Wall is fixed! (plus lots o’ handy painting tips)

I’m a worrier… I really am.   But mostly about the unknown.   The Unknown.  AKA: the most pointless thing to worry about.   All my life I’ve tried to instill the ole “Don’t stress until there’s a reason to stress” thing, and it works in some instances.  Honestly, there’s no rhyme or reason to it… Big things, I have no problem with.   Minor things… Stress city.  And for whatever reason, when it comes to our home and possible expenses, I fail EVERY TIME in my efforts to not think about it.   If I’m aware of a problem but don’t know the extent of it, my imagination runs wild and I inevitably envision the most dire scenario.   I DREAM about it.   Drive my saint of a husband mad about it.   But the funny thing is that once I know the issue, even if it’s really bad, it’s like flipping a switch and I’m totally fine.   It’s like once I know, I’m golden.   Once a plan is in place I’m alright.  I. Just. Have. To. Know.

And that’s how our wood rot issue was for me.  Remember when I discussed that our exterior back wall was rotting here in this post?  Well, once we discovered it, I was literally dreaming about the wall crashing down.  Dramatic?  Yes.  Unfounded? Quite.  But I couldn’t help it.  We immediately started calling contractors to see about getting estimates.  We called four who were recommended by friends.  Unfortunately, with all of the recent rain everybody had a lot going on…

One never called back.

One said he would come take a look but never did.

One told us that the rot was BAD and it was way beyond his skill set, thus, he wouldn’t fix it.

One told us the complete opposite… That it was minor rot and he wouldn’t go through the effort of fixing it (even though he never took a close look at the extent of it).  We suspect that he was just really busy and didn’t want to do the job.

After that guy, we removed more trim and discovered that the main supports of the wall were resting on that rotted plate board.  So, yes.  It needed to be fixed.  And we were really frustrated that nobody seemed to wanna help us.  At this point it had been about 3 weeks of trying to get somebody out to assess the problem to no avail.

Then, one morning, my dad’s friend called me and said that he knew a framer who was really good.   We called him and within an hour he was at our house to give us an estimate.    On a SATURDAY.  Not only was his estimate lower than expected, he didn’t seem concerned about our picture window (ie: my main worry and the whole reason we weren’t DIYing this to begin with).   In fact, he doubted he’d have to remove it to fix the issue.   He told us that he’d come with his crew the following week to remove our siding to give us a more exact quote and to fully assess the damage.  Then, he could either fix it right then and there or if it was too expensive, he’d just reattach the siding and leave.

We were in.

A week later, he and his crew arrived.   They removed the bottom of the siding and discovered that the damage was only the bottom plate board and the very bottom of two studs…

  
He finalized the quote at that point and it ended up being $500 LESS than the original quote. So basically, equivalent to our deductible had we chosen to go through insurance (which we didn’t).  And it included fixing the wall with treated wood and installing Hardee siding and trim on all siding areas along the back of our house.  Plus, he ensured us that it would look exactly the same to maintain the character of the house.    Obviously, we gave the okay.

Once they got going, things got a little nerve-wracking when we discovered that our window was actually not a legit window.  It was a huge piece of dual paned tempered glass that had been framed in.   And once they removed the trim we saw that hardly anything was holding it In place.   Our framer suspected that it was a DIY job based on what he saw.


He braced it in with a few pieces of scrap lumber and set about fixing the wall in sections.  I didn’t take a ton of pics during the process, because, well… I felt weird taking pictures of random men working.   I did manage get one, though, to give you a bit of a before/after gist of the inner workings of our wall…

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Check out that gorgeous, firm plate board.  Oh, yeeeeah.  Once they were done, it looked like this…

 

 Pretty much the same, right?? Just with way better materials that won’t soak up moisture.

The entire job took them about 7 hours from start to finish.   They were punctual, courteous, and hard-working.   All-in-all, we’re pretty satisfied.

