Main House Extension Exterior Transformation

1. Finished exterior - appearance from laneway

Table of Contents

Background

There are no major building works planned for the 1988 extensions, just an update to the look.

The schoolhouse was originally a self-contained four-room residence plus classroom within the bluestone building. It has four beautiful chimneys similar to the two that can be seen below, and five fireplaces only one of which is still operational.

A separate kitchen/laundry/bathroom annex was built prior to 1905 connected to the schoolhouse via a short covered breezeway. This annex had a skillion roof. (The kitchen is shown as existing on a 1905 plan of new work.) There appear to have been further extensions to the kitchen which were later subsumed because the floor of the older build is still intact below the current floor.

Based on the date on the plans, in 1988 the then owner, who was a professional builder, completely reconfigured this arrangement to what it is today: the kitchen, bathroom, ensuite, laundry, family and breakfast rooms. All of this was then covered by a pitched roof to match the schoolhouse inside of which are another three rooms.

It's not clear when the open air gap between the schoolhouse and the circa 1905 kitchen extension was enclosed to become a hallway.

Main House Extension

2. October 2012

3. February 2015

4. February 2013

5. March 2016

In image 2 above the schoolhouse is mostly obscured behind the kitchen (centre, circa 1905), but the original 1880 kitchen and parlour chimneys can be seen at left and the extension with attic (circa 1988) at right and above the 1905 kitchen. The stonework on the kitchen and more recent attic wall above is more rustic than the neatly aligned bluestone work on the schoolhouse, and shows several adhoc repairs. Although it is not in any danger of collapse, aesthetically sections of the lower level kitchen wall should be rebuilt/pointed.

The overall plan is to harmonize the colour scheme around the old bluestone/limestone schoolhouse, starting with the annex building exterior now completed (Annex Building Exterior Transformation).

Verandah Post Replacement

The very first thing I needed to do on the property was fix an item identified in the pre-purchase building inspection report.

One post had significant rot at the base where it was fixed in the support stirrup and needed to be replaced.

A new 86mm square post was bought along with a few pieces of cheap non-structural pine to act as temporary supports. The new post was measured up and cut to length then rebated and shaped to match the old post, then primed. The temporary supports were cut to length and wedged in place, one each side of the old post. Two were needed because the horizontal top member had a lapped join in it at the top of the post, which was secured by the coach bolts that would be removed along with the post.

6. Supports in place, post removed

7. New post (right) in place, supports removed

Main entrance screen door colour change

The existing screen door is a relatively modern aluminium security screen door with black anodised aluminium screen. The frame and cast aluminium security mesh was factory powder coated in the popular Australian Federation Period colour Brunswick Green.

8. Before painting

The process in excruciating detail

I reviewed several YouTube videos on painting screen doors, none of which were completely successful in my opinion. Nevertheless, they were well worth watching with a critical eye.

The door was removed and the screening and, this is essential in my opinion, all door furniture (handles etc.) was removed. The frame was then washed with sugar soap and rinsed.

I set up an area in the workshop where the frame could be hung vertically rotated 90 degrees so that I would also be holding the paint can more or less vertically while spraying. The door was hung from a head-height shelf on two long steel pins spaced so that the frame sat directly on them without touching the security mesh. I also hung a door-sized sheet of cardboard on the same pins behind the door frame to catch the over-spray. Hinges and the bristle bottom gap seal were riveted and so not removed, but were masked with tape. The workshop was well ventilated and goggles and filtered breathing mask were worn.

Starting with the frame and outside edges, I applied thin coats to get an even coverage. Moving to the mesh, I worked systematically along each diagonal mesh line in turn, moving quickly with single strokes at 45 degrees to the plane of the door from 10 to 15 cm away, applying a thin coat primarily to the through-faces of the mesh. Imagine image 12 below as a "paint nozzle eye view" of the door while spraying the security mesh.

