Painting My Porch

This is a project that I’ve been wanting to tackle since my house was painted last summer.  The brown porch floor was not doing my brand-new navy house any favors.  I think it had something to do with the warm brown and the cool navy.  Plus, the old paint job was starting to chip in places, mostly due to water getting under the paint.

I did my research online and decided to go with Sherwin Williams paint– if I’m going to paint the porch, I don’t want to have to repaint it next year.  This needs to last a few years.  And I just happened to get crazy l lucky because the paint I purchased was hugely discounted because SW only keeps paint for three years, so my usually $45 paint was $5.  Yeah, it was amazing.  It’s a Porch & Floor Enamel made for wood or concrete.

This is a fairly easy task, unless you’re current paint job is in terrible shape.

1. First off, clean the porch.  I swept it several times, then I washed it down (rag wasn’t dripping wet) with water and let it dry.

2. Then use a paint scraper and get all the loose chips up.  Everything you can scrape up must go.

3. Then I hand sanded (80 grit) to smooth out the ridges where the paint chipped up.

4.  It was recommended by SW that I use an oil-based primer over the bare wood parts.  Oil holds better.  But I only had water-based primers, so I just went with Zissner (because I love it and only needed it in a couple places).

5. I let the primer dry completely, then I applied wood filler to even out the ridges.

6. Let that dry for an hour or so and used a very fine sanding block to get the excess wood filler off.

7. Then I edged around the porch with the paint and went back and rolled the paint.  Roll each side of the porch and then roll the middle section (by the door/stairs) and essentially work yourself right off the porch.

As it started to dry I worried that I would need to apply a second coat, but after letting it fully dry it definitely only needed one coat.  It dried to the touch in an hour and after four hours I lightly walked over the surface and it seemed okay.  The paint recommends that you wait 24 hours to walk on it, but mine seemed to be fine with light foot traffic after about eight hours.

SO much better than the brown.

I didn’t know how I felt about painting the concrete porch steps along with the porch, but I think it will make a huge difference.  That’ll be a project for another weekend though because it rained here last week and there is too much moisture in the concrete for it to be painted right now.  But you can imagine it, right?


Shelving in my built-in closet

Of all my projects, this might be one of the more mundane, but it was a game changer for me.  Let me set up the scene.

When I moved into my house, the built-in closet doors did not shut and even if the doors weren’t too big for the openings, both of the cabinet latches on them were broken.  So, to keep the doors closed, I would push them in until they wedged themselves shut.  Not to mention that this weirdly-sized closet didn’t really provide good storage.  Two rods ran the width (not the length, like a normal closet) and that was all.  It wasn’t ideal, and I lived with it like that for over a year and a half before one day I woke up and decided to do something about it.

If you look at this picture, you can hopefully see the painted-over cabinet latches (who does that?!) and the doors that don’t quite close.

So one weekend I added shelving.  I used the existing duct work as the distance for my first shelf and then put another shelf to make them fairly equal distance.  I cut the wood, primed it, and installed the shelving.

Then I painted, caulked, and then painted again.  Then I decided to use some MDF trim pieces to edge out the shelves (this makes the shelves look like they’re 2″ thick and minimizes the parts of the brackets you can see).

Then the next weekend I planed down the closet doors (on the hinges), then removed the doors, sanded down the rough spots, spackled holes, sanded the spackle, cleaned the hardware, primed bare spots, reinstalled the doors on their hinges, painted everything (including the backside of the doors), and then installed new cabinet latch hardware on the front.

For the first time since I moved in, this closet is actually functional (in both storage and operation).

It was much longer than I’m used to for my projects– usually a weekend is all it takes, but the difference blows me away.  It still looks pretty similar to what it did before (especially from the outside), but now I’ve gained a ton of useable space.  Now it’s hard to remember back to the wedged doors and wasted space.

Here’s a before and after:

Neon Spray-Painted Pots

I’ve been seeing a lot of neon lately on everything, including planter pots.  So I bought some cheap planters from IKEA (to the tune of $.54) and some neon spray paint from Home Depot.  I just love the pop of color!

What you’ll need:

  • Planter pots (mine are ceramic, but you could use terra cotta or something similar)
  • Spray primer (optional)
  • Spray paint
  • Painters tape
  • A plastic grocery bag

What to do:

1. Use the painters tape to tape a line around your pot where you don’t want the color.  Make sure that the tape is tight against the pot.

2. Put a plastic grocery bag around the base (or top) of the pot that you want to protect.  Use more painters tape to attach the bag to the already-existing painters tape line on your pot.

