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- Jack Bernauer, Inverness
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Archive for October 2012

Unique Chicago Paint Restoration Project Wins Three Awards in 2012

In the Fall of 2011, our painting and decorating company was chosen to execute a historical paint restoration project on the metal façade of this 1889 building, in the busy Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago. We knew from the outset that was a very project. However, we had no idea it would earn our company three top painting awards.

Chicago Historical Paint Restoration Project

The project involved a complete reinvention of a historical color palette for the building, which the ten owners had to approve. The execution of the work presented major challenges. They included meeting several layers of regulatory requirements, from City of Chicago ordinances, to OSHA and RRP rules, since the building was situated next to the sidewalk, power lines and required the use of five layers of scaffolding and a boom. The work involved the removal of a majority of the old coatings from the metal surfaces, the reproduction of many missing metal decorative ornaments and custom wood moldings. Having completed that work, we then primed the surfaces and painted them using a six-color historical palette. Painting the detailed metal elements of the two large bay windows was a little bit like painting by numbers. To ensure color placement accuracy, we had to number the color breaks from top to bottom.

The most prestigious award was the Grand Prize of the TOP JOB Awards from the American Painting Contractor magazine. We also won the Commercial Exterior Restoration Award in the competition organized by the Painting and Decorating Contractors of America (PDCA). We also most recently won the Grand Prize of “Chicago’s Finest Painted Ladies and her Court” competition, which the Chicago Paint and Coatings Association has organized for the twenty-sixth year.

As specialist in historical paint restoration, our biggest reward is to know that our clients were delighted with the result and that their building is now an inspiration to other owners in the area for restoring the original beauty of their own buildings.

Maintenance Painting Is Critical, Especially for Multi-Color Victorian Houses.

As Chicago area specialists in historical restoration, we were called this week, by the new owner of an Oak Park, 120-year-old, 4-color Painted Lady, to inspect the property for any painting restoration needs it might have. The owner was being proactive in protecting the value of his investment and being a good custodian for his piece of Chicago history.

Victorian Painted Lady

and expensive paint job many years ago. From a cursory inspection, the paint job looked fine – there were no signs of peeling paint on the house. However, a closer inspection revealed failing caulk issues, as well as rotting wood in some areas. The issues were mainly confined the front porch area.

In an old house (or any house), the most vulnerable areas are the window sills, the lower part of the casement molding which meets the sill and porches. Trouble begins when the caulk starts to fail, creating an entry point for moisture to infiltrate and begin the rotting process. It may take a while for the paint to fail, but the problem keeps on growing and becomes more and more expensive to correct, especially if the owner waits for the whole house to need a complete paint job.

Rotting Wood on Victorian Porch

In the case of Victorian houses, especially the painted lady versions, the problem is compounded. The previous owner of this house exemplifies the predicament owners of Victorian Painted Ladies find themselves in. Painted Lady porches have a lot of detail to them. Because it is expensive to do such a paint job on a porch and because owners are most commonly only thinking in terms of a complete repaint, the problem shown in the second picture does not get rectified early enough and the wood continues to rot. From the time the caulk starts to fail, it may take 3 years for the wood to deteriorate to this point.

The good news for the new owner is that that rotting porch area can be restored with epoxy and made sound again. Good thinking on the part of the new owner of this old Victorian house. That kind of thinking saves money and preserves antique wood surfaces.