The aim here was to cover surfaces that would only get one coat, but it would be essential to keep moving and spray thinly. To cover all of the mesh on one side of the door would therefore require four passes: one pass for each side of each diagonal line of mesh (see images below). A thin fast coat was essential to avoid wasting paint, keeping in mind that most mesh surfaces around the primary focal surface would get up to four thin coats of enamel. One full can of Dulux Enamel Colourbond Ironstone was applied per side. There is unavoidably a lot of over-spray so I chose not to be distracted by it, but maintaining the 45 degree angle helps to minimise this. In contrast, attempting to spray perpendicular to the door would maximise wastage.

The first side was allowed to dry for several hours before turning the hung screen around to apply the same method to the reverse side.

Before re-assembling the door, a new "heritage" bronze screen mesh was attached. This not only looks great but is also stronger and more fire-resistant than synthetic or aluminium meshes. Aesthetically the bronze appears more transparent than the original black mesh, especially up against the timber door. It will develop a patina over time. It costs about four times as much but the low total cost of this DIY project made it worthwhile.

9. Finished screen door matched against bluestone

10. Finished screen door

11. Finished screen door close-up.

12. Finished screen door close-up of bronze mesh

Total cost: AU$115

  • two cans of enamel (AU$25)
  • new bronze mesh, piping and piping tool (AU$90).

An identical screen door on the kitchen entrance was done in the same way. Since I have small dogs I have added a 700mm high sheet of 3mm perspex to the lower inside section of this screen door to protect the bronze mesh from eager paws.

Brickwork

The 1988 extension is brick veneer in red/pink/brown/yellow tones (Austral Bricks "Manor House Blend").

13. Extension brick veneer on right, good match for kitchen on left.

14. Rear of extension, contrasted against the bluestone with limestone quoins of the old schoolhouse.

This was a good choice to match the existing kitchen exterior of rustic bluestone and red/brown brick quoins. I want to change the entire look to match the older schoolhouse, which incorporates stonework that is a little more grand and formal in neat bluestone with limestone quoins. As it happens, these grey and neutral stone shades are currently popular in modern homes, where they are used to create strong contrasting lines.

So I want a single colour for the wall faces to match the bluestone and contrast the light coloured roof, with accents to match the limestone. I also want to be able to do it myself.

Extension bricks

15. Bricks - manor house blend

Options considered for the brickwork were:

  1. render
    • requires high skills, particularly around windows and doors etc.
    • relatively expensive due to labour cost if a skilled finish is to be achieved
  2. bagging, i.e. render smeared on using a hessian bag, sponge etc.
    • for a DIY project the finished look will be commensurate with skill level
    • relatively expensive due to labour cost if a skilled finish is to be achieved
  3. painting
    • lose masonry look and feel
    • high maintenance
    • future options limited to repainting
    • issues with trapped moisture, e.g. freeze and thaw cycles can destroy bricks and mortar, peels paint, etc
  4. staining
    • cost comparable to quality paint
    • retains masonry look and feel
    • very low maintenance
    • masonry remains semi permeable (no moisture lock-in)
    • DIY compatible, i.e. finished result depends on time and care, not a high skill level
    • need to get the colours right, but once proportions are determined the product produces consistent batches
    • may take longer than other options but can proceed incrementally
    • future options are the same as the original raw masonry

Render and bagging usually require final application of a sealant to keep moisture out so, again, some loss of masonry look and feel.

Staining

I wasn't aware of the staining option until I started researching the other options. There are professional trade services that will do it but as a DIYer the only supplier I could find that will provide the materials retail was DyeBrick in the UK (DyeBrick, UK). The more I read the more confident I grew.

DyeBrick supply premixed sample pots of their colours and deliver worldwide. so I ordered four colours: charcoal, yellow stock, lightener, and old English red (for a separate project). At least I could try it, literally for a few dollars, and then decide. The pots arrived via Royal Mail within a week. I immediately tried the red on a yellow brick garden wall and was impressed. Next I tried the yellow stock on a small area of the extension but immediately saw it was too strong. In the pot it looks the colour of mustard. I also tried the lightener neat and saw it is a vivid white. It is designed to be be mixed to produce lower intensity colours.

