Mount Vernon’s Sanded Paint

Mount Vernon’s Sanded Paint. Over a period of decades, George Washington expanded the six-room, story-and-a-half house he inherited at Mount Vernon into a twenty-one-room, two-and-a-half-story mansion. Part of the work to turn the modest house into a grand one involved using wood siding cut to resemble stone blocks, finished with sanded paint to increase the illusion that the mansion was built of stone.

This historic finish has recently been restored to the house, replacing the bright white paint it was coated in for many decades. The Mount Vernon’s Ladies Association, which has owned the mansion since 1858, has continually researched how it appeared during Washington’s lifetime and worked to return it to how it looked a the end of his life in 1799. https://www.mountvernon.org/

As seen in the inset close-up photo, the sand is blown into the wet paint, providing texture and much of the finish’s color. This type of finish continued to be used to mimic the appearance of stone well into the 19th century. It was often used on architectural cast iron in the post-Civil War period. In recent decades, it has been used in brownstone restoration work where the original material is no longer available, and deteriorated elements are replicated in wood and given a sanded finish to match the original stone.

A wide range of historic painted finishes are discussed in “Restoring Your Historic House, The Comprehensive Guide for Homeowners.”

Signed and personalized copies of the award-winning and bestselling 720-page hardcover book are available from the author in our online shop, YourHistoricHouse.com/shop/.

Our shop also carries select preservation and restoration titles by other authors. © Scott T. Hanson 2023.

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