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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

I Think I Can

Stephanie Staton
Hobby Farms and Hobby Farm Home Editor

When it came time to start painting the interior of the house, I thought I had the project well in hand, patting myself on the back for planning it so that paint would go up prior to any flooring, fixture or cabinet installations. It would save us the worry and potential cleanup down the road, right?

I was a little taken aback when we got quotes for painting the interior of our farmhouse, and they were well out of range for our pocketbooks—not to mention that said quotes only covered primer on the walls and ceiling and one coat of color on the ceilings. With an already tight budget, I couldn’t come to terms with the idea of shelling out far more money than our budget allowed.

Armed with the determination to save big bucks on our reno, I ventured forth in the realm of painting. Don’t get me wrong: I’ve painted individual rooms, doors, a bed frame, dressers and countless small furniture items—just nothing on this scale at one time.

As I called around for paint prices, I also nearly passed out from sticker shock! You need a lot of paint to do a whole house, and it’s not cheap. My research paid off, though: I saved nearly $2,000 just by calling around for prices on paint. Because my walls were going to be all one color and the ceilings all a lighter shade of the same color, I could buy them in 5-gallon buckets and save even more.

Sticker shock only fueled the fire of my determination. I then started looking in to renting versus buying a paint sprayer. Assuming it would be cheaper and more efficient to rent, I started there. You know what they say about assuming … don’t.

After several failed attempts to secure a rental sprayer, I found myself standing in the sprayer aisle at the local big-box retailer. (It just so happens that I was on hold with the latest rental contact while I browsed, making it even easier to weigh the options.) I narrowed the selections to two models that would suit our needs based on the handy usage chart posted above the products. After receiving a daily quote on rentals that came out at about a quarter of the cost to buy, I called my husband to discuss—and yes, I was still standing in the aisle on the phone staring at paint sprayers.

When we started talking about actual costs, project timelines, pros, cons and the like, it occurred to me that a paint sprayer could be an investment that paid for itself beyond painting the walls. Decks, fencing, future outbuilding and outdoor-furniture projects could all be accomplished quicker and easier with a paint sprayer—and owning versus renting would definitely be the most economical choice in this case.

These considerations helped us make the decision to buy and also to select a model. The one we chose is for multiple projects in a given time period with varied capacities for different coating types, such as interior versus exterior, as well as paints, stains and sealants. In other words, I was sold.

It’s not always easy to think of these things before you get to the store. (I couldn’t find that handy dandy chart anywhere online.). If you find yourself in a similar predicament—be it with a paint sprayer or other type of equipment—take your time and think it through, even if that means sucking up a little extra space and oxygen in the paint-sprayer aisle.

Now, I don’t want to mislead you into thinking this process was all smooth sailing—it was pretty much anything but that. In addition to the learning curve of operating the sprayer, I met other challenges: Working around the other house projects, battling the ever-present mounds of dirt and debris that loved to stick to my freshly painted walls, and overcoming my time and physical limitations. I learned that thinning the coats per the manufacturer’s recommendation not only kept the sprayer happier, it also made for much better coverage—it seems backward but was totally true. The ceiling was definitely my greatest foe. Ceiling paint tends to be thicker and greatly reduces visibility when residual paint spray falls directly down on your safety goggles.

All-in-all, I am a huge fan of the sprayer. I primed ceilings and walls with drywall primer before applying ceiling paint throughout. The primer went up incredibly fast and transformed the space from construction site to house in less than three days.

The ceilings … not so quick, but I tackled them first knowing full well that my limited sprayer skills would translate to overspray on the walls. From there, I attempted to use the sprayer for the walls but found it too difficult to control overspray while getting the coverage I desired, which lead to the moment I’d been dreading: pulling out the rollers.

We started with a combination of standard manual rollers and a semi-automatic loading roller (the handle holds a small amount of paint that can be forced through the roller with the push of a button) that we borrowed from my mother-in-law. I can’t begin to explain how sore my shoulders and arms (and those of my mother-in-law, Glenna, and bff, Ashley) were, but we kept powering through until my dear husband came back from one of his daily visits to the hardware store, toting a roller attachment for the paint sprayer.

In all my years of painting walls, there has never been a more glorious invention! Painting kicked back into high gear, and full-day paint projects were each reduced to mere hours. This is another one of those moments in life where I could truly see the benefits of having the right tool for the job.

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I Think I Can

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Reader Comments
Thanks for the info, esp. the added video. I've always ended up using the old fashioned paint roller. But this definitely is something to keep in mind.
RebeccA, Nashville, TN
Posted: 10/18/2013 11:54:27 AM
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