Older buildings require a lot of care and attention, especially here in Calgary with long winters and summer hail storms. This Fall, work is progressing to repair and restore the sand painting on the exterior of Lougheed House as it had become cracked and damaged over time. The Lougheed House is built partly from sandstone and partly from wood coated in “sanded paint”.
Sanded paint is a decorative finish which was used on building from the late 18th Century and through the 19th Century to give the appearance of stone, usually sandstone (Leake, 1991). For buildings, and parts of buildings, made of wood, this coating would make them look like they were built from stone, and give added durability to the paint.
The technique of sand painting historically involved applying wet paint to the exterior of the building and then throwing sand or blowing it on to the wall with bellows. Today, air compressors are used.
The first stage of this work at Lougheed House involved removing the old sand paint from areas that were damaged, and then filling any cracks in the wood beneath and replacing the old caulking. In some places on the building, water had got in through the damaged paint and made the wood beneath damp. This damp wood had to be allowed to dry out before anything new could be applied. Next the wood was coated in a primer, and when that was dry it was ready to sand paint.
The colour of the new paint has been carefully matched to the old paint so any repairs will blend in seamlessly to the older paint. Next time you pass by the House, take a look at this historic technique in action!
Leeke, J. 1991. “Sanded Paint” in Old House Journal May/June 1991 p. 32-36.