Archive for refinishing

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.

Refinishing Entry Doors

Entry doors can get damaged by the sun. Proper preparation and refinishing will keep this door beautiful for years

Wood doors need to be maintained. If exposed to heavy sun and water, these doors need periodic maintenance
To refinish:

  1. If badly failing; remove all finish by stripping and sanding
  2. Stain wood to even color with Cetol 1 or Sansin
  3. Apply two to three coats of tinted Cetol23 Plus or Sansin
  4. Maintain every two years with a refresher coat and door will be beautiful for years

Refinishing natural wood home
Refinishing Teak Deck
Sansin refinish on mahogany door and windows
More on refinishing garage doors and entry doors
Deck refinishing
Refinishing teak furniture
For more photos of our projects

Varnished Natural Wood is Beautiful and Durable

Mildew Proof Paint for baths

Beautiful and smooth oil varnish adds a slight amber tint to wood that will accentuate grain while protecting from food and alcohol. Sanding between coats if critical but oh what a pretty look good old fashioned varnish brings to this refinished bar top!

I have found several varnishes that work quite well. Shopping at the Marine Exchange or West Marine in San Diego provides the best options and the varnishes are high VOC and meant for marine environments….they dry quickly and very hard

Comes in Deep Colors!

After sanding and 2 more coats this bar will serve for many years!
Click here for Painting Kitchen Cabinets
Click here for touching up stain with Mohawk system
click here for Cabinet refinishing with temporary spray booth

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!

Unique Paint Jobs

Once in a while we are asked by our wonderful clients, to refinish some pretty unique items. It is a real honor to be their trusted painter and we love to figure out ways to please them. Sometimes it takes some creative thinking so we can say, “yes of course, we can do that for you!”
Here is the story of this unique paint job:
For years the grandkids would run in the door and jump on “Wolfie” a little wicker animal that the owner had picked up with her late husband while traveling in Mexico. Well the grandkids have grown up and old Wolfie was looking a bit worn as his original varnished finish was gone.

Wolfie The Wonder Dog!

Wolfie The Wonder Dog!

The precious memory of those visits from the grandkids were as fresh as ever and it was time to fix up old Wolfie to match the memories. After some thought we decided to use wood bleach to even out the discoloration on his “coat”; we then applied 3 coats of Sikkens Cetol Marine, an amber tinted marine finish, that will keep Wolfies coat shiny and bright for the next generation!

Refinishing Wood Entry Doors and Garage Doors

Wood doors and garage doors are beautiful greetings to us when we enter and exit our homes….but when they are worn or improperly maintained they can look terrible. How do we get these wonderful entrances to our homes looking so good?

Preparation is key to refinishing wood doors and garage doors!

When we first encounter a wood door that has not been properly maintained it often in such bad shape that we have to do an in depth prep…..Here is a step by step approach

  1. We start by chemical stripping to remove all old finishes.
  2. Sand sanding to remove all remaining finish and damaged wood.
  3. Using wood bleach (not household bleach!), bring wood to even color.
  4. Fill heavy damage with epoxy filler
  5. Apply stain to desired color
  6. Apply a minimum of 3 coats of finish
  7. Apply a clear caulk at sill/door frame junction

To keep a wood entry door or garage door maintained, it needs to be re-coated about every 2 years or so depending on exposure. If you wait too long you will have to strip and bleach again!

There is the classic finish of spar varnish which is available in gloss and satin…if you choose this, go to a Boat/Marine store and ask for the premium grade …expect to pay $50 a quart….it is worth it! This system requires more maintenance and is prone to peeling over time

I prefer another system that we use quite a bit, with super results over the long term: Sikkens brand:  SRD , Log and Siding or Cetol 1 and Cetol 23Plus. This is a stain and translucent tinted finish that provides wonderful protection and a beautiful look. This is an especially great product if epoxy filler has been used and the color needs to be evened out.