Originally published in The Leaf Chronicle on Feb 1, 2015
Recently, a friend asked me if I had any tricks for painting ceilings. I told her my trick is—wait for it--to get my husband to do it. (Bah dum bum—thank you folks, I’ll be here all week . . .).
Honestly though, I do hesitate to give tips for painting walls because there are so many different schools of thought for “best practices.” You’ve got techniques for painting walls, ceilings and trim—each one is likely different. I suppose that’s why there are so many products on the market for accomplishing this chore.
Some prefer using rollers, while others are masters with brushes. Myself? I prefer using paint pads for the large surface areas, but I need an angled, short-handled brush for cutting-in and the trim. Beyond that, you’d probably do better to figure-out your own tactics
My approach for painting a room is rather languid. Unless there is some sort of deadline, such as an impending visit from the President and First Lady, I will take my sweet, sweet time. I will come out of the gate going great guns, but soon as I have to exchange my brush for the paint pad or vice versa, my enthusiasm will start to wane.
My biggest hurdle however is the preparation. The patching of holes is a chore which sucks my will to continue. As it usually works for me, I tell myself that I’m going to get started painting and should be finished by the end of the day, but then I take down a picture and am reminded of the difficulty I had driving a nail into the plaster.
(Here is a patch job done by our contractor—thank goodness! If it had been up to me we’d still be looking at the crack. As it was, I had to sand it and was really put-out about that—I had already prepared my paint and was ready to roll . . . or rather, “pad.” Of course, I then remembered I had told him not to worry about sanding—I would be glad to do it. Ugh.)
When we first moved into this house, I had a heck of time getting our numerous pictures hung. I could easily spot where they need to go and dived right in with hammer, hooks and nails only to be thwarted by the amount of plaster that was chipping away with each blow of the hammer. (Yes, I knew the nail was my intended target.)
I finally discovered the tip for putting a piece of tape on the wall where I intended to drive the nail to keep the plaster from chipping. I am, however, reminded of my early frustrations as I remove pictures from the wall in preparation for painting.
For years the pictures have hung in place—nicely camouflaging the hack job I performed on the walls. They’ve been there, quietly keeping the secret of my “old house rookie” mistakes. They do their job so well, I had forgotten about the surprises which awaited me.
So then, my enthusiasm starts to falter as I realize I’m not going to be able to jump right into the “fun part,” as I am first required to patch the divots. Patching requires waiting for the compound to cure and by then, I’ve usually found a “cure” for my initial desire to paint.
And then there is “taping;” nothing takes the wind out of my sails like taping. A while back I shared my inspirational, Yogi-on-a-rock-in-the-middle-of-a-still-pond quote: Taping is for pessimists. And, while I stick to my optimistic guns on the frivolity of taping for most projects, I do have to acknowledge I did tape off the floor around the baseboards of my cabinets, which I recently painted. I was not about to risk black paint on my new kitchen floors—something even rose colored glasses would not be able to disguise.
(First, let me draw your attention to the black baseboards. Doesn’t it appear as though they have always been so? Now, get a load of that patch job—there under clock. My first, lazy attempt was with caulk—since I had been caulking the trim and anything else you can think of. I had to go back over it with plaster patch because the divot was so deep . . . and wide.)
Speaking of those baseboards, I have to share this with you. Years ago we painted our kitchen cabinets black. It was one of our first undertakings. At that time we were preparing for the holidays—an apparent ignition switch for me, as I tend to take on HUGE tasks just before the holidays—so time was short.
Because our floors were white AND I loathe taping AND my husband was helping (thus, we would not skip the “frivolous” step) I convinced myself that I wanted the baseboards to remain white. It was a decision I’ve regretted for 10 years, but the prospect of the prep work was debilitating, so it never got done—until now.
After our new floors were down in the kitchen, I set about scrubbing the baseboards and taping-off the floor. Our baseboards now match the cabinets (not the floor) and I couldn’t be more pleased.