Unwanted knotty pine - what to do? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 19 Old 07-04-2009, 11:14 PM Thread Starter
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Angry Unwanted knotty pine - what to do?

I'm sick. The builder was told the trim in our new addition was to mimic the trim in the rest of the house as much as possible. He tried to talk us into knotty pine and said it would be a "snug cabin feel." We made it clear our house is not a cabin, it is a large farmhouse over 137 years old with beautiful ornate oak trim throughout. What did he install? Knotty pine! This is in a 16x22 addition...the biggest room in the whole house, with 7 windows each 3 feet wide. The pine not only has tons of knots but also cracks and holes where the knots have fallen out. The sills are already gouged and marred with tools that were set on them and one sill is cracked - it is so soft. Then the guy ended up abandoning the job. We were going to paint the trim white anyway. Should we just paint or have it totally redone? What is involved with painting knotty pine? Surely MUCH filler will have to be used. Yes, I've cried over this.
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post #2 of 19 Old 07-05-2009, 05:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arobin View Post
I'm sick. The builder was told the trim in our new addition was to mimic the trim in the rest of the house as much as possible. He tried to talk us into knotty pine and said it would be a "snug cabin feel." We made it clear our house is not a cabin, it is a large farmhouse over 137 years old with beautiful ornate oak trim throughout. What did he install? Knotty pine!
Who let him install Knotty Pine to begin with?

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Originally Posted by arobin View Post
We were going to paint the trim white anyway. Should we just paint or have it totally redone? What is involved with painting knotty pine? Surely MUCH filler will have to be used. Yes, I've cried over this.

If you are going to paint it, it could be filled and sanded, primed and painted. Or, you could replace with Poplar, and you wouldn't have the knots to deal with. If you wanted it to match the rest of the house, then re-do the woodwork in the correct specie.






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post #3 of 19 Old 07-05-2009, 05:56 AM
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I agree with cabinetman...again!

Ditch the "naughty pine" and replace with poplar or "paintable" MDF. This is a project that a reasonably adept homeowner can do them selves. You'll need a miter saw, about $150 or so on sale and a brad nailer, compressor package about $300 on sale. Both the tools and compressor will serve you again and again over time with other projects, if you don't already own them. A small block plane can take the sharp edges off the trim for better durability and painting.
The knots will haunt you forever. Filling and sanding won't work. The sap will bleed through or the knots will shrink and be visble...or fall out! I hope you didn't pay up front.
Is the addition part of the original style or is it clearly a modern addition?
Would you want to replace the pine with some clear oak to keep the traditional look? From your post you said you were going to paint it. The difference in material cost would not be that much...not knowing the amount of material required at this point, but it's generally the labor that's the larger cost.
Here's some opinions on MDF:
http://www.woodweb.com/knowledge_bas..._MDF_Trim.html
and an explanation: http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-mdf.htm
Where in Michigan are you located?
bill

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 07-05-2009 at 08:07 AM.
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post #4 of 19 Old 07-05-2009, 06:57 AM
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There is a lot about this story that we do not know.

Are there any financial aspects? Was the person that abandoned the job the prime contractor or a sub? Has the prime been paid off? Can you hold the prime to account and have the job completed correctly.

The trim should be replaced. Just who, what when and how depend upon the total job contract and it's current status.

George
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post #5 of 19 Old 07-05-2009, 03:41 PM
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I think Geo.C. is correct, there are pieces missing in this puzzle. It's the First post by the questioneer, looking for professional backup of an aspect, but not the whole picture, of the problem to justify their dis-satisfaction. How the trim could be installed without anyone noticing it until completion is odd. Tools on the window sill? How would they see that if they weren't there to see the job in progress? Sounds odd to me ...but....just my experience and paranoia I guess. Does the phrase "get it in writing" sound familiar?
I must have gotten up grumpy from my Sunday nap. Joe.
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post #6 of 19 Old 07-05-2009, 03:44 PM
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Now I notice this is MY first post too! Ha! I have been on this site many times but as a building contractor most of my time is on contractortalk. So this being my first post here I guess it should be disregarded. Silly me.
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post #7 of 19 Old 07-05-2009, 05:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pennyroyal's View Post
Now I notice this is MY first post too! Ha! I have been on this site many times but as a building contractor most of my time is on contractortalk. So this being my first post here I guess it should be disregarded. Silly me.
Welcome aboard.

There always has to be a first post for everyone. The first post does not always have to be a question to solve a problem.

