Thursday, October 12, 2017

Researching Painting Techniques

Because Oak Park has such a rich architectural heritage, you don't have to walk far to find many examples of excellent exterior color schemes for every house size and style. Before I started my project, I spent a lot of time looking at the better examples around the village, studying details and looking at the techniques used on each home. 
Bungalow paint scheme in Northeast Oak Park
Four color color scheme used on an Oak Park Foursquare

Brick Foursquare with a striking color scheme on windows, columns and dormer.

Somber color scheme on a Prairie School masterpiece.

Dark trim that accentuates the details on a light-colored home.

Remarkable dark color scheme on one of our finest Queen Anne homes. 
One of the differences I noticed on homes in the village was the technique used to paint the trim and body of the home. More often than not, the smaller homes, with simpler color schemes, were painted with the body color splashed onto the side of the window trim and corner boards. This is how my neighbor's home is painted and it is how mine was painted. To me, this manner of painting mad the trim look flat.
Detail of paint showing siding color on the side of a trim board. 
Detail of the Tiny Bungalow windows showing the siding color on the side of the window trim. 
When I looked closely at the more elaborate paint jobs, on larger homes, I noticed that the trim was painted the same color on all sides and the siding color was different. To me, this made the trim appear more dimensional and provided better articulation.   

Trim painted the same color on all sides, with a different colored siding.

Home with trim painted the same color on all sides. 
I looked at several painting blogs and asked some painters about this and got some interesting answers. One painter, who painted only the face of the trim noted that they would spray paint the entire house and then come back and paint the surface of the trim because it was faster. Another noted that painting only the front of the trim created a "clean edge" that they thought was more appealing than the jagged line created along the edge of the siding when the side of the trim was painted. 

Many painters adhered to the notion that the trim should always be painted first, on all sides, and that the body color was then added to come up to the trim. The same technique used on the inside of the home: painting the trim first and then the walls, should be used on the exterior of the home. This technique made a lot more sense to me and the dimensional quality of the trim is more important to me than the clean line so I decided to follow this manner of painting.  

Step one: Painting the trim, on all sides.

Step two: Painting the siding or "body" color.

Step three: painting the window and sills. 
For the finishes of the paint, I decided to also follow a common practice of using a gloss or semi-gloss on the trim and sashes and a flat color on the body of the home. The gloss helps protect areas that will come in contact with people more often (like doorways when you are walking by, trim when adding or removing storms, or sashes while opening and closing windows) and the body is a dull color so that imperfections in the surface are kept to a minimum.

1 comment:

Cory said...

These are fantastic pictures! It really shows the detail you put into the projects you work on. I especially like the before and after photos. What a big difference painting a home can make.