Home Renovation, Faux Effects
A demonstration of Petra an interior/exterior polymer modified cement base coating with particular antiquing properties incorporated in the mix, by the Ritins Studio School of Decorative Finishes and Plasterwork.
entering the driveway from the west and remember thinking very nice, until I turned the corner and saw the carbuncle-like attachment otherwise referred to as the addition clad in vertical green wooden siding.
We, Ritins Studio, were there to finish the fireplace in faux fieldstone and in a meeting with the architect, Vladimir Jordan of J.D. Design, we both commented on the addition and its’ incongruity. The clients loved our work on the fireplace and chimney breast and thanked us profusely. So we left thinking that it was another job well done.
Months, later Vladimir came to your studio to view some other samples for another project and happened to glance at a faux brick panel that I had completed from memory. He thought it was brick veneer until I explained that it had been created from some left over Petra on a whim, while working on a faux terra cotta panel for another client. His eyes lit up as he recalled the turn of the century farmhouse on which he was still working. It immediately occurred to him that this, being an exterior material as well, could be applied over the existing siding. Who was to argue with the architect? So, he borrowed the sample to show his client. Vladimir literally lobbied his client at almost every meeting to agree to the transformation he, and now I, had in mind. His insulation to take the bite off Canada’s bitter winters, the longevity of the finish compared to the intended paint job and… last but not least, the inherent value of the property.
Finally, even though she had already maximized her budget, his client relented giving the go-ahead, to work on the front (south) and the side (east) facade.
Ritins Studio then set about creating a custom 3' x 4' sample for approval. The existing brick of the main farm house, typical of the local gingerbread cottage style, had been sandblasted in the past — the red brick was relatively easy to mimic, the yellow brick was more detailed and varied in it’s texture and colouration and the mortar could not look too uniform.
The carpenter removed the wood strapping and applied the Styrofoam insulation. We took over from that point and applied the scratch coat, fiber mesh and rendered this with the monobase coating. Next we applied by trowel, a layer of approximately 3⁄16" of our Petra coating tinted to the colour of the existing mortar.
Prior to this I had occasion to talk to Mark Turner, National Sales Manager of Tape Specialties, who over the years has supported our school and faux workshops with his excellent green masking tape products. In this case, having decided not to use heavy Lexan stencils cut the shape of the brick design as an option, we decided to tape each and every mortar joint with Tape Specialties’ custom 1⁄2" green tape. We used a laser level to establish our brick courses and proceeded to apply the tape over the Petra coating. This did not take as long as I had expected, we used unskilled help for this task.
Next, we applied the top coat of Petra, tinted to the red/orange of the prevalent brick. This was applied to a thickness of approximately 1⁄8" to 3⁄16", and was manipulated and distressed with wire and masonry brushes to recreate the matching texture. This time with a stencil of 20ml. Lexan, we used three neutralized colours of yellow, ochre and burnt sienna to apply an extra coat of Petra using these in various combinations in order to add the decorative accent borders and corner bricks.
Finally, we dirtied up some of the mortar joints for that authentic look. The project took three weeks to complete with a crew of three men, only one of whom was considered a skilled craftsman. Since the job was completed in the mid-August of this year, the owners have had several barbeque gatherings as well as an elaborate party. The comments form the guests serve to assure the owners that their money was indeed well spent.
My final observation is to mention that the farmhouse looks much larger than it had originally appeared. It now has an elegant flow from roof to roof and from setback to setback.
At this stage, repainting the new porch and recoating the green paint with white is all that remains to be done.
Andrejs Ritins, President of Ritins Studio Inc. and Ritins Studio School of Decorative Finishes and Plasterwork
**Petra is an interior/exterior polymer modified cement base coating with particular antiquing properties incorporated in the mix.