Annex Building Exterior Transformation

1. Completed - view of south and west sides, mid June 2014

Table of Contents

The Annex

The annex building was built around and extended the original double garage, of which only the original concrete slab remains, and incorporates: (ground level) double garage, workshop, storerooms, rumpus area; (upper level) a large 'A' frame constructed loft space running the full length of the building and divided into two rooms.

The plan

As an amateur DIYer I'm starting on the annex to get some practice on many techniques that I expect to be using on the rest of the property.

The original exterior colour scheme made use of heritage colours: Brunswick Green, Indian Red, Cream, with a deep salmon pink on the walls.

Garage Front - Original Colour Scheme

2. Previous colour scheme

3. Previous colour scheme

I wanted to do something about those barge boards in the process. It does indeed snow here (960 metres altitude) but I don't really like the gingerbread house faux snow pillows, especially when it's getting up towards 40 degrees Celsius in summer.

The plan is also to reduce the palette and try to harmonize the whole property around the original 1880 schoolhouse, which is blue stone with dominant limestone quoins, seen below.

Old Schoolhouse

4. Colour palette - bluestone and limestone

Preparation and maintenance


Both exterior doors were removed and repaired to fix cracks and sticking. A seal was fitted to the bottom of the front door, primarily to keep small creatures and rain out. The side door already had a fitted seal. Three of the interior doors also required work and painting.

The pedestrian doors were repainted Dulux Aquanamel Gloss "Colourbond Classic Cream" (CB2) to match the existing double garage door. The old and failing brass-plated door knobs were replaced with brushed stainless steel sets.


There was some wood rot in the window trim and frames. The trim moulding around the top and sides of the windows and door was completely replaced with new. Wherever I found soft wood in the frames it was scraped out and the remaining surrounding wood was then treated with a fungicidal wood hardener. Cavities were then filled with an epoxy filler and sanded smooth before priming and top coating. It has been 4 seasons now with temperatures ranging from -7 to 38 degrees-C ambient shade, and much higher given this north-west-facing wall gets full afternoon sun, and no sign of cracking or shrinkage.

The windows were repainted Dulux Aquanamel Gloss "Antique White USA" (PN1D1).

5. New trim mouldings installed to door and windows

6. Windows repaired and painted

The insides of the windows are unpainted cedar and were showing signs of past water staining and therefore possible fungal invasion, so as a precaution I applied 1060g/L ethylene glycol, a.k.a. concentrated automotive engine coolant, by brush to those areas. Ethylene Glycol density is 1.1132g/cm^3, or 1113.2g/L, so the concentration applied was approximately 95%. See for information on ethylene glycol as a wood treatment. This is highly experimental of course, the main thing is to get the exterior to a good order of repair. It is probably due for followup application after 12 months.

The bare timber interior sills and mouldings of the workshop windows were primed and painted, mainly to lift the drab appearance and to check the stain hiding ability of the paints I had chosen.

A gap under the eastern gable window sill was a nice habitat for various insects and a potential water ingress point, and needed fixing. A simple 1 inch square section length of timber was fixed in place, with top and bottom surfaces pre-shaved at an angle to create a rhomboid profile to encourage moisture to move away from the wall.

7. Extra sill strip (white) to cover gap

8. Window painted and wall pressure washed and looking half its age

Exterior painting

Colour selection

Colourbond Ironstone (RGB: 73,77,83; LRV:10.0) was a near perfect match to the blue stone (putting a colour square against the bluestone in the shade) but I intended to use a shade or two lighter. Dulux didn't have Ironstone in their colour atlas, and the nearest visual match appeared to be "Isolation" (P39A7). Isolation (RGB: 73,77,85) is indeed almost identical to Ironstone with just a little more blue in it. I later found that Dulux "Ticking" (RGB: 73,77,83; LRV:11.0) is identical to Ironstone's RGB, but has a higher LRV.

After trialing some lighter shades I found myself gravitating back towards 100% Isolation. I had a slight preference for the lighter shade (Potash P39A5) against the white and the cream of the door, but I decided on the weightiness of the darker tone to emulate the weightiness of the stone.

Colour tests

9. Lighter or darker?

A small visual detail that may be fixed at some time is to move the doorknob (both exterior doors) lower to align with the cross member (lock rail). Although low by modern standards it will be in keeping with the style of door and add a little vintage aesthetic (people are on average taller today than they were 135 or more years ago).

Walls - their time has come

The day before painting, the walls were pressure washed to remove any dust, algae/mildew, cobwebs and surface oxides. The old paint looked half it's age just with that cleanup and was in good condition generally. Some flaking and damage to the hardiplanks on the western (hot) side had already been repaired and spot painted in a matching colour.

On the day of painting, the windows, doors (13 openings in total) and other accessories (lamps, switches, sensors) were all masked in the morning, then a break for lunch and to switch focus. I was then set up to paint the walls and soffits using an airless spray gun (Wagner Pro 117). All up, masking, setup, spraying and cleanup took about 4 hours and 15 litres of paint.