3. Use a primer first, then several light coats of spray paint.  Dripping spray paint is bad news.  Avoid that by using light coats, holding the can 12″ away from the pots, and using a back and forth motion.

4. Let the paint completely dry, then carefully peel off the plastic bag and then the line of tape on your pot.

Striped paint on textured walls

I’ve been itching to paint some stripes in a room in my house for ages now.  I can’t believe it has taken me this long.

So last weekend I decided to finally get on it and make it happen.

I chose my downstairs bathroom– the bathroom that my guests always see.  It’s a pretty small room (and hard to photograph.  Sorry!), so I thought some horizontal stripes might also help to make the room feel a little wider.

What you’ll need:

  • Paint (choose colors that are in the same “color family” (white & tan) or completely different (white and navy) for different effects)
  • Painters tape– A LOT.  I used regular blue painters tape (without issues), mostly because I have issues with Frog Tape– it never sticks for me!
  • A long level
  • Pencil
  • Artists Brush
  • Regular 2″ brush & roller

What to do:

1. Paint your base coat over all the walls.  Let this paint dry completely (24-48 hours).

2. Measure the room from the top of the baseboard to the ceiling.  Mine was 90″

3. I’ve read that 12″ (or thereabouts) stripes are the most aesthetically pleasing to the eye.  So, divide the length of your room (90) by 12″ to see what you get.  (90/12 = 7.5)  Round up or down to the nearest number.  I knew I wanted an odd amount of stripes because I wanted the white on the top and the bottom, so I went with 7 stripes.  Now, take the length of your room (90) and divide it by the number of stripes you want (7), (90/7 = 12.8).  Each of your stripes is going to be about 12.8″ thick.

4. Start at one edge of the room.  Measure your distance (12.8) from the baseboard, make a pencil mark.  Keep making marks all the way up the wall.

5. Then, take your long level and hold it against the wall by your mark.  Use the level around the room to draw lines about every 4-6″

6. Get out the tape and tape your lines.  Be careful when taping.  Your stripes will look a little disproportionate when the tape is up– that is because the tape is sitting in the base-coat-colored spots and not in the new stripe colors.  So the areas to be striped will look larger.

7. Use an unimportant gift card (it gets a little scratched) to rub the tape lines to make sure they’re down firmly.

8. Use a dabbing motion to paint the base coat against the edges to be painted with the stripe color.  This will form an edge to prevent some paint from seeping under the tape.  Let the paint dry completely.

9. Use a low-nap roller to roll the middle section of the stripes– don’t roll right up to the edges.

10.  Roll the edges with only a tiny bit of paint (about the time when you’re ready to roll more paint on your roller) by starting on the tape and dragging downward or upward into the stripe.  Don’t push the roller up into the tape or you’ll force paint under the tape.  Use the paint brush only for places the roller can’t reach.

11.  Pull the tape down immediately after the second stripe coat.

12. There will be a few places where the paint still seeped under the tape.  Use the artists brush to fix those.

It’s such a classy look.  And it really does make the room feel larger.

Have you been working on any bathroom improvements lately?

Painting Kitchen Cabinets

I’m echoing YHL’s droopy but spirited happy dance following cabinet-painting completion.  This project now tops my “most time-consuming” project ever.  Blowing my reupholstered wingback chair project right out of the water.  But it was COMPLETELY worth all the time and energy it took.  My kitchen looks totally different now– in an amazingly awesome kind of way.

Oh, and I fully understand why it seems to cost an arm and a leg to pay someone else to paint cabinets for you– it’s not for the feint of heart, or for someone who struggles to finish projects.

Here’s what I needed:

  • Sandwich baggies – FREE
  • Phillips Screwdriver – FREE
  • Electric Drill – FREE
  • TSP – FREE (a good thing to own)
  • Palm Sander – FREE, purchased for my farmhouse table build, but only about $30 to buy
  • 120 or 150 grit Sandpaper – $3.97
  • Primer* – $48 (Benjamin Moore Advance Primer)
  • Paint – $48 (Benjamin Moore Advance paint, Satin sheen, color: Distant Gray)
  • Quality paint brush – FREE (I used a 1″ Purdy brush.  I like 1″ better than 2″ personally, but a 2″ brush is usually recommended)
  • Paint tray – FREE
  • Small roller – FREE, purchased for my newly-painted front door
  • Roller pads** – $7  (Microfiber)
  • Bumper guards for cabinet doors – $4
  • Install guide for hardware – $7
  • Hardware – $110.46 (purchased on eBay $95.40 & the two long ones at Lowes $15.06)

TOTAL $228.43

* I was incredibly disappointed with the primer I purchased.  I couldn’t find the Zinsser Smart Prime in any stores near me, so I opted to go with the more-expensive primer that shared the same name as my paint.  Learn from me– use a Zinsser primer.  I had stain bleed-through and ended up (after my second coat of top coat), using a Zinsser primer that I had in my shed to spot treat certain spots and then putting a third coat of top coat on top of that.  Save time– use the right primer.

