Dragging along

Disclaimer: If you need a positive DIY story, do not continue reading. Tears were involved.

The last few days, we’ve been trying to focus on prepping the exterior of our house for painting. It was raining on Sunday, though, so I thought I would tackle a quick inside project that I’ve been needing to get to for a while…painting this door so it would finally match the newly painted trim!

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It did not go as planned. Picture me sitting in this stupid square of tile with a half painted door, paint brush in one hand, head in the other, crying. Yeah…crying over paint. And a door.

When we redid all the trim in the living area, we didn’t paint the doors for the sake of saving time. I figured I could knock out both the front door and this door leading our to our garage in a few hours.

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This door in particular really needs a fresh coat of paint. Look how grimy. Ewwwww….

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We always have our trim paint on hand, these doors don’t need sanded first like the hollow core interior doors, and I can paint them on their hinges…seems like an easy, quick project. After cleaning the door with a TSP substitute, I started by painting the frames of the raised panels with a 2″ angle brush.

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You know the order: inset “framed” area first, then the raised portion of the panel, then the cross sections in between the panels, and then the 4 outside edges last. Always brush/roll vertically along the vertical pieces and horizontally along the horizontal pieces (with the wood grain if there is one.) Easy peasy. Unless your’re painting with this.

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I think we chose this paint because of the scrub safe label. That and we just happened to be at Lowe’s, felt overwhelmed by all the white options so just chose plain old white, and were handed this can by a store associate. Not a lot of research went into our choice, clearly. But hey, we were newbies at this whole thing. This is actually our 2nd can, as we figured we should buy the same thing as the first when we ran out.

We’ve used this Valspar Ultra Premium paint for all of our trim and doors thus far (flat hollow core doors that we rolled), and we haven’t really had major issues. It is a thick paint…heck, it even says so on the can: “Thick, one coat coverage.”  We always do 2 coats, though. And it also does appear to be “scrub safe” as I’ve been able to scrub some of our trim and already painted doors without noticing any damage to the paint or changes in sheen. Resilient it is…easy to use it is not.

I first started having problems with it when I painted this ledge in between our kitchen and living room. We prepped this thing super well (including stripping the previous paint, sanding, and priming), so clearly that wasn’t the issue.

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I added Floetrol (a paint conditioner/extender that minimizes brush marks and extends the paint’s open time) to the paint like I always do with trim, and proceeded to brush it on with my favorite 2″ angle brush. Personally, I like brushing over rolling when doing trim. I feel like it’s more normal and expected to see minor brush marks than the roller texture on trim. I do roll the hollow core doors, though.

As I brushed the first coat on, I noticed some dragging that I had never noticed when painting trim before. The trim pieces are so narrow that you can basically paint the whole width of each piece with one stroke. It goes more quickly so it’s easier to keep a wet line. I thought maybe it was just the first coat, but with each progressive coat I added more Floetrol and still could not avoid the dragging issue. When it dried, these “dragged” areas were not as glossy as the rest of the ledge, creating a really inconsistent sheen. Pictures don’t really capture it.

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Andrew thinks it’s not a big deal as you don’t really notice the sheen differences except from certain angles. But it really bothers me. Other than that, though, it’s smooth, it’s white, and it’s way better than it was before. I figured maybe in the future I’d put a coat of polycrylic over it to try to give it a consistent sheen.

So back to the door. The framed pieces went fine. I waited for those to dry and then went back to do the panels. And things went downhill fast. The paint got so thick and was dragging everywhere. I decided to roll over it with a dense foam roller to see if i liked that texture better. The paint was so thick, though, that the texture was more prominent than ever and didn’t smooth out on its own (also doesn’t help when the surface isn’t horizontal.) I was getting really mad at this point, so I went back over it with a brush to remove the roller texture. More dragging.

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I even grabbed a wet rag at one point and wiped all the paint off of one of the panels to start over.

I did finish all the panels, but as I did each one I got more and more upset at the results, which, of course, can’t be captured with a camera. The drag marks would not go away, it seemed like the paint got thicker with each stroke, and you absolutely could not go over a previously painted area even though it wasn’t smooth to begin with! It was just drying way too fast, and adding more Floetrol didn’t seem to make a difference. Sorry, buddy. I still love you. It’s not your fault.

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I knew I couldn’t proceed to the bigger areas on the outside because it was too much surface area to cover. Even the fastest painter in the world could not paint this door fast enough to avoid drag marks with this paint! I am NOT the world’s fastest painter, but I AM good at painting. I like painting. I’ve painted doors before and never had this issue, so I was really upset and confused that this wasn’t working out for me. And it made me mad. So I cried, cause that’s the logical thing to do when something isn’t working, right?

Andrew seemed thoroughly confused by my emotional outburst, but was willing to do whatever we needed to do to solve the problem. (He is a problem solver, after all.) Part of me felt like maybe I wasn’t giving it a fair chance and I should suck it up instead of spending more money. But at the same time, is it really worth it to deal with a product that gives me so much grief?? I decided it wasn’t, so this is what I’m going to do.

This 100% acrylic latex by Sherwin Williams called Solo is what we used on my mom’s cabinets. It goes on like a dream, even sans Floetrol. It has a great open time and great workability. We’re just going to color match our current trim color to this, and use it for the remaining big surface area items like doors, the ledge, window sills, etc. I’m really excited about this…even though we have done some hollow core doors with the Valspar, they had roller marks and inconsistent sheen issues, too, that I’m hoping won’t be present with this paint.

We’ll probably still use the Valspar for the remaining unpainted trim. Some people might love it, it might work great for walls, and I do have to give it credit for being very “scrub safe”, but it’s just not worth it. (Fyi, this is different from Valspar Ultra, which is a low VOC 100% acrylic paint that I’ve used with good results.)

Hopefully soon there will be a happy ending to this sad tale. But for now, I’ll leave you with this dejected, half-painted door.

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One Response to Dragging along

  1. Tracy July 23, 2013 at 4:23 pm #

    Sad, sad door. 🙁 Here’s to hoping you get it done soon! 🙂