Hailed by Visit Northumberland as “the finest house in the North East of England”, Seaton Delaval Hall is a sprawling Baroque mansion, set in its own 400-acre estate – So there was only one product that could make the ‘grade’ when it came to sensitively stripping away decades of paint as part of a £7.5m restoration of the historic country house.
Langlow STRIP AWAY LV, manufactured by Palace Chemicals, was used to uncover the walls of the west wing at Seaton Delaval Hall, in Northumberland.
Designed by Sir John Vanbrugh (the architect behind Blenheim Palace), in 1718 for Admiral George Delaval, it is now owned by the National Trust.
The past 21 months have seen an extensive conservation project at the Grade I-listed hall near Whitley Bay. Gateshead-based ‘A Smith Decorators Ltd’ found themselves at the centre of the hard work, tasked with renovating the old kitchen, corridors, gallery, staircase and external walls.
A Smith Decorators, a 10-strong family firm, which was founded 27 years ago, was taken on as subcontractor by North Shields-based Historic Property Restoration.
The work included exposing the substrates and repainting the west wing, both inside and out; a project that has just come to an end.
The company used STRIP AWAY LV as it is on the National Trust’s list of stipulated products to be used in helping to protect and restore its historic and often fragile sites.
Tony Smith, owner/director of A Smith Decorators, who has also worked on the 16th century National Trust-owned Lindisfarne Castle, said up to four of his staff at a time stripped ‘years and years’ of paint off internal substrates and external walls, using STRIP AWAY LV, allowing it to soak for 24 hours before peeling it off.
STRIP AWAY LV was taken off with special care using plastic spatulas rather than metal ones, before the walls were prepped, primed and repainted, using up to three coats of casement distemper paint in ochre, ochrish and strong oak.
Tony, said: “With the hall belonging to the National Trust and being so dated, we had to use products as according to specifications from the trust. It was quite an honour for our company to work on something of this scale – it’s a massive building.”
Describing the need to be meticulous with the painstaking work, Tony explained the reason why Strip Away LV was chosen for the job. He said: “It’s good for the environment and a lot safer for the substrates than a lot of other stripping products out there. You haven’t got to put anything else on, which could contaminate the walls, and you haven’t got to dilute it down to wash it off. Strip Away LV is not as aggressive or invasive as other strippers, and The National Trust loved the stuff, and how we prepped the project. They were very happy with it”.
James Broadhead, National Business Development Manager for Palace Chemicals, helped Tony to source the Strip Away LV. He said: “ Strip Away LV is on the National Trust’s list of specified products for use on their properties. There are lots of constraints and regulations of the work that can be done, due to the historical aspects of these buildings. It’s also a bit of a niche product as there are not many environmentally-friendly strippers of its kind on the market”.
Strip Away LV is a non-corrosive environmentally safer paint remover which does not contain methylene chloride or caustic and will not damage the integrity and appearance of the surface beneath the existing layers of old paint.
It is a water-based emulsion of low VOC (volatile organic compound) solvents which will degrade & remove oil-based alkyd and latex based paints, polyurethanes, varnish, shellac and most types of commercially available coatings. It has a very low rate of vapour evaporation which makes it much safer to use in indoor spaces, though it can require a little more time to work than the more aggressive and volatile chemical removers.
The product is a viscous, gel-like non-slump paste, ideal for use on most elevations and carved features in areas where limited ventilation may be restrictive for the use of other paint remover types. It safely removes marine paint from fibreglass that can be brush or trowel-applied. It is also low-odour and non-caustic, which will not discolour base timber and does not require surface neutralisation.
Steve Ball, Palace’s Commercial Director, said: “It’s such a credit to A Smith Decorators and Palace Chemicals that Langlow Strip Away LV has been chosen for such meticulous work on one of the country’s finest buildings”.
Palace Chemicals, in Liverpool, is the UK’s largest independent manufacturer of tile adhesives, grouts, building chemicals, wood treatments and decorating sundries.