Monday, July 26, 2004

Painting progress & tips

My SO and I just finished putting the fourth coat of paint on our bathroom walls (five if you count the tinted primer). We think this coat should do it, but we won't know for certain until morning. Our electrician is scheduled to arrive at 8am tomorrow to do the finish electrical work (attaching our light fixtures and electrical outlets to the "rough" wiring that has already been installed), so this coat better be enough.

Astute readers will realize that it's taken us more than a week to do the painting. We started off painting the ceiling (white), which went incredibly smoothly. One coat of primer the first day, one coat of paint the next day, and we were done.

We're painting the walls a rich reddish-purple, and even though we used a tinted primer, the first coat didn't cover well at all. For the second coat we decided to try to put the paint on a bit thicker (since some of our books mentioned that most people put paint on too thin), but this backfired as we found numerous drips the next morning (even though we did many "drip patrols").

We let the paint dry for a few days and then tried to sand off the drips. Unfortunately the paint was still somewhat elastic, so instead of nicely sanding down the high points, the entire drip would usually just pull off the wall, leaving a spot of bare drywall texture visible. We sanded off the most egregious drips (leaving the less noticeable ones since we had no idea how patches would look), and then set off to re-paint the sanded areas. We put primer on all the areas that had large sections sanded down to the drywall (>1-4 square mm), and let that dry for a full day. We put two more coats of paint onto the primed areas (or any other area needing touch-up after sanding, being sure to feather our edges), and let each coat dry thoroughly.

After the second coat on the patches dried, we finally were able to put on third and fourth coats of paint yesterday and today. After the third coat yesterday none of our sanded and patched areas were visible, which was a relief (but also made us wish we'd sanded off more drips). The patch-hiding is probably helped by our wall texturing, which already makes the surface look a bit uneven.

While doing this painting we've picked up a few good tips from various sources, which I thought I'd pass along:
  • Paint pour spouts are a useful (and cheap) tool; they fit onto an open gallon can of paint to help you pour neatly.
  • To save roller covers between jobs you can put the cover, filled with paint, into the freezer (in a sealed bag, of course, unless you want to paint your freezer). Then just give your roller cover a few hours to defrost before you want to use it again, and you're ready to go.
  • Use low-adhesion masking tape (the blue stuff here in the US) to pull out loose fuzz from the roller covers before you start using them (just put the tape on the roller cover and then pull it off). There's a lot less roller fuzz on our walls this time than on any of our previous jobs.
  • Using a work platform (a long, low bench) makes painting high areas much easier. Ours is 20 inches high and about three and a half feet long (link to Home Depot's page on it), and was much more convenient than our old six foot ladder.
  • Singing "Crown molding, crown molding" and "We can always do a faux finish ..." keeps your spirits up.

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