DyeBrick is designed to be applied full strength, diluted and/or in multiple coats, i.e. pretty much in whatever way it takes to get the result. The colours can also be mixed. There are many techniques I'm sure, such as applying a base colour then a second colour as a separate coat may be effective in achieving a particular visual effect.

A fixing agent is added to the water/oxides mixture to apply as a permanent stain but the premixed sample pots come with the fixing agent separate. This allows testing and removal, although full removal may depend on your bricks in some cases, so DyeBrick advise testing in an inconspicuous location. I found that a pressure sprayer gets it all off my bricks, which is perfect.

I was also researching Victorian era brickwork for inspiration, which often utilises intricate light/dark patterns. I want to somehow match the limestone block accents in the brickwork. I also want to avoid any obviously fake detail, for example staining bricks with two colours separated by a fake mortar joint. Hence, I will not be able to recreate the square interlocked block pattern at that scale.

First test

Aim: see the charcoal and lightened yellow stock as a pattern up against a bluestone/limestone wall. Assess ability of colour to cover the natural brick colour.

Method: choose an appropriate location, mix Yellow Stock/Lightener 1:2, Charcoal 100%, applied colour, without fixing agent, until brick was covered (bricks are rough and difficult to get colour into crevices using a brush).

Result: Images 16 and 17.

DyeBrick Test 1

16. Test patch

DyeBrick Test 1 - Close-up

17. Test patch

Conclusion: Although it is still possible to see the underlying brick colour coming through, the opacity is good for the light colour. The charcoal bricks show less opacity but at least the bricks all appear to be tonally the same. The charcoal is too dark and the yellow is too light. The limestone in the background is obviously aged and more grey.

Note the top right brick end is slightly more yellow. This was a 1:1 Yellow Stock/Lightener mix with the 1:2 mix applied over the top.

Second Test

Aim: Cleanup of test area.

Method: Water pressure sprayer (a small domestic model Karcher)

Results: Image 18.

Conclusion: Perfect.These are the same bricks as were dyed in Test One.

Cleanup test

18. Test area cleaned off

Third Test

Aim: Adjust colours: add some charcoal to the light colour to make it a little more grey. Lighten the charcoal a little to a dark grey, which will hopefully be a better match to the blue.

Method: mix Yellow Stock/Lightener/Charcoal 5:10:1, Charcoal/Lightener 10:1, as in Test One applied colour, without fixing agent, until brick was covered.

Results: Images 19 and 20

DyeBrickTest Three

19. Test patch

DyeBrick Test Three Close-up

20. Test patch

Conclusion: The light colour looks more natural but still not perfect. The charcoal may have brought out some of the green but overall the limestone in the background looks a little more pink.

Adding the lightener to the charcoal has brought out more blue, which is good. Will need to see if a second coat darkens the brick.

Here's another angle.

DyeBrick Test Three - 2nd angle

21. Test patch

DyeBrick Test Three - 2nd angle - close-up

22. Test patch

Overall, much happier with these colours and the more natural look. Will try adding a little Old English Red to the light colour to see if a better match to the limestone can be achieved. Alternatively, also try reducing the Lightener proportion. For the blue stone colour also try a 20:1 charcoal/lightener ratio.

Due to the method used to measure and mix I'm now not sure if the proportions for the light colour are as stated above. From memory proportions may have been 6:8:1, so need to retest.

Further Tests

Once final colours are determined, apply to a test area with fixing agent included. Subject to pressure spray to test permanence.

Final Colour mixes

The 10:1 ratio for the "Bluestone" colour from the Third Test is a little too light. A 20:1 ratio did not bring out enough blue. Also, a second coat will be required on most bricks.

