Archive for August 2015

La Jolla Athenaeum Door Restoration

My childhood library in La Jolla is now the La Jolla Athenaeum Music and Arts Library. Driving by as I often do, I noticed the natural wood doors were not looking up to snuff. Now that my kids are grown and enjoying my as The La Jolla house painter , I offered my services gratis, to refinish these two French doors facing onto Girard Avenue.

Door refinishing is a specialty of ours at Peek Brothers and I enjoy the opportunity to work with the tools of my trade to keep my hometown looking sharp


• The wood door was in very poor condition so I stripped off the existing varnish.
• Using a Festool German vacuum sander, I removed all the old finish down to bare wood.
• Sikkens Cetol 1 stain was applied to darken the wood and bring out the Douglas Fir graining
• Three coats of Cetol 23 Plus was applied with sanding in between to insure a super smooth finish.
• The Cetol 123 Plus product builds to a nice satin sheen that is a touch softer and stays more resilient to heavy sun exposure than say, a spar varnish, which over time becomes harder and more brittle and thus prone to failure, especially on softer woods that expand and contract with heat and humidity changes like pine or Douglas fir.
• Entry doors or patio furniture made of Teak or Mahogany are very stable woods that look just stunning with Cetol Marine, a satin finish that is slightly tinted to enrich these natural hardwoods
If you have a front (or side) door that has been beaten up by the sun and needs some attention, we really enjoy wood refinishing and making the entry to your home really shine
You might wonder why I mention the sander I used by name? Festool makes quite possibly the finest sanding and dust collector system in the business. I particularly like that the sander has a very tight oscillation so it never leaves swirls in the wood that can ruin a finish. Also the vacuum attachment keeps dust out of the work area as it is collected right through the sander. When you are applying a fine finish, you cannot have any dust present. Clients love that it keeps our work areas nice and clean 
More on Entry Doors
More on refinishing Garage Doors
More on Historic preservation

 

Painting Tricks: color transition

Painting a sharp clean line between wall and trim

The technique is the same whether you want a sharp line on baseboard, crown, wainscot or really any type of trim

    • If the trim/wall junction has not yet had its open seam caulked then do it now (see previous blog on how)
    Allow to dry
    • If you have just caulked then, with your trim paint, go over the caulking and bring the paint onto the wall surface. Allow to dry. Note: if caulking is not painted over then, over time, it will collect dust that cannot be cleaned off
    • Note: if your trim is stain/clear finished then use clear caulk to fill any seams at color transition
    • Run a straight line of tape along the transition line and burnish edge

    • If trim is stain/clear finished then run a light bead of CLEAR caulk or clear varnish over the edge to bleed under any imperfect tape adhesion
    • If trim is paint finish then you can either clear caulk, clear varnish or brush a light coat of trim paint over the edge to bleed under any imperfect tape adhesion. Allow to dry
    • Now paint wall or ceiling color and be sure to overlap the transition tape edge. Pull up slowly at a sharp angle and you have professional result with a super clean, sharp edge! You are a “DYI” painter

Click here for more on crisp lines

Click here for Video on baseboard sharp lines

Refinishing exterior wood sills

Whether teak, mahogany, oak or douglas fir, Natural stained or varnished wood sills are very pretty.

But if not maintained, they can get pretty raggedy looking and even rot if water is allowed into unsealed surfaces.

