It’s been a busy few weeks!
I’ve been painting a ton. It started with the paint around the back door. But then, since I had the brushes, tarp and other fun tools out, I took on other painting projects.
Then, flipping through the pile of paint cans in the garage I tackled other projects. I also discovered that freeze/thaw cycles are not kind to paint. The previous owner had left a dozen or so paint cans in the garage, all labeled with the room they coated. Great, I thought when I found then can labeled, “Back hall.” By its weight, it felt about a quarter full – more than enough to touch up around the new back door where we had removed the trim. I patched everything, sanded it down, changed into painting clothes, set up my tarp and ladder, pried off the lid – and discovered jell-o. The paint had congealed into a layer of gelatinous goo, topped by clear liquid. Interesting stuff.
Luckily, since the Ace Hardware label was still intact with the color name and pigment ratios, I took the can over to my local store. First, I asked them if they could shake it up and see if it was salvageable. It wasn’t. Next, I asked for a quart, assuming I have enough unused paint hanging around the house, and wondering how many of the other cans were worthless. However, in the five years since the paint had been originally mixed, they had discontinued selling the base in quart-sized containers, so I was stuck with a gallon if I wanted the color. That was fine until I discovered that my gallon of premium paint was a whopping $43! Eegads! I’ve never paid more than $22 or $23 for a gallon of paint, and often buy it when it’s on sale. The cashier saw the look of shock on my face and threw in a couple extra stir sticks, but sheesh. Had I know, I would have found a “close enough” color or just resolved to repaint the entire back hallway, complete with 16 foot ceilings where the basement opens up to the rest of the house. Instead, since it’s a nice neutral color, I’ll be repainting some other room – maybe the dining room or office? Either way, since I had plenty, I ended up painting two nice coats around the door and also freshening a lot of the space.
Moving along, I finally (after two years!) painted the second coat in the downstairs bathroom, bringing out the true color I had imagined – a subtle lilac that contrasts nicely against bright white trim and the light green kitchen. I also applied a second coat to the trim and touched up a couple places that had chipped on the kitchen trim.
Next, I did a bit of concrete patching on the front steps before applying a fresh coat of paint. The front steps were tough only because of our continuing brown bug problem. After washing off all the bug carcasses before I started, they kept landing in the wet paint! I kept having to retouch the slightly tacky paint, trying to remove the bodies before they dried, like mosquitoes in amber. There are a couple that I didn’t manage to extract, but they’ll remain entombed as a memorial to their brothers – I’ve killed hundreds this summer.
Meanwhile, our driveway project taught us some valuable lessons – namely, that asphalt is nasty stuff that does NOT come off of concrete or aluminum side. We had been careful applying it, but some had inevitably splattered in the process. So I repainted the foundation facing the driveway (and think I’ll do the rest of the house soon, just to keep it even). However, despite trying two different products suggested by the Home Depot and Ace experts, we cannot figure out how to get the splatters of (black) tar off the (white) aluminum siding without also removing the coating (is it paint?). Especially since I redid the foundation, it looks especially bad. One product yellowed the siding, the other removed the paint-like coating, exposing bare metal. I think for now, our best bet is going to be touching up with white metal paint?
In the midst of asphalt cleanup, I also decided it was high time to repaint our white gate that closes across the driveway. It had a rough winter and a couple bare patches. Luckily, there was another paint can in the garage labeled “gate.” I opened it up and discovered more goo! Sigh. Then I opened an indoor/outdoor paint in another shade of white and discovered pure jelly. My last option – without buying more paint – was to use the same white paint I’ve used for the bathroom and kitchen trim. It’s labeled for interior, so I only did half the gate for now. I’ll let it get through a couple rain storms (it’s rained all day) to see how it holds up before doing the other half. Fence painting sucks – the slats take forever to coat evenly.
I think that’s all the painting for now. I rather enjoy it for the first couple hours, but it gets tedious – and leaves me with a clawed right hand for a day or so afterwards. But it’s one of the easiest and most cost-effective improvements – and you see the results right away.