Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Paint Makes It All Better

Paint is amazing. It is relatively cheap, comes in every color, and can give new life to your home. And if you add in some spackle before the paint, you can repair and renew many things around the house.

For example, baseboard trim. Trim can add a finished touch to any room, make it look complete. However, trim can take a real beating. From pets to kids to vacuums and mops, trim is battered on a regular basis. And it does not always bear the abuse well and can give your room a worn, distressed feel (and we're not talking the "distressed" that is the trend right now). That is the story with many of the baseboards in our home.

Our home was updated by a previous homeowner with crown molding, baseboards, and really good paint. However, that was all over 20+ years ago.

Side note with history: Our home was built by the brother of our neighbor to the west of us. It had been the site of their family barn. The neighbor is still going strong at 93 years old too. When his brother passed away, it was sold a family that lived in and remodeled the home. They then split the lot, built a new home on the back half which they moved into and still live in behind us, and sold this home to the next family. The husband of that family is the son of our neighbor to the east of us. So, we are surrounded by the former owners/family of former owners of our home. That is incredibly handy when things pop up around the needing to know where the AC supply line is and when you find two wedding rings in a basement drain and you need to track down the owners. I love a home with history.

Back to the topic at hand...trim. I will never claim to be an organized woman, that's just the truth of things. So, I do not have a before pic of the area I worked on. I do, however have this pic of a different spot of trim in our foyer that has seen just as much abuse (maybe more) as the trim in the kitchen that I painted.
This may even be a flattering pic compared to how these babies look in person. But you can see the dents, dings, chipped paint, scratches, and general distress of the wood trim. So, what's a girl to do? You pull out some spackle, some primer, and some paint and get to work.

First, prep work. Very important. DON'T skip this step!
Take a wet rag and a little soap and scrub those babies down. You will not be able to get them all clean, that's why we are doing all this. But you do need to get off as much dirt and grime as you can or the paint job will not look good or last long when you're done.

Next, take some joint compound (a.k.a. spackle) and start filling those nail holes, dents, and chips the best you can. Don't worry about putting on too much over the damaged areas, you'll be able to sand it down later. If you have any cracks/spacing where the molding meets in the corner, spackle is great for filling in those gaps and making it looks smooth and joined. Sawdust Girl has a great tutorial for that. Note: I like the spackle that goes on pink and turns white when it's dry and ready to sand.

After it's dry, take some sandpaper in the 120-220 range. The lower the number, the tougher the job it is for. You don't need a strong grit for this, especially if your trim has a lot of detailing. Sand the areas of repair until the spackled areas are flush with the trim and blend in. Then, wipe down with a damp rag to remove dust and vacuum floor area.

Before opening any paint cans, you need one last step. Taping. I LOVE Frog Tape.
I have tried a few different brands; blue painter's tape, Scotch brand, masking tape. None of them performs as well as Frog Tape. Place the tape along the wall as close to the trim as possible. Make sure the tape seal is tight to the wall to prevent "bleeding". Then, do the same on the floor below the baseboards. I also like to put a drop cloth on the floor in case of drips from my brush.

Next, primer. I know that most paints come with the primer mixed in already. However, if you are painting over spackled areas without doing a separate primer first, the areas will "bleed" through the paint. What you will get is spots that are duller looking that the rest of the wall or trim you painted. I learned this the hard way after filling a thousand holes in my son's walls (the previous child must have had a fondness for posters), not priming, and painting, only to be able to see every repair through the paint. His walls looked like they had a rash when the light hit them right.

I prefer to do two coats of primer on any surface and I prefer Kilz primer paint.

Finally, the paint! Yay! I like to do 2-3 coats of the paint. It bothers me a lot to see anything showing through the paint. So, I load it up. Also, when painting trim, streaks sometimes show in the finished product. This a result of brushing over paint that has already started to dry. Paint actually dries pretty fast. So, there are two options. You can load up your brush with paint and brush toward the spot you just painted, not away, and paint an area before it starts to dry.

There is also an additive you can mix into your paint that helps extend the dry time and gives the paint time to "even out". Floetrol is for latex paint and Penetrol is for oil-based paint.
I have tried both options and they seem to work identically if I am careful in loading my brush and painting quickly. If you get interrupted a lot, the additive may be the way to go.

After the paint is dry, about 2-3 hours, you can remove the tape carefully. Be aware that some spots may still be damp. If the tape sticks and looks like it will pull the paint, I use a box cutter razor or sharp pocket knife to cut along the seam for easy separation.
And, there will always be a small setback of some sort...spilled paint, uneven edging, or leaving the tape on for over a week until you get around to painting and then the tape takes off some wall color when you remove it.
Such is life. Just have to pull out that wall paint and touch it up. Cause that's how we roll in life. We Simply Do.

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