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When we moved in to the Wright Street house, it was painted grey. Grey inside and out. Grey woodwork, grey skirting boards, grey walls, grey doors, grey door frames, grey window frames, grey fire places, even the carpet is grey.
But worst of all, the brick and stone of the outside was painted the same drab grey.
No imagination! It had to go.
It took some luck to get a tradesman to agree to remove the paint. A couple of them came, looked, promised a quote, then vanished.
Garry came, slopped on some industrial-strength paint stripper, and promised to return after the chemicals had attacked the paint. Later, when he washed-off the coated patch, we found even more cultural vandalism! Under the drab grey paint, the first coat right on the stone and brick was a drab grey hard-cement wash.
Stripping paint with strong alkaline chemicals and high pressure hot water is “relatively” easy, but removing cement is a totally different technique all together. It needs a mixture of hydrochloric and hydrofluoric acids - nasty stuff!
I had to dig a big trench all across the garden to trap the paint debris, the exhausted paint stripper and etching acids and the run-off from the high pressure spray. All the effluent had to stay on the property.
We made quite a mess of the garden, much to Val‘s consternation, but it has recovered very well. I‘d hoped that the dilute acid etch being washed into the drain would neutralise the alkaline stripper that we used first. I put the good spring flowering show down to that happy accident. Or the plants all think they‘re going to die and have put out a last gasp.
Building and renovation works in the city aren‘t easy. We did this job over five weekends, mainly because of the week day parking problems for Gary‘s trailer with its spray pump and flash boiler. The paint came off in the first couple of days, the cement wash removal was slow, but well worth the effort.
We‘ve had a lot of nice compliments on how 124 Wright St. now looks, even some of the street people are impressed!
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