Saturday, July 26, 2008

How to Refurbish a Hallway in 52 Easy Steps

I chronicled the adventure of wallpaper removal in our hallway earlier. That job has been accomplished, and we have now moved on to the priming and painting stage. Given what we've been going through with this project, I thought that I would offer some tips here so that you, Home Improvement Planner, may be able to avoid some of the pitfalls that we've encountered.

1. Get to the point that you can no longer even stand the sight of the wallpaper in the area to be redone.

2. Remove the wallpaper (this is actually multiple steps over many days and includes many trips to the home improvement store, but since the procedure has been passed along in painful detail elsewhere, we will consider this just one step).

3. Examine every square inch of the walls in order to find every little dent and ding that was originally hidden by the wallpaper, or, more likely, that you created while removing said wallpaper.

4. Fill these dents and dings with spackle. Re-examine every square inch of the walls to make completely certain that you've smoothed over every surface.

5. Wait one day for the spackle to completely dry.

6. Sand. I recommend an electric sander for this, unless you are prepared to completely lose the use of your arm, shoulder and one side of your neck and spend the next couple of days walking around like Quasimodo. This would also necessitate a good back story, such as "rugby injury" so that you don't have to answer questions about your disability with "sanding". And you do have to answer any questions, because you will have lost your ability to shrug.

7. Realize that you should have closed the doors because every horizontal surface in your entire home is now covered in a fine layer of spackle dust.

8. Make a note to leave the cleaning service a good tip.

9. Spackle the two dozen or so spots that you somehow managed to miss, but which now jump out at you like a pimple on your nose despite the fact that you checked twice before.

10. Wait one day for the spackle to completely dry.

11. Sand.

12. Add a little more to that tip for the cleaning service.

13. Sleep late on Saturday.

14. Have a cup of coffee.

15. Have a second cup of coffee.

16. Allow yourself some time to seriously regret that third bourbon you had last night.

17. Have a third cup of coffee.

18. Take inventory. If you're as lucky as I was, you'll find that you still have paint rollers, brushes, drop cloths, paint trays and primer from the last time you painted two years ago.

19. Get a flathead screwdriver which is entirely too small for your purpose because, let's face it, you have all the handyman skills of Stephen Hawking and wouldn't know what to do with a big screwdriver if you had one.

20. Insert the screwdriver under the rim of the lid of the can of primer and pry up. Turn the can about three degrees and repeat. Spend the next twenty minutes turning the can and prying upward, lifting the lid approximately one angstrom with each revolution.

21. Remove the lid.

22. Realize that, in two years time, a can of very expensive primer will separate like so much curds and whey.

23. Consider the possibility of trying to create "primer cheese".

24. Discount that possibility.

25. Take a paint stirrer, which for some completely unimaginable reason is shorter than an actual can of paint so that you have to submerge the entire thing plus the first two joints of your fingers, and stir the primer. This may take some time.

26. Wash your hand and spend several minutes shaking and massaging it in order to relieve the cramp caused by ten minutes of stirring.

27. Prepare the area. Lay out drop cloths so that they come right up against the baseboard in order to avoid messy accidents on your carpet.

28. Pour the primer into your paint tray, coat the roller in primer, and apply to walls.

29. Notice the ten or twelve dents and dings in the walls that you've managed to now miss on two separate occasions.

30. Consider the fact that Zeno may have had a point. In order to fill all the dents and dings, you first have to fill half the dents and dings. Then in order to fill the second half, you have to fill a quarter of them. Use this as a rationalization to come to the conclusion that if you continue at this rate, you will not be able to finish until the entire inside of your house is made up completely of spackle.

31. Decide that the dents and dings are in a place that no one will notice, nobody ever comes upstairs in your house anyway, and it's going to look better than it did before no matter what.

32. Cover them with primer.

33. Clean up the first couple of drips that manage to complete defy physics as we know it and land on your carpet despite the carefully place drop cloths. After that, you can just sort of rub them in because the primer's pretty close to your carpet color, nobody ever comes upstairs in your house anyway, and you can barely even see them.

34. Once all the walls have been covered, get your paint brush and begin applying primer to corners, along the ceiling, and along the baseboards.

35. Slop some primer onto one of the door frames.

36. Decide that it really doesn't matter because you're going to paint the door frames anyway and that's what primer is for, right? I strongly recommend that you get this step out of the way as quickly as possible, as it frees you up for priming walls, ceilings, door frames and baseboards with reckless abandon.

37. Admire your work.

38. Notice that, in the course of day-to-day life in your house, much of the spackle dust has gone away.

39. Revise that tip for the cleaning service back down.

40. Put the lid back on the can of primer and tap it down with the handle of the aforementioned ridiculously small and lightweight girly screwdriver.

41. Rotate the can, tapping the lid while trying to simultaneously prevent the opposite side from popping back up. Spend the next twenty minutes tapping it down approximately one angstrom per rotation.

42. Rinse the paint pan under warm running water.

43. Rinse the paint brush under warm running water.

44. Rinse the paint roller under warm running water.

45. Rinse the paint roller under warm running water.

46. Rinse the paint roller under warm running water.

47. Rinse the paint roller under warm running water.

48. Remember how much paint rollers actually cost.

49. Throw away the paint roller.

50. Remember that you still have to paint once the primer dries.

51. Consider the possibility that "primer" might be the next big thing in home decor color schemes.

52. Have a few bourbons.


Bilbo said...

I have similar comments about putting up wallpaper. I love paint. It's fast, it's easy, and enough coats can cover a multitude of dings. Of course, getting all the paint off the dog each time she brushes against the wet wall is a pain, but what the heck. I assume you have seen the bit that talks about how paint would be priced if it's price were calculated like airline ticket prices...

Gilahi said...

The dog? Heck, I have enough trouble getting all the paint off me every time I brush against a wall.

No, can't say that I've seen the paint pricing scheme thingy.

GreenCanary said...

I love paint, HATE primer. I don't prime. I just keep painting until it either looks good, or I no longer care. (It's usually the latter.)

J.M. Tewkesbury said...

You should have called me. I'm the priming and painting queen! I abhor water-based/flat paint and love the challenge of oil-based paint. I'm highly proficient at acrylic.

I love to paint! Great DIY activity.

Step 53: Hire me.

Gilahi said...

Canary - I don't know if the walls had ever been painted before, and there was one large area where a door had at one time been. I was afraid the walls would suck up paint like a sponge. In any event, it would've taken many, many coats of paint to cover up all the marks, glitches, spots and specks on the walls. I can't afford that much paint.

J.M. - Next time. I'll buy the pizza. I really don't mind the painting so much. The wallpaper stripping, spackling, and especially the sanding are Sisyphean endeavors that I hope I never have to go through again, though.

Add to Technorati Favorites