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I joined the Traditional Painter forum at the beginning of the Summer I think it was, after reading Russ’s article on the best application and use of oil based paints and discovering something called ‘spachtel’ … all alien stuff to a ‘DIY shed products amateur’. But it sounded good…maybe too good to be true!

So armed with all this new language of XD, Zinseer, Rubbol and Kodrin Spachtel and the lend of a scaffold, I set about the exterior of our humble abode, previously treated to a hot air gun and Nitromorse strip back to bare wood and use of the Dulux Weathersheild system. To this point I thought this was the zenith of external decorating. Just goes to show how much I knew.

So the base wood was not so bad…probably treated to a better prep than most high up woodwork about 3-4 years back, but the Weathersheild stuff cracked and faded after maybe three years. I did not strip back to wood this time as I knew the base was very solid in the main.

I then tired the spachtel with some trepidation. What a revelation if very hard work on the sanding side. In fact it was hard work because again I was using a low end Bosch sander. Another post on TP and £25 quid later I had a Flex small sander a couple of rolls of 120 and 240 Mirka abrasive…more alien words but with super results. The Mirka seems to last forvever. The Flex has also been rock solid although the dust bag soon wore out on a corner. I think a hoover would be ideal but that high up? Maybe not.

So I did the lot…every inch of the outside of the house with spachtel…two coats, sanded and primed with the Zinseer and then two coats of Sikkens XD gloss.

Problems experienced? I had some issues early on with the XD gloss but I was stretching it too thin. I learnt that a little heavier application better controlled worked much better. This did affect some of the top overhanging fascia smoothness…still a huge improvement but an area I can definitely better another time. Also I had a problem using old cloths and not removing dust as well as I should have done. I read a lot on TP from posters stressing about dust removal and using the right tac cloths. I scoffed some when I read them but then got bit big time down the side elevation. Never again will I skimp on an old dish cloth and white spirit! I also saw a big difference in the quality of the tins of spachtel sourced. The first two tins were perfect, creamy, predictable, super to apply. Then a couple of tins with a crust around the outer tin edge…not helpful when trying to get a perfect smooth finish. It wasn’t due to the age of the batch, both were very new and ordered in special. But interestingly from different suppliers. Maybe the temperature it was stored?

Improvement areas? Efficiency of application definitely. I’ve learnt better application techniques as the process rolled out. Also the application of the XD white gloss as mentioned earlier.

Problems not addressed? Where the T&G meets over the porch there is some very small cracking. Also where the green fanned front wood meets…way better than it was but still some small cracking that will worsen over time. I dug it out quite deep having seen this in the past and filled it deep but is still not perfect.

Other Bits Done - whilst up there I cable wrapped the coax, satellite and BT cables in spiral wrap black and white where required to hide it. All cables were well fitted but black on white is not a good look. Spiral wrap is cheap and fitted right looks the business and easy to clean. I also but 316 stainless steel open hooks across the entire external elevation to mount Christmas lights on so that they can be straight and tensioned correctly. I treated the cast iron gutterings and repainted them four times which looks good from the ground but actually makes the photos of the black gloss look worse due to the reflection of the iron ware. I also redid the concrete sills. Nothing new here, used Sandtex smooth masonary paint as have in the past. Not sure if there is anything better in this area? Interested to hear if there is for next time.

Would I do it again? Absolutely yes … the result is good (though I say it myself) and I know how to get it near perfect next time. And indeed that is what I will aim at next time. There was a drop dead date for the work…my daughter’s wedding. I had plenty of time but another time now having the right tools, materials and new skills, I would take a little more time and improve it again. Necessary? Probably not but that never stopped an OCD type like me


There will be a few people running their fingers over their fascia boards now wondering why they don’t feel as smooth as yours look! Thanks for posting a labour of love, that’s a big project, well done for hitting the deadline.

Yes, the common comment I get from postmen and UPS guys is “it’s almost as good as plastic!” … the new benchmark of decorating result being Upvc ! :smile:

I just realized that in my excitement of taking a few photos that I missed any photos of the much bigger top apex. It’s pretty well the same but bigger and in fact better as I was working off a scaffold rather than ladders.

It’s addictive stuff that spachtel … would be interesting to have a time lapse camera to take a shot each day and see how long it takes the XD etc to degrade. Anyway any result I managed to achieve with the finish is entirely due to advice from this web site and the professionals on here sharing with the great decorating un-washed…me that is :smile:

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