So, once the hard labor was complete, it was up to me to finish sealing and painting.   I began by caulking every single seam and nail hole.   I knew I’d be priming since there were many color undertones in the materials on the wall and I didn’t want them peeking through my paint, so I just used whatever colored caulking I had on hand.   I just made sure of two very important things…

1. That my caulk had silicone in it to keep the caulk from shrinking and cracking.

2. That it was paintable.

Once the wall was caulked, it looked like this…

It’s amazing how something as simple as caulk goes such a long way to making a project looked finished.  I was sure to use clear caulking around the window to make it less obvious and this was the only area that I used this foolproof caulking method to ensure clean, crisp lines.   It works every time.

The next day, I set about priming.   And I’m not gonna lie… The process was a beating.   Now, I need you to understand that this is a GIANT statement coming from a paint-loving gal like myself (who regularly offers to paint my friends houses FOR FUN).  Ya see, I decided to prime immediately after I’d returned from a long jog.  And it was hot out.   And I’ll tell ya, fatigue and dehydration do not make good decisions.  And my decision in question:  material choice.   I know this.  I totally know this, yet in my mission to collect materials from my stash, I simply chose the first roller cover I saw rather than evaluating the best option.  And once I started priming, I immediately realized that I needed a much fluffier roller to get into all the seams and crannies.  This was taken after I’d primed to the best of my ability with significant pressure on the roller…


But then, my nemesis Fatigue and his weazily little toadie, Laziness, reared their ugly heads and said “Meh.  This roller’s already dirty anyways and how much extra time will it really take to just deal with it as is??”.   So, rather than switch rollers, I pressed on.  I ended up having to brush along every single seam and then roll in between numerous times with decent pressure to get thorough coverage.  How long did it take, you ask? Well…

It took me TWO HOURS to get this far…

 

 TWO. HOURS.
And I’m a fast painter.  Seriously, ya’ll.  It’s ALL in the materials you choose.  So, channel Indiana Jones and choose wisely.

Speaking of materials, one item that I strongly recommend you splurge on is your paintbrush.  I edge freehand using a 2 1/2″ angled brush by Wooster.  It’s my absolute favorite and totally worth the $14 (Not sponsored, just spreading the love).   I love how it holds the paint and leaves a crisp line…


This brush is also the best for edging the textured walls that are so prevalent here in the south.  I wrote a post with 11 tips for painting textured walls a while back, so check that out for more tips about that.  Anyways, I’ve found that edging well is all about…

1. Using a good brush,  and…

2.  Knowing how to load your brush.  This is something that you get the hang of with experience, but basically you want to load your brush with  enough paint to prevent individual bristles from separating (which leaves a “brushstrokey” edge), but not so much that it drips.   Keep in mind the plane that you’re working on and how gravity is pulling the paint.  I always load the brush more heavily when edging ceiling lines because it allows a crisper line up top and you don’t have to worry about drips marring your line as gravity takes over.  For baseboard lines, it’s the opposite.   I load it less because that’s where drips can affect your finished product.   And for horizontal lines like in the picture above, its somewhere in between.

Another tip that I love and bears repeating is this little gem that I picked up on Pinterest.


Line your tray with a plastic shopping bag to save on clean up.  I wrap the handles around the legs of the tray to keep it from slipping…


It works like a charm every time.

Anyways, back to priming.  I used Kilz Premium primer, mainly because I already had it on hand.   It’s mildew resistant and stain-blocking as well, so it was a good choice for this project.   Once I was done priming, the wall looked like this…


Priming not only evened out the playing field as far as undertones went, it also made areas that I’d missed when caulking obvious.   Like, this seam….


And nail holes….


So, I went back with white caulk and filled all those in.

The following day, I set about painting.   Luckily, our painter had left us a bunch of paint from when we had the exterior of the house painted.  It was Sherwin Williams Resilience in Loggia mixed at 25%.   Having learned my lesson with the roller cover the day before, I chose the puffiest roller I had which was meant for rough surfaces.  I rolled on a small section…

 
Perfect coverage with minimal effort.

This is when I beat my head against a metaphorical wall for an hour.  All the time I could’ve saved the day prior.  All the upper body strength sacrificed.   All because I opted to press on rather than take two minutes to change my roller cover.  Oy.  Lesson learned.

The same (if not more) amount of painting that I showed you in the priming picture..

