The oww & aww of Fresh Paint

12 04 2010

Who doesn’t love fresh paint?!  I get such a thrill from the aroma of a newly painted anything-enough so to make me giddy–although it might just be the fumes.  In all seriousness, nothing says brand spankin’ new more than a fresh coat of paint.  In my opinion you can salvage anything with just a bit of primer, a little filler, some paint.

Good as new was what we were hoping when it came to our house.  When we bought the little fixer upper, it was in horrible condition.  Years of neglect and abuse showed through the ceilings, floors and everything in between.  Step one after tearing everything out was to put a fresh coat of paint on anything that would stand still.  So we called in reinforcements–Doug, a friend and John’s mom, Georgia, came to help for day one of painting, and since John’s parents own quite a few rental properties they know their way around a can of paint!  Poor Georgia, she flew in for a week from Omaha to help us out with the renovation and ended up extending her trip by a few days so she could help us move after she spent the entire trip painting!  A gigantic THANK YOU for her help!!

Now before we could get started we chose to wash down the walls with a bleech and water mix (we used the suggested value on the back of the bleach for ratio of water to bleach) since the previous owners had been smokers.  After we washed the walls we needed to patch all the tiny holes that were left from a ton of picture frames that had previously graced the walls.  So once the patching was complete we were ready to start.  We thought that since we didn’t have anything left to ruin we would initially try to spray the paint on with a paint gun.  However, we didn’t have much luck.  We probably should have rented a professional version of a spray gun but decided to purchase a inexpensive alternative.  This was money not well spent as we couldn’t get it to spray evenly and after about an hour of messing around with it we decided to go back to the traditional route of rollers and brushes.  Here is a look at our  paint gun try:

Since we were on a pretty tight timeline we had to move forward.  I am sure that we eventually would have gotten the hang of it but with John’s dad flighting in the next day to help lay the wood flooring, we had to have the lower level completely painted on day 1 so it just wasn’t the right time to work with new tools. Once we moved to the upper floor (a LOT more walls to cover) it was just Georgia and I left working on the painting.

So most of you have painted a couple of walls in your day and know the ins and outs.  But I thought I would try and recall some of our more successful tools and a few suggestions that we wish we had never tried.  We first started by taping everything but quickly realized that a steady hand and a shield tended to work better than waiting for the ceiling to dry before we could paint the walls.  In the picture below you can see me cutting in with my shield while John painted the dark wall beyond with a roller.

Another suggestion that I would have done differently would be that we have 2 different colors of trim in our place.  One color is used upstairs and one downstairs.  Since we had ordered the wood flooring for our lower level I went ahead and picked paint for the lower level.  Once we had selected our carpet for the upstairs the same paint scheme didn’t work as well so I picked another scheme.  I couldn’t find a trim that would look good with both color schemes so decided to pick upstairs trim and a downstairs trim as two separate colors.  This has made things confusing later in the process.  The paint cans have to be labeled accurately and even so the wrong color has been used a time or two and has had to be redone.  We also have run into how to finish the banister since it would be running between two paint colors.  I would have worked harder in the front end to have one trim color run throughout the project had I known it would have made things so complicated.

Also make sure that when picking a paint roller you always pick the right nap.  This can save you hours of work on a project.  Here is a guide to better help you with this selection:

  • 1/8 — 1/4 inch, are for ultra smooth surfaces. Use with enamels, varnish, oil and water base paints.
  • 3/8 — 1/2 inch, are for semi- smooth and medium textured surfaces. These can be used with all paints.
  • 3/4 inch is a multi purpose roller nap length that is useful for semi-rough surfaces. This size of roller nap is a good choice for most interior and exterior surfaces; such as siding, walls and smooth concrete block.
  • 1 — 1-1/2 inch thick piles are for the roughest of surfaces, such as rough stucco and split face concrete block.

On a side note, all the ceilings were finished with a flat paint and all the walls were finished off with a satin finish.  Flat tends to be less expensive and since it’s cleanability on the ceiling is not as important you can save quite a bit of money going this route.  However, for the walls either an eggshell or a satin finish is the way to go since it has to stand up to a lot more wear and tear over the years.  Finally, all of our trim is finished in high gloss since it is on wood and would create a nice contrast between the walls and again has a cleanability factor that you can’t mess with.

So hopefully these suggestions help you with your next painting project.  Do you have any suggestions to add that really helped you during your last painting project?  We’d love to hear them!!

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