The Cool House: Beautifying

Thursday, September 29, 2005


I can't get over the difference that the paint and stain has made to the outside of the house. The redwood stain has hardly changed the colour but has added a depth and richness to the siding while enhancing the variations in the wood. We opted to match the colour of the replacement windows on the windows and doors and you really can't tell which is old and which is new. A bizarre but really attractive thing has happened with the garage doors: when the sun shines it projects a shadow of the trees onto the doors - we have our very own movie show each evening. How cool is that? I presume it has something to do with the bronze tone in the paint but I'm guessing here. It certainly didn't happen with the horrible "cedar tan"


Anonymous said...

I'm extremely interested to hear the steps you took to restore the redwood siding, as I face a similar project. I ran across a brief mention of oxalic acid, and later a reference to power washing. I've been afraid that the redwood surface is too fragile/soft and could be damaged by power washing, so would like to hear any details you might provide.

modernemama said...

Hi, I researched this one like crazy because I am extremely precious about the redwood.
The original owner spent every summer weekend washing it with oxalic acid, hand-sanding and staining it with a clear coat. We don't have the time or patience to do that or the money to pay someone to hand sand a twelve-sided house!
Because oxalic acid is quite toxic and because we didn't have a lot of tannin "bleed" we only used Cabot Problem Solver Wood Brightener, which contains oxalic acid, on one side. Everywhere else we used a solution of household bleach when we power washed. I held my breath as the painter experimented with power washing the siding behind the garage. The theory was if this held, everything would be ok. And it did. Even over the garage, where we had had to screw in the siding because it had warped, the dirt and mildew came off and the siding remained intact. Then the beautiful red color shone through. It was such a satisfying moment.
Redwood is a really hard wood, much harder than cedar, but the guys doing the power washing were very careful (I've seen what happens to vinyl siding when people aren't, big holes!).
Then we let it dry for a couple of days. When we went to check the boards again we found they were rough enough to take the stain without sanding so we proceeded to the staining. Two coats of Cabot Redwood Clear Coat were then applied with a paint sprayer. It's about eighteen months later now and it still looks great.
Although I'm happy with the clear coat I may do a transparent or solid semi-stain on the south side next time just to match it with the sides that don't get as much sun.
This is what the siding looked like before we cleaned it up.
Good luck.

modernemama said...

Oh and I forgot to say that the background of my banner is a close up I took of the redwood siding after it had been cleaned. Nice isn't it?