10.16.2021

Hey, Let's rip up the House

I'm repainting Ethan's room and Oy vey, what a mess. I am reminded why it is so much easier to paint a room with no shit in it. I moved his mattress upstairs and shoved everything else into the center. The kid is a collector and boy is there a lot of stuff. 

I last painted in here about 6 years ago, deep blue to white. Again it requires a complete overhaul. Teenagers will completely trash walls given free rein. Even the ceiling needed a repair from a previous roof leak.

Also my son now lives in Los Angeles, having graduated from college last year, but his room was still a time capsule from high school. I wanted to clean it up a bit while at the same time keeping it very much his own, as he still comes home fairly frequently much to his mother's delight. 

I began by skim coating two of the walls that were in particularly bad shape. Ordinarily I would avoid skim coating like the plague....however, I recently invested in a Festool random orbit sander and extractor system. This allows for virtually dustless sanding of walls. My method is to trowel on two coats of slightly watered down compound and then to sand the entire wall with 220 with my fancy machine. Then a third light coat where needed and a final sand. 

After taking this picture I decided to remove all the baseboards rather than try to sand them still on the wall. They were just in terrible shape and I could sand them very quickly with my new system.  


The painters who originally painted the house were painter's caulk crazy. They used WAY too much of it -which made all the contours of the trim all mushy looking and caused some adhesion problems as well. Caulk adheres better to a primed surface and they did not prime everything first. I suppose a lot of caulk is sometimes a remedy for poor finish carpentry work but I don't think that is what was going on in here. Anyway, I spent a lot of time scraping off gobs of caulk from the inside corners and it looks so much better. Scraping paint is definitely a form of meditation.

At the suggestion of my sister, also a serial restorer, I used spackle instead of caulk to fill the gaps between walls and baseboards. This method gives a very clean edge between wall and board. On the other hand, spackle isn't flexible like latex painters caulk, so I was worried it might crack. This method also takes a lot longer than running a bead of latex goop. In this method, spackle is done before priming. 

I do think the edges look crisper but the jury is still out on the longevity. The baseboard were reattached with a nail gun. Boy is that a fun tool to use.

Two coats of primer, three coats of paint. I favor using a roller with a very smooth nap (3/16) because my goal is the smoothest wall possible. A short nap obviously doesn't allow a lot of paint loading on the roller, so I find it requires more coats (which of course is trickier and special care has to be taken to avoid flashing). I'll admit, I've grown kind of militant about nap marks on the wall -I don't like them. On the ceiling I throw all caution to the wind and use a 1/4 nap, lol, two coats paint, no primer except on the patches. 

I should preface that all these nap shenanigans follow that I've already sanded the previously painted (but not skim coated) walls smooth with the fancy sander. That is a very fast process -like 10 minutes per wall.

Finally, I'm wallpapering the closet. This is House of Hackney paper, one roll. I was hoping to have enough to also paper the ceiling but no such luck. I might possibly paper with a clashing Lokta paper up there, depending on my patience level -I can't get this room put back together soon enough. There are also curtains to be sewn.....

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