This past summer, I took on another project for my in-town son and his family.
In their new home, I previously painted their kitchen and hearth room, my granddaughter’s room, my newest grandson’s room, and the hall bathroom. This time, the painting was all upstairs.
First up was a bathroom that had been previously bright red. This required painting with two coats of Kilz® to cover the red. But additionally, they wanted me to remove the inset porcelain toilet paper holder and towel rack. Fortunately, the sheetrock knock out for the toilet paper holder was still in the wall so that patch went fairly smoothly with adhesive mesh and spackling. The towel rack knock outs had fallen down in the wall so those required additional repairs with lots of sanding.
Finally, I was able to get the first coat of the new green paint brushed and rolled for a much-improved appearance. After the second coat, I was able to install the new towel racks and toilet paper holder to give the finished touch.
Next on the list was painting their playroom a rich chocolate brown color.
When they bought their house in 2019, this room had been decorated in a local university sports team theme with two walls deep blue, two walls grey (school colors) and a sports team border to boot. Once the pandemic started, this is where my son had set up his home office so in addition to four monitors, two computers, all the appropriate computer paraphernalia, two large screen TVs and chairs and couches, there was a lot of things to move to the middle of the room. Behind his desk, I barely had room to crawl.
Obviously the first step was to pull down the boarder. Unfortunately, using the typical process of removing the border occasionally brought down some of the blue paint as well which required further repair. My typical painting approach is to use lots of painter’s blue tape along baseboards, windows, and door jambs. Along the ceiling, I typically free hand that with as steady a paint stroke as I can. Once I had what I refer to as “two stripes” of brush stroke, I was ready to roll.
While the striping step is rather slow and tedious, the rolling always goes very fast and I can usually get both coats rolled in a single painting session. Once it had dried and I had pulled up all the tape, the furniture could be moved back, and a finished room was now ready for further work or playtime.
The third painting task was the most challenging and the one I had intentionally saved for last. It was the stairs up to the second floor along with two hallways. After going through the doorway/alcove on the first floor, the stairway opened up to the full height of the second floor, at least 20 feet high.
I had previously had a similar very challenging job painting our entry hall which also had a 20-foot ceiling and stairs to contend with. The biggest problem was trying to paint the wall right at the ceiling above the stairs when I needed the ladder against the wall but could not place it there for the stairs. Scaffolding would have solved the problem, but I didn’t want to go to the expense of renting it.
When I got to my son’s house that morning, the first problem was I could not even get the 10-foot length of my extension ladder from the first-floor hall through the doorway to the second floor (it was too long). Fortunately, my son had a 20-foot expandable ladder that folded up into four sections.
After pondering how to tackle this stairway the idea we came up with was to butt the ladder against the top step riser and then lean it against the opposite wall. This provided about a 40-degree scaffolding. This meant I was precariously standing on the side of the ladder rather than on the steps of the ladder, no doubt in violation of many federal regulations.
For the tallest height of the stairway, I was able to use the ladder in a normal fashion.
I quickly and as safely as possible, did my two stripes thankful my weight on the ladder did not punch a hole in the opposite wall.
After I had rolled the first coat, I realized I was going to run out of paint. I sent my son off to get another gallon and I continued with what I had. When he got back, he explained why he had been gone so long—they were out of that particular type of paint (an eggshell finish). They explored several different options but ultimately suggested a slightly less glossy eggshell and so mixed up the same color.
As I rolled with the new gallon, I tried to see if I could tell a difference between where I had brushed and where I had rolled. While it was still wet, it seemed okay but once it had dried overnight, I could tell a difference in the finish and sadly even the color. The brushed two stripes using the first gallon were shinier and also off a shade (new paint was slightly darker). My son said he could not tell much of a difference and said he was satisfied (I think he was being nice), but I told him I was not satisfied.
To fix the problem, I had to stripe a third brush coat with the new paint which also meant I had to survive another use of the precarious ladder positions on the stairs. But I did and it matched perfectly.
I undertook this project during August, typically the hottest weather we have in Memphis (most days there was a heat advisory). Since it was naturally hotter upstairs, I only worked in the mornings. This prolonged the time it took me to complete the project (about eleven half days) but in the end, it was well worth it. And I know my son and daughter-in-law were very pleased with the final results.
Now that I have tackled painting the most challenging rooms in their house, future projects will be much easier. And I know there will be more as my son said even before I finished, you know we’d like to paint our bathroom next, which also has a 20-foot ceiling (but no stairs). And then there are two downstairs hallways in need of repainting. Good thing I love to piant!