Labor Day Challenge

Since we had a long weekend for Labor Day, Andrew and I decided we wanted to challenge ourselves to do a project from beginning to end. We still have all our other projects going on, too, but this was technically the next room on our list after the guest bathroom. Since we now have a beautiful guest bathroom, we thought we needed a beautiful guest bedroom to go with it! Our goal for Labor Day weekend was to repaint the entire room.

That probably sounds like a simple project, right? Unfortunately, “repainting” in our house isn’t so simple, and it really includes a lot more than just painting. In fact, it’s pushing it to think we could get it done in 3 days. It’s already afternoon on the last day of our weekend and I’m really starting to doubt we’ll finish! Here’s a step by step of what needed to be done (everything in bold is what’s left to do).

  1. Remove everything from the room: furniture, ALL trim and closet doors, switch/outlet plates, and light fixture (since we’re replacing it we need to scrape popcorn under it and repaint)
  2. Scrape popcorn ceiling (as much as we hate popcorn, we would probably just leave it if it were in decent shape because it’s so much work to scrape. Our ceilings, though, are yellowed, uneven, and have a smattering of other paint colors all around the edges!)
  3. Sand ceiling
  4. Mud holes/divots in ceiling
  5. Sand ceiling again
  6. Fill all holes in walls (our walls have an insane amount of holes!)
  7. Sand walls, and wipe down every surface with damp cloth
  8. Prime ceiling, walls, and closet
  9. Paint 2 coats of ceiling paint
  10. Install new supports for shelf in closet
  11. Paint 1 coat of paint in closet
  12. Paint 2 coats of paint on walls (still one coat left)
  13. Sand and paint window sill and trim
  14. Sand and paint all trim, closet doors, and door to bedroom (it all has to be sanded because some previous owner converted everything from bare wood to white, but did a horrible job leaving us with dirty, drippy, brush-marked doors and trim.)
  15. Reinstall trim and doors
  16. Touch up paint on trim to cover finish nails
  17. Install new light fixture (after it has been spray painted)
  18. Put everything back

There are a lot of steps, and once you account for the drying time of everything, it really stretches the time frame! On Friday night, we cleaned everything out of the room and started scraping around 9 or 10. When scraping, we find it’s best to do it dry. We experimented with spraying it lightly and then scraping when we did the master, but it made the drywall paper easier to tear and made the mud wet so it just stuck to the ceiling. Scraping it dry makes it look like brand new drywall. It probably depends on the thickness of your popcorn and it’s age, so just test out a few different options on small areas and figure out what works.  (If you take on a scraping project, before doing anything make sure it isn’t asbestos!)

Scraping dry also makes it really dusty, though!

We always wear masks and goggles and cover the floor of the entire room with plastic. It makes cleanup a lot easier, and keeps much dust from getting in between planks of our wood floors. The sanding afterwards is one of the most important steps in getting the finish to look smooth once it’s painted. Before sanding it looks really rough and uneven, since the scraper doesn’t get everything.

After sanding, it’s ready for paint. We use fine sanding blocks and sand the entire ceiling, but focus on the edges and other previously mudded areas and joints.

I think rooms look so creepy when they’re just primed, especially with no trim and no light fixture (hence the lamp covered with plastic).

And it got too hot yesterday when I was painting the closet doors, so we had to move the operation inside. Now our kitchen looks like this, and Chaucer is thoroughly confused.

Really this is representative of how our entire house looks at the moment…but as long as we finish up this project quickly, it’s a sacrifice we can make for a weekend. We also have motivation to get this done. My dad is coming into town on Thursday and will be staying here for the night! None of the trim has been sanded yet, though, and that alone could take hours, so this might not be possible. Wish us luck!

Want to see how the guest bedroom turned out? See it here!

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