Live and Learn, and then the Consequence

What in the world could that title mean? Well, I try to do as much research as I can before I undertake any project. I can’t tell you how much I read and gleaned from other DIY’ers before attempting to install new windows myself. And the windows installed great and still look wonderful. But because this house has cedar shingle siding, I had to butt the shingles up behind the J-channel on the new windows. Ok, the world’s most annoying jigsaw puzzle, but I did it. The shingles didn’t fit together as tight as they did before I tore them off, so I decided a thin bead of silicon in the gap would help make the siding around each window that much better waterproofed. And yes, they are waterproof. However…

What I didn’t realize is that there are two types of people silicone caulk in this world. Those that can be painted and those that cannot. Guess what. I used the wrong stuff. I have tried multiple primers and nothing sticks to 100% silicone caulking.

I have found some tips online for getting paint to stick better to the unpaintable silicone but none of them are long-term solutions. (Why can’t they just print UNPAINTABLE in large red letters on the tubes of caulking? And maybe one of these built it handshake buzzers so you know you’ve picked up the wrong one.) They all report that the paint will begin to peel in just a few short years. Not what I want after purchasing expensive paint that should hold up for at least 10 + years. So I got a professional opinion from the friendly folks at our local Sherwin-Williams store. That’s where we are purchasing our paint and primer from so they already know about the work I have been doing on the exterior of the house to get it ready to paint (see the winning paint colors in this post).

They recommended, to my dismay, removing ALL of the unpaintable caulking from the seams between the cedar shingles. So this definitely might delay our July 15th Weekend of Painting Extravaganza. I spent this past Saturday using a combination of utility knive, scraper, screwdriver, and wire brush wheel removing the bad caulking from the shingles around just one window. Definitely spent over 3 hours, was covered in dust from the multiple layers of paint that the wire brush wheel removes, and found out that it is extremely difficult to remove all the bad silicone without damaging the cedar shingles.

Once the bad silicon is removed and all the dust is washed off, I can apply the new paintable silicone to fill the seams and hide the damage caused by removing the bad silicon. And then the shingles will be ready to wash, prime, and paint.

It takes forever, it is noisy and dusty and I sweat, and the dust sticks to my skin. And I still have 8 windows to go. Wish me luck.

But to end on a happier note, check out these pictures of the windows that I sided around with the new cedar shingles! If they weren’t so darn expensive, I would have just used all new instead of reusing as many of the old as we could. But seriously, over $150 for a bundle of shingles that would side a 10′ x 10′ area of wall. No wonder people aren’t jumping to re-side their homes in sustainably harvested cedar – no one could afford to! So take in the beauty of these good smelling cedar shingles! I will get back to digging and scraping out the bad silicone…

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