Sunday, September 04, 2005

Epoxymania! (or: Wow, I am really high on fumes. Like, really high.)

So, this afternoon I treated all the weathered and rotty areas of my siding with Smith's Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer (, and I'm feeling a bit giddy about the whole thing, probably because I'm high from the solvent fumes (but the back windows are closed--perhaps the fumes are penetrating the very walls of my house?), maybe because I've finally reached the stage of this painting project that involves ADDING coatings to the house rather than scraping/sanding/prying/washing them off. (A stage reached only with the help of Ms. S, who spent about three hours with the sander on Friday, enabling me to get up on the ladder with a bucket of TSP and a mop and wash down the house yesterday.)

Is TSP still legal?

Wow. I just took the trash out, and you can smell the fumes from my house about halfway down the alley.

I suppose we'll see in about 18-24 months whether this stuff actually helps firm up the weathered wood and make it a better substrate for paint. For now, I do have some advice for anyone considering using a liquid epoxy anytime soon: REMEMBER TO MAKE SURE YOU HAVE CLEAN-UP SOLVENT ON HAND. I had a close call. See, I'm kind of cavalier about wearing gloves (they make it hard to feel what you're doing with the brush), and after doing the interior of my house with alkyd paint in some rooms and that badass Zinsser white shellac stuff everywhere, I've also become kind of cavalier about cleaning my hands. Most paints aren't that unpleasant. They'll wear off eventually, and if you get really sick of them, Goop or olive oil or any greasy anything will mostly take 'em off.

This will not work for epoxy. As everyone with a penis probably knows from their model airplane days, epoxy does not "dry," it "cures." Random greases and oils really don't interrupt this process. I did coat my hands with Goop to prevent my hands from sticking to the brush, but that wasn't really helping once the residue on my hands started to cure. So I ended up gingerly typing "wood epoxy clean up" into Google and learning that lacquer thinner is the right solvent. Did I have lacquer thinner? Barely. There was half a can in the basement on the "shelf of crap the previous owner left behind." Then the plastic child safety thing was messed up, and I had to pry it off before I could unscrew the lid, my hands becoming stiffer and gummier by the second. Eventually, I got the the can open, got some thinner onto a rag, and wiped down my hands before they fused into useless flippers.

Ah, fingers. Sweet, independently wiggly fingers. Wiggle wiggle. Wiggle wiggle.

Assuming the current rain doesn't delay the epoxy cure too much, tomorrow we patch, and build out the window trim.


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