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Matt Ventre


10 Things to Remember When Doing House Work

I think I did one like this a while ago, but here's some more. Trust me.


    1. Get all your supplies at once. Believe me.

    Multiple trips to the store drags everything out. Buy more up front, return what you don't need after you're done.

    2. Painting: Drop cloths. Not plastic.

    The plastic kind are horrible. You can use those to cover furniture or things you're not going to move or touch, but they get tangled up on floors. Go cloth.

    3. Painting: Paint pail. With liners.

    The tray works for rollers, but for brushwork you want a paint pail. They make some with disposable liners, too. Bigtime.

    4. Painting: Tape jobs. Optional.

    Optional, in my opinion. You might be better off if you're doing really tight linework like splitting a wall into to two colors, but doing trim - might be more trouble than it's worth. YMMV.

    5. Painting: Painting over tape. Take it easy.

    Careful how much you paint the transition between tape and your painted surface. I accidentally made a very significant paint bond between the two and I had to go back and touch up some pull-offs later on.

    6. Painting: Scoring the tape sometimes works.

    Prevailing wisdom says to score the tape line with a utility knife to make it easier to pull the tape off without removing any paint. In theory this works. In practice you'll probably cut the tape and leave a thin strip of tape painted into your surface. That's annoying. Just go easy on step 5 and you won't have this problem.

    7. Sanding: Important work. Don't take it lightly.

    Definitely sanding properly will save you some pain when painting over an already painted surface. You don't have to sand it bare, but get it smoothed out and strip away any bubbled, peeling, old paint.

    8. Painting the wrong surface by accident. It happens.

    You'll goof up and paint something you didn't mean to. Wipe it away with a damp rag if you catch it. If you don't, later you can sand it and repaint it properly. Remember: it's paint. It's temporary by design. Nothing is perfect.

    9. Don't worry about the imperfect details of your house.

    When you're inches away from damaged, chipped, or worn parts of your house for hours on end it's easy to lose perspective and think the whole thing looks like hell and it's hopeless.

    Zoom out. Your work is impressive. You don't live your life 1 inch from the floorboards. You'll be fine. Do your best.

    10. You're going to find more nonsense jobs from old workers or contractors.

    Just laugh at it and remember: you just did it like three times yourself today. Shortcuts happen. Don't beat yourself up.

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