Archive for Exterior Painting

Spackles, Bondo and Marine Filler

Be careful, some common fillers will fail! So what is the difference?

Here are some of my favorite fillers, an one to watch out for…it will fail if used outside.

  • MH or Synko Spackle: this is a very easy to use exterior spackle…it is a bit hard to sand but it really adheres and fills all those uneven surfaces on fascias, siding and exterior trim with ease. It holds up well for years. Be sure to prime raw wood before applying spackle and then prime the spackle when dry for the most durable patches.
  • Bondo is a catalyzed polyester filler (costs about $40/gallon)  that can be mixed to dry in minutes to really move a job along. This filler is often mistakenly used on exterior wood….a big mistake as Bondo in hydrophilic…it will absorb water and expand causing the patch to delaminate and pop off your paint. It can be used on interior wood repairs but never outside.
  • 3M Marine filler is also a catalyzed filler (costs about $190/gallon) that can also be mixed to dry quickly. This product is formulated for marine environments and so is unaffected by water. I have patches that last for years with this product….every wonder why one painter bids more to do a project….this is one reason to hire the more expensive guy as he is using materials almost 5 times more expensive and understands why it is worth it.
  • Most painters buy whatever is available at the paint store; a craftsman can go cross discipline and find products that will give a better more durable result (like sourcing patch materials at a marine store!)

More on cheap materials

Is oil based paint still available?

Yes! But…..it is not as easily available as it was in the old days!
Are you looking for that old fashioned, hard as a rock, smells terrible paint, that lasted forever? Well it is is still available in very expensive ($50) quarts only through very specialized retailers of “Fine Paints of Europe” and their product called “DutchLaq”, an incredible satin or gloss oil paint that we often use on entry doors because of its hard, piano-like finish and deep, rich colors. More ubiquitous is a new hybrid formulation of oil based resins that have been emulsified in water! These paints are truely oil based but are thinned with water and clean up with water! Because the oil resin is confined in little globules, chemically held in a suspension of water, there is very little smell. Hybrid oil applies with almost no smell at all. It does take a bit longer to cure than old fashioned paint thinner-thinned oils but after a month or so of curing, hybrids is very hard as well. These new formulations go by the monikers such as: “Hybrid-Oil”, “Emulsified Oil”. For about 20 years paint companies have been working on these and most work quite well.
When should you use a DutchLaq or a hybrid-oil?
If the surface you are re-coating is presently painted with an oil enamel then it is fine to use an oil finish over an old oil finish….do not think, though that you do not have to prepare the surface. Regardless of what the label on your paint says, it is always imperative to clean and then de-gloss the surface before painting; this promotes good mechanical adhesion as the paint will flow into the small scratches made by sanding. Cleaning first serves the purpose of getting hand oils and other contaminants off the surface so that when you sand , you are not forcing the hand oils into the tiny scratches which are very dificult to get clean at that point and adhesion is compromised

Some folks prefer a brushed look that shows the age of the door with soft brush strokes that give a sense of history and a craftsman’s touch. Others prefer a sprayed finish that can only be achieved with careful sanding and often requires the use of Swedish Putty, a brushed on thick filler that when sanded, provides an ultra smooth surface for spraying.

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

 

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.

Sheet Metal Protects Wood Beams

Tops of exposed beams are very prone to rot and UV degradation….sheet metal is a beautiful answer

    A simple way to protect exposed wood from premature failure by using decorative sheet metal caps to keep water and subsequent rot from ruining your exterior trim! All exposed beams and rafter tails are covered like this when Peek Brothers Painting does the job.



click here for more sheetmetal protection

Fresh Look for Warwick’s Books and Stationers in La Jolla by Peek Brothers Painting

A cool updated look with new colors and stripes is part of the fresh upgrade :