I'd bought the Wagner knowing that I'd be painting some large areas outside and inside. I'm new to spray painting so I'd previously "practiced" the technique on a 20 metre long timber paling fence that I'd re-lapped at a friends property, as it happened, using the same paint and colour. I'd also reviewed many videos on YouTube, which emphasised that preparation is the key to a good job. As it was I did a few things, such as trimming the barge boards, out of order but that was deliberate to take advantage of the conditions. It was December and the days were already heating up and we'd already seen some record Spring temperatures.

The "Classic Cream" doors now look a little bland but repainting the garage door is another project. Alternatively, if I don't insist on matching the garage door I may try the lighter shade to the "Isolation" on the pedestrian doors. In Dulux Atlas terms a lighter shade will be Blue Slate (P39A6) or Potash (P39A5), etc. Then again, as the other exterior transformation projects proceed, I may change the colour of the trims, to reduce the contrast.

Garage Front

10. Southern side (garage and pedestrian doors and new wall lamps)

11. Western side (finished with new wall lamp)

Ironstone and Isolation are, as I have found, known to look more blue in the sun, but I think it looks perfect in the shade. I will review this choice as part of the design spiral, i.e. once I have finished the rest of the exterior. It will only cost two days and about $300 to repaint.

Things I found useful:

  1. Put the sprayer pump and the 15 litre paint bucket in a four-wheeled garden trolley to make it easier and quicker to relocate as I circumnavigated front, back and sides of the 15 metre by 10 metre garage.
  2. The tape that comes pre-attached to the rolls of plastic masking sheet is poor quality and was likely to pull the paint off my window and door trim, so I first put down strips of better quality painters masking tape between the paint and the plastic sheet tape.

External wall lamps

The old coach lamps were updated with new lamps in a simpler but still complimentary style. The globes are LEDs (10W Warm White).

Because the new lamps hang down from their base, opposite to the coach lamps, the wall mountings had to be higher so that the globe would be at the same level as before. So, for each of the three lamps the wiring was rerouted through new holes one plank higher up and the old hole filled with epoxy filler, sanded and painted.

12. New lamps

Gables and gutters

The gingerbread house faux snow pillows on the gable barge boards (both ends of the building) were trimmed off to update the look a little. I used a Dremmel MaxSaw with the diamond ceramics blade to cut through the compressed cellulose fibre and cement boards. I also wore breathing mask, goggles and hat because the cement dust was copious and pervasive.

13. East gable trimmed

The roof trim (edge rolls), barge boards and guttering were all repainted Dulux Weathershield Masonry Matt "Colourbond Paperbark" (CB14) to try to match the roof colour. I may change the gutter colour to Isolation depending on what I eventually decide for the main house.

Dormer window

The paint on the cladding around the dormer window at the rear was peeling and flaking badly. The bottom two planks at the front in particular were very damaged and actually delaminating.

14. Damaged cladding

The delaminating planks were replaced using some leftover planks that the previous owner/builder had stored away in the woodshed. The remaining flaking planks at the side behind the chimney and vent (image 15 below) were treated with Zinzer Peelstop before top coating by brush.

Part of the reason for the damage will have been the almost daily dripping of water from the gutterless skillion roof above splashing back onto the wall planks. Even in summer dew forms on the metal roof through many nights. So a primed and painted zincalume gutter has been added, which has also improved the overall look of the rear of the building.

Another reason for the paint and plank damage will have been the higher than normal intensity of heat and light with the additional reflection both off the lower roof, in full sun all day all year. I may yet paint those planks the lighter colour to reduce heat absorption a little.

15. Dormer with flaking paint and no guttering

16. After repair and repainting, gutter and downpipe installed

17. Finished dormer window

A ventilation duct and a possum tragedy

Next to where the wood heater chimney emerges through the roof is a very short ventilation duct outlet.

Inevitably, the shorter outlet provided an access point for curious wildlife, and in this instance it was a family of possums. I can only imagine that a larger male possum had previously surveyed the duct, was able to come and go freely, and therefore felt it would make a good family home. And so, I imagine, he led his smaller family members inside.

Unfortunately, the initial drop down the vertical section of the duct was too long for the smaller possums to exit again and they were trapped inside the horizontal section of the duct, which is a simple cavity formed between upper level floor beams and floor and ceiling panels. By the time I had traced the source of a persistent odour in the entertainment room, and discovered the male possum still inhabiting the duct behind the ventilation fan above the [inside] BBQ, the two smaller possums had long since perished from starvation. In what must have been a possum horror story, the desperate possums had started to gnaw through electrical wiring and eaten through one of the ceiling battens.

The human tragedy could easily have been a fire started by shorting electrical wiring had the circumstances been right.

The male possum was encouraged to leave and will have found a new home elsewhere on the property and the deceased possums removed. A wire grill now prevents reentry.