Tag Archives: painting

Renovations Continue

When we got our little house on the prairie we knew there would be a lot of work to make this house our home. The work is ongoing. I have discovered I have some unrealistic expectations about how much effort goes into interior painting. In addition to the paint job, I had a bunch of other work planned. Specifically each room in our house had only one plug and the kitchen was missing some essentials. One plug per room may have been enough back in 1960 when this house was built but it is totally inadequate today. Also every light fixture in our house was simply a plain white wall mount with a bare naked bulb. I’m not big on spending money on home decor but that bare bulb is not acceptable. I needed to put in a new double sink and a stove hood to make life better. Fumes from cooking were bothering my asthmatic lungs. I wanted some new handles on the cupboards. This was a want not a need. Call me OCD if you like but I want all the handles on my kitchen cupboards to match.

The stove hood is in and functional, complete with exterior exit for smoke. It is really nice to have. Yesterday I was making apple pie and juice spilled and started burning and the fan sucked it all outside instead of making me wheeze.

And then there was our new puppy and her need for a front fenced area. This took quite a bit of energy and money. She has also eaten up a lot of potential work hours with her need for attention. Who can do fix-it stuff when a darling puppy wants to play?

Another major cuss addition was this new double sink with a faucet with sprayer. We also installed a separate tap with drinking water that does not go through the water softener. This ate up a good two weeks of fix-it time. I also put in some water proof backsplash where there had been peeling paint I had temporarily covered with white shelf liner. Life is so much nicer with a proper kitchen sink you can get wet.

Another lifestyle irritant is there was no plug in the bathroom and I had to use an extension cord to blow my hair dry. That is problem fixed. The one light was the bare bulb look was too far from the bathroom mirror to be of any use. I now have a nice new fixture above the mirror with its own light switch and a proper GFC plug. The old bare bulb light has a new fixture. It still needs paint but we now have light.

When you start painting you also start noticing stuff that needs upgrading. I painted around every doorknob and I was face to face with old ugly. After considered options we upgraded to new doorknobs with the neat new push/push open and close. This was between want and need. We could have made do, but the doorknobs were not fully functional. Plus push pull doorknobs will be nice as we age. They are already really nice! And, of course the old curtains did not match the new paint and so new curtains and rods were in order. I would have classified that as want not need except that the new curtains are all themoregulating material to cut down on drafts, and heat moving in during summer or out during winter. Because it is my own place and I don’t care what anyone thinks of my taste I also got lace and bows and cute little white birds on the curtain rods.

In the midst of my repainting the interior, the last of the two new windows arrived. That actually worked out well because the men installed the windows and I finished and painted around them and saved some labor. Replacing those 1960 era single pane farm windows with properly sealed double pane windows has made a dramatic difference in drafts already. We can now open the windows and have drafts when we want them and close windows and get rid of drafts when we don’t want them. The cost of the windows will eventually be recouped in heating costs, if we live that long.

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I have concluded that interior painting takes about ten times longer than exterior painting and it generates many more jobs and a lot of extra expense. We are determined to not go into debt fixing up this old house. This summer we kind of blew our budget and so we were frugal through September and we need to live frugally through October to help balance our budget again. The other thing about painting the interior is that you can’t just walk away and leave it until tomorrow. Everything in your living space is in an uproar. When you pause to cook dinner you have to go find where you stowed every single item while the cupboards were drying. I spent more time doing that than actually painting. As my husband says, quoting his old mentor the meteorite scientist Ed Anders, about “when you are estimating how long it will take to do something, multiple by ten and then change units.” That goes for the money end too.

Credit where credit is due. I am the main fixer upper in our family but hubby dearest cheerfully took on any chore I asked him to. That included anything that required being taller, or stronger or jobs that need three or four hands. I also assigned him the traditional male stuff still required by our sexist society, like dealing with tradesmen and sales people in hardware stores. He was very handy for keeping clerks out of my way while I quickly filled my basket with what I needed. (hardware store clerks always go for the men first.) He was also the master of finding help if they happened to not be around when I did need them. Best of all, since he’s partially colour blind, he has been delighted with all my colour choices.

I can’t say I was raised to be a fixit type. I am self taught. When I take on a project I first decide what I want. Then I research all kinds of ways to do it. I use youtube a lot. I just love it when people put up a how-to video. There are some really great videos out there that explain all kinds of stuff like how to add a plug or change a light fixture. Pin interest, Google, blogs and social media are also a great resource. I have also had my work checked by an electrician in the family and plumber who is a friend. The last thing I want to do is cause a fire or a flood. Occasionally, there are a few clerks in the hardware stores who actually know what they are doing and they have been a huge help to me. I have gotten to know some of the good ones at my favourite stores and I always ask them how they would do it first. The good ones have introduced me to better products like shark bite plumbing parts. These work fabulously well and mean excellent seals without soldering. I would not have known about them if the clerk at Ace Hardware hadn’t told me. I often start thinking about what I want to do and spend much more time researching it than the time I actually spent doing it, once I have decided how. I have tried to leave grateful comments and add explanations on blogs whenever I find I have learned something useful the next person doing the job might need.

Once I know how and what I want, I start looking for the stuff I need to do it. I use Amazon a lot but not exclusively. Living in rural area, Amazon saves me trips into the city and have mostly things at comparable or lower prices. Home Hardware has a great website and I can order anything and have it delivered locally to the nearby store. They have beaten Amazon on price and quality many times and get a lot of my business. Ace hardware nearby with the really knowledgable people gets a lot of my business too. I have also used second hand stuff where I could. Second hand stores and garage sales are especially good for picking up tools. Certain things simply can’t be done by us and those are best left to a professional. Installing windows is one of those things. Finally I have been blessed by wonderfully skilled neighbours who are willing to share their knowledge and tools, like the tractor with auger we needed for the puppy’s new fence.