** These roller pads were recommended to me by my Benjamin Moore paint guy.  I hated them.  Perhaps it was just because my cabinets were so smooth, but the roller didn’t, well, “roll” much.  So I ended up globbing a bunch of paint on the roller and pushing it around with the roller.  Thankfully the BM Advance paint is “open” for a long time and does a really good job at self-leveling.

Here is what I started with.

Day 1: Took all the cabinet doors off and pulled all the drawers out.  As you’re taking the hardware off, put it in an individual baggie for each door.  Number the baggie and put the appropriate number on painters tape on your cabinet door.  You’ll thank me later– unless you only have a few doors that are not easy to confuse.  I also sanded, de-greased (TSP), and laid all my cabinets out for painting.  Don’t try to do this all in one day, unless you have help.

Sand the doors evenly, enough to take the waxy/shiny finish off, but not too much.  You just need someone for the paint to adhere to.  I used a palm sander, but with almost 40 doors/drawers to work on, it took me HOURS to sand them all.  Be thorough– you don’t want your paint to peel later.  I was also too lazy to remove all the things out of cabinets, so I just placed butcher paper over the openings before I sanded.  Ridiculous, but effective.

Day 2: Paint primer on backside of doors & cabinet frames in kitchen.  Start with your brush, paint around edges the roller can’t get into, then use the roller over everything you can.  The paint is good, but the fewest brush strokes is best.

Day 3: Turn cabinet doors over and paint front side of doors & drawers.

Day 4: Turn over and paint first coat of topcoat on backside of doors & cabinet frames in kitchen.

Day 5: Second coat of topcoat on backside of doors and cabinet frames in kitchen.

Day 6: Let dry

Day 7-8: No time to paint 😦 busy evenings

Day 9: Turn cabinet doors over, paint first coat of topcoat on cabinet doors & drawers

Day 10: Second coat of topcoat on the front side of the cabinet doors and drawers.

Day 11-13: Let dry

Day 14: Install doors & drawers, drill for hardware holes, and repair any nicks with paint

Day 17: Install hardware.

My kitchen looks about a million times better now, and since I was silly enough to undertake this project in the middle of the winter, I now have half of my home back (for two weeks it was littered with butcher paper and half-painted cabinet doors).  The transformation makes all the HOURS of prep and painting worth it.

In that token… here is a breakdown of my time…

  • Taking doors off: 1.5 hours
  • Sanding doors: 3 hours
  • De-greasing: 1  hour
  • Laying out doors/drawers: 1 hour
  • Painting cabinets (primer/paint/kitchen wall color/touch ups): 30 hours
  • Installing doors/drawers: 2 hours
  • Drilling hardware holes: 1.5 hours
  • Installing hardware: 2 hours

Total: 42 hours.  Yep, in two weeks, I basically worked a 22 hr/wk job on top of my day job.

Worth it?  You bet.

Here’s another before and after.

Have you been up to any cabinet painting lately?

Painting the front door

I was looking through my pictures and realized that I never shared my newly-painted front door!

Such an easy process that makes a huge difference.  I still get compliments on my front door.

Tape off any windows or hardware you don’t want paint on.

As I was trying to figure out what color the edges were supposed to be painted, I learned that  when the door is partially opened, the side that points outside should be the outside color, and the edge that can be seen from inside, should be the inside color of the door.

The color I used was Full Sun by Valspar’s Eddie Bauer Home collection from Lowes.  I saw the color used by Younghouselove and couldn’t resist.  I love yellow!

I also went with their paint brand recommendation (or perhaps the recommendation made by the Paint Pro at Lowes when they asked) of Valspar Duramax Exterior in a semi gloss finish.

Wipe down the door with TSP to get rid of any grease or oil on the surface.

Then use a foam roller and lightly coat the door.  Thin and even coats will lessen the possibilities for ugly drips.

This is after my first coat–which is pretty good considering the red color that I started with.  In total, I think I put four coats of paint on, waiting about an hour in between coats.

And here is how my front door looks now.

It definitely pops against the navy house color that I had done this last summer.