…which had taken me two hours the day before, took me only 40 minutes this time around.  Seriously, I timed it.  The fluffier roller saved me from having to brush all the seams and repeatedly roll over the same area to get decent coverage like I had to with the smoother roller.    I know that the primer may have also helped time-wise, since it likely helped with the coverage of the paint, but still.   I ended up doing two coats of paint in pretty much the same amount of time it had taken me to prime one coat thanks to a change in materials.

So, anyways, when all was said and done, it looked like this…
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Crisp and clean and so wonderfully water resistant.  It’s like a breath of fresh air.   And now we can start focusing on fun things (hopefully… fingers crossed), like our breakfast nook chairs or starting our kitchen reno.   Woo hoo!  J

TDC Before and After
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Our front door.  The exterior. FINALLY.  

Howdy, folks!   So, I’ve decided to jump out of order with my posts this week because I’m SO ready to show you guys some updated exterior pics of the front of our house.  Ya see, first I painted the rusty green gate to the courtyard a crisp black, then I painted our front door once it was installed… but I’m showing you the front door and exterior shots first.  Because I’m excited.  And it’s my blog. 🙂  Then, I’ll go back next post and give y’all a tutorial on painting our metal gate with befores and afters of that project.

So, onward…

If there’s one thing I’ve learned throughout this front door process it’s this.   I am not meant to paint exterior doors.  And also, some projects seem like they’d be straightforward… but they aren’t.

Either that or I just simply haven’t discovered the right paint yet.

Part of the problem, well, most of the problem is that our new door has no texture.  It’s perfectly smooth.  I love this about our door, but it definitely posed a problem when it came to painting it.

Painting the interior side of our door was a piece of cake thanks to the self-leveling property of the Proclassic paint by Sherwin Williams, but I didn’t realize until I was in the trenches with the outside of our door that most exterior paints don’t do that.

I’d thought about removing the door and spraying it, but it has a specific type of hinge that doesn’t allow the pin to be removed, and I was VERY hesitant about removing the hinges from the door frame after our old door practically fell off due to a stripped frame.  So, I decided to go the old-fashioned way with a brush and foam roller.

Colorwise, I decided to paint the door the same charcoal color that I’d painted our old door (Black Bean by Behr) in their Exterior paint + primer.   It worked well with our old door, but then again… that door had texture to it, so I never really noticed textural issues with the paint.

I followed the same process as when I painted our old door, but after 2 thin and even coats, I had brush strokes galore…

It doesn’t look that bad here because of the lighting, but trust me.  It was visible from the street.  Easily visible, in fact.

So, I decided to splurge on a $30 quart of Sherwin Williams Resilience paint matched to the same color…

Prior to painting, I busted out the sanding block and smoothed the finish across the entire door…

Then, I applied one thin and even coat of the SW paint…

Although there were still some roller marks visible, it was WORLDS better than finish with the Behr paint.  Now, I should’ve just stopped here (an old joke in which a head of cabbage should’ve “quit while it was a head” is rattling around my brain right now).  But, like many Americans these days, I figured that if one was good, two must be better.  So, I painted another coat to “make it perfect”.

And I was wrong.  So wrong.   In my attempt to further annihilate the roller marks, I made them, like 50 times worse than they were with the Behr paint.

IF ONLY I COULD MAKE YOU SEE WHAT IT REALLY LOOKED LIKE.  This picture doesn’t even slightly do it justice…

Again, you could clearly see the roller marks from the street.  And it looked BAAAADDD.  I think part of the issue is that our front porch isn’t shaded.  We have only about an 18 inch overhang above it, so differences in sheen are more punctuated with the sun bouncing off of it.    As for that fourth coat,  I think my mistake was that I applied too much paint, thinking that it would self-level.  It.DID.NOT.   Plus, it had a very stippled, coarse texture to it.

At this point, I was quite dramatic.  And I apologize to the cookies that will never again see the light of day.

That next morning, I woke up bright and early and busted out the sanders.   This sander for the areas around the molding…

And the orbital for the flat areas…

I did as much of the sanding as possible with the door shut to limit the dust inside, then I opened it to get around the edges.  I finished up with a sanding block to get any remaining rough areas…

My tips for painting prep post-sanding are as follows…

1. Remove as much dust as possible from your surface with a Swiffer rag first.  This will prevent your final step (tack cloth) from getting gummed up faster than it needs to.

