Monday, December 31, 2012

Fireplace: Reveal

Yesterday we finished stripping paint from the fireplace. With no decent light for photos, I didn't post any. So here are a few shots of the finished brickwork:

I checked out Carrie's post about sealing brick and Wendy & Alex's post on repointing. Crumbling is minimal. There is one crack, above the opening. We've decided against repointing at this time. We may revisit that later, or may seal the brick and mortar to prevent further crumbling. Whichever way we go, I know these posts will come in handy.

If you are considering doing this project yourself, I would definitely recommend it. Find some links here and check out those links above. These other blogs have lots of great tips, and gave me a good idea of what I was getting into.

You may remember when we started this project, the first step was softening the first layers of paint with heat guns, and scraping away the gummy residue as much as we could. That took care of roughly three layers (white, red and tan), revealing the first layer of butter colored paint on the brick.

The second (and sometimes third, fourth, fifth...) pass was made by applying chemical stripper, allowing the recommended wait-time, and scrubbing the residue off with wire brushes and steel wool soaked in mineral spirits.

When I figured I removed as much as I possibly could, I walked away. When I came back, I could see the progress. I took some sand paper the a few places where paint still adhered to the mortar, which was much easier than getting the chemicals and brushes back out.

The smell was awful, of course. This is totally a summer project. You'll want the windows open as much as possible. You may also want to consider odorless mineral spirits.

We had to protect the floor from the stripper, and the residue sprayed about while brushing against the brick. We started with a few strips of painter's tape.

Then, metal duct-work tape. I admit that I felt like a big genius for thinking of it. I used paper bags instead of regular rolls of paper to protect the floor. The "puffiness" of the bags kept the wet paper from resting against the floor while it dried. This system worked great, and the floor was not damaged. Plus, I over-save these bags, so we have dozens of them available.

So there it is! The gray brick is really growing on me. It's going to steer our decision on a wall color for this room. I'm thinking something pale- either a taupe, or some other off-white color.

On this side of the project, my two cents is that every one's fireplace is different. For example, the heat guns saved us tons of time, but were completely ineffective for others. I get the same impression when I compare stories with other bloggers on stripping paint from woodwork. So try different methods, and figure out what works best for you. And blog about it. And post pictures. So many pictures :)

Friday, December 28, 2012

Almost there

The entire fireplace has been stripped. There's a bit of residue to strip on one side, but then we'll wrap up paint stripping.

Rather than go through the steps of learning to repoint, match mortar, gouge out mortar and repoint the brick, we're going to seal the brick. There is one crack, but crumbling is minimal and the fireplace is structurally sound. Carrie, over at Brick City Love, wrote a great post about how she exposed and sealed her brick walls. I'm hoping I can have similar success.

And if you're looking for a little more, check out Wendy and Alex's repointing project over at the Old Town Home.

The remaining question is about sealers. Do I use an acrylic based sealer, or a water based poly sealer?

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Fireplace: 90%

Paint stripping on the fireplace is at roughly 90% completion. Half of one side still needs to be stripped. I've applied one area of stripper, and hopefully will finish tonight. I hope I have the motivation to finish this project tonight.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

We've been working

Stuff has happened at our NE Portland Bungalow. We built a shed. We figured out a great painting trick. We painted stuff. But I haven't blogged that stuff.

Excuse #1: My camera was basically broken. But now I have a shiny new Canon with lots of megapixels and a decent lens.

Excuse #2: If I don't have a whole day to dedicate to a project, it's infinitely more difficult to get motivated to work.Whenever I force myself to use those spare 90 minutes to work, I see lots of progress. So why is it so hard to get motivated when there is less than a complete day to work?

Among the bloggable things we've done:
  • Fireplace stripping is very nearly done. I want to post pictures to fish for opinions about the color of the brick.
  • The shed is built. Primed, but not painted. We've been using it for months.
  • The bathroom is painted. And the broken tiles are replaced.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Salvage these doors!!

I just found some doors on Craigslist. I want them.

In a few years, we are building another house. I would love love love to have these doors for that house. The doors come from City Hall (I assume Portland City Hall). I will keep my fingers crossed that these doors will be available in a couple years when we start stock piling building materials...

These doors are available in Sherwood (at Sherwood Liquidation). If you haven't been there, it's a cool place to poke around and find miscelaneous goodies, including tools, antiques and building materials.