Sunday, July 22, 2012

Paint is Cheap; Labor is Cheaper

I must admit that I sort of 'borrowed' the title of this post from those folks at Habitat For Humanity in South Florida. When Bob and I were in ministry there, our youth group volunteered faithfully at the local HFH. They usually ended up being the roofing crew. The supervisors, in order to get the kids to use enough nails, would tell them, "Nails are cheap and labor is cheaper." Obviously the nails were donated and well, we were working for free.

So, as it is, when you own a bed & breakfast in Lancaster County, PA, you go thru A LOT of paint. I once sat down and calculated that in the 5 years we've been here, I've painted well over 50 walls; and that's a conservative estimate. I've gotten fairly adept at using a paint brush and making things look nice.

We had an apple tree right outside of our back door. It was pretty to look at, especially in the spring when it would bloom. Unfortunately the apples clogged the gutter, which the overflowed onto the porch railings, rotting them. Bob replaced them yesterday with new trim and caulk. Well, of course the whole thing had to be painted. The yellow was looking a a bit tired anyway. Here's what we ended up with: 

I painted it to look like the railings that go around the front porch. As I was brushing along, I got to thinking about what makes a good paint job. 

  1. Prep work! You can't paint a surface (and expect it to turn out well) if it's dirty or peeling. And, as my father would say, "If you don't have time to do it right, then you sure don't have time to do it over."
  2. Take your time. Make sure you have plenty of it! I've been involved in painting projects over the course of several hours in which time I'll change my clothes 3 or 4 times while greeting guests. If you're going to be away from your project for an extended period of time, put your brush in a plastic bag. Try to rush and you'll just make mistakes. 
  3. Get yourself a good brush/roller. Yes, they can be pricey, but if you clean them well they should last you for several projects. Which brings me to my last point:
  4. Clean up thoroughly. Rinse, rinse, rinse! 
Painting something is probably the easiest, least expensive way to change and/or improve the look of a space.