When most home owners set out to paint their house, it’s typically one room at a time. Exterior painting is a lot more work but with wood siding you don’t have a choice and the salty sea breezes in Wenham, MA require more frequent painting. There’s a church in Wenham that’s home to a special family. They’re investing time and money to preserve this small piece of American history by restoring a beautiful church they call home.
Home owners might describe their home as one or two stories but how do you describe a home that was once a church? Like older houses in the area it has a crawl space and 2 floors. This isn’t your standard 2 story home as combined, the church is more than 30 feet tall plus the steeple which is a lot more exciting than your average cupola.
Painting and Restoration
When painting a house, the first step is removing the peeling paint and repairing any rotted wood. The wood most exposed to the elements is prone to rot unless you maintain on a regular basis. When this extra work requires climbing a steep extension ladder up to 42 feet or a lift like we used in Wenham, we don’t expect the wood to be in great shape.
So let’s get down to details and see what we can learn from this challenging painting project.
- Reglazed stained glass windows – by removing plexiglass storm windows to reach the stained glass. Then we reglazed the windows and reinstalled the plexiglass which protects the original windows.
Plexiglass is a great alternative to energy efficient windows which are cost prohibitive due to size or unusual shape. You can also use plexiglass to add storm windows to a screened porch.
- Replaced steeplettes (the cute, decorative points on the 4 corners of the steeple) – using Spanish cedar which is an exterior hardwood more resistant to water. To provide additional protection, a marine epoxy system was used.
- Replaced decorative diamond trim on steeple sides – using the same materials that were used to replace the steeplettes. Only the top pieces of the diamond were rotted.
- Replaced the exterior wood on the front steps – including the floor boards and trim pieces. Only the stringers hidden underneath the steps were solid.
- Last year, we replaced the corner columns on the church building – which were infested with carpenter ants. The structural columns are normally protected by the corner boards. Unfortunately water that gets behind the exterior trim and doesn’t dry out, combined with wood provides an environment that supports the growth of organisms like mold and carpenter ants.
Maybe you’re wondering why this family waited so long to make these repairs? They worked for several years to get rid of critters contributing to the problems. The flying squirrels living in the belfry have been evicted, the carpenter ants are finally gone and we’ve only got bats left and they help control mosquitos.