Reversing the Aging Process in Historic Queen Anne’s County

One of the most historic buildings in Queen Anne’s County, Maryland is set for another century of service, thanks to the craftsmanship of a local painting contractor using the proper prep, the right primer and best-in-class exterior paint.

A town rich in historic buildings

Described as “Small Town America on the Eastern Shore,” the Town of Church Hill in Queen Anne’s County has a rich historical past.

According to county records, the community began forming in the late 1600s but was not incorporated until 1876. Today it’s a bedroom community of about 745 people. Despite its small population, it’s home to a large number of well-preserved structures dating back to the 1700s. The Town Hall was built in the early 1800s, and served as a store, a butcher’s shop, and a private residence before becoming a government building.

Based on its reputation for high-quality workmanship and satisfied clients ranging from Long Island to their home base in Church Hill, Zierfuss Painting & Restoration won the bid for restoring and repainting the structure.

Getting the substrate ready

“My father Gunter started the business and instilled the value of superior preparation,” says Karl Zierfuss, owner of Zierfuss Painting & Restoration. The company also differentiates itself by offering up to a seven-year warranty on its work.

On the town hall project, a good portion of the wood on the structure needed to be replaced.

“It’s important for us to have a carpenter on staff because it can be difficult to get qualified carpenters to come up for smaller wood replacement projects such as these,” Zierfuss says.

After applying a primer coat, Zierfuss crews then lightly sanded the wood by hand with 120 grit paper. They caulked the trim, replaced glass in the windows, reglazed the windows and filled any holes and imperfections in both siding and trim.

Picking products to fit the project

Sherwin-Williams Exterior Oil Primer was selected for the undercoat.

“They used this primer because it is a slow-dry primer, which allows for better penetration into the wood,” says sales representative Armand Trepepi. “Unlike some fast-drying oil primers, Exterior Oil Primer did not leave patches of bare wood during the light sanding process after application.”

This product does a better job blocking stains than a typical fast-drying oil primer, Zierfuss says.

For the topcoat, Zierfuss Painting used Emerald Exterior Paint, the latest breakthrough in paint technology from Sherwin-Williams. Featuring exclusive cross-linking 100 percent acrylic technology for exceptional durability and hide, Emerald offers painters rugged resistance to blistering, peeling, chalking, fading and dirt pickup.

“I noticed the crew moved faster as a direct result of the improved coverage and ease of application while using Emerald,” Zierfuss says. “That provided a big savings on our labor costs.”

Keeping a keen eye on color

Because of the building’s historic nature, paint color was an important consideration in the project. The color choice was based on those used when the structure was last painted in 1980.

It wasn’t an easy task. The only reference that project supervisor Danny Flores had was a single photo from when the repaint was done in 1980. Nick Mann, the Chestertown Sherwin-Williams store manager, worked closely with Flores to identify the palette color closest to the ones shown in the pictures, then adjusting as needed to produce the perfect color match.

“The customers are extremely happy with the color matching,” says Trepepi.


This article was written by PPC Editor Mike Starling and was originally published in the Summer 2015 issue of PPC magazine. Before and after photos supplied by Zierfuss Painting. You can see more of the company’s work at zprinc.com.