Take-A-Bite Tutorial : How To Paint Your Exterior Wood Siding

One of the things that was sorely neglected for the past few years was the back of the house.  By the time we were wrapping up the majority of the exterior renovations last year, it was getting late in the year and I had just enough time to slap a perfunctory coat of paint on the front of the house.  And let’s be honest here – Mama needed to get a LOT done inside of the house.  The interior work felt much more pressing – laying the flooring, getting the bathrooms working and moving us all in upstairs.  Things like painting the outside of the back of the house, didn’t feel all that important.

Now that the weather has changed to dry and cool-ish, it felt like the perfect time to get started on making the back of the house look as nice as the front.  The boys play in the yard a lot, the neighbors visit with their kiddos, we like to barbecue and eat outside (even though it’s getting a bit brisk earlier in the evening).  It means a lot to me that this place looks as good going as it does coming.  I don’t know if that even makes sense right now – just go with it.  Let’s just say the back of the house was really starting to look weary and totally not matching the new vinyl siding on the upstairs addition:
(I hired a worker to clean up the backyard for me before I started painting.
He promised me he was 16 and was legal to work — I have my doubts)
So, if you’re like me (of course you are!) and you wanna slap some paint up on your house, there’s a few things you’re going to want to take into consideration:
(Please note that this tutorial is meant mainly for painting your wood siding.  Painting things like vinyl and fiber-cement board have different requirements)
1.  Check the weather  – Fall is a great time to get your painting done.  You’re not dying of heat exhaustion and being eaten alive by mosquitoes (if you live in the Midwest).  However, if the temps are dipping well below about 60 degrees Fahrenheit (10-15 Celcius), then you might run into problems.  If latex paint doesn’t have enough time to cure, you might be dealing with adhesion issues and mildew growth.  Neither of these things sound like fun.  My usual rule of thumb is to try to wait for a clear, sunny week when the temperatures don’t go below 50F at night.  I also try to get all of my coats of paint on during the sunniest and warmest times of the day.  Keep in mind that if you’re painting a sunny location of your home, the sun is going to warm the house itself and you may need to work fast if the siding is getting too warm and drying your paint at a quicker rate.  Paint drying too fast = ugly brush strokes.
My working conditions were awful.
Seriously, terrible.  The sunshine.  The cool breeze.  The sounds of seagulls.  Ugh.  Inhumane.
2. Scrape it like you mean it – Now things start to go downhill for a while.  Take a minute to assess what you’re working with and break out your scraper.  You’re looking for loose, chipping paint and you need to get rid of it.  If you don’t, you’re new paint is going to do the same thing and look like crap.  Trust me on this one.
3. Fill the gaps – Grab your interior/exterior spackle, wood filler and caulk and get fillin’!  Spots like nail holes and small recesses in the wood will get wood filler, seams and spots that could allow water to penetrate beneath the siding get a healthy dose of caulk.
4. Take a moment to step back and realize that your house now looks a million times worse than when you first started

5. Prime all of your newly-exposed wood and spots that were filled – I used Zinnser exterior water-based primer for this particular application.  If I was dealing with something like knots in wood or stained wood, I’d probably go with a heavier-duty oil-based primer.  


6. Finally, you can start painting – After your primer has had time to dry (always read the labels), it’s time to get down to business.  I like to paint my door frames first and I go super-sloppy.  Then, once dry, I cut in all nice and neat with my wall paint.
Invest in a good, quality brush for your paint.  It’ll go on smoother, be easier to cut-in and will just be an all-around nicer experience.  I used to just pick up a few dollar-store brushes, do my project and keep moving.  The difference in the finish when you use a higher-quality brush shows.  Buy a couple, take good care of them (washing, combing, storing) and they’ll be worth it in the long run.
The house paint that I used was Olympic exterior latex in Wistful Willow.  It was a color that came in closest to the siding on the upper portion of the house.  I still think it could have had a bit more brown in it, but as for the paint itself, I’m pretty pleased with its performance.  It took me two coats and touch-ups here and there to get full coverage.
7. Go pour yourself a drink and admire your work – Seriously, go get a drink.  You earned it!  Let’s take a look at the ‘before’ one more time:
And here’s what it looks like after with some Fall pizazz thrown in:
It’s not the most dramatic transformation ever, but I think the sunny, washed-out photos really don’t do it justice.  It’s so much cleaner-looking in person and just feels fresh.  
Did you see who came by to say ‘hello’?
Advertisements

