After the house has been primed and puttied, and the paint has become thoroughly dry, the surface should be sandpapered, to give a smooth foundation for the subsequent coats.
Difficulties the Painter Meets. In the fin ishing of new houses the painter is compelled to solve many perplexing problems, in some of which he cannot be guided altogether by experi ence. Not the least of these difficulties comes from the quality of the wood and of the plaster found in most new houses. Only a few years ago a man who wanted to build himself a good house expected the siding to be clear white pine, free from sap and unsound knots, and thor oughly seasoned. Such siding could scarcely be found in the market to-day, at any price. In stead of it, we now get an inferior grade of pine or other lumber which was scarcely used at all a few years ago. The wood is full of sap, imper fectly seasoned, or at best only kiln-dried to expel the moisture, leaving the sap acids in the pores of the wood. Hard in some places and soft in others, the planer does not make a smooth, even cut, but in places merely com presses the wood, and practically burns the sur face till it becomes hard and non-absorbent, while in other places the natural texture is left. On such a surface the paint will sink in and dry dead in spots, while in other places it will lie on the surface and retain its gloss. To add to the difficulty of the painter, the contractor is often so anxious to get the knots, dark streaks, and other defects covered up and hidden from his customer, that he insists upon the painter working on the same scaffold with the carpen ters and priming the house, bit by bit, as it is erected. No greater mistake than this could be made, for the paint—which is usually applied in an entirely too heavy coat, through mistaken ideas of economy—serves to seal up the sap in the lumber, only to work destruction to the paint later on. Moreover, painting the house before it is plastered, especially in winter time, is almost certain to cause blistering or scaling of the paint. If the paint is of such a com position that it dries to form an elastic paint film, then it will blister; while if it dries to form a hard and brittle paint film, as most mixed paints or paints containing zinc white do, then it will crack and peel off. For in plastering,
tons of water are carried into the house. In order to dry the plaster quickly, stoves are placed in the rooms and often kept at a red heat. The moisture is driven out through the clapboards, raising the paint surface into blis ters or cracking it off altogether. This could be largely prevented by waiting until the plas tering is entirely finished before beginning to paint the house. Indeed, if the owner could be induced to let his house stand for at least two months before any paint at all was applied, he would secure a much better and more durable job of painting, because the rain would soak out the sap acids and render them harmless. If some of the boards should split, this would do no harm, as putty will cure any cracks or other defects.
There are many people who attempt to paint a new house with two heavy coats of paint. On modern lumber, this cannot be done and get satisfactory results. Three coats are needed. It is necessary to use a primer that is mixed very thin with linseed oil, with a little of the best turpentine dryers; and there should be a sufficient proportion of pure turpentine to carry the priming coat into the wood and give it a clinch. The pigment should form a very thin film on the surface of the wood, and it should be well brushed into the wood with a 6-0 round or oval brush to get the best results.
Best Time to Paint. Painting may be done at any time of the year, provided the painter adapts his material to the weather conditions. The best season, however, is the fall, because the sun is not hot enough to cause the fresh paint to blister, and the paint film dries more slowly and uniformly. Moreover, there is usually less dust in the fall than in the summer time, and less chance for sudden showers that will injure the newly applied paint. On sum mer nights there is apt to be more or less dew, and there is a mugginess in August that will often take the gloss off paint. The spring is the next best time to the fall, but there is more danger from showers or from dust. Painting can be done in the winter, provided the air is dry and there is no frost on the surface.