Refinishing a Frank Lloyd Wright house

Posted on Posted in Boulter House News

It’s a big deal when you decide to remove the paint and refinish a Frank Lloyd Wright home with Sikkens transparent polyurethane.

Last year we decided to refinish the parts of the Boulter House that needed refinishing with Sikkens polyurethane. The home was originally painted with a Monsanto red crecote coating. After the home was purchased by David and Miriam Gosling, they painted the home with a solid brown stain. We don’t plan to remove all of the solid stain but refinish the parts that are needed with Sikkens.

The scary part is getting up on top of the eleven foot tall scaffolding. One hand for the man one hand for the boat is the phrase of the day.

We’re using Solvent 17 to remove the paint and scraping the finish off. Next step will be treating the wood with Clorox and TSP. Drying for three days and sanding. Then Cetol 1 and two coats of Cetol 2/3. We should get done in a few weeks. Please get in touch with any questions or tips, chuck@lohre.com, 513-260-9025.


Here are the tools we’re using to refinish the Frank Lloyd Wright Boulter House: First we use the Solvent 17 which needs to be applied in several coats to keep it wet for 15 or twenty minutes. Then a spackle knife takes the the paint off easily. Then scrapping with a paint scraper and finally a razor blade.


A panoramic view from a top the scaffolding at eye level to the roof. Refinishing a Frank Lloyd Wright designed home isn’t as easy as going to the hardware store and picking out a color. We spent months testing many different varnishes, polyurethanes and tints of Sikkens. Finally we chose Cedar tint Cetol 1 and 2/3. This was all with the approval of the Cincinnati Preservation Association which has an easement on the exterior of the home. We can’t do anything without their approval. Janet and I were awarded their Preservation Award in 2005 and love taking care of the Boulter House for future generations.


The terrace in front of the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Boulter House is perfect for moving scaffolding along the south side of the home for refinishing the upper roof plank. There are only three boards that make up the 50 foot span.