Thursday, April 25, 2019

Growing Local, Buying Local, & Building Local

You don't have to spend much time in Maine to realize we are really proud of our state.  We have beautiful landscapes, beaches, lighthouses and more.  And we also have some pretty fabulous iconic products - think lobsters, blueberries, LL Bean Boots and wood.  That's right, wood.  Maine has some of the biggest timber forests in the nation.
Spring Point Lighthouse and Fort Gorges

So when I realized we needed to replace the cedar shingles on the house, it didn’t make sense to order shingles from another state (or country for that matter).  We have plenty of sawmills right here in Maine.

After some research, I reached out to Dow's Eastern White Shingles in Corinth, Maine for more information.  They've been around since the 1920's and now father and son run the mill operations.    

Their cedar shingles are a bit different than what you find at a local lumberyard.  They’re thicker – 5/8” instead of 3/8”, so they offer more structural rigidity.  They also air dry them, instead of kiln drying.  This leaves the oils in the shingle, which helps prolong the life.  They state their shingles will have a life of 50-100 years. I certainly won’t be around that long - but the next homeowners might!.  After all, the last homeowners lived there for 63 years!

It was fun to see the process of how they cut and sort.  They start with a huge pile of logs, cut them to length, saw them into shape, and then cut them to exact shape.

In our case, we went with the top grade – no knots for the bottom 6 inches of the shingle.  Since we will be leaving them natural, I wanted a clean, cohesive look.

Jeff delivered the shingles himself and we got them stacked and ready to go.

The team from Oceanside Exteriors arrived to start installation.  They made quick work of removing the old shingles and got started installing the replacements.

Woven corner and 'swoop' feature above the first floor
My favorite feature? Well, actually there are two that you see in this photo.  First are the classic 'woven' corners, which takes a lot of skill, but exactly duplicate the original (a far easier approach would be to put white 'corner boards' on the house, which would allow a simple straight cut  up against the edges, but that would change the whole look of the house).  Woven corners allow us to highlight my second favorite feature - the gentle 'swoop' out at the bottom of the shingles.  It makes me think of a skirt, that flares gently at the hem and it just adds so much antique charm to the exterior of the house.

Don't they look fantastic?  And the whole area smells so fragrant!  We have not coated them with anything.  Jeff Dow said if left alone, they will weather to a soft, silver gray - which is so typical here in New England.  And if the new owners want to paint them, they can certainly do that.

Next step is getting the house painted.  You may remember I had pinned this inspiration photo months ago. (turns out, the inspiration house belongs to one of our readers!!!  How cool is that!!) As I tried to create our version, I narrowed down to 3 different paint colors.  And after agonizing over them for days, in various light levels, I decided to use Smoky Blue by Sherwin Williams.  The teal blue looked a bit odd next to the cedar shingles.  And the deep blue had a bit of a purplish hue in direct sunlight.   The Smoky Blue is a  classic shade and will look fantastic against the cedar shingles today and also when they weather to the silver gray.

But before we could even start painting, we needed to deal with the lead paint that's on the exterior trim.  As many of you probably know, lead paint chips can be extremely dangerous and we needed to deal with it appropriately.  

We've worked with Lavalle's Painting in the past - they are terrific and certified to manage lead projects.  This means they have to surround the house with plastic, wet it down to minimize any dust, and carefully scrape the old paint.  The plastic is then rolled up, labeled and property disposed of.  Next step is to coat it with a bonding primer to ensure any remaining lead paint is properly adhered to the wood.

The rainy weather has been helpful to the scraping process.  But now we need some sunshine to get it finished.  

I know it looks a bit rough right now, but stay tuned, it will look fantastic!

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