Sunday, October 26, 2014

Making Progress With A New Paint Primer

I left the south side of my house only done half-way last fall, and it's looking like the peeling gable may get left again this fall. Why? I'm a big chicken-headed coward about heights. The ladder scaffold system I used on the front part of the house, now on the south side, has freaked me completely out this time. I didn't understand why my entire being kept saying "nope. NOPE. No way" when I'd sucessfully navigated it last summer. But the elevation on this side is another two feet higher, and on concrete instead of earth. And it all adds up to me being so incredibly nervous that I decided it was a bad, bad, bad idea. I'll be taking it down to work off a single ladder instead. I'll make slower progress, but feel a little less wobbly about being up there. 

In the meantime (I have to round up helpers to take down the scaffold. It's too heavy for me to manuever the parts alone), I've been making progress on.....the garage. The front of it faces the street, and in turn the kitchen sink window faces it, so it's a matter of making the house look better, and my view better too. 

My garage siding is different than the house. It's dutch lap siding, meaning a wide curved groove at the top of each lap. The paint is in even more miserable shape than the house. 

While a ton of paint came right off, the surface was really patchy, and I had no time and no plan to go down to bare wood everywhere. It just wasn't worth the effort on a secondary structure. That said, I didn't want to paint and have it all come back up again after three seasons. As much time as this nearly overwhelming project is taking me, the thought of that happening is nightmarish. 

Sherwin Williams makes a product called PrimeRx Peel Bonding Primer, which according to my internet research was a new product in their line of primers in 2013 (Just a note: I wasn't solicited by SW to write this post, and I paid for my own materials. My opinions are purely my own). At $47 per gallon is isn't cheap, but I had a 30 percent off coupon and a willingness to see if this couldn't help because with old houses, peeling paint isn't just a little patchy thing here and there. It can be the entire project. 

That said, I don't think it was meant to be slapped on without any prep. I scraped away every last bit of loose paint I could, than then sanded with 80-grit sandpaper to get off any stubborn small bits and to smooth the edges of paint patches. Below is a look at the siding before it started going on. The greenish-tan stuff on the two siding courses in the middle of the photo are wood grain filler I'd used to even out some pretty rough boards. 

I suspect the SW people wouldn't take kindly to me comparing their formula to school glue, or decoupage medium, but that is what the product is like. It is thick, a little viscous, and goes on milky white. It dries clear. It is a little smelly, and I'm glad I was outdoors for this. I understand that it can be tinted so you can see where you've been, and if it performs well I may do that next time. It helped in some places to work the primer into the surface with a little stippling effect. 

If the prep was done right, the product should work to seal the edges of paint patches to prevent them from lifting. Reading a few reviews on line it seems that some users thought that this product would function as a leveling product; it doesn't really do that and if you expect a perfectly smooth board prepare to be disappointed. That said, it did a remarkable job evening out a horribly rough surface. 

Here's what the surface looked like when painted: 

You can still see the unevenness of the paint surface, but it's pretty subdued. I can definitely live with this on my garage, and I think it's a quality-looking result for the house too. I plan to try this product on my peeling south side of the house as well. Only time will tell on duration, but so far I'm impressed. 

Here's my before/after corner of the garage, with the front face done on the left (and before I had time to sweep up), and the north-facing side undone on the right (and with a mass of weeds instead of a garden bed). The planter box you see is built of old barn boards from a farm my mother used to live on. One of my next projects will be replacing the side-entry door, which is currently a plywood veneer hollow-core interior closet door (insert massive eye-roll of disgust here). 

Next weekend calls for mostly clear skies and crisp days, perfect for painting. We'll see how much I can get done at the finish of the season. Deadlines are motivating, aren't they? 


  1. Wow, that was quite a labor of love! Looks GREAT. We found the Sherwin Williams shellac 2 years ago and just love it. Expensive, YES, but it works great. Our house had a knotty pine den that we wanted to convert to a utility/laundry room and found the only thing that worked in sealing those knots was the Sherwin Williams Shellac. It was thick like your primer and when applied, looked much the same as your garage lapboards. They surely put out a good product, and I'm not getting paid to say that either.

    1. Thank you! I've heard good things about that product too. I like their paint, but I'm hoping this primer gives it an extra bit of cling to a difficult surface. I need all the help I can get!

  2. It is amazing how much better that looks! I'll be interested to see if it does hold up as promised. I sure hope it does. I can't believe all the hard work you've done on this.

    1. I'm hoping so too! I'd hate to make a career out of this. :/

  3. How is the paint on your garage holding up? Did the Sherwin Williams Primerx do a good job?

    1. We're only one year out, but we had a rather severe winter last winter in terms of cold, freezing rain, and snow. And so far the the surface still looks good. There have been a couple place where I should have caulked joints between clapboards more, but that is the fault of the DIYer (Me!) and not really a reflection on the Sherwin Williams product. Count me so far impressed. :)