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Historical Restoration of President
Garfield House

The 30-room structure is an imposing example of the Victorian/Vernacular style, common to the period of 1880-1904, which includes James A. Garfield's brief term as president. Our 20th president and his family lived in this Mentor, OH Peel Away 1 for paint stripping of Garfield Housemansion, now a National Historic Site and subject of a massive $2.5 million restoration, funded by the National Park Service.

 

Garfield acquired the wood-framed house, with pine and redwood clapboard siding and a shake-shingle roof, in 1876. Additions begun in 1880 accommodated the needs of the large Garfield family. Major additions followed the president's assassination in 1881, and included the Presidential Library, installed in 1884, and expert stone work. The wrap-around porch, eaves and overhangs contain excellent examples of the ornate decorative trim associated with the Victorian style. The site also includes a small campaign house that is documented as the first national headquarters for the Republican Party.

 

The Dependable Painting Company was charged with stripping and paintingPeel Away 1 for paint stripping of Garfield House the home's exterior, which was layered with multiple coats of lead-based paint. Testing revealed that portions of the trim held upwards of 18 layers of leaded paint. According to Dependable Painting President Donald Hansen, specs called for a chemical stripper.

 

Several products were patch-tested, including Peel Away® 1, manufactured by Dumond Chemicals, Inc. "I'd worked with Peel Away® before," commented Hansen, "so I wasn't surprised that it outperformed competitive products during patch testing. Previous use had proven that Peel Away® 1 works extremely well, and does not damage irreplaceable original substrates, a key consideration for any historic restoration project."

 

The Peel Away® 1 Paint Removal System is an globeenvironmentally safe method of removing up to 32 coats or more of paint with a single application. Consisting of Peel Away® paste and fibrous laminated cloth, this two-part system provides ease of application, outstanding efficacy, and is especially suited for removing lead-based paint. The Dependable crew used Graco equipment to spray Peel Away® 1 paste onto the clapboard, to a thickness of 1/4 inch. Next, the fibrous, laminated cloth was smoothed over the paste, and left to dwell for upwards of 12 hours. The cloth was then "peeled away," and with it, the paint and paste, still in a damp state. "We were able to completely strip all 18 layers of lead-based paint with one application of Peel Away®," noted Hansen.

 

The next step was a clean water rinse and application of neutralizer. Troughs Peel Away 1 for paint stripping of Garfield Houseand plastic ground cover around the perimeter caught falling debris and waste water. A vacuum recycling unit was used to control run-off. Waste disposal followed EPA regulations. Initial air monitoring verified that exposed lead limits were below 30 parts per million, well within acceptable levels. "The Peel Away® cloth keeps the paste wet throughout the process, which keeps lead-dust particulates from entering the air," said Joseph Shieff, project manager. Approximately 1,500 gallons of Peel Away® 1 were used to remove multiple coats of lead-based paint before the exterior was power sanded with vacuum attachment heads and HEPA filters, and repainted using historically accurate colors, chosen to match the original design as closely as possible. Approximately 400 gallons of paint were used to apply a three-coat acrylic system.

 

"Peel Away® provided a lot of benefits during this project," reported Shieff. "We cut down on overall labor costs by using a product that removed all the paint with one application. Peel Away® was safe and easy to use, and did exactly what it was supposed to do without damaging the historic fabric."

 

While removal and repainting provided a much needed facelift, other renovations included lifting the building to provide a new foundation and a complete roof tear-off and installation. Interior restorations included hanging reproduction wallpaper and refinishing woodwork.

 

What began in 1997, the overall restoration was completed in May of 1998. Founded in 1928, the Dependable Painting Company is headquartered in Cleveland, and provides full-service painting, restoration and related services. Other recently completed restoration projects include the Allen Theatre at Playhouse Square, and the Federal Reserve Bank Building. Dumond Chemicals Inc. manufactures a full line of restoration, paint and coating removal products for commercial and industrial use.

 

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