George
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post #8 of 19 Old 07-05-2009, 07:47 PM Thread Starter
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To cabinetman: I authorized the installation of pine. He swore it was plenty strong enough, painted easier than oak, and was much cheaper. He said he could get pine that looks really nice and that many people use pine for trim. So I said it was fine as long as it was paintable and strong. We had already specifically said no knotty pine, and I know not all pine looks that bad, so I thought he meant to install a nicer kind. Not having ever done filling and sanding of wood, I don’t know if it would be more work to do that or if it would be easier to just have someone come replace it. If it isn’t too big of a deal then maybe we can do it. There is about 115 feet (if I figured it right) of trim to fix (top, bottom and sides). It looks like a major pain in the butt but maybe it isn’t as bad as I fear?

To woodnthings: I was told MDF wasn’t a great idea because it can be destroyed if it gets wet. I’m afraid if we left a window open and it rained in or something that it might be ruined. I’m talking about not just the moulding sort of trim but also the trim on the inside of the window (casement?) … that is all knotty pine. So I’m guessing MDF wouldn’t be good for someplace potentially so close to the elements? From the outside, the addition blends with any other farmhouse in the area. The inside was where the important integration was to take place…matching hardwood flooring and trim as much as possible. I live in western Michigan where there is LOTS of moisture and humidity…our grass usually stays green even in the dry season. It’s sort of jungley around here. So moisture is a concern.

To GeorgeC: I’m not sure what financial aspects you mean. I don’t know what “prime” is. However, we had a contract, 1/3 to pay at the signing of the contract, 1/3 the day ground was broken, and 1/3 upon completion. We’ve discovered that on the building permit he valued the addition at almost a third less than the contract price and we’ve already paid 2/3rds. He demanded the final 1/3 before he was done and never appeared on the site again after we said we’d be happy to pay him the final third when the work was done, according to the contract. He never said he was short on money to finish the job. He left us with 7 code violations and 1 workmanship violation. Since then the state has filed a formal complaint against him for a myriad of administrative rule and occupational code violations.

To pennyroyal’s: It seemed incongruous to ask what to do about the trim without attempting to explain why we are in this situation. The reason the trim wasn’t noticed is that the addition was separated by the house by thick plastic, one of us works from early morning till night and the other of us is disabled. It didn’t occur to us to have to follow him around to make sure he was doing things correctly. We know tools were on the sills because we saw them there when having to inspect what kind of mess we were left with. We realize now just now nave and stupid we were. Yes, too many things weren’t in writing. The contract said “trim” but not specifically what kind. Having done nothing like this ever in the past, we had no idea how things were supposed to be or what we should have been doing. We’ve learned a TON about where we messed up since then...like…believing him when he said he had a license when he didn’t (he has one now but not until a couple months after the contract was signed). Indeed we were totally stupid and ignorant. No question about it. Nevertheless, it has to be fixed and I’m trying to figure out how best to do that. So, no, we don’t need to have our dissatisfaction justified. It has been justified many times already by the building inspector and 5 general contractors.

Last edited by arobin; 07-05-2009 at 07:54 PM.
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post #9 of 19 Old 07-05-2009, 08:20 PM
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arobin
There is a way to fix it ,It's cheaper than replacing it. You can get a paste filler from most woodworking stores . If the surfaces are flat you can put it on with a plastic squeegee fill everything clean as you go so you wont have as much sanding later. As far as shaped moldings cut a piece of cardboard to match the shape . It will take some time to do .I use 0000 steel wool after rough sanding , than seal or prime it good and paint . it not the fastest thing to do but it should come out with a good result.

P.S.
You should do all the trim so it will finish the same . sorry about your trouble with contractor some people just don't care. I did this type of work for many years in FL. Had to fix other peoples @#$% it's not fun for the clant.

Steve M.

Last edited by toolman Steve; 07-05-2009 at 08:33 PM. Reason: add stuff
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post #10 of 19 Old 07-05-2009, 08:29 PM
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Steve

What is the brand name of the "paste filler"? That would be helpful if you are going to recommend a process. Thanks, bill

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #11 of 19 Old 07-05-2009, 08:43 PM
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There many brands out there ,Minwax use to make one ,I have used some from pant stores & hwd .ware stores The all seam to work well Just don't go to cheep. you get what you pay for. Just use a stain stop primer , like kilz .

