After undergoing a major upgrade to the Statehouse’s heating and air conditioning system, the facilities’ managers noticed paint failure occurring on the ornately painted walls of the Statehouse Rotunda. It was determined that it would be necessary to remove all of the existing layers of paint that had been applied since 1858. After a formal vetting process, followed by competitive bidding, The Dependable Painting Company was selected to perform this task.

One of the major challenges faced by The Dependable Painting Company was how to effectively remove and dispose of all of the old layers of paint in accordance with EPA Standards. We worked closely with a scaffolding vendor to erect steel scaffolding in the 130-foot high Rotunda. Working from the top down, a solid “stage floor” was built so that we could complete all of our work before moving the stage floor down two floors (20 feet) at a time. Due to the complexity of the scaffolding, each section was inspected and approved by the State officials before we moved the staging down to the next level.

Over 1,000 gallons of a chemical stripper was spray-applied to the ornate plaster walls. The stripper and old lead-based paint was collected in drums and picked up at the end of the project by a hazardous waste disposal company. Minor plaster repairs were completed by our crews. A special bonding primer was used to assure the new acrylic paints would adhere to the 150-year old plaster. In a limited area, we noticed that some of the ornate plaster had become too soft. A special conservator’s thermoplastic resin was used to consolidate the bad sections.

The owner and architect chose to maintain the existing 12-color-paint-palette. Two finish coats of paints were applied using airless spray equipment for most of the area. Detailed accent colors were then hand brush painted. All of the work was completed during a three-month summer shut down.