A Bedroom For A Boy – Progress

When we last spoke, the bedroom in question was looking a LOT like this:

I’ve been watching episodes of ‘Hoarders – Buried Alive’ just to prove to myself that I didn’t have a problem.  This room has had become the catch-all throughout the renovation process.  A life-size junk drawer, if you will.  Someone’s coming over to visit?  No problem!  Open the door, literally throw something in, shut the door.
No more…..
That, my friends, is the result of six billion flights of stairs.  Almost every single thing in this upstairs bedroom belonged in the basement.  A basement that needed to be reorganized in order to accept the influx of *stuff* that I was about to introduce.  So, not only did I need to clean out the entire basement, I needed to clear out this room, as well.  You’d think I would have thinner thighs by now…
In order to get to this point, here’s what had to happen:
  • Trim out the windows
  • Caulk all trim around said windows
  • Paint the jambs and trim
  • Two coats of Benjamin Moore ‘Revere Pewter’ mixed in Behr Premium Plus, eggshell finish
  • Install baseboards and craftsman-style door casings
And that’s where I’m at.  I have seven days before this puppy needs to be birthday-boy ready.  Here’s what’s left:
  • Caulk and paint floor and door trim 
  • Hang artwork
  • Decide on room layout
  • Bring in furniture (desk, shelves, night table, lamps, etc)
The shelving that you see in the room right now is simple, cost-effective (read: super-cheap) shelving from Ikea.  Once assembled, it looks like this:
Once you spend an hour in the hot garage with a can of brain-cell diminishing dark walnut stain, it looks like this:
I have a couple options as far as placement of the shelves go— and I really don’t know which one I prefer.  I can go one on either side of the window, like so:
Or, I can gang them up between two windows and they would be the first thing you see when you walk up the stairs or past the door:
I think I kinda like them ganged together like this and I’m imagining white, soft, full curtains on either side of the windows to really lighten up this wall and create a welcoming effect.  However, once you bring in the bed where I wanted it, it doesn’t leave much walking space:
The tape measure shows exactly how far the bed would extend.
The room has a funky, little bump-out that I was hoping to tuck the headboard into and extend into the room.
Now, excuse me while I dazzle you with my ARTISTIC rendering of Jack’s bed in this space just to help you understand what I mean:
You’re floored.  I know.  I gots mad Paint skillz.  Don’t hate.
So that’s where we are right now.  No decisions on room layout, but I’ll get that figured out in the next couple days.  Any thoughts?  Recommendations?  Would you like me to offer tutorial classes on how to illustrate in MS Paint?

Another One Bites The Dust – Part I (Before And After)

The dust is still settling on my most recent project.

In an effort to officially occupy Wall Street my house, one of the town’s parameters is that my addition/renovation meet certain criteria.  One of those criteria is that the flooring be impermeable to water.  ‘Impermeable to water’ can count as carpet, tile, sealed wood flooring, paint, etc.  Pretty much any flooring you can think of is acceptable.

I’ve been staring at a carpeting swatch for the upstairs hallway for a couple (or maybe it’s been a few) months now knowing that we’ve budgeted to order it in the spring.

But I got a little antsy this morning.  Shocker.

It started with filling the gigantic cracks and knot holes with several types of filler.

Why several types?  Because I had an assortment available to me and I was just runnin’ through ’em.  I started with wood filler, moved on to a larger gap filler (keep your mind out of the gutter), then finished up with a plain old spackle compound.  My goal wasn’t to do a perfectbeautifulawesome job.  It was to cover the damn floor because guess what?  It sucks getting splinters in the middle of the night.  For realz.

And then, while I waited for the the fillers and spackles to dry, I did the unthinkable.

I went on Pinterest.

And searched ‘painted floor’.

The heavens opened up.  Unicorns sprung from rainbows.  Fairies sprinkled glitter all over the land.

Okay, can you believe the yellow and white flowers?  Seriously.  Seriously.

Remember how I said it wasn’t going to be perfectbeautifulawesome?  Oh, it was on now.

But, like all good things, everything has to happen in steps.  I’m learning every day that awesomeness comes in layers.  I immediately regretted my first two layers.  I wish I would have spent more time filling in all the gaps and cracks a little better,  But, I didn’t.  I wish I used a better first coat of paint.  But, I didn’t.