After some additional colour testing on the older red brick quoins, the "Limestone" mix of Yellow Stock:Lightener:Charcoal in 5:10:1 ratio appears to match the limestone reasonably well. The different textures of the real limestone blocks and the bricks makes this a fairly subjective assessment but I was happy with the colour when seen from a distance, in both shade and sunlight.

Note: Whilst the premixed lightener sample pots do not contain any fixing agent, the 500ml pre mixed lightener pots do, as far as I can confirm from the ingredients on the label. I couldn't find where this was stated explicitly but it is implied in the instructions, i.e. when adding lightener to colour dye (mixed to instruction) no additional fixing agent is specified even though ratios can be 1:1 or more. This makes sense to simplify mixing somewhat.

My final colour mixes are now:

"Bluestone": Charcoal/Lightener in 15:1 ratio, two coats to achieve a good "density".

"Limestone": Yellow Stock/Lightener/Charcoal in 5:10:1 ratio, also two coats to achieve a good "density".

Although this "Limestone" is the "not perfect" mix used in the Third Test, adding some Old English Red didn't really work for me, and the more colours that are added the less "luminous" I think the result tends to become, Instead of adding more colours to the mix, I'm going to experiment with some brick aging, or very diluted additional coats.

23. The Colour Laboratory - otherwise known as the kitchen table

Pattern Design

Because I want to somehow match the limestone block accents in the brickwork I intend to use a contrasting colour pattern on the corners and around windows, doors and other features to blend old and new stylistically.

The extension includes several windows and a door as well as corners and protrusions. Any patterning around these needs to be considered carefully so that the final overall effect is integrated and balanced. The pattern used in testing is not necessarily the one that will be used. Because these are bricks and not blocks, it would be folly to try to exactly match the block work (quoins). The patterning should probably be consistent with the use of bricks, and let the colours, scale and the heritage era styling tie the new and the old together.

Brick Pattern - 3 course solid triangular

24. Six course solid triangular repeating pattern

For the older kitchen exterior walls the red brickwork pattern at the corners and around the windows emulates the limestone quoins. Application of the final light colour dye to the red bricks should be enough here.

The limestone blocks are approximately three brick courses high by two bricks long by one brick thick, so the first candidate pattern is a strong triangular pattern to match the scale of the blocks. The repeating pattern of the interlocked blocks is approximately 6 brick courses, so a six course pattern is used.

To soften the strong triangular pattern some randomness can be introduced. The pattern should be balanced visually or possibly slightly heavier at the bottom and lighter at the top.

Pseudo-randon pattern

26. Six course pseudo-random pattern

Below are several attempts to visualise the patterns on a wall with windows and a wall protrusion.

27. Hideous

This is the back wall. Apart from just looking overdone and altogether too angular, the brickwork around the windows and the wall protrusion at centre is not symmetrical, so the opposing patterns don't line up vertically.

Several other patterns were tried, some weird, including one that was immediately tagged the "pacman" pattern (which I think is more reminiscent of space invaders), and some using a square pattern previously regarded as folly, just to see what it might look like.

28. Triangular with slotted window borders

29. Pacman with thin window borders

30. Square with thick window borders

31. Square minimal

The square patterns do look much better from a distance, but up close it will be obvious that this is entirely cosmetic, and not structural in any way as it is in the schoolhouse. The only reason for the thick window surrounds is to allow the window trim to be painted a dark colour, to match what is being considered for the schoolhouse windows.

Rethink and further research

Not happy with any of the above it was time to do some more searching on Google. Most, if not all, guides to extending heritage buildings advise that new structures should be sympathetic to the original but should not attempt to emulate period features.

The direction is now to resist any temptation to introduce false quoins to the 1988 extension, not even if it's a pattern that could symbolise a particular 1980s computer game.

Time to go back to simplicity, so here is possibly the final design.

32. Likely to be the final design

The whole wall is now in the dark bluestone colour with the light limestone colour applied only to the wall below the damp course, the window sills, and the through-face of the windows. The treatment of the windows is aesthetic, and functional in that it will help to reflect light inside. The guttering and gable edge-rolls are dark in this design, but could be painted light as in earlier images above.

