Handiwork

Summer near the ocean brings balmy air that frizzes hair and seeps humidity into crisp dry sheets no sooner than you lay them down. But it’s nothing compared to what it does to the outside of a house. After a few years of salty air, door and window sash paint separates, crinkles, and flakes.

goop

peel away

I’ve been stripping our door frame. Slopping on a paint remover in sections, covering the areas with a treated paper, and waiting 24 hours before dislodging liquified goop that was once paint.

It’s a step-by-step process that reminds me of creating a fresco.

I get the love of these tasks from my dad, a painter who owned a few rental houses. He taught us to strip and paint, put in tongue-and-groove floorboards, lay a tile floor, clean a sink trap, use a drill, and even to fumigate, among other things. Though my dad painted houses for a living, he put siding on ours.

But this Long Island house has cedar shingle. The door frame I stripped had weathered crackle—a look that folks today will pay a price for when they buy dressers or book cases. No faux crackle here.

It’s satisfying stripping all the crud off this surface and getting down to the hard wood below. Now that the surface is stripped, however, I’m handing the project over to my better half to do the arduous task of sanding.

peeling paint

Before/After

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