Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Painting the kitchen cabinets - highs and lows

I had no idea that painting one's kitchen cabinets would be such an emotional roller coaster. It's hard to know where to start, so I'll just go in chronological order. [This might become less coherent as the post progresses, because I'm chugging wine like a sorority girl.]

I finally got an actual coat of paint on the lower cabinet boxes! I was profoundly nervous: even though I've worked with Benjamin Moore Advance paint before, I'd only sprayed it with my Graco X5 Paint Sprayer [foreshadowing]. I'd never applied it with a brush or roller, and I'd read horror stories on other blogs about it sagging and dripping.

I mentally debated Sherwin Williams Pro Classic Alkyd vs. Benjamin Moore Advance for weeks, and finally ended up going with Advance because of one lousy review a supposed pro-painter left on the Sherwin Williams website about Pro Classic. (Kind of arbitrary when you consider you can find a ton of negative reviews on Advance, see paragraph immediately above.) It really does apply level beautifully; I'm totally sold on it now. I can see how sagging or dripping might happen if you were loading the brush and slopping it on the surface, but it was easily managed. [Forewarned is forearmed? Is forearmed a thing? That doesn't seem right. The wine might be kicking in.]

I started off with a mohair roller the guy at the Benjamin Moore paint store recommended, but ultimately went back to my Home Depot foam roller. All you need to know the mohair roller is the HAIR part. I kept seeing little fibers in the paint. Pissed me off. Luckily on my last/most recent trip to Home Depot I bought a metric butt-ton of those, in a rare demonstration of proactive purchasing. I'm ready.

That was the first high, immediately followed by relief that I like the color. [You might recall that the paint dude tried valiantly to match it to Galveston Gray after I had a dyslexic moment.] It's a warm gray and I think it will look great with White Dove on the top cabinets.

My first low was encountered when I attempted to use the spray cans I purchased from the BM paint store. I anticipated using them on the larger flat surfaces, as well as the detail-heavy side of the cabinets next to the dining area. [Someday I plan to demolish that side entirely and create bench seating, but for now I've got to address it.] None of them worked. It was bizarre: I saw the guy fill them, and I saw him test them. I shook them for nearly 3 minutes each, and tried 4 separate cans, but no love: it just oozed a clear or white-ish fluid. I had to drive back to the store, where they also tested it and verified I wasn't an idiot, and gave me my money back. While it's nice having $140 back in my pocket (10 cans at $12/can), I expected to save time with those, so it does come at a cost.

Backstory for low #2: Gettysburg Gray, my accidental choice, is a very green gray:
(Heavy on the green, light on the gray. This swatch image doesn't do it justice.)
As mentioned numerous times, the paint store dude did his level-best to get it as close to Galveston Gray as possible:
Unfortunately you can't take color out, you can only add or offset. So...Leo (Ryan's 8 year old) walks into the kitchen after I've finished. The first words out of his mouth? "That looks like a gross green gray."

Needless to say, I beat him to death with a paint brush. KIDDING. I ignored him, because I like the *#($%@! color. [Emphasis on the $ part of that expletive.]

Earlier in the day I had gotten primer coats 1 and 2 on the upper cabinet doors out in the garage. Since they'd had time to dry while we ate New Year's dinner, I went out and did the finish sanding (you know, 220 grit) on both the doors and the drawers, vacuumed them, and then wiped them down with Tack Cloth.

I moved the drawers inside because my hopes of spray painting them had been dashed, but I still had my Graco X5 sprayer and was Hell-bent on getting one coat of White Dove on the uppers tonight.

And that's where the wheels completely fell off.

That GD sprayer caused me profound anxiety when I was spraying the baseboards back in February, but I felt like we needed a fresh start and went into this with a positive attitude.

I hate that effing thing. It now lives in the trash.

I read and re-read the instructions, flushed then primed the tubing with paint. When I turned it to SPRAY, it spurted paint up in the air at a significant trajectory. [I will have to re-sand some of the bottom cabinet doors, dammit. They were in a box in the corner of the garage and yeah, it went that far.] I then re-checked the instructions, realized the Quick Start Guide left out a pretty critical step [bastards], and tried to spray again.