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One final note. I am a procrastinator by nature. I also have this constant voice in my head from my childhood when I got called lazy and useless a lot. The result is I can usually think of something better to do than fixing things. To keep myself motivated and organized, I spent a couple of hours making lists of the many jobs that need to be done. Each one is one simple thing that would take 1-2 hours to do. I also include maintenance stuff because even though you are busy with painting or plumbing jobs, you still need to keep up on those occasional jobs like vacuuming the truck, cleaning the travel trailer fridge, or washing its exterior.  I cut up the list into individuals papers to go into a job jar. Every morning I take one slip out of the job jar to do that day. If I don’t feel like doing what I picked, I put it back and pick another one. If I am feeling ambitious, I will do more than one. The process has been a way to organize myself, and it is very satisfying to take a slip and crumple it up and throw it out when the job is done.

My original plan was to paint the interior of the house this summer and put in new flooring. I was overly ambitious. We got one half of the interior painted and we have done many small things to make our house into our home. The other half of the house’s interior will have to wait until next year. The new flooring will go in after that, hopefully that will be next year as well. Finishing should be much cheaper because I already have most of the materials. I get discouraged when I think about how much we have left to do. I feel better when I think about all we have done. It really helps to looks at a “before” and after pictures.

 

Stuff that works! Zinsser Cover Up for the RV Ceiling Stains

I admit it. I like to complain. So to counteract that I like to talk about stuff I find that works as advertised.

Problem, rusty, yucky stains on the ceiling of the RV. For some stupid reason my camera refused to focus on the ugly spot but the picture is good enough for you to see how yucky it was. For reasons I don’t understand, whoever chose to build my RV used staples in the ceiling tile that rust. The result has been these horrid yellowish rust spots appearing in the nice white ceiling, in neat regular rows, especially in the bathroom. And I mean YUCK!

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After trying every kind of stain remover I could find, I decided to give up on removing the stain and see about covering up. I already really liked the Zinsser 1,2,3 primer. I decided to give this stuff a try.

Zinger’s Cover up is advertised as being for covering stains on ceilings. It has a very handy upward squirting nozzle that sprays a fine bunch of goop at the spot. It comes out looking like a horrid much worse wet greasy stain. It dries to a flat white with no greasy look. Just so happens the flat white works beautifully over the rusty stains in my RV.Zinsser

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This is my after picture (which focused!). You can still see the barest hint of a rust stain but it is almost invisible. And that with only one coat! I will do a second coat.

Warning: Really stinky smelling and makes a fine vapour which you do not want to breathe, especially if you an asthmatic like me. Have all your windows open, drape underneath, and use goggles and a mask or you’ll be sorry. Also the stuff looks hideous until it dries. So wait for a nice day with a breeze, open all the windows, spray, go for a walk, and don’t look again until the next day if you can help yourself. Also read and follow the directions about keeping the nozzle clear.

I like stuff that works!

No one paid me anything for this review.

And voila, clean white ceiling. It’s been up there for nearly four weeks now and holding.

Sunshine in a can.

 Color Scheme

Computers are so useful. Many years ago, I bought a small house out in the country and we picked a pretty colour, a vibrant lovely blue. After it was on the walls I HATED it. I was pregnant when I picked it and I figured I must have had placenta brain or my judgement was affected by hormones. I got home from the hospital to find the welcome home surprise of exterior house painting accomplished and I spent the next three years trying not to look at my house. We moved. The brilliant azure blue so lovely in the tabs from the paint store, so ghastly on my house, became someone else’s problem.

Today computers can generate very cool “try as you go”. You can change the colours on the picture of the idealized house any way you like. The computer also gives you “suggestions” from the palette. I had a lot of fun with it. First thing I discovered is my taste in paint colours back then may not have been affected by hormones after all. I started out plugging in selections of purples, then rusts, then reds. I showed the various selections to the neighbours and one commented I needed to keep trying. The other said she was thinking of getting new opaque blinds anyway. Maybe brown? Couldn’t be worse. Might be better.

I was looking at some browns when I stumbled over “Golden Bounty”. That was how I got to yellow. And then I tried yellow. Normally, I don’t like yellow indoors because it is dingy inside a house. I actually hadn’t even considered yellows for outdoors. But with the handy-dander freshly-painted-house picture maker, I could try all kinds of bright lovely yellow combinations. I finally settled for what seems to me to be lovely. I took my picture to the neighbours and they loved it. Sunshine in a can, one said. That would just be such a nice pick me up in the dead of winter. I could open my blinds and just feel like maybe summer will return after all, said the other. And so it was a go. And here you can see the old colour on the front of house. The old colour is actually not bad but it’s peeling so it must be redone and why not add some sunshine to my life and the lives of my neighbours? So on my deck side you can see my lovely new “Wildflower” yellow.

We will continue to work away around the house until all the bare peeling paint in soft apricot is covered with lovely “Wildflower” yellow. This will take some time because it has to be scrapped clean, washed to remove lichens and mildew, and then primed with the sealer. (Okay I know they say the house paint is self priming, but I still think I need primer.) Later, we can add “Sunbeam” yellow where the teal is now and “Lightning” for the trim. For the doors, we will use “Golden Bounty” the colour that started it all. We hope to have it all done before we head south. At minimum we need to get all the “Wildflower” yellow done because that is what is peeling and showing bare wood that is hinting at rot in a few places. I was pleasantly surprised to see the old teal doesn’t look half bad with the yellow so if we can’t get to the teal until next spring, it won’t be a tragedy. Tomorrow back to scraping.

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