Dave Colglazier

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since Jan 09, 2014
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Recent posts by Dave Colglazier

My experience tells me that raw linseed oil doesn't cure out properly and remains too plyable but then again, we're not sitting on a chair or walking on the siding either.  We applied 2-3 coats diluting each one with various degrees of mineral spirits to get the right absorption deep into the bare wood and buildup...25-30% added to the oil was probably the most frequent dilution amount since it's not that critical.  We then used a good quality oil primer over than such as Maxim brown and then applied our final latex color coats over those layers.  Drying time should be observed for maximum adhesion.  I'd be interested in what they suggested for the mildew remediation.
2 years ago
Either linseed oil or shellac will encapsulate and seal and are "green" products.
2 years ago

Judith Browning wrote:We are finally caught up enough to start thinking about painting our house....it has nice pine siding from when it was built in 1950 and also quite a bit of the original paint with another coat on top.  All badly chipped and flaking but still some of both adhering solid to the wood.  I've looked into milk paint and it sounds as though it won't work over the old paint.  It sounds like some low VOC paints might work although I'd like to keep searching and paint it with something that won't add to the toxic ring around the house already there from lead paint likely falling off for years.

We are scraping by hand so far...have access to a pressure washer but some say that won't work that well to remove paint.  We are assuming the original paint has lead and likely the second coat also, so we are treating it as so and will probably get a test kit soon.

I would prefer bare wood, but the paint that is stuck is really stuck...not going to come off without a fight.

Is there a non toxic sealer or oil that we could just use to preserve the bare wood and could go over the painted bits too, maybe stained so that it would blend in with the parts that still have paint?  We want it too look nice and also not add any toxicity to the environment...so a solid paint is still preferred....

ideas?  even crazy ones?  



You might look into boiled linseed oil as your sealer.  We read about it years ago in "The Old House Journal" especially for old exposed wood.  We have an 1889 house with original cedar siding on most of it and have been applying it when we do a side of the house every 10 years or so.  After the initial coating process of at least 2-3 coats, we get about that time before we need to repaint.  Normally the linseed oil base holds so well that we don't have to use it again.  We do notice that a black mold will grow on the surface of our latex final coat but can be scrubbed off easily before repainting.  If you use a dark final color this growth won't be noticeable for quite some time.  It seems the latex breathes (good thing) and the mold will grow on the organic linseed oil base coat.  I would think that an additive is available that might inhibit that growth but am not so sure how "green" it might be.  We feel that if that's the main drawback for using a non toxic sealer, it's acceptable to us, our neighbors, and our environment.  BTW, we used a heat plate and scraped the old paint away in huge chunks without blowing it around with a heat gun and if carefully done, it won't burn the wood.  I'm sure the old oil binder vaporized somewhat but we worked from the top down and collected all the scrapings we could to be thrown away before this current phobia of lead.  I'm not saying it's an improper phobia but it might be a bit extreme.  Think of all the old painted home objects that hit the garbage every day likely having lead paint.  

Our neighbors had their lap siding house repainted professionally around 5 years ago and the painter said he used a shellac primer.  That job is holding up really well even though they don't have a vapor barrier installed like we do.
2 years ago
I have a 3 storey old home well insulated with a foam inner thermal break.  I use thermal mass of various types to maintain a fairly constant 70 degrees F in this house.  Water is an excellent cheap thermal mass and I doubt that it really stratifies much over the height you would stack these.  It would be important to add additional heat to the greenhouse over a period of time to bring the water mass up to a desired temperature and then let it radiate back into the space when you are not wanting to add that additional heat.  Temp variations will not be severe if properly sized for the space and loss and besides, the plants will tolerate some variation naturally especially as they shift from daylight to nighttime.  If you are able to pass some tubing that will carry some heated water from your heating source into the bottom barrels, the heat will rise up into the upper barrels and radiate back out.  Heating the ground is another good idea already proposed because most of that heat will rise back into the space except for the outer perimeter that should be somehow provided with a thermal break for maximum retention.
2 years ago

T Holden wrote:We just bought a property and the house has this amazing solarium. Only, it's completely shaded 100% of the time and it cannot be moved to any other side. Before we tear it down (and donate it to a friend who has a great little farm), dream up some ideas for me. If it were yours, how would you use it?