Paint then started oozing out of a connection on the hose that I didn't even touch! Ryan came out while I was in the throes of oozing paint cleanup. He tried to help me tighten the connections, but it only got messier and leaky-er. He stepped in a big puddle of paint, and he doesn't own painting shoes like I do so that was not cool.

Then the damn cat ran into the garage because he's an opportunistic jerk. I was terrified I'd be cleaning up paint cat paw prints for the rest of our lives so, I proceeded to curse a blue streak and chase him. [FYI that never, ever helps.]

I finally realized that if I didn't clean up the giant puddles of paint he'd inevitably run through them, so I abandoned chasing him in favor of cleaning.

Ryan collected Ollie and beat him on my behalf, and I cleaned paint off the garage floor as much as I could. Then I put the Graco X5 in the trash. I will hand paint/foam roll coat 1 the backs of the doors tomorrow.

[Look, we didn't beat the damn cat. He's just picking up on my stress and the boys being hyper and Ryan's mom being here. He's quite the empath. But I still hated him a little in that moment.]

So I'm slightly behind schedule. HAHAHAHAHA!

I'm way behind schedule. Whatever. It'll get done when it gets done. And it will be awesome in spite of everything.


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Painting the kitchen cabinets - part Infinity

Posting 'part x', is misleading so I'm abandoning it in favor of snark. This project will never, ever be over. I don't regret taking it on persay, but wow, it's brutal. I hate everyone on the internet that finished it in 48 hours, or even 10 days. I am largely doing it alone, but this still seems to be taking an inordinate amount of time.

Yesterday's accomplishments:
  • Applied primer coat 2 on the cabinet boxes.
  • Sanded doors and drawers
  • Sanded cabinet boxes (lightly with 220)
Yep, that's it. And yet I was busy for 9 solid hours JUST DOING THAT. Actually I think it's got to be longer than that, because I started around 9am, stopped for Leo's birthday dinner around 7pm, and then started again around 10pm and worked until midnight. So what's that, 12 hours? It's been like this every day. It takes between 6-7 hours just to paint the cabinet boxes.

I temporarily consoled myself by calculating how little money I'd spent (~$350) compared to what this would cost from a professional (~$1800-2200, possibly more). But then I remembered that I took a week of PTO for this project. That narrows the gap a bit, and every piddling trip to Home Depot (for the supplies I seem to be perpetually one short of) chips away at it even further. [I think I'm mixing metaphors but that's what 48 hours of primer fumes will do to your brain.]

I wish I could somehow post the entire 4-page task list that I wrote out, because it's hilarious. Here's what I'm supposed to be doing tomorrow, day 6:
  • Spray paint coat 2 on lower cabinet doors (backs) 
  • Spray paint coat 2 on drawer fronts  
  • Spray paint hardware
  • Kill ~ 12 hrs 
  • Spray paint coat 3 on lower cabinet doors (backs)
"Spray paint coat 2 on lower cabinet doors"...."Kill 12 hours"...I'm a comedian.

Last night I lay awake in bed until 5am just freaking out. I finally made the decision that if I'm going to miss my self-imposed deadline of finishing by this Sunday, I'm going to miss it by a mile. That means I'm going back to my original plan of top cabinets being white, bottom cabinets being greige. If I'm lucky, I'll finish painting all the top cabinet boxes and doors, and the bottom boxes (only) by Sunday. Then I'll paint the bottom cabinet doors and drawers next weekend (starting Thursday evening and finishing Sunday).