Overall I feel more comfortable with this.

The Dye Brick stain kits for the job were ordered from the UK and arrived just five days later, so I have no concern if I find that I need more of anything.

Meanwhile, work began on two of the three gables.

Gables

North Gable

33. As at October 2012

34. The edge-rolls have been scoured using a brass wire brush in a battery-powered drill to remove all loose paint.

The faux snow pillows have been trimmed off, as was done for the annex, then all surfaces were pressure washed. This is a north facing side that gets full [southern hemisphere] sun all day and quite a lot of powdery oxide came off the old paintwork. Any gaps between the ends of the lapped cement sheet planks and the framing behind the barge boards were filled using a paintable sealer.

The Stegbar window sash (upper and lower) were easily removed for access to the roof. In photo 1 below you can see the top ladder tied to a cross-brace (saw horse actually) such that it is stable and tight.

35. The zinc-plated steel edge-rolls were cleaned with mineral turpentine as per the instructions for the Dulux All Metal Primer then primed and top coated.

The barge boards and exposed framing were painted Dulux Weathershield Masonry Matt "Paperbark". A first coat of Dulux Weathershield Satin "Isolation" was applied to the Hardiplanks. Still have the window to paint but finished for the day.

East Gable

The paint is peeling off the edge rolls, and I want to change several other things here also.

36. East gable

37. Barge boards trimmed and repainted

The faux snow pillows have been trimmed off the barge boards. The edge-rolls, barge boards, and Hardiplanks [above the window] have been painted "Paperbark". The edge-rolls were cleaned and primed as for the north gable, but this time I tried one of those nylon paint stripping wheels and found it a little quicker and easier to use. Either way, eye protection is critical.

Box Gutter

Another job that needed doing was to fix the problem of the large box gutter and how it spilled onto the verandah roof.

38. Water damage below box gutter

The water damage can be seen where the verandah roof meets the cement sheet panels below and to the left of the lip of the gutter. During heavy downpours water also tends to run back under the flashing and down the wall at the back of the verandah near the front door and where the electricity meter box is mounted on that wall. Water is being deflected backwards by the two electrical conduits running across the gutter lip. They feed the A/C unit on the roof and the hot water system at the back of the house and need to be rerouted, and may be removed altogether if the new A/C system I'm considering is installed.

A header and spreader downpipe was added to collect and then release the outflow to the verandah roof in a more controlled way. The header is actually just an Icon Plastics tropical vortex outlet for 90mm downpipe with stop-ends fitted, and at about 450mm is perfect lengthwise for this job. The height with a 90 degree elbow fitted was fortunately also just right. This does not mean that PVC guttering is about to replace the fire-resistant steel guttering, which eventually will all be replaced with new steel guttering. The electrical conduits had already been removed by the time the photo below was taken.

39. New header and spreader

A thunderstorm arrived during the following week and the header and spreader worked perfectly, but the gutter in the foreground is undersized for the catchment and number of downpipes. It is leaking anyway so will be replaced with a higher capacity gutter with a better profile.

The photo above shows the header and spreader after about two years, including a 300mm dump of snow six months before (Winter Wonderland).

Return to Staining the Brickwork

The end result will be as planned above but will be done in stages, starting with staining the lightest tone bricks above damp-course in the "Bluestone" colour mix.

By doing one of the five red tones per session I can complete all target bricks in the session and the application will be pseudo-random as advised by the Dye Brick application notes to avoid introducing a visible pattern from application or batch variation. The colour change from red/brown to bluestone will therefore emerge gradually all over.

First Tour De Brick

The "yellow" bricks (above the damp course) have all been stained. The window sills will be stained later in the "Limestone" colour mix.