Any covered space is a premium especially for that hot tub I see in one picture. Also, it works as firewood storage and the light probably was welcomed instead of a covered porch as you stated that had been there. You can grow fish and some plants possibly in this space too. Beer/wine/cheese production? I would wait for awhile as others have suggested before making the decision to remove it because it could become one of your most favorite spots that is almost outdoors and relatively bug free and the atmosphere can be a moderating influence on your whole house. I have a full 2 storey garage on the back of my 1889 home and it helps considerably in the winter to protect us from the north winds that howl here in Minnesota.
3 years ago

Cindy Mathieu wrote:

This is the grand slam plan where money is not an object.


If this is the case, I would recommend a new, purpose-built structure. Maybe, you could still keep the fish tanks in the barn, but put the grow beds out (in another structure) on the south side rather than upstairs.

By putting your growbeds upstairs, you are necessarily making the situation less sustainable because the pumps will have to work hard to get the water up there...you will have to have bigger pumps requiring more electricity.

Look into F-clean products for the walls of your greenhouse.

Murray Hallam has created a plan for an aquaponics system which has enough growbeds for a family of 4. It is called Indy23.



There was an article in the St. Paul Pioneer Press this past summer about a warehouse in Maplewood that is using a completely closed water system to raise fish and feed plants indoors. I found it fascinating that the system was paying for itself even with the costs associated with lighting, heating and cooling. Tanks on the ground floor is a very good idea and since heat rises, a greenhouse upstairs might work in the winter but I don't believe you'd get enough sun to grow much without supplemental light. A roof system made from clear fiberglass panels could be considered but it's not very energy efficient either summer or winter. Dave
5 years ago
I don't own a barn but have always wanted one. I do own a 1889 balloon framed 3 storey Victorian that might qualify somewhat though. Here's what I did and what I would suggest -

Don't remove the roof or sidewall on the second level. I don't think the structure would standup anymore in high wind conditions and you still have to put water shedding somewhere.

From what I read previously, I was of the impression that the water tanks for the fish farming would go on the second level. Unless you're sharing that space within the greenhouse, I'm confused by the large tanks on the bottom level. If they are just water tempering holding tanks, that makes some sense.

On my own home I used fiberglass on the perimeter walls to fill between the studs. I then added a poly vapor barrier and 3/4" foam for an additional thermal break and then placed 5/8" rock over that for fire code and an additional thermal mass...now only the heads of the attachment screws get cold - the inside stays at a pretty even temp like the inside of a cooler.

I added insulation between my second level ceiling joists to R19 with a vapor barrier there too! No foam there but it would make sense if you were trying to keep each level at its own humidity level. I continued into the 3rd storey rafters where I built them out to get to an R40 and added vapor barrier and the foam again with the rock over that. I did place a spacer against the roof decking a vented the ridge with an intake at the eaves. Be sure to plan on keeping the critters out, insects, bats, and squirrels.

If you're planning on adding tanks within the greenhouse 2nd level, I'd suggest concrete block support columns filled with sand, aggregate, etc. for more thermal mass with a water piping system internal so you could use it to temper the water system for both summer and winter...copper not being needed since you want a slow exchange anyway.

The concrete floor on the first level can provide more tempering if you put in a raised floor and piping underneath. In the winter, it can be heated even though it will sink heat into the ground, it will provide more thermal mass. In the summer that ground temp can provide some cooling though.

I think it's obvious that you want some sort of heat exchanger for the water piping system from the stove(s) and I would try to use an open water reservoir with piping within and a auto refill system like on a toilet tank and control loop so it adds heat normally but can be shut off when not needed.

Just a few ideas based upon what I've seen.


5 years ago