House Proud: Simply Put, Painting is Hard Work

Over many years and several houses, I’ve painted dozens of rooms and a hundred pieces of furniture. It drove my husband crazy when I wouldn’t properly prepare the space for inevitable splatters and spills. And then there’s cleanup, which is even worse than getting ready. There’s no putting lipstick on this pig. Painting stinks and I have plenty of reader input to show I’m not alone.

I once tried to paint an entire door with small foam brushes because they were all that was handy. It took forever, cramped my hand and I had to buy rollers and go over the uneven job again later anyway. I may as well have used a feather. It was foolish and more time consuming than gathering the right utensils before I started.

After several frustrating experiences I finally learned that a rushed paint job will look that way. A too-tight deadline negatively influences a thousand little decisions that need to be made during the job. I gave myself several hours over a few days to paint the small, downstairs bathroom we call the men’s room, and while the results weren’t perfect, they were acceptable for an amateur’s effort.

Prep is (almost) everything. Filling holes, sanding rough surfaces, caulking gaps and priming are steps that aren’t worth skipping. And like so many things, you get what you pay for with paint. In general, a pricier paint will go on easier and cover better. However, sometimes the lure of the bargain is too good to pass up, but Gary discovered, it wasn’t worth it. “The paint was in a great colour at a terrific price. The only problem was that it seemed to be missing one ingredient: drying compound. I had to remove as much of it as possible with paint remover and start over with the good stuff.”

If you want to break the job into sections, plan for what you’ll do with your brush or roller. I tend to wrap them in grocery bags and set them aside for a short period, or put them in the freezer if it’s going to be days or weeks until I need them again. Occasionally I’ll find a forgotten paint brush that’s worked its way behind the frozen peas. The grocery bag method works fine but it can get messy when you remove it and then it’s just one more piece of trash. An entrepreneur has already solved the problem with a reusable plastic case simply called, The Paint Brush Cover. It’s a pitch that caught a big one on TV’s Shark Tank and is now available all over the continent.

When you share a house with others, you have to remember not to leave your materials open to chance as Sharon knows too well. “(My cat) Smudge ran through a tray of forest green paint and then all the way down the stairs, carpeted in a light beige.”

Leigh learned about sheen by unintentionally doubling the duration of her paint job. “I once painted our living room with semi-gloss paint that accentuated every flaw in the plaster walls. Another two coats of pearl finish did the trick.”

Then there’s Rick who, as a young talent agent for rock bands, forgot to ask the landlord’s permission before painting his rented office a groovy sky blue and white with hand-painted gold stars on the ceiling. “Upon seeing my handiwork…he told me that I was to leave the premises immediately, taking my desk, phones and files with me. He said I had two hours to get out or he would padlock the door and I would forfeit everything.”

The lesson here is simple. Always ask permission from the owner. And it’s nice to run a colour scheme past a spouse or roommate, too. While you’re at it, enlist their help and cut the job in half.


1 thought on “House Proud: Simply Put, Painting is Hard Work”

  1. Painting isn’t hard work, it only becomes hard work if you don’t have the right tools, don’t ask the right questions, purchase the wrong products and try and do it on the cheap not to mention using the wrong techniques when applying your paint. Now I must confess, my father was a master tradesmen I.E. painter and I grew up with a paint brush in one hand and roller in the other and I’ve seen a lot of do it yourself shit jobs over the years.

    If you enjoy this type of do it yourself stuff, then go for it. Otherwise hire a professional and have the job done right and be done with it and this way, you have no clean up.

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