Today I started at 9am, dry-wiping the cabinet doors and drawers, vacuuming off each one, then wiping them all down with a damp rag. After this lunch/coffee break I'll go back out and de-grease, and then spray coat 1 of primer on them. In an hour I'll spray the 2nd coat, and then maybe I'll actually get a coat of paint on tonight. But more likely, I predict running out of spray primer and making another trip to Home Depot. If I don't run out of primer, I predict that the Graco sprayer won't work and I'll have to buy a new one. If neither of those things happen, I predict a plague of locusts.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Painting the kitchen cabinets - part 2

Here we are, end of day 3, with not a lot to show. What we got done:
  • Primer coat 1 on kitchen cabinets
  • Holes drilled in drawers for hardware

What's left:
  • Everything else
The most important outstanding task is sanding and de-greasing the cabinet doors. I did some math today and realized that the doors are going to make or break my timetable, because each door requires 4 total coats with 16 hours drying time in between. My two-toned plan isn't tenable if I want to finish before I go back to work next week.

Sooo, I've decided to go with a single color for all the cabinets. I'll find another use for that dark greige custom color. I need to be able to spray all the doors at once so it takes a max of 4 days, and the only way I can do that is with a single color on top and bottom.

On a less tense note, here's my genius Tape & Drape technique (patent-pending):
Covered, ready to paint
Uncovered, ready for use
Covered, ready for painting
Uncovered, ready for use
I took a 9x12 plastic drop cloth and cut it into 4 parts. Each section was the perfect cabinet width and depth.

You're welcome, universe.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Painting the kitchen cabinets - part 1

Two disclaimers right up front:
  1. I know I never posted "after" pictures of the backyard. (Heck, I'm not sure I posted all of the "befores"!) I've been meaning to...I will eventually! It's not a total transformation, but it's definitely a step in the right direction. 
  2. I won't be posting any pictures this time either! You're just going to have to read words. 
So, as the post title indicates, I decided to paint my kitchen cabinets! The driving factor was the ability to take this entire week and next off. Originally I thought that would be plenty of time, and now I'm fearful it will bleed into the following week/weekend or more. 

I've been reading up on this for 4-evah; since we bought the house. Pinterest is an amazing resource!! I read up on Chalk paints vs latex paints vs oil paints, different prep techniques (deglossers, sanders, the no-prep prep). I've studied at least 10 different step-by-steps on various home DIY websites, and well as some pro sites. I felt supremely confident two days ago. 

Not so much now. I attribute this in large part to my attempts at making a detailed plan. I wrote out explicit steps, bullets and sub-bullets. I left nothing assumed or undocumented. The problem was/is that I had an overly ambitious (aka delusional) timetable. I've never prepped a kitchen for painting before, and I'm now suspecting that my estimates for prepping (sanding, taping, deglossing, and generally everything you do before you ever pick up a brush) were grossly inaccurate. 

I started the project around 5pm yesterday, and my plan had me priming cabinet doors by the end of the night. It's now the end of day 2 (my first full-ish day, minus a previously scheduled hair appt and present-opening with the boys), and I still haven't started painting!

But I/we have accomplished a lot: Sanding cabinet boxes, doors removed and drilled for knobs, kitchen about 80% taped & draped. Tomorrow I'll post a picture of my innovative tape & drape solution - it's pretty impressive if I do say so myself (and I do).

What's left before commencing to paint: degrease interior cabinets, tape bottom slide out shelves, tape/cover floor, sand doors & drawers. I'm guessing all that will take another 4 hours?

Two unfortunate events so far:

  1. Yesterday when I went to buy paint, I told the Benjamin Moore guy I needed two gallons of Gettysburg Gray, when what I really wanted was Galveston Gray. He tried to get the paint color as close to Galveston Gray as possible, but it's ultimately a little browner than I'd prefer. (Sorry mom!) I hope I like it - at $49 a can I wasn't in a position to just write it off.
  2. Ryan accidentally dropped a door, and it came apart. However, this one actually turned into a positive (we think). We decided to paint the interiors of the cabinets for that door and its companion, and then order doors with glass instead. For a while there won't be any doors, but that's two less doors to paint! We also decided to leave the doors off the cabinets above the microwave space and just have open shelving. Two more doors off the painting list!! That's a total of 4 fewer doors to paint if you're keeping score at home. 
I'm nervous about painting because the sprayer freaks me out, but hopefully by my next post it'll be smooth sailing, er, painting.