Saturday, August 17, 2013

How to paint over circus tent stripes--the prep work

If you've spent any amount of time reading this blog, and specifically the West Virginia posts, you're well aware that this particular feature was not a selling point for us.

 Not only were there stripes, but there were also the "complimentary" accents.

Be forewarned, this post has lots and lots of images of the stripes. It won't be pretty. Also, they were all taken from my iPhone at different times of day. What does that mean? It means there will be all kinds of  variations in the colors. It'll be awesome. Prepare your eyes.

To go so far as to say I abhor this paint job would not be a stretch. At all. It makes me think I'm at a circus. Not in a good way, either. Not like lions doing tricks, elephants being ridden by sparkly ladies and cotton candy. More so in the creepy killer clown way. I knew the second we decided we were going to put an offer in on the money pit house that the paint would have to go.

I thought it would go more quickly.

Like the day we closed.

The more I looked at it, though, the more I realized that a coat of paint wouldn't do the trick. There'd need to be some actual effort exerted to make all remnants of the stripes go away. See, there was one spot on the left-hand side of the big striped wall that the previous owner had painted. Maybe she had a narrow pink stripe to the end of the wall and decided it looked funny or something. Anyway, the burgundy had been painted over a pre-exisiting stripe and the ridge from the stripe was very obvious.

I didn't want a wall of reminder ridges.

I went to a paint store in Virginia. It shall remain nameless because I think I was given bad advice. The paint expert told me it should be fine to just paint over it. I had hoped that was the case, but there was that one tell-tale-line that made me seriously doubt her advice.

I purchased a paint sample and decided to paint a test strip. I also purchased this super-handy sanding sponge . I thought maybe taking a little bit off of the ridge would help.
I sanded a portion of one stripe and painted my sample color over it and a little bit beyond. The ridge was still there where I hadn't sanded (duh), but it was almost completely gone where I had sanded. I formulated a plan that made me very grateful that I had purchased the handle to go with the sponge. I was going to sand all the lines.

Before doing that, I also got out the spackle and filled in all the holes in the walls. Then I got to sanding.

To say it was fun would be a overstatement. It wasn't awful, though. I sanded just enough for the ridge to be less noticeable to the touch. I figured if I sanded them off completely then I'd just have smooth stripes on the textured wall and I'd just have smooth reminders of the circus tent wall.

Little Man is in the super cute mimicking stage, so whenever I'd put my sanding sponge down he'd pick it up and "help."


So, so, so cute. He even got the idea that I was doing it to the stripes. Unfortunately with child labor laws being what they are, I sent him off with dad rather than keeping him on for the job. Though the house was built well after lead paint laws took effect, I figured all those microscopic paint particles in little lungs can't be a good thing.

I know, mom of the year award.

While I was sanding stripes I also sanded the spackled patches. I was starting to grow optimistic that this was going to work.

By the way, calendars should not be tacked directly to the wall. These tiny pin holes going up the wall are annoying. PSA of the day. These are just two instances of the many instances of this.

Once upon a time, this house had a land-line. We no longer have one, but the DSL is tied in to the phone. The phone jack was once probably very conveniently placed on this central wall. Now that it just has a modem attached to it, it is an awkward eyesore. Also, notice in the above photo of Little Man sanding that the plug for the modem is temptingly placed where little hands want to reach for it.

Little Man is getting the motor skills required to put little things in little holes and I really wanted this particular temptation out of his reach. I asked Beau if we could move it. Since the refrigerator is on the other side of the wall, we figured the phone jack could just be moved to the other side of the wall, the modem plugged in to the same outlet as the refrigerator and left sitting atop the refrigerator. Beau said it would be a pretty easy job.

For once, a project in this house was as straightforward as it should have been. Praise God.

Beau turned off the modem,  removed the faceplate to expose the phone wires and receptacle, unhooked the wires from the phone jack and pulled out the receptacle box.

Isn't it pretty?

Next he cut a hole in the opposite side of the wall. We opted to move the phone jack higher, but didn't move it horizontally along the wall so we didn't have to move through any studs. I handed the cord up through the old hole to the new one, Beau fed it through and installed the new receptacle, hooked up the wires and we had internet again. (It probably was a little tougher than that, but I was playing with Little Man while daddy worked.)

Next we had to patch that gaping hole.

Beau put a small board in the hole and secured it to the stud on the right-hand side so that the patch wouldn't be a weak spot in the wall. Next, he screwed in a piece of drywall to the support he had just installed and it was almost as good as new.

We put a little mud over the patch and sanded it even with the rest of the wall.

The last thing I needed to do to get the wall ready to be primed and painted was to wipe down all of the walls with Mineral Spirits. I did this because there was so much dust from the paint and drywall sanding. I really wanted the paint to adhere nicely to the wall.

It's not much to look at, but you can see that the walls are cleaner and (ugh) brighter. (And still damp from the Mineral Spirits.)

We used Klean-Strip Odorless Mineral Spirits from Home Depot. Obviously, odorless is best when there are little people around, but I also did this step when Beau had the Little Man out and about. Even though it is odorless, it is still a pretty potent chemical--despite sounding like it can make a potent cocktail.

The next steps are priming and painting. You'll have to wait a bit on that. I've got one coat on and another is in the works. Today is the Wine and Jazz festival here in Snowshoe, so this girl is taking a day off!!

Oh, and did you notice I gave the trim a nice crisp coat of white? More on that when I deal with the paint. It'll be a paint-tastic post. I can't wait to show you how great it looks!

Have you ever had to paint over a feature that required extra steps? How'd you do it?

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