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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Painting the Trim

So other things are going on at the new house besides just picking paint colors for the wall.

Although they mostly involve paint, too.

My life is paint. Paint is life.

Is there some deep meaning there? Something about covering up the mistakes of your past with primer and three coats of paint? Wait, that doesn’t sound like a very good mantra. I think I’ll refrain from taking life lessons from a) DIY projects and b) a blog.

I briefly talked about the plans for the new house in this post, and most of it involved new paint. We decided to start by painting the trim and walls in the family room and entryway, the trim in the kitchen, the trim and walls in the upstairs hallway, and the walls in the girls' rooms. 

First steps done: Pulled out the built-in and removed the valances 
and got primer on the windows and fireplace built-ins!

We closed on March 30, and thought we’d paint for about two weeks and then move in on Saturday the 11th after getting all the painting done.

Well. That was a little ambitious. It’s now two weeks since we closed and we aren’t even done with the trim yet. It’s turned out to be a little more time-consuming than we thought (sand! clean! prime! fill in nail holes! caulk seams! paint! paint again! paint freaking againnnnnnnn!) and there’s so much of it. We haven't even gotten a drop of paint on the walls.


I actually had a painter come out and give us a bid to do all the trim and they quoted us $2500. So that wasn’t happening. So we've been working on it after work and on the weekends, and I get what I can done during the day when the girls are there, but it's not easy painting with a one- and three-year-old underfoot. 

If you are buying a house with oak trim that you want to paint, my first advice would be: Don't. Just find one with white trim already. But you REALLY LOVE it? Ugh. Then fine. Basically my advice then would be to convince yourself that oak is coming back and just live with it and tell yourself every day that you're just ahead of the trends. No? Not even with a little wine? Ok. Fine. If you still decide you want to paint it, go ahead and sell a liver or a kid or some dirty underwear and just pay someone to do it. Can't afford that and need do it yourself? I'm sorry. Just dump a gallon of paint on your head and then lay down in the middle of the floor moaning softly to yourself. That’s what I feel like at the end of the day, so might as well just skip ahead to that point immediately.

My cousin Danny - my angel savior saint of a cousin Danny - has been helping us out every spare moment he has (and his angel fiancĂ© has allowed him to do so, despite the fact that they have three kids including a six-month-old plus custody of his teenage nephew). He’s a painter by trade, so he gets there and gets about 20 times the amount of work done in one hour than I do all day, so I say again: thank god for Danny.

I also have discovered the magic of caulking seams and filling in nail holes. I'm firmly convinced that those two things are what make a house go from looking builder-grade to high-end. 

See the seams and gaps in this window frame? And then see how much cleaner and crisper it looks after filling them in with caulk? (Still have one or two more coats of paint to put on here.)

 Danny has been caulking all the seams around everything - the doors, the windows, the built-ins - and it makes such a huge difference. It's not something you'd be able to pinpoint if you just walked into the house, but having seen the before and afters, it's like - YES! This looks AMAZING!

Here's what we've been using to do the trim, by the way (we've been using a lot of Sherwin-Williams products because my cousin gets a discount there): 

Zinsser Spray Primer (this was used on the metal tracks of the built-in and the metal grate covers)
Sherwin-Williams Pro Classic Trim Paint in just plain, non-tinted white 

To paint the trim, we followed these steps:

1. Lightly sand the existing trim (very lightly - not trying to get all the shine off or anything, just roughing it up a bit) with 220 grit sandpaper.

2. Clean it all off with a de-greaser. Make sure you get every bit of sanding dust off! Use a tack cloth if necessary.

3. Tape off any surfaces surrounding the trim that paint shouldn't get on. Some of the walls are being painted, so we didn't worry at all about keeping paint off the walls there.

4. Give a very light coat of primer (almost like dry-brushing). After it's dry, try scratching with your fingernail. If it peels or scrapes off, the primer isn't appropriate for the job or you may need to sand more, or you may need to use lighter layers of paint.

You can see how light the primer coat is here.

5. Caulk any seams and fill in any nail holes. (This is what we used for nail holes; and this is what we used for caulking.)

6. Cover with a light coat of trim paint. The paint we used is self-leveling, so multiple light coats are much preferred to one heavy coat. Any brush strokes or roller marks will level themselves out to a smooth finish if you use a light enough coat of paint.

7. Repeat step five until you're satisfied with the finish. For our trim, the wood soaked up a lot of paint, so we had to do three coats of paint. When I do the dining room and sitting room, I might try two coats of primer and see if that makes a difference.

8. Drink.

9. Get a massage.

10. Enjoy living in a home that looks like it was built this decade.

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