Fix It: Deadly sins of house painting

Painters often leave a lot of work to do after they declare the job done.

house painter 88 (photo credit: )
house painter 88
(photo credit: )
Painters often leave a lot of work to do after they declare the job done. This includes do-it-yourselfers as well as the semi-pros that come in and paint a whole apartment in a day or two. Keep these seven caveats in mind, and you will get the job done right - and save yourself from having to call a handyman or another painter afterwards: 1. DOORS - We get a lot of calls to fix stuck doors after the painters have been through. Sometimes the problem doesn't show up until damp weather makes the wood swell a bit and stick. A coat of paint adds a fraction of a centimeter between the edge of the door and the door jamb, and we are often called to plane a bit off so the door fits right again. Worse - a lot of painters paint right over the locks and gum up the privacy bolts. Take the lock out and the handles off when painting a door right, check the fit and do a little sanding before you paint, and the doors will work fine afterwards. 2. WINDOWS - A roll of masking tape saves a lot of work when painting windows. It comes cleanly off the glass, saves hours of work with a razor blade afterwards, and gives a clean, neat edge. Also, like the doors, be careful to check the fit of the windows before adding another layer of paint. It's easier to sand before painting than afterwards. Painting the latches shut is never a good idea. 3. SPACKLING AND SANDING - Perfectionist painters put a lot of effort into spackling and patching holes and cracks before painting. It generally takes two or more coats of spackle (wall filler) followed by sanding to get a patch really smooth. A really big chunk out of the wall can take even four or five applications of spackling and sanding, because each application shrinks a bit when dry. 4. PRIMING - A good coat or two of primer is necessary when covering stained walls or when changing from a darker color to a lighter color. Also, a little soap and water cleaning can save a lot of paint if the wall is just plain dirty. Give it time to dry thoroughly. 5. SWITCH PLATES - It is usually best to remove switch plates and electrical outlets and clean them, rather then painting them. Even when you do want to paint them so they will be the same color as the walls, it is always best to remove them prior to painting them. If you paint them while they are still attached, it will be very difficult for an electrician to neatly remove them if needed. Always work safe and turn off the circuit breaker prior to removing the switches and outlets. 6. LIGHT FIXTURES - It is generally easier to loosen and lower, or remove and then replace, light fixtures than to try to paint around them. Nothing is worse than seeing ceilings with a dirty, unpainted swath around the overhead lights or drips on the fixtures. 7. BASE BOARDS - Most Israeli homes and apartments have a tile baseboard around the room to help contain the splashes from mopping jobs. It is best to tape them, but OK to paint above them with a good edging brush with a damp rag in the other hand to get any drips immediately. Dried drips on the base tiles need scraping with a paint scraper knife and a lot of vigorous scrubbing with a scouring pad to come off. Those are the Painter Pet Peeves (otherwise known as PPP). It takes a little more than just a roller, brush, pan and stepladder to make a good paint job. LAST COLUMN, we discussed the problem of disposing of thinner. One of the suggestions was to leave the cap off and let it evaporate. Mordechai Scher e-mailed a warning that the fumes are likely to be toxic and are very much a fire hazard. Thank you, Mordechai, for pointing this out. Hopefully the Knesset, via the Israel Clean Environment Committee, will deal with this issue soon and provide a proper method of recycling and disposing of these materials. Reva Henya asks,"I have a laundry room downstairs in my home, but the bedrooms are all upstairs. What would be involved with moving the laundry room upstairs, where the majority of laundry is?" A laundry room requires several things. The washing machine requires electricity, water input and a drain. If you want to move this next to a bathroom, it may not be such a big issue to hook up. However, if you do not have the water and a drain nearby, it would be a very costly project. An electric dryer requires a high amperage electric line and a vent hole; a gas dryer requires a feed for the gas line as well. This will also depend greatly on whether or not you have easy access to the outside to make a vent hole. Drilling through the Jerusalem stone is very difficult and requires special equipment. It is suggested to call a professional who does electrical and plumbing work to give you an idea of what it would take to set up these basics in your home before trying to tackle the job yourself. The authors can be reached for consultations via (02) 585-9559 and at
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