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’?
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What Goes Up, Must Fall Down (DIY Stair Runner)

The stairs.

Those things are the bane of my existence, I tell ya.  It’s been like putting lipstick on a pig.  And not fancy MAC lipstick, either.  More like iridescent, pink Wet N’ Wild that’s been sitting in a makeup drawer for thirteen years. 

It’s been bad.

But lately, I’ve run into a non-cosmetic issue with those darn things.  The kids keep falling down ’em.
I asked Jack to re-enact his latest tumble:

He was all too happy to demonstrate.  Love that kid.

I’ve been fighting putting carpet on the stairs since we got them.  I’ve been convinced I could refinish them and make them awesome.  It’s not working.  They look bad.  Real bad.  There are gaps everywhere and cracks in them.  And apparently, they’re slippery.  I only put two coats of satin polycrylic on them after I stained them with the hopes that they wouldn’t be too slick.  And they’re not really all that slick, but for a 4 and 6-year-old wearing socks while chasing each other down the stairs, they spell D-A-N-G-E-R, Will Robinson.

So, I got to work.

I saw this runner makeover over at Little Green Notebook and used it as my inspiration.  I love the lines and color of this little rug from Ikea:

Ikea ‘Soften’ rug

I picked up four rugs during a recent trip to Ikea and jumped right in.

That wayward staple was removed.  Don’t you worry.

I worked my way down, doing my best to stretch the carpet around the edge of the tread and staple it just underneath.  I found that if I stapled it on the white stripe, it was nearly invisible.

Don’t do this.

Do this instead.

And at the end of the day, I was left with this:

Crazy, right?  Let’s take a moment and go back in time (a few months ago) and look at what I started with:

And with the magic of the internets, I have this:

I took this photo while I was waiting for the paint to dry on the trim piece
 I placed at the bottom of the stairs to cover the end of the stair runner.

I especially love how the stripes look from this angle:

I still need to finish the trim paint on the faux stair skirt, and add a couple bits of trim, but those stairs have sure come a long way, baby.  I have no idea how the carpeting is going to wear.  And seriously, what was I thinking putting dark, charcoal fabric on stairs while we’re still under construction?  They show every speck of dust.  But I’m still very, very happy with the end result.  I’ll report back over the next few months and throw out an update.

Linking up to:

TDC Before and After

Thirty Minutes And Nine Bucks – Open Shelving Tutorial

Thirty minutes and nine dollars.  That’s it.  That’s all you need to build some functional open storage for your kitchen.  And probably to get a questionable massage in a questionable neighborhood.  But let’s talk about shelves today.

We’ve officially opened up a can of whoop-ass on the kitchen and I’m not taking any prisoners.  My goal is high-end looks on a low, low, low, low budget.  In order to achieve that, I’m planning to DIY the ENTIRE thing.  I’m reducing, reusing and recycling, baby.  And that brings us to today’s project, which has me particularly excited.

A little backstory for you:  We started this whole-house reno last August.  One of the first things that had to happen was gutting the pantry since that was going to be where the staircase went.  I still remember the morning that the builder told me I was going to have to clear it out.  I think I knew at that moment that things were going to get real up in here.
And then we tore the wall of cabinetry down in order to expand the kitchen.  So, everything in those cabinets got relegated to the basement, along with the contents of the pantry.

I spend about 85% of my time in the house in the kitchen on any given day.  From making coffee first thing in the morning, prepping lunches for everyone, fixing after-school snacks, all the way to making dinner and cleaning up the ridiculous messes that happen in here.
I love being in the kitchen.
I love cooking.
I even love cleaning it.
 I’ve been without a fully functional kitchen for about EIGHT months.  Eight months of feeling sad every time I came into the kitchen to prepare a meal.  Eight months of barking at the kids to not touch certain boxes of construction-related material that were all over the place.  Eight months of not being able to find the things I need because I seriously had no idea where they had been packed.  EIGHT MONTHS.  That translates to about 240 days.  Two hundred forty days of feeling lost in this house.  
Now, I know it sounds dramatic and granted, I wasn’t going to fling myself off of the Ambassador Bridge or anything.  But I’m willing to bet that anyone who has ever gone through a big renovation like this can relate.  Heck, even people who’ve only done their kitchens will tell you how horrible it was.  But the last 240 days in this kitchen…. they’ve been…. not awesome.
And every single one of those days, I thought about how I was going to make this kitchen awesome.  I’ve collected so many clippings of kitchens and one thing that has always stood out was a touch of open storage.  Just a touch.  Not too much.  I don’t like visible clutter (It makes me itch.  Ask John) and if I was going to go the shelf route, it needed to be neat and tidy.
And cheap.
Let’s get started, shall we?
I began by scooping up four of these lovely lads:
Source: ikea.com via Carol on Pinterest

Then, I found a few cabinet doors from the demolition phase of the kitchen and asked John, very nicely, if he would rip them down to a shelf-ish dimension of about 26″x10″.

The boards were in super-pretty shape.  Super-pretty.

I simply glued the boards together and clamped ’em.

Then I added some lattice trim to all of the edges to clean it up and make it look like one, thick shelf.

I took the finished shelf out to the garage and sanded ‘er down.  Knocked down the edges of the trim a bit because I generally don’t like razor-sharp edges on things that I use daily.  I could not – for the life of me – get the tops and bottoms of the shelves to accept the stain.  I sanded and sanded, but the stain wouldn’t take.  However, it occurred to me that only the bottoms would really be noticeable, so I gave them a couple coats for blending.  I got lazy and even left the top shelf white.  No one will ever see that shelf and if they do, I’ll throw a cookie at their head.

Here’s the finished product (and yes, I planked the kitchen walls — more on that later):

Top shelf is totally white.  Totally.

THEN!  I found this while I was searching the interwebz today:

Source: houzz.com via Carol on Pinterest

Those shelves are from West Elm and are $79.00 a piece.  I think my $9 shelves are more than sufficient for me.

Now that I have one spot that’s somewhat manageable, the whole kitchen feels more like home.  And the itching is subsiding.

Linking up to:  Not JUST A Housewife, Coastal Charm