July 17 to 19, 2020
The weather had been amazingly beautiful all week. And, as luck would have it, the weather forecast called for another two weeks, both in Olympia and in the Olympic Rain Forest. Hooray! Time for good weather projects!
After a lot of research and thought, I decided to paint my cabin, instead of siding it.
What?!? Paint OSB???
Yes. I decided to paint the OSB and leave it as the cabin’s exterior.
A couple of issues with this: 1) although OSB is designed to handle inclement weather for a short period of time, it is not designed to handle it forever. Moisture will destroy OSB.
2) Paint is liquid; aka moisture.
However, I’ve seen painted OSB used as an exterior surface. By all accounts, it’s not a great solution and won’t last forever, but I don’t need my cabin to last forever. It’s just a weekend recreational cabin. If I get ten years’ use out of it, I’ll be super happy.
Moreover, the way I designed it, if a panel (or panels) were to become damaged, replacing it would be as simple as removing the screws securing the existing panel(s) and putting up a new one in its place. This is one of the reasons I use screws instead of nails. “Do overs” are super easy.
And, painting would save me almost a thousand dollars. I’m not really sure I want to put a whole lot more money into this cabin. It was fun building it, and I hope I get ten years use out of it, but it was never intended as a permanent structure. At some point, I may want to put up something more permanent. Something that will meet building code. Something that might increase the value of my property if I ever decide to sell it.
But, I still want to protect my investment as much as possible. Which means, if I’m going to paint it, I need to make sure I do it right.
According to “Internet experts,” the proper way to paint OSB is two coats of Kilz oil-based primer, followed by two coats of whatever water-based paint I want to use. Oil-based primer, unlike water-based paints, won’t soak into OSB. Instead, it creates a protective layer inhibiting liquids from soaking into the wood and damaging it. Not only will it protect against water-based paints, but also rain.
Saturday, July 18
That sounded like a plan! I hit up the local hardware super store for a gallon of Kilz Original. Unfortunately, Kilz comes in only one color–headlight blinding white. I didn’t want my cabin to be a beacon of light; I wanted it to be as unobtrusive as possible. Camo, maybe. Or one of the camo colors. Dark gray, perhaps, like my sweatpants. Since I was wearing them, I wouldn’t need a color swatch. I’d just have them match the paint to my sweatpants.
Again, unfortunately, Kilz can handle only two shots of color. So, instead of dark sweatpants gray, I ended up with light sweatpants gray. But, light sweatpants gray is still better than headlight blinding white.
My gallon of Kilz in hand, plus a new handle for my roller, and I was all set.
I started on the back wall. First, I had to remove the furring strips securing the plastic, and then the plastic itself. Although some of the Internet sites advised sanding the OSB first, I decided to skip that and just go ahead and paint. The plastic sheeting kept the OSB clean and dry, so it didn’t need any additional prep work.
The actual painting went a lot faster than I thought it would; I finished in about 15 minutes. And it looked pretty good, too! The primer went on nice and thick, providing good coverage. And, I had a lot of primer left.
I decided to do another wall. I repeated the process on the north wall. However, because this wall is two stories and I didn’t have a ladder, I cut the plastic sheeting at the horizontal furring strip, leaving the upper story protected.
I repeated this process on the other two walls until I ran out of primer. Fortunately, I was able to do the entire first floor. The primer on the south, however, was a bit thin because I ran out. But, it was enough for a first coat.
In all, prepping and painting took less than three hours. It was pretty tiring, though, and I hadn’t eaten anything other than a handful of Goldfish carrot crackers, some moon pies, and a PayDay. Nothing but junk! And I had a headache from all the work.
I decided to put on a second coat Sunday morning, so I ran back into town for another gallon. The drive was a good way to relax, too.
Sunday, July 19
I couldn’t sleep. My back had been bothering me most of the night, and I really wanted to relax before heading home. And, that nagging headache wouldn’t go away. So, I got up early and applied the second coat. This time, it took only an hour and a half to paint the entire downstairs. I started with the south wall so that if there was enough primer left when I was done, I could apply a third coat. And there was. Happy days! There was enough that I also primed my table and hand washing station.
After that, I burned some of the brush pile from clearing Big Red’s parking space. I made a sizable dent in about an hour and a half. And, at the same time, roasted a couple of hot dogs wrapped in warm tortillas.
I was already hot, and the fire was hot and dirty. I felt pretty grimy by the time the fire burned down. Time for my first bath in the river! Boy, did that sound good! I grabbed a change of clothes, a bar of soap, some conditioner, and my hairbrush and headed for the river.
It was wonderful. The water was cold and soothing and clean. So clean! I let the water cascade over my head and run down my arms, washing away my headache.
I wandered around in the warm sun for a while and let my towel and washcloth dry on the beach. It was wonderful and peaceful and my hair never felt so soft. I found the remains of some blue crabs, apparently left behind by some turkey vultures I’d seen flying through the gorge. I don’t know where the crabs came from; I’d never heard of river crabs and certainly had never seen any. But, there they were.
After a couple of hours, I pulled on my clean clothes and headed back to the cabin. I could smell the primer before the cabin came into view. No wonder I had a headache! Something to keep in mind for next weekend when I prime the upper floor. Maybe staying at the cabin while painting it won’t be the best option.
I decided against staying longer, packed up my things, and headed home. Enough fumes for one weekend!