40. North wall

41. West (rear) wall

The bricks are quite rough and the mortar is raked, so staining takes a lot of time (probably a minute per brick on average) and doesn't follow the recommended method exactly. After loading and unloading the brush and applying to the bulk of the surface as recommended I then find I need to "tickle" the bricks with the now almost-dry brush to get stain into small crevasses and around the edges. A very light touch sweeping just the tips of the bristles across the brick while holding the brush almost perpendicular to the face actually appears to work best at this stage.

A second "dry" coat adds significantly to the "density" of the look of the brick. "Dry" meaning a quick brush over of two or three previously stained bricks using what is left in the brush after applying a first coat to a new brick, without reloading. The second coat is applied using just the "tickling" technique after the first coat has dried, but it does not need to be as rigorously applied and is relatively quick to do.

With that second coat, the 15:1 charcoal/lightener mix is looking good as a match to the bluestone (see the two corner brick ends compared to the background in image 42). The bricks with the red still showing through below have only the first coat and need the second coat.

42. Good match to bluestone with second application - the two brick ends

Unfortunately due to the need to stain the raked edges some stain is getting onto the mortar, so a final pass over the work with a mortar matched stain will be needed. This may seem tedious but will be worth it.

I have approximately 2500 to 2700 wall bricks to do, and at one minute per brick I'm looking at a good 45 hours minimum to complete this job, and possibly another 50% of that time after second coat applications (for a total of 75 hours). With the above strategy that will be nine hours each weekend for approximately 8 weekends, leaving time to mow the two acres of "lawns" and do a bit more painting each weekend. This is not a problem because the method is completely flexible, I can do as many or as few bricks in a sitting as I like. The only thing that needs a little consideration is managing the batches of stain, since a batch including the fixing agent should not be left standing for more than a few days without stirring or shaking the container.

Second Tour De Brick

The "pink" tone bricks have been targeted this time, with second coat applied to the bricks stained in the previous stage. The unstained window sills are starting to stand out much more now.

43. North wall progress

44. West (rear) wall progress

Third Tour De Brick

There appear to be roughly twice as many darker red bricks than any other single tone. The first tour covered the yellow tones, second tour the pink tones, now the red tones will take twice as long as each of the previous, so I'm switching to cover all red bricks one wall section each session, starting with the east (kitchen) side, then the north wall, then the rear west wall. I'll also need more charcoal stain kits and lightener to complete the job, so those have been ordered (again received within the week).

45. East and North walls red tones covered

46. Wide view to check the effect

47. Reverse direction to (1), showing emerging brick colour against hardiplank "Isolation" colour in shade (background annex) and full sun (north gable).

48. Wide distance view with annex in foreground and emerging brick colour at distant right. The corrugated iron [rear] fence in the foreground will most likely be painted a light neutral colour.

Limestone colour staining

Taking a break from the "bluestone" colour staining I've decided to confirm the "limestone" colour mix on the front quoins. The intention is to do the red brick quoins at the front of the kitchen (corners and window) and the attic window in the east gable over the kitchen. I'm hoping this will integrate the extensions (old and more recent) into the schoolhouse, and have some more subtle effects such as centreing the main entrance more at the centre of the overall structure.

49. Old schoolhouse and extension at change of title.

I've started with the east gable attic window quoins (1988 multi-tone bricks) with the result seen in photo 47 below. I'm also considering toning down the brightness of the mortar around the stonework a little, possibly by applying a Dye Brick aging solution.

I'm still reserving a decision on using a darker colour on the edge roles/guttering etc. I want to see the final overall effect of the current scheme first.

In image 51 I'd like to match the paneling above the window to the new colour of the brick quoins.

50. Before

51. After one coat. A second coat will even out the tone from a distance and provide a denser look up close since the bricks are quite rough and the original colour can be seen in the many small crevasses.

After trialing both white (Dulux Aquanamel Gloss "Antique White U.S.A.") and dark colours (Dulux Weathershield Low Sheen "Drive Time" PG1A6) on the verandah posts seen in photos 48 and 49 below, I've decided I prefer the darker colour. "Drive Time" is one shade lighter than Dulux "Ticking" PG1A7, which has an equivalent RGB to Colourbond Ironstone.

