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Painting The House

Hey, I've been away from the blog a bit, mainly to paint our house! Right now I'm not in a position to post more about that, but plan a longer post with photos this week. We used an airless sprayer which was a pain and then later a joy to use (once we learned the problems it was having).

Anyway, it has been and will be a focus again this week, as trim and touch ups are needed. But boy, what an experience! Now that we're about 85-90% complete, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel! :-)

UPDATE 2004-09-14 New House

Old HouseI now have a few more details and pics to share and a few minutes at the end of lunch break to get them posted here.

First, the state of the original house color: UGLY. Dark brown siding with circa 1974 mustard windows and trim. We've always wanted to change the colors, and now finally we've done it. I'm amazed every time I see the new color on the house, how much more attractive it is and how much bigger it makes the house look. But that's normal when going from dark brown to medium tan with creme trim.

We used dad's powerwasher, which worked quite nicely to prep the aluminum siding surfaces. Dad accidentally power washed some of our cement patio, and discovered that cement looks great when power washed. So, once the painting is completed, we're planning to spruce up the sidewalks, patio and driveway via power wash (this will also serve to clean up bits of over-spray here and there).

The process was very hard and time consuming. Because we used an airless sprayer for the main surfaces, lots of taping, papering off and masking were required. We were amazed at how much needed to be taped and hidden from over-spray.

As to what an "airless" sprayer is: think of a giant auto sprayer or airbrush that sucks paint into a 50 foot tube via a piston. You dunk two tubes in the can of paint, the piston pumps until pressure is achieved, then the spray head can spray the paint. The piston pumps as needed to maintain the pressure of the system. It's "airless" because with other sprayers, air is the propellant for the paint — here pressurized paint becomes the propellant.

The priming stage started ok, but got progressively worse as we went along. By the end of the priming, my dad and I were about to toss the airless sprayer out, as it spurted paint at the end of every spray pass (putting splatters on the house). Dad decided to have a look at the spray head, and learned that it was not sealing after each spray, so he picked up new internal parts. After this change, the sprayer worked "just like buttah."

The main body coat was next, and went quite quickly. We estimated that the house painting took about 5.5 hours in total. As an example, dad watched as I sprayed a 10 x 50 foot section of the house, then commented "Well, what you've just sprayed is about 3 hours of work with a brush". Once I began to get the rhythm and feel for the machine, spraying went very quickly. It felt as if I couldn't stop, or I'd lose my momentum. It was actually fun to paint the house! :-)

As of today, the trim is starting to come along. front and side gutters and downspouts have a single coat of trim paint. We still have a bit to do, but this is easy to do a bit at a time, now that the main chunk of the house is painted. There are many touch ups to do, but that's a matter of repeated passes. We should have the house completed in another week or two, weather permitting.

I think the most important lesson learned from this whole project is this: you can do it if you believe you can. In this case I thought I could do it, but my dad was convinced I could. At the start, it was dad's confidence which drove me to excel, until I could see for myself that I could do it — and enjoy it! It's truly a great feeling when someone has complete confidence in you and you meet those expectations.

Best thing is, we have a great looking house, for very little cost. I've no idea what it would cost to have the house painted professionally, but I'm sure it would be more than our costs to do it ourselves.

Besides, now I can say to myself and others "I did that!"

Reader Comments (2)

I thought that post was again about your Funky House Paint Idea! ( with the real painting!
September 13, 2004 | Unregistered CommenterPaco Rivi�re
What a handyman, Mike!! Congrats!
September 14, 2004 | Unregistered CommenterJesus Vargas

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