2. Clean all the dust around prior to painting.  Everywhere.  Shake out your drop cloths, vacuum loose dust.  Just get rid of it.  Fully clean prior to painting.  Nothing is more frustrating than applying your paint only to have a random gust of wind or someone messing with your drop cloth accidentally blow dust onto your finish.

3. Right before applying paint, use tack cloth to remove all remaining specks of dust and debris from your surface.  Tack cloth is magic stuff, my friends.   It’s sticky and gets up everything.  Keep a supply on hand.

After I’d completed all of the above steps, I applied another thin and even coat of paint to the door.   This time, I applied the paint and then used LONG strokes from the top of the door to the bottom to eliminate as many roller marks as possible.

The result was better but still not perfect…

…but at this point, I basically claimed defeat and decided to leave it.   I accepted that it would just have to be imperfect for the time being.   And I was at peace.

But alas, the paint gods laughed at me.

I left the door open for ELEVEN hours (I finished painting that last coat at 9:30 am, and finally closed the door at 8:30 pm).  And when I woke up the next morning, I opened the door (STTTTIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIICCCCCKKKKK!!!!!! <- The door screaming at me).  Aaaaaaand small bits of paint came off around the edge of the door.  What the deuce???!!!   After all of the coats that I’d painted before (after which I’d only left the door open for 4-5 hours post-painting).  The paint DIDN’T BUDGE.  But after I finally was okay with leaving the door as is (and after I’d left it open for almost half a day), it stuck and I lost bits of paint.

Oy.  #morecookiesplease

So, I still need to paint another coat.

But in the meantime, the missing spots aren’t terribly obvious, so I’m gonna wait for my interior cheerleaders to reassemble and motivate me to repaint the door without crying.

And I’m gonna smile anyways and show you what I will call “after” pictures (as I listen to the smallest violin in the background).   First, though lets look at the doorway when we closed on the house.

Now, it looks like this…

Painted gate, new front door, neater courtyard.   Joey basically laid down cardboard to smother the weeds and then layered decomposed granite on top.   The fact that the painted door looks better here than it had, just tells you what it looked like before.   All in all, though, the courtyard is feeling more modern and much better kept.  Eventually I’ll add some potted plants and such to gussy it up and add some color and softness.

We found that random brick (next to the door) in the courtyard after we moved in.  It says “ST JOE” on it.   Clearly the yard knew he was comin’.  Haha! 😉 Sooner or later we’ll change out the lighting fixtures, but I’m being really picky since they’ll have to coordinate with the lanterns we choose.  And honestly, I’m fine with them until I find the perfect replacement.

The hardware is this exterior door set that I picked up from Home Depot….

It’s modern and sleek and everything that I wanted for our door.

A view of the outside of the courtyard….

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I think one of the BEST things Joey could’ve done was add that rock border and the nandena bushes to soften up the front.  It’s so good.  I need to either paint or replace those lanterns since they now pale in comparison to the gate.   I was hands-down gonna paint them, but recently one stopped working.   If we can fix it, I’ll paint it, if not, we’ll have to replace them.  Like I mentioned before, we’ll eventually replace them anyways, but in the meantime they may as well look nice.

And now a before and current view of the house.  Here she is on closing day…

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And now…

We’re working on getting the grass to green up and we have a bit of hedge-trimming in store, but aside from that, things are starting to coming together. The orange roof is even starting to look slightly less offensive.   It’s just amazing how the front door really makes such an impact.  It was exactly what this house needed, in my opinion.   I want to give the mailbox a little makeover with some of the charcoal paint (instead of that brown) to tie it in to the house, and the rotting wood shakes on top need to be replaced as well (I have some fun ideas for that). But these are relatively little things that we’ll knock out as we have the time.

So, that’s our exterior house update at this point.  Does anyone have any suggestions for getting that front door more uniform?  Since I have to do another coat anyways I’m open to all suggestions.

TDC Before and After