52. Original kitchen quoins (much older red/brown pre-1905 bricks with flush mortar)

53. Completed kitchen quoins in limestone stain

The next three photos were taken to confirm the colour match of the "limestone" staining under different light conditions.

54. Wide shot in shade (overcast).

55. Wide shot in direct sunlight (early morning).

56. Wide shot at dusk.

I think this is a very good overall result. The old and new are looking more integrated, and will look even better once all the trims are done (gutters and fascia on the old part and verandah, windows, etc.).

The kitchen window arch has been left as red brick until the verandah is remodeled to incorporate the arch in the verandah roof line. This will be a future project to reposition the posts to align them with the architecture, particularly to achieve a formal symmetry relative to the door and window.

Rear Wall

I've run out of the charcoal stain again and still more to do, but the effect of the colour change on the building overall is very evident now.

Visible in the lower part of the centre of the rear wall (protruding section in photo 62 below) are bricks still with a red tinge. These are bricks where one coat only of the "bluestone" colour stain has been applied, comparing with the upper part of the wall and to the left, which have had two coats. Some bricks have been getting a very quick third "dry" coat as the work proceeds because, as the surrounding bricks are darkened, it becomes clearer that some bricks still need a little more "density".

57. West (rear) wall at two-thirds done.

58. Reverse angle with staining completed.

Still to be done: dormer window (trimming off the faux snow pillows and repainting); window trims, pipework, gutters, soffits and fascias. May 2014: the days are getting too cold and short for exterior painting.

Another project will remove the hot water and heating oil tanks, oil heater and its chimney and remodel the pump box that sits between the new and old buildings. The wood heater and its chimney (the centre of the photo) will also become redundant and could also be removed, which could also allow another dormer window to be put in.

Final Costings

Another two charcoal kits were ordered to complete the job, another Yellow Stock kit, another Lightener kit, and a Brick Age kit to tone down the bright mortar on the east gable. That brought the totals for this project to:

The rough texture of the bricks and my objective of achieving a consistent high density coverage over the multi-toned bricks has reduced the nominal coverage estimate on the product label considerably. The total cost of the above materials is approximately UK£480, or around AU$870, plus a few dollars for several very cheap brushes, because they tend to wear and fray using the technique described earlier. Paying a professional to do the work would obviously cost considerably more but if you have the time then the skill level for a job like this is well within the capability of anyone willing to do the job. I don't think a professional would be much quicker in total labour hours, which I estimate will total 75 or more when completed. That would translate to several thousand dollars for labour.

Window Exteriors

I've decided on Dulux Weathershield Semi-gloss Colourbond "Wheat" C16 as the colour, an earthy beige colour with some depth to it that I think goes well with the stone hues of the old building and the colour scheme in general. "Wheat" will likely replace "Paperbark" as my general trim colour (windows, gutters, bargeboards, edge-rolls, etc.) and the lighter Paperbark will be the colour of exterior non-masonry surfaces (hardiplank, paneling above windows etc.).

The window frames were "Brunswick Green" and flaking. The photo below is typical of the rear sills after scraping, sanding and priming with Zinzer Peel Stop clear primer. I like the way the primer penetrates the soft cedar and tends to harden it. In the can and on the brush it looks like a thinned PVA or polyurethane glue.

59. Needs repainting

In addition, the upper sash in all but one (the smallest) of the six double-hung sash windows had been painted shut. I'd learned from the annex repainting that the Stegbar window sash are easily removed for painting from the inside without tools. All sash are now moving freely now.

If you have double hung sash windows and someone has painted the upper sash shut then you are really under utilising your investment. Dropping the upper sash rather than raising the lower sash has, as I have discovered, several useful effects:

  • easier to reach the upper panes for cleaning when the top sash can be lowered.
  • the gap being at the top allows hotter air to escape.
  • rain is less likely to enter particularly if the opening is shared between top, bottom and middle.
  • small agile four-legged pets (cats excepted) can't escape out through the open window.
  • small hands or paws are less likely to tear holes in your insect screens.

