Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Those fine 'Fine Paints of Europe'

As an architect you constantly find yourself specifying interesting and beautiful products but how does one get to make an educated decision over which products to use? I decided to try one out myself - Fine Paints of Europe. Fine Paints of Europe, or FPE as I'll call it in this post, is an oil based paint renowned for its glossy, almost glass-like appearance. To achieve this shine a rather detailed process is involved and on a recent project I decided to try it myself rather than leave it to the painters so that I could really get to understand the process.
Lets start at the very beginning shall we?  The project was an old and rather, lets say, 'dated' townhouse in Georgetown.  Above you can see the 100 year old door forlornly hidden behind an ugly security gate and layers of pink paint.
The first step was to get the house right. Painters were brought in to banish the pink and white scheme and new landscaping was installed. Dated storm doors in the city? No thanks, rip that out! Much better already, no?  After the long missing shutters were re-installed the only thing remaining on the street front was how to make that front door a focal point. It had to be something really special I felt - a bold color - and a shiny finish would be the finishing touch. Rather than a traditional red or green accent door, purple was decided upon. Yes - PURPLE. If you're gonna go for it - GO FOR IT!
Picking up my paint brush I was careful to follow the FPE instructions. After removing all of the brass hardware (to be thoroughly polished) and sanding the door (a very important step as the high gloss would show any imperfection), a specialty primer by FPE was used. This primer was so thick and rigid, like super glue, that it created a smooth surface to work on; not an easy feat on a rough old Victorian door! This took about 3 HOURS!! The 3 day holiday weekend was a perfect time for this as it took an entire day for the door to be sanded, primed, and then dry. The 2nd day was the 1st coat of paint.  The paint was also thick, although not as rigid as the primer. It went on smoothly and after very careful brush strokes, miraculously produced a perfect glossy surface!
The first coat dried perfectly and I was tempted to leave well enough alone but the directions said to apply a second coat. So the 3rd day I woke up early and did as directed. The 2nd coat was somewhat difficult as the paint dries as glossy as it is while wet so making sure I was achieving even coverage was a bit of a chore (viewing the door sideways helped). After drying for 12 hours I was able to re-install the now gleaming brass hardware and voila!
I was so happy with the end result and think it puts the finishing touch on this lovely Georgetown townhouse. On future projects I'll now be able to instruct painters with assurance having tried the product myself.  Lesson learned: follow the directions, they're there for a reason!
I received no compensation for this post but rather I wanted to share my experience with a great product!