Saturday, April 21, 2007

The DIY TV Painting Miracle

Although I find shows such as Mission Organization, Clean Sweep, Flip This House, and Designed to Sell fascinating, I am confused by the amount of work they manage to do in (usually) two days.

Let’s take something simple: painting interior walls. The perpetrators of these shows pick out paint, do minimal preparation, apply the paint under less than desirable conditions, and all seem to be working with homeowners who have never touched a paintbrush. In one or two days they finish a perfect job.

At our homestead, picking out the color can take a few weeks.

First there are the trips to all the major paint dealers in the Hillsborough area, comparing such items as price, coupons, coverage, and warranties, and possibly narrowing it to at least one manufacturer and/or store.

Then we each pick out a color, but it’s never the same one. We finally settle on the color and start the struggle over the exact hue and, then, how many gallons we need to buy.

The paint cans and the home maintenance books always warn us about the thorough preparation that must be done before the first brush touches the wall: taking off all the switch plates, taking down the pictures and anything else hanging on the walls and filling the nail holes, and patching any damage or nail pops. On television they seem to just blithely paint over everything on the walls including the old wallpaper.

We carefully read the instructions on the cans regarding temperature and humidity. On TV they paint in all conditions and as for waiting for any amount of time between coats (if they even put on a second coat) – hah!

And what is with them painting in one room while the floor guys are sanding in the next room? And who the heck are all these people who have never painted a wall?

And yet, inexplicably, when they complete the job it’s perfect. At our house that’s the time when we discover that the finished color isn’t exactly what we wanted after all and have to decide how long we can live with it.


Some real-life painting hints: Read the instructions on the can before you drip paint all over them. The older you get the smaller they print the instructions on the can. Vacuum the cobwebs off the walls before you start [Not that we have any cobwebs at our house, someone else told me that hint. Honest.]. No matter how thoroughly you clean the brushes they will never be the same next time you paint (which will be several years down the road), so don’t buy really expensive ones, just throw them out when you are done.