60. The kitchen window was the colour test.

61. Main bathroom upper and lower sash repainted and drying before re-installation.

62. Completed rear windows. The fly screens aren't too intrusive. Compared to the plan the only difference is that the brick through-faces are not stained the lighter colour.

63. Completed north facing windows (at left). Paneling over windows is still to be done.

64. Kitchen and east wall.

65. Kitchen and east wall (reverse angle).

I like the subtle effects that have unexpectedly emerged.

  • The dark monotone brick colour accentuates the structural lines. E.g. the centre wall protrusion (photo 62 above), where the mixed brick colours previously effectively camouflaged those lines.
  • The light coloured lower wall gives the illusion that it is a little thicker than the dark upper wall (photos 62 and 63). The centre wall protrusion appears to be a little wider at the bottom because the edges of the lighter colour contrast strongly against the shadows whereas the edges in the darker colour blend with the shadows.
  • The contrasting window colour that matches the brick sill colour appears to accentuate depth and bulk.

These visual effects contribute "mass" to the structure, which helps to visually integrate the "brick veneer" extension with the greater natural mass of the old school building.

Revised Colour Scheme - Gables

66. Changed gable colour scheme in context

The main change is that the gable planking is now Dulux Paperbark replacing Dulux Isolation. Roof edge rolls are still Dulux Paperbark and the barge boards and fascias are now the same colour as the window trim, which is Dulux Wheat.

I'm still undecided on the colour for the guttering. The old Indian Red gutters look ok. Combined with the blue/greys it has that "old dressing gown" feel about it.

South Gable and Rooftop Clutter

The faux snow pillows have been trimmed off and painting completed. The electrical conduits that ran across the roof from the meter box to feed the A/C unit and hot water tank have been removed.

67. Painted but still junk to remove.

68. Gable patched and just one more conduit to remove.

The old broken A/C unit and piping is now gone. The conduit nearest the box gutter is now gone. The remaining conduit feeds a spotlight on the back of the house and will go when that is replaced.

That will be the last of all the rooftop clutter that was a maintenance chore and actually damaging the roof by preventing leaf litter from being flushed away. Instead it was clogging the corrugations causing water to back up where it could potentially seep under the sheeting overlaps and enter the roof space. Bad news all round.

The inside of the skylight was dark varnished cedar (image 67) and has been painted white (image 68) to brighten the entrance hall.

Woodstove flue

Now that the new geo exchange HVAC is installed, it's time to remove the woodstove and it's flue.

69. Top half of the external flue and bracing struts removed.

70. Flue completely gone and a new corrugated iron sheet installed.

In hindsight I should have removed the inner flue sections from below before removing the top of the outer flue from the roof.

I bought the 9 metre extension ladder for the schoolhouse woodfire flue install and now it is a very useful roof ladder. It just needs a stop at the bottom to prevent it from sliding out from under. I was able to slide the new 3.8 metre corrugated iron sheet up the this ladder to the roof, making it doubly useful. Not wanting to end up in hospital I climb the shorter ladder and transfer my weight to the longer ladder at the gutter so I don't ever put my weight on the unsupported section of the longer ladder, which is not designed to take a full load at that 45 degree angle.

The new sheet stands out a little because the old sheets have faded considerably in the decades they've been exposed to scorching north-west afternoon sun. I intend to repaint the entire roof at some point but in the meantime to match the original colour (Colourbond River Sand) I had to buy a close tone in the new colour range (Colourbond Paperbark) and spray it with a can of Colourbond River Sand roof and gutter repair enamel. Now that I can see the as-new colour, I'm guessing that the old schoolhouse was repainted a matching colour after the extension roof was installed.

71. March 2016 - Rear of residence.

Still To Do

  • Replace gutters.
  • Replace upstairs domed polycarbonate skylight with double glazed