Linseed oil before painting ancient siding?
I am about to repaint one exterior wall before the weather gets too cold here in middle Tennessee. Figure I should have another 10 days - 2 weeks at most.
The siding is very old - circa 1850, yellow poplar "weatherboard" style clapboards of uniform thickness. The wood is very weathered, and the last paint job has peeled in spots. I used infra-red heat to soften and remove the non-peeling paint, which works very well. I notice that where I scraped off the old paint, there is a layer of weathered wood that is very soft, and has a fuzzy surface, almost the texture of terry cloth. The old weather-beaten boards are too irregular with dips and valleys for my orbital sander. Hand rubbing or a stiff brush seems to take most of it off, and on some boards, the paint scraper actually planes off the layer of mushy outer skin, revealing sound wood beneath.
I am trying to preserve the original siding as much as possible. Plan to use oil base primer and latex topcoat.
A am wondering if it would help to first brush on a mixture of boiled linseed oil and mineral spirits. Would that help or hinder the oil based primer from adhering to the old siding? I have been told that because the wood is so old and dried out, the oil would help restore the wood, if thinned with mineral spirits so that it penetrates below the surface. But other local "experts" say that if I do that, the oil primer won't adhere. I don't know which is correct, but one suggestion or the other has to be wrong.
I would like some more input and opinions on this before I take any action. Hope to get started on the repainting next week if weather permits.
Also, would like to hear what solutions anyone has found for wood that has rotted out around the nails. The house is constructed with the old-fashioned square cut-steel nails. Unfortunately, the carpenters drove in the nails slanted downwards, so that water would have a tendency to run downwards around the nails, instead of away from the nails and wood. After more than 150 years, many of the nails are so loose I can grab the head with my fingers and pull them out with little effort.
I have repaired a few of these using deck screws that are somewhat longer than the original nails, by screwing them into the original nail holes, and using washers under the heads where the wood has rotted out around the original nail holes in the siding boards. Some are stock #10 brass washers, while others are home-made, cut from scrap vinys sheeting.
Wonder if anyone has successfully found a better method for dealing with this problem. The screw/washer fasteners are unsightly, but at least they firmly hold the boards in place.