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Handyman Hints: Painting is a great cold-weather renovation

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What’s the perfect weekend-type activity to perform when the weather outside isn’t fit for man nor beast, and before you settle into binge watching Hallmark Christmas movies?

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Well, how about giving the bedroom walls a coat of paint? Clothing for the job? Optional, because as we discussed last week, skin scrubs clean easier than cotton or polyester, so whatever undies you’ve got on will do.

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Next choose a colour, and I suggest opting for white or any derivative thereof. For optimum brightness, optimum simplicity, and optimum ease of application, you just can’t go wrong when the transition from wall to casing is white to white.

Last weekend we decided to paint our bedroom, and although the walls were of a medium-to-dark tan colour and the mouldings a lighter version of this same tan tint, we chose to go with a ‘delicate white’ for the walls in an eggshell texture, and ‘delicate white’ for the casings and baseboards in a satin finish.

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Basically, the same colour of white for both the walls and mouldings, with only a difference in sheen separating the two. Not to say we were proud of ourselves in this most basic décor decision-making, but the strategic and incredibly simple choice of essentially blending white with white seemed almost genius.

Although the task of painting seems simple enough, it’s not.

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Painting’s a job— it takes effort and will require you following a strategy if you’re to continue doing this yourself. Because your level of maturity and education demands the end product should look somewhat better than what the average Grade 3 class could produce, you start by filling every crack and crevice with painter’s caulk and repair any dents or nail holes in the walls with a spackle product or dust control compound.

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Once the cracks between mouldings and wall have been filled, and any imperfections in the drywall smoothed out – and only once these tasks have been performed – do we remove the lid off our can of paint. No matter how expensive your chosen can of paint, it won’t bridge the gap between baseboard and wall, or smooth out a rough patch on the wall, and that’s why we prep.

Tools for the job? Large plastic paint tray, quality 10-millimetre roller refills (great for flat and low-sheen paints), roller cage (a good one), and a couple of 2.5-inch angled brushes. Tip: spend as much as your credit limit will allow you on a couple of paint brushes and roller refills.

“A good archer is known not by his arrows but by his aim,” is a Thomas Fuller quote that to some might suggest success isn’t tied so much to the brush, as it is the person applying the paint.

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Well, and like anybody who has tried to paint with a $2.99 three-pack of brushes knows, they’d be wrong. Yes, a steady hand is desirable, but a good 2.5-inch angled brush can make up for a whole lot of mild shakiness and amateur error. Plus, even if you diffuse bombs Monday to Friday, and in all probability possess a pretty steady hand, why would you want to make the task of painting more tortuous by hobbling yourself with a $2.99 paint brush?

What about paint tray liners and painter’s tape? I find both wasteful. After the task of rolling on paint is completed, or the urge to find out if the lawyer from Manhattan is going to be smitten with the Vermont tree farmer in whatever Hallmark movie we’ve put on pause, I simply tip the tray into the open gallon and encourage it to flow with my brush, returning as much excess paint as I can into the pail.

I guess I’d have to ask an environmentalist which is worse, sending a plastic liner to the dump or washing a bit of latex paint into our sewer system.

Regardless, I prefer to clean than to dump, so I clean the trays, rollers, and of course my expensive brushes with warm water.

Good painting.

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