Friday, February 24, 2012

A few years ago, Kim convinced me that our kitchen needed new paint and wallpaper.  It had been a few years since our last cosmetic update and the old stuff was getting tired.  Not being one to farm out any work that I can do myself, I forged ahead with the project.  I mean, how hard could it be to remove the old  paper, prime the old paint and simply replace what you had just taken off?  I was about to find out.

A few months and several 'kitchen units' later (one kitchen unit = five boat units) the project was complete. "What happened?"  I kept asking myself?  How did this seemingly simple project get so far out of control? It turns out, in my naivete, that you cannot simply change colors or remove paper.  Doing so would be like me getting a spray tan.  Looks good for a short time, but underneath, its still the same worn-out old guy.

To do it right and make it all work, its best to start from scratch.  So, as the kitchen project began to evolve, I discovered that paint and paper begat counter tops.  Counter tops begat sinks and fixtures.  Sinks and fixtures begat door hardware.  Door hardware begat cabinets.  Cabinets begat appliances.  Appliances, well they don't begat anything.  They are the top of the food chain.  Anyway, what started out as a simple weekend project for me, turned into a multi-month frenzy of major projects and check writing.  On top of that, I had to go shopping with Kim for door handles and such and I really hate that kind of thing.

So flash forward several years later and I am standing on the bow of our boat looking at the worn out paint.    Still smarting from my kitchen experience several years prior, I was hesitant to dive headfirst into another major 'cosmetic' update.  I mean, the boat didn't look that bad, and after all, its just a boat, right?  But after talking with several other boaters, checking out the internet and generally ignoring every voice screaming in my head "don't do it!", I bought some paint.

This should have been my first clue.  Boat paint is egregiously expensive.  Way over $100/gallon.  Plus, you need special rollers and brushes, lots of thinners and enough blue edging tape to circle the globe.  Still though, I kept telling myself... "its okay... think about how much you are saving by doing it yourself!"

So one fine morning in early January I began the process by removing the first piece of hardware.  Like any good paint job, the work is all in the preparation.  Removing as many impediments to a smooth finish is the key.  The idea is not to paint around (or god forbid... paint over), but rather to paint in a way that there are no edges or brush marks created by impediments to a smooth roller.  Anyway, there is a lot of hardware on the boat.  Removing and cataloging it took several days alone.  Next comes the sanding. Yes, the old wax/dirt/finish needs to come off lest the new paint not adhere to the surface...and its very messy.  Combined with breathing in the acetone and whatever carcinogens were floating in the air, the next few weeks of sanding caused me, I am sure, to lose millions of whatever brain cells I had left.  Next came the taping... and taping... and taping.  Anything that was remotely exposed to my unwieldy brushes and rollers had to be protected.  It was everywhere.  I had some in my hair at one point but I think Kim was afraid to pull it out.  I mean, I need every follicle!

As the days and weeks dragged on, I began to lose my energy and patience with this project.  Hey I am retired!  I didn't sign up for this.  But the end was coming into view and I was happy that I wasn't shopping for corian.   The boat was finally ready for some paint.

Now for as much as this paint costs, you would think it would be easier to work with.  While it will last for years under some extreme conditions, for that kind of money it should go on with less effort.  The key to a great finish is to eliminate any roller/brush marks and any 'bubbles' that come to the surface after application.  The window to do this is very small as this paint sets up VERY fast.  I am talking minutes here.  Even though it looks like milk going on, it handles like peanut butter.  At times, I felt like more the sculptor than the painter.  But after a few hours, I got the hang of it.

The whole job took a little less than two months but we are very happy with the results.  We even have people stopping by with their cameras to take pictures now and then.  One afternoon as Kim and I were admiring the fruits of our labor, Kim asked me about replacing the countertops in the galley.  "How hard could that be?"  she asked.  "You did such a great job on the outside, lets do the inside".   

I wasn't falling for that again.  



1 comment:

  1. This is especially useful in garages and gardens, when items such as large planters, paint buckets, and long tools need to be cleaned and washed within the utility sink.