Steve M.
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post #12 of 19 Old 07-05-2009, 10:00 PM Thread Starter
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Oh, I forgot to add, the reason we were painting it is because the trim in the rest of the house is painted. We know it is oak because we've removed pieces from time to time. It was already painted when we moved in back in 1975.
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post #13 of 19 Old 07-08-2009, 10:11 AM
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115 lin ft is not much trim. If it were me, given the moisture variations in your area, I would rip it out and replace it with poplar. You are not talking much money to get a proper job.

Good pine is much more expensive than good poplar. Chances are that the pine he used was not properly dried then not properly cared for afterwards. You could well get knots "bleeding" through several coats of paint eventually- despite sealing with shellac or kilz - especially if every one of the knots is not "sound".

Since you have not paid the final third, use that money to get the job done correctly by hiring a trim subcontractor whose work you can see, and who charges what the job is worth.

Taking the lowest bid usually results in the lowest quality job.

If your casings are profiled, have the poplar primed, back-primed, two coated on the edges one finish coat on the face before the first piece is cut. Then all the painter has to do is fill nail holes and "face coat" the fronts. No cutting in will be necessary.

Cheers,
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post #14 of 19 Old 07-10-2009, 06:26 PM
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With just the room size, you have 152 ft. of trim( crown & base) and I assume you have a door, but since there isn't a measurement for it or the hieght of the windows, I estimated those. They could be larger than my est. which would increase the lin. ft., but my est. is 252 ft. of trim.
If you want to use medium density, use MDO instead of MDF. It is manufactured for exterior use. When painted, is very stable and moisture resistant.
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post #15 of 19 Old 07-16-2009, 08:27 PM
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I am sure that in the long run it will be a lot less expensive and a lot less aggrevating if you just replace all of that pine crap with poplar. If it's coming apart now what makes you think it has stabilized. Also, painting cheap pine is a real PITA. You will need more than just a sealer. probably shellac and more to paint over some of the knots then wood filler to level it out.

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post #16 of 19 Old 07-16-2009, 11:09 PM
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I also have to agree with the responses of getting rid of the pine and using poplar it's knot free and easy to prime and paint, I use poplar for other projects rather than pine. Yeah I too wonder were in Michigan your at?
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post #17 of 19 Old 07-18-2009, 01:31 AM Thread Starter
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clampman: I wish we could. Unfortunately, the final third we held back has been spent on attorneys after the general took a hike on us (very long unhappy story).

Im sort of lost on your last paragraph, not being familiar with the terms. Im going to make a note to ask you about that when the time comes to move forward. We thought the time was going to come very soon since we had a court hearing last week. But it got postponed till probably the fall. Arg.

To the rest of you, thanks so much for weighing in on this topic. I have more understanding of the possibilities and options than I did. Weve had finish contractors look at it along with the other carpentry work left to do but the cost of that is (at this point) a bit overwhelming. It seems poplar is the easiest choice. Ill have to check out what MDO is. But if money ends up to be the predominant issue, we may have to deal with the pine in our spare time after getting the several code violations taken care of.

chevyll_1967: Im in the same quadrant of the Lower Peninsula as yousorta cagey about saying whereseems not a thing to do on the net.

Thanks again you all...I am feeling encouraged that there are things we can do to make it better. I'm just DIScouraged about how LONG it is taking. While we wait for the wheels of justice it helps me to start planning ahead for alternatives...makes me feel more in control of the situation than I really am. lol
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post #18 of 19 Old 07-18-2009, 12:07 PM
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Arobin,

It is MDF trim not MDO, which is a different material altogether.

By "profiled", I mean trim that has details in the face unlike a flat board. With "profiled" trim, your carpenter should not be doing any sanding on the face of the trim after the installation. Minor deviations in the alignment of the "profile details" on casing is visably preferable to having mis-shaped, waving profiles at the corners due to sanding.

Flat boards, though, which may also have minor alignment deviations during installation , look much better if the miters are sanded after installation.

Therefore, you would not want to put a finish coat on the face of flat casing prior to installation, only to sand it off at the corners after the installation. Two coating the edges and back priming first is still a good idea, however.

Cheers,
Jim

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Last edited by clampman; 07-18-2009 at 12:14 PM.
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post #19 of 19 Old 07-19-2009, 02:37 PM Thread Starter
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clampman: Ohhhhhhhh. Got it. Thanks! This stuff isn't profiled. It's just flat (and ugly - unless you like knotty pine...which I don't...I mean...it would be cool for a cabin but this isn't a cabin). I see what you are saying now. Thanks.
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