The latest project for The Crooked Cottage is trying to do something about the horrible front fence. You always hear about "curb appeal" when you see any kind of home renovation show, and our place is seriously lacking in appeal.
First we have a retaining wall. In the past year I have noticed some deterioration, and I have to admit I have helped it on its way by pulling off bits of paint that have flaked off. During some of the heavy rain some small stones have dislodged and I have realised some of the green colour is actually moss.
Underneath that green paint I was pretty sure it is sandstone, although the left hand side does also seem to have some layers of brick on top. But then at some stage (and I imagine it was some time ago, as all the neighbours talk about the green wall like it has been a long standing eyesore) it has had cement render type substance sprayed on, and been painted green. Maybe to blend in/hide the moss?!
|The dastardly green retaining wall. Complete with cracked render, flaking paint and random weeds.|
And above the retaining wall we have the paling fence. Like every other painted surface in this place, it's quite clear that paint just keeps getting put on over the top. Blue is the most recent (apparently done for sale - which probably explains why I don't recall so many rotten spots or obvious cracking on the palings) over green, over white. But apart from an occasional paint coating this fence hasn't been cared for, and it is now rotting on many palings.
|Rotting palings with cracked paint|
But the posts are also rotten. And palings are more expensive than I realised (particularly custom made ones to match my rotten ones). So then I thought - ok I should get the fence replaced. And that started me thinking about the retaining wall, as it seems stupid to redo the fence, only to late do something about the retaining wall.
As my neighbour is always a) out working on his house and b) probably very keen to get rid of the eyesore too we had a bit of a discussion over what I could use to get rid of the paint. First up I borrowed a pressure sprayer - we thought it would be fairly easy, but unfortunately we were wrong.
Next step - and by this time another neighbour had joined our conversation - so he brought over some acetone to try out. We didn't want to use paint stripper, as we didn't want to eat into the sandstone.
Acetone didn't work either.
So then we tried a heat gun - which sort of worked. In a slow way. Heat gun, peel paint, and repeat. Followed by another go at the pressure spray, which worked a bit better on the brittle paint.
Initially I put in about 2-3 hours of effort last week.
Then my husband and I spent the better part of Saturday on the same jobs. Add a few burns for me (it's easier to peel the paint without gloves on - I know that is not as safe - and I have the burns to prove it!) but a bit more result. Then we also started on the retaining wall - using a hammer and chisel to remove some of the render areas. This was more successful - but still slow.
Sunday - I bought sandpaper, 40 grit so it is super coarse. With no luck!
|Initially I just worked on the steps. Hard to believe this is a good two hours work!|
|After another days worth of work|
|Chipping off the render haas assisted - some of this green is now moss not only the paint!|
So I have to just face the fact this is going to be a long, slow process. Unless I decide to get a sandblaster out - although I am not sure how expensive that would be, and also I don't think that would be very safe for the cars in our very narrow street.
|After more work on Sunday - please excuse the weeds! They will be destroyed by the heat gun when I get to that part|
|And a little bit more removed after a few more hours.|
Any suggestions will be happily taken and tested out! I'll just be outside my house peeling paint. At least it is good for meeting the neighbours - I've never had so many stop and tell me what a good job I am doing, and how it is worthwhile, and it will look so good once it is done. Fingers crossed!