost about $100 more than the cheap stuff, price isn’t really an important factor here.  That being said I don’t want to throw away money for no reason either.  Lookign online, I couldn’t find any scientific third-party tests of paint.  The only place that comes close is Consumer Reports, who’s testing is of questionable accuracy, but at least they try.  Unfortuantly at the time they hadn’t finished testing the current formulations, and so they weren’t much help.    They did seem to indicate that all the top brands were pretty good, and aas long as you stayed away from  the economy stuff there wouldn’t be much differance.

I therefore decided to buy a gallon of the Duramax, and a gallon of the Ultra-Premium (which despite its name is acutaly the cheap one) and see if I could tell the differance.  I painted 50 sqft of each, and they seemed pretty much the same, with the Duramax seeming to be slightly better at covering the gaps between shingles.   I then decided that I’d see how well each held up to a pressure washing.   I took the wand, and held it just an inch or two away and timed 30 seconds on each of the samples, the results of which are shown here (with the Duramax on top).   The painted wasn’t really dry with the Ultra Premium having about 4 horus of dryign time, and the Duramax, just two, but they still held up remarkably well.  The Duramax however seemed to have a slight advantage in the crevices.

I therefore decided that between my admittly not very thourough testing, and the claims Lowes makes (particualrly the self-priming part, since I wasn’t planning on priming) that I would go with the Duramax.  I won’t know if this was worthwhile for another 20 years or so, but hopefully I’ll be happy with it.

UPDATE: Consumer Reports just released their full testing, and gave the Duramax Satin a 62 (the highest was just a 64) and the Ultra Premium scored a 58 on the random ‘we jsut made this up’ CR scale.  So they too agree that the Duramax is slightly better.

Testing Paint Colors

paintsamplesI am not very good at picking out colors, and find it particualrly difficult tryign to choose a color for the whole house from a tiny little paint chip.  My wife is much better and so I generaly leave it up to her to choose, but its still quite hard to tell just what shade is best from those chips, particularly in the various different lights.   That takes us to here, where I have three different shades on the wall so that we can decide what we like.  It didn’t start out this way, we acutaly choose a color we liked, and then couldn’t decide if we should ge tthe Duramax or Ultra-Premium.  We ended up buying a gallon of each in the same color and I painted 50 sqft or so of each to see if I could tell the differenace (more on that in my next post).  Turns out however that they were slightly different shades, and neither one was really what we wanted.  So back to Lowes it was and we got the third color  (on the right), and we’re pretty happy with that.

Getting Ready to Paint

backSoon this view will be a thing of the past.  I just finished pressure washing the back of the house in preperation for painting it.  Everyone says the key to a good paint job is in the prep-work.  The asbestos cement shingles on our house take paint extremely well, all thats requried for them is a good cleaning to remove and dirt, or mildew.  Pressure washing is the easiest way to do this, and despite the washer doing most of the work its still rather tiring.  Holding the want an arms length away on top of the ladder, with the wand pushing back at you wears you out pretty quickly.  It seems to work well though as the old paint looks better now than it did before.