Notes from Windward: #65

Painting the Dining Hall

Brooks takes on a challenge

the "before" picture

     The task of going from raw forest to viable community is daunting, and it's often been the case that we had to get some system up and running, and instead of staying on that project until it's complete, we've needed to turn our attention elsewhere so that some other necessary project could come on line. The dining hall is a prime example of that as we've focused our time, money and energy on getting the internal parts working rather than on getting the exterior painted and trimmed.

     On the other hand, finishing the exterior isn't just a matter of aesthetics since raw wood is at the mercy of the weather, and the summer sun and winter rains take their toll. There's also a seasonal element involved since the wood needs to be sealed and painted when it's at peak dryness -- once the rains come, that window of opportunity closes until next summer.

Brooks takes on the dining hall

     But right now, the wood is thirsty and ready to suck up significant amounts of sealer and stain. The upper section of the wall is T-111 exterior siding, so it's fairly weather resistant at the get-go, but given the protection afforded by this exterior sealer, we can expect many years of service.

     The siding we faced the dining hall comes with grooves milled into its surface, but given the scale of the building, the grooves just didn't show up when viewed from any sort of distance. And so we added a decorative element in the form of 1"x2" battens on two foot centers. These do show up from a distance, and effectively break up what would otherwise appear to be a plain plywood surface.

     The decision was made by our "aesthetic committee" to go with a dark redwood stain for the upper section, and then with something lighter for the half-log lower section. The concern was that given the dark roof and the dark stain, doing the bottom half of the wall in something dark would have made the building look too dreary. This way, with the lighter color down below, the dining hall has a more cheery look, something which is important come those dark, cold days of winter.

the newly painted dining hall

     Brooks came up with the idea of painting the doors a shade of forest green in keeping with our theme of forest colors, and it does add a nice accent to the color scheme. It's also impressed upon her the understanding that dealing with trim takes as much time -- if not more time -- than the actual painting of the wall.

Notes From Windward - Index - Vol. 65