House Rehab: Harmonic Convergence

Yesterday, I was able to get a first coat of trim paint on a window and a few door frames.  Nothing is more sickly looking than first coat primer.  It simply shouts out "poor paint job" when in fact it is just needed prep.

Before I painted, I had to putty many, many places on the windows and the frames--where they were screwed shut, where the trim was stapled, and in the gaps between the windows' rails and stiles.  Afterwards, I returned to sand every window/door + frame except for the kitchen window (screwed shut and we missed it) and one door frame so hopelessly damaged, that it needs to be replaced entirely.

The luan doors have been tossed, and I was able to find solid wood doors at the Re Source store (Habitat for Humanity).  My husband has been grousing about these because they are "carpenter" doors--meaning that a carpenter has to hang them and many do not know how to do that.  Sigh.....

Well, we are using these doors as they are sanded and primed and will soon be trim painted.  Granted, a pre-hung door may have been a better alternative, but these doors were our choice.  The issue with such doors  (as I understand it) is that they are heavy, and supposedly, pre-hung doors are so commonplace, that carpenters don't know how (or claim not to!) hang them.  In addition to the weight, you have to line up hinges on the frame and the door to get the door balanced.  My husband said that Tim, the carpenter - bricklayer that built most of our home with my husband has his helper stated that there was a trick.  Taping two nickels to the top of the door (tape sets) provided top clearance.  Shims underneath the bottom clearance, and then that leaves side to side...well the hinges kind of take care of one side.

To be sure, there will be much cussin' and fussin'.

The mess underneath the house was looked at by our friend.  He works with a 2-man group (of which he is #2)--a Class A contractor that regularly tackles such messes.  From my husband's description (you can tell he is finicky) it was Armageddon.  To Herb, it was, "Hell, this is not big deal."  Comforting words!  I have money in the budget to pay for this work.  The toughest thing in all of this is to convince husbando that I am not asking him to fix all of these items.

Of course, I'm painting.  The painter's tab was $1,600 so long as all surfaces were prepped and primed.  It is like vacuuming--once you have picked up everything, vacuuming is a breeze.  I want to pay someone to bring the bulldozer in and remove the crap!  After sanding, filling, sanding, priming, sanding---I want the satisfaction of putting on the top coats.  I want to witness the transformation first hand.

Though I have put a 1st paint coat on top of primer for the kitchen cabinets, painting the trim was very satisfying.  I'm using Benjamin Moore's Aura paint, in semi-gloss.  I am in love with this paint.  It is going on very beautifully.  Dale at the paint store said, "Aura makes anyone a good painter".  I believe it.

My goal this week is to have all the trim painted and to have the two upstairs bedroom walls painted. Getting some of this trim painted--erasing the ugliness of the primer--shows just how close we are to the final product.  With several projects (trim, door, kitchen cabinets) in various stages of incompleteness, both Hannah and I were a little overwhelmed.  We made a list of everything that had to be done to every room.  Checking some of those things off helped enormously--particularly since we've completed 99% of the sanding a priming.

So while $1,600  does not seem like much, it is more than 10% of the $15,000 rehab budget.  I have a little time now--and my daughter needs to learn some of these DIY skills.  I see Harmonic Convergence happening soon...that happy place where there is light at the end of the tunnel.


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