Prepping a wood sill

  • If finish is failed and wood is very discolored it is often best to strip the sill. This can be done chemically or with a power sander.
  • After stripping and or sanding, often the wood has deep discolorations that can be removed with a specialized oxygen based (oxalic acid) wood bleach. Do not use household bleach (sodium hypochlorite) as this will damage the lignin in the wood. Sometimes it takes a few treatments of bleach to get back to like new looking wood
  • At this point you have a choice to go with a penetrating oil, straight clear finish or to stain and then finish. Staining is helpful when you want to blend the sill into the look of the adjacent door (click for more on wood doors)

Choosing your finish

  1. Penetrating type oils:
    • Teak oil, Sikkens SRD, TWP: these are easiest to apply and can give a color to the wood of your choosing. They are super easy to maintain but have to be recoated more often (every six-twelve months)
  2. Spar varnish:
    • Varnish gives the classic look that, with 3-4 (or more!) coats, can give a smooth glass like finish. This finish can last a long time if not subject to direct sun. Drawbacks are that you must sand between coats and if you let it go too long and some areas fail, the exposed wood will discolor and you will have to strip the sill and start from scratch.
  3. Tinted film forming stain/finish systems:
    • I believe these are the best balance of durability and ease of maintenance. I use these on garage doors and front doors as well (Click for more info). Products of this type are:
      • Sikkens Cetol Marine is a film forming translucent clear tinted finish that looks great on teak and mahogany as it has an amber tint that accentuates these woods. Cetol Marine also comes in a teak color that is suitable for teak, mahogany AND oak. Two coats minimum on bare wood with 3 being just right. It dries to a satin sheen and does not need sanding between coats. When maintenance is required, just recoat and failed areas will blend in as this is a tinted product
      • Sikkens Cetol 123 Plus: this an oil based system where the Cetol 1 is a stain available in various pre-packaged colors; it is applied to soak in to the wood and give a deep rich color. Cetol 23Plus (meaning 2nd, 3rd coats or more) is a film forming satin finish much like Cetol Marine but tinted in more colors and can be used on any type of wood
      • Water borne acrylic systems usually have a stain product and a clear finish product that can be tinted with the stain to “shade in” damaged areas. These can be very durable and dry superfast. Fast drying can really help in productivity but it takes a real pro to use these or finish can look uneven Products of this type are
      • ECS (Environmental Coating Systems) brand: manufactured in San Diego, I use this both inside and outside. For outside applications I use the “UV Extreme” and have finished beautiful mahogany doors
      • Sansin brand: is a stain/clear coating system out of Canada where natural wood finishes are the norm. We used this finish on a seaside project with Italian Albertini mahogany windows. (Click for more on Sansin)
      • General Finishes brand: this is a favorite of many wood workers and painters and is probably the most available of as it is distributed across the USA.

Painting Tricks: Crisp paint lines

Getting a crisp, clean and straight line can be easy as pie if you know the tricks of the painting trade

On an inside corner between two walls or walls and a ceiling that have an uneven texture, trying to brush along the rough surface results in a very uneven line. To get a smoother transition upon which to transition color with a clean line:

    • You will need a caulking gun, a tube of acrylic latex caulk, a small bucket of water and a small rag
    • First run a bead of acrylic latex caulking where the two planes (wall/wall or wall/ceiling) meet, dip your   finger in the water and run your wet finger over the bead of caulk; re-wet your finger as needed; use the rag to wipe excess of
    • Let the caulk dry for an hour or s
    • Paint surface and overlap inside corner a bit and allow to d
    • Now you can either free hand cut in the new color or use tape to create a sharp and straight paint li
    • If your color transition is dramatic, taping works best. If color transition is subtle the free hand cut in with a brush will be fi
    • If you use tape, you must seal the edge where the colors change by brushing the first color on so it will bleed under tape and seal it or you can run a light bead of caulk along the tape edge and, as before, run your wet finger over it. You do not need much caulk….just enough to seal the edge of the tape
    • Frog Tape by Shurtape is widely available and I highly recommend it. This specialty tape is formulated for sharp clean paint lines
    • On a 90 degree outside corner, you can use the same technique.
    • This is an especially good idea when color transition is dramatic and you want the line razor sharp.

• After just a few minutes, brush the new color along the tape and gently pull up the tape at an angle and “voila”, you are an expert “I did it myself! “DYI” painter

Get sharp lines between walls and baseboards