Moving on.

I took my trusty palm sander and 100 grit sandpaper and got to work.

I went over every inch of the hallway and the haze proves it.

I swept things up, ran the vacuum and got ready to be locked out of the hallway for a couple hours.

{Hey, don’t mind that bookcase.  Pretend you don’t see it.  I planned on writing about how we built it later this week.  Act surprised when I show you.}

After one coat of paint, this is what I have to work with:

I’m undecided with the design that I want to paint on the floor. It’s like a giant, blank canvas.  By town code, it officially satisfies the occupancy guidelines, but now it’s time to take it up a level. Thoughts?  What would you do?  It’s definitely an upgrade from it’s previous life:

What’s left to do in the hallway:

  • Hang guest bedroom door
  • Hang bathroom door
  • Paint all doors
  • Finish installing baseboards and trim
  • Paint a spectacular pattern on the floor
  • Hang additional artwork
  • Figure out what to do with the awkward nook on the other side of the column
What about you?  Have you ever painted a floor?  Any success or horror stories?

Welcome To Florida, Eh.

We live in Canada.

We have a Florida room.  
Well, I guess I should say that we *had* a Florida room.  I really don’t know what it’s called now.  Sunroom?  Family room?  All-purpose room?
Way back in July, we had a normal three-season Florida room.  It was cold as ice (ice cold!) in the winter and hothothot in the dead of summer, but spring and fall were pretty nice.  I had a really hard time with decor in that room.  The entire thing was clad in brown, stained cedar.  It was dark.  A little dungeon-y.
So I cracked that bad boy wide open.
Almost looks like it could be a tropical bistro.  Just set up a couple tables and add some handsome waiters.

I had the floor raised about 4 inches so that it would be the same height as the house, rebuilt the walls, put in new windows and a set of double french doors.

And then I realized that I made a mistake.
A *big* one.
Here’s the thing:  when I ordered my windows for the room, I wanted a crank-out, top-opening window so that the bottom part of the window would offer an unobstructed view of the water.  Sounds awesome, right? The cool thing about this meant that even during rain, I could keep the windows open without too much worry.  Easy, breezy, beautiful.
Then they got installed.
And I cried a little. (a lot)
I didn’t calculate that the floor was going to be raised 4 inches when I ordered the windows. Now, a couple of you might be saying, “Hey, silly girl, you could have asked them to install the windows a few inches higher.”  And to you, I say, “Nice try.”  The space at the top of the window is completely taken up as the header, so no dice on moving it.
When I stand in front of the window, the divider between the top and bottom part is right. smack. dab. in front of my eyes.
Sad face, y’all.  
But!  But!  But!  See that chair right there?  That was my saving grace.  It kept me sane.
If you sit in the chair, the view is p-e-r-f-e-c-t.  And, since this room is going to be the family room with a nice, relaxing seating area, you’ll almost always be sitting and enjoying the view.  BOOM.  
Whenever someone came over and walked through the sunroom family room Florida room, I ordered them to sit in the chair and tell me how great the view was.
But it was still dark, guys.  Still depressing.  Oppressive.
And so I took a little look-see at some of the photos of rooms that made me happy:

(via)

(via)
One thing connected them all.  Beautiful, painted wood ceilings.
So, we busted out the paint sprayer and got bizzy, yo.
It’s SOOOOO much easier to paint a room when you’re not freaking out about the floors.  I got started on the board and batten walls prior to laying the floor.
Getting better….

I did the top of the walls in the same color as the rest of the house.  This room can be viewed from just about every other room in the house and I wanted to keep a sense of continuity with the design and colors.

Then it was time to get down on bended knee and lay some flooring.

I’ll do a separate post on the flooring sometime soon.  I’ve got lots of opinions on this particular style of flooring and it’ll need its own soapbox.
Once the flooring was done, it was time to take a little break and celebrate for a minute.
I think the paint and flooring, even though it’s dark, really added a lightness to the room.  I love it.  Like, lovelovelove it. This photo was take just after Christmas.  I’ve since added the actual board and batten, my office, some built-ins, draperies, and a laundry room. I can’t wait to share the rest of the room’s details over the next week.  Tomorrow, we’ll talk about making easy built-in shelves.  Get your tools ready!