  • Working with Nancy Warwick and her designers, we had a lot of fun bringing some Pizzazz to this beloved business on Girard Avenue in La Jolla
  • Getting the stripes just right was chore as the grout lines did not line up!
  • Each letter of the Warwick’s sign had to be removed and individually refinished with Fine Paints of Europe Bright Red before being reinstalled
  • This is commercial painting in La Jolla….where quality of the same high level as our La Jolla House painting is required….but with the added need to keep areas safe for all the customers coming and going

Restoration of Historic 1921 Alexander Schreiber House in Mission Hills

This California Bungalow, Craftsman style bungalow in beautiful Mission Hills and been poorly painted over the years having extensive paint failure and rot requiring paint stripping and epoxy repairs of wood windows and doors. The main problem was that long in the past, paint was applied directly over slick varnish or glossy lead paint. Subsequent paint coats finally broke free in what is technically termed “multiple coat adhesion failure”

Peek Brothers Fine Home Painting chemically stripped the paint and sanded with German Festool sanders attached to HEPA filtered dust extractors; we treated the rotted or termite damaged wood with boric acid and then consolidated with Smith’s CPES Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer followed by System Three Epoxy filler. After these repairs we primed and then caulked all seams at wood/wood and wood/glass junctions before applying two finish coats of Benjamin Moore Aura. This was a labor of love for us as we really enjoy restoring historic homes!

Teak Deck Refinishing with Festool Sanders and Sikkens Cetol

Teak is one of the most durable woods available for decking or exterior furniture. That is why it is commonly used on the finest yachts and homes. Be aware though that it does need to be maintained if you want to keep that deep, rich color and not a dull gray look!

Once Teak gets to a grayed state,the wood will require extensive preparation by pressure washing with oxygen based bleach, sanding, and three coats of Sikkens Cetol or Sikkens SRD. By consistent, yearly re-coating, you will avoid the time consuming preparation and keep your deck or furniture wood looking deep, rich and gorgeous!

Restoring a Richard Neutra Designed Home

Famed architect Richard Neutra designed and built 4 homes in San Diego. This residence near San Diego State was built in 1960 and is a beautiful mix of white stucco, floor to ceiling glass and natural redwood. Neutra worked with Frank Lloyd Wright and Rudolf Schindler early in his career. Neutra became known for spare and open structures that took advantage of the moderate west coast climate.

A previous owner had put many coats of varnish over the exterior wood that was originally specified by the architect to be simply oiled. The hard glossy varnish gave the house a “Brassy” look and was blistering, de-laminating and peeling everywhere. The home had lost its organic look.
Our stripping and sanding this beautiful wood was quite a task but my oh my what a pleasure it was to put fresh, penetrating oil on that wood…there is nothing more beautiful than clear heart, tight grained redwood!

This gorgeous structure took a lot of elbow grease  but it was a labor of love….I even have a portrait of the completed guest house in my office! We used various products: Amteco TWP 1501, Sikkens Cetol Marine and Festool vacuum attached sanders to keep sanding dust at a minimum and get this pristine result. The owner was so pleased that we were commissioned to refinish the interior as well.

Exterior Mildew and Mold on Wood

Mildew and mold are unsightly and can damage exterior paints and stains. For some people Their presence is even a health hazard. Some paints and stains are made so cheaply that they not only allow mildew and mold to grow on their surface but some of these cheap coatings actually feed the infestation.

To treat mold and mildew the surface must be wet down with household bleach and a soap. You know you have rid the surfaces of mold and mildew when it no longer is visible. If the surface to be re-coated has had substantial mold and mildew, it is wise to use Amteco Bio-Control primer. This specialty primer comes in clear or white base. If we are going over a semi-transparent wood stain that has had infestaion with mold or mildew and we wish to keep a transparent look, we will use the Amteco clear Bio-Control Primer and then top coat it with Amteco W-100 UV, which is a dead flat ultra violet stabilized clear. If we have a painted surface that is infested, we will bleach, coat with white base BioContol and then paint with a top quality paint finish. We have homes near or on the ocean that are free of mildew after 7-10 years. Watch the video an see!