For the Duration: Restoring the Historic 1858 Hixon House

When you’ve been hired to restore a 160-year-old building, you want the best products and surface prep to ensure a long- lasting paint job.

This was the challenge Parcher’s Painting and Home Improvement faced when it won the bid to repaint the historic Hixon House in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Originally built in 1858 by Gideon Hixon, one of the city’s earliest settlers, the Italianate-style house now serves as a museum that offers visitors an authentic glimpse into the Victorian lifestyle. But it had been nearly 15 years since the exterior was last painted, and it was peeling badly.

Step 1: proper prep and priming

Getting the exterior lap siding and trim in the ultimate condition for painting was the first task.

Making sure to follow federal guidelines for lead-safe surface preparation for buildings built before 1978, Parcher’s Painting and Home Improvement removed the peeling paint to ensure the best adhesion for the new coating.

“It was a complete scrape job,” says Matt Boe, Parcher’s foreman on this job. Sherwin-Williams® Exterior Wood Primer was then used to spot prime.

Step 2: choosing the right paint for the job

Parcher’s chose Duration® Exterior Acrylic Latex for the topcoat. Formulated with PermaLast™ Technology and infused with advanced acrylic co-polymers for long-lasting performance, Duration provides more durability and a thicker coat than ordinary latex paint, plus protection from cracking, peeling and blistering.

“Duration gave us the coverage we needed,” Boe says. “It was looking really good even after just one coat.” A second coat was applied to ensure longevity.

Step 3: precision color matching

The house has been painted the same shade of yellow for many years, so color selection had to be precise.

Parcher’s relied on the experts at their local Sherwin-Williams store to provide an accurate match to the historic color.

In the end, the paint has given new life to the local landmark.

“We’ve received a lot of compliments for our work,” Boe says. “Everyone here knows this building and were happy to see it looking its best again.”

“Thanks to Parcher’s and all the people who donated to our ‘Repaint Historic Hixon House’ fundraiser, we were able to preserve this rich legacy of local history for many years into the future,” says Peggy Derrick of La Crosse County Historical Society.

This article was originally published in the Winter 2019 issue of PPC magazine. Story and photography by Mike Starling, PPC Editor. Read about other successful, high-profile projects in the PPC Digital Archive.