Historic Birch Lodge

Historic Birch Lodge
Historic Birch Lodge, Trout Lake, MI

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Birch Lodge's "A-Peel"

Print Friendly and PDF 'title=While we are renovating the motel (last two rooms may come on line this week) and installing the fire ring near the lake, what the heck, might as well start working on the lodge interior. What better place than dealing with the unsightly walls and ceilings that are losing paint in huge sheets? No one wants to stay in a place whose interior looks like a haunted house.

Our research indicates the peeling problem is not due to water or weather, but is caused by the base coat of calcimine paint, a commonly used solution in early 20th century to quickly seal drying plaster and provide a finished look (an excellent summary is presented at alcimine.htm). Unfortunately for current Birch Lodge (and other old building) owners, this paint is calcium carbonate-based -- basically chalk. When you paint over it, the coverage has nothing to bond to and sooner or later peels off in flakes or large sheets - as happened in the lodge dining room that was painted just five years ago.

The best way to deal with this situation is to scrape off all overlying layers and then wash down the walls until the calcimine is removed. Since it is almost impossible through physical effort - and budget - to take all walls down to bare plaster, removing as much as possible, and then painting the walls with specialized paint such as Cal-Clean, Calc-X or Calci-coater, will seal and allow paint to adhere to the walls and ceilings.

Thus, our two intrepid soul mates, Randy and Becca, waded in this week in the first lodge rooms to undergo treatment - the former Doctor's Suite on the first floor. At the current state it all looks pretty nasty, but in our eyes it is progress that, while not beautiful, appears less frightening than walls that look like they are out of a horror movie.

However, we just can't seem to get used to the dark browns and reds that apparently once graced the suite . . .

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