Monthly Archives: November 2012

Updated Front Entry

The front door and entry on our house was very “nostalgic”.  It said to any guest leaving our house… “You are always welcome to come back to 1992 whenever you would like.”  It wasn’t terrible, but the honey oak door, beige wall and white trim was begging for an update.  We had already replaced all the shiny, cheap brass fixtures (bath and electrical) in the whole house with oil rubbed bronze which made the entry a little better, but it was not enough.

My first step was to use the Sherwin Williams Color Vizualizer to get an idea of what colors would look good and what wouldn’t.

[I gotta say that I wish I would have found this online tool earlier.  I have had to repaint more walls than I can count after the wife discovered the new color isn’t exactly what she wanted.  All you have to do is upload a picture of the room you want to paint and virually mask off areas and apply paint.]

After getting a basic idea of what we wanted… all I had to do was do the work.  This front entry update was not very complicated, expensive or time consuming.  The plan was to paint the wall, stain the door, add “big” trim around the door and put a little crown molding up to make the door look taller.

Painting the wall was a no brainer and I used my technique to get good clean paint lines for the red paint.  Staining the door proved to be a little more difficult.  Because the door is vinyl, you cannot simply stain the door with any ol’ stain.  For this job, I chose to use General Finishes Gel Stain in their Georgian Cherry color because it was a close match to our “virtual paint job”.  It was recommended to wipe on the stain with a rag from the folks at the local WoodCraft store and it turns out they were wrong.  To be fair, the guy I talked to did not have much experience staining vinyl.  After two coats of wiping, it was very streaky and splotchy.  I used a brush on the final coat and was able to even it out.  I finished the job by brushing on a clear top coat (also from General Finishes).

The final step was to add the trim and crown.  We picked a trim that was actually intended to be used as baseboard, but it was 5 inches tall and really seemed to fall in line with what we wanted.  The crown molding at the top of the door was the final step to give our entry door the added height we were looking for.  After caulking and painting all the trim and crown… this job was done.  My only worry is that our front entry had promised our guests that they could return to 1992 whenever they wanted…. they won’t be to find it in our house.

A quick note about this project…  I really do not like the glass inserts in our front door.  I thought it might be possible to just remove the “decorative” part of the insert, leaving clear glass.  After speaking to a door company, it was determined that this really isn’t a good idea.  Not because you cannot get the insert out, but because there is not a very effective way to put it back together in a way that prevents condensation from forming in between the glass panels.

Getting Clean Paint Lines With Textured Walls

Clean Paint Lines With Textured Walls

Have you ever gone to paint a wall and taped off your area, painted your wall with the perfect color then found that your nice chocolate brown wall has “blead” onto the next wall?  Like your newly painted wall is “growing” onto the next wall?  I have learned the hard way, having to go back with a little tiny brush to cover up those bleeding paint growths.  It never looks straight and takes forever. But now I have a little trick I do any time I am going to paint a wall or ceiling.

I know not all houses have textured walls, but mine does.  Texture presents a tougher challenge when it comes to painting because no amount of effort will get all of your tape down into those little recessions in your texture.  This leaves little gaps that paint will ALWAYS find and try to escape to the next wall.  I have tried just about every kind of tape, including the green stuff that is supposed to prevent any and all bleeding and still get those little bleeders onto the next wall.  The texture in my house is a nice medium sized knock down texture that is just big enough to make any paint job look like crap if you just tape it off and paint.

There are other methods to get good clean lines that involve painting over your tape line with the adjacent wall color, letting it dry and then painting with your new color.  This does the job of sealing those little gaps under your tape… but I hate cleaning up paint stuff and that is one more colors worth of cleaning paint trays and brushes that I would like to avoid. Plus, it makes the job take longer because you are waiting on an additional coat of paint to dry before you can even begin painting with the new color.

The key to my method is some Clear, Paintable caulk and a soar finger.  Make sure the caulk you buy is CLEAR and PAINTABLE or you are in for a big mess (paint does not stick to regular silicone caulk and white caulk will show after you remove the tape).  Look for the type that is generally labeled “Doors and Windows”.  I prefer to use the squeeze tube instead of the kind packaged for use in a caulking gun because:

  • You really don’t need that much caulk.
  • The squeeze tube tip can be cut for a much smaller opening than the caulking gun type (you need to stick the caulking gun needle into the opening to break the inner seal, which expands the hole).  The smaller opening makes it easier to get a nice thin bead of caulk.
  • It has a cap, so if you don’t use it all… you can save it for the next project.
  • I don’t need to haul around a caulking gun… just cap the squeeze tube and stick it in my back pocket while I move to the next section.

The steps are pretty simple….


1) Tape off your area like you normally would.  Since you will be caulking over your tape, don’t bother spending the extra money on the fancy tape.  Blue tape works fine.

2) Use the CLEAR, PAINTABLE caulk and run a thin bead along the edge of the tape.  I am painting a corner here, but you can run the caulk along the tape for non corner walls as well.  Notice that the bead of caulk is very light.  You don’t need a lot.

3) This is where the “soar finger” comes into play.  Using your finger, run it over the caulked tape and push kind of hard.  You want to make sure the caulk squeezes into those little recessions.  Don’t worry if you get little globs on the wall that you are painting.  Just use your finger and smear the caulk onto the wall to flatten it out .  Really, you shouldn’t have a lot of caulk on the wall and leaving it on the wall after smearing it is no big deal because it will be painted over.  I will also run my finger along the tape a second time (pushing pretty hard) to make sure everything is sealed.

***you might also want to grab a paper towel to wipe any excess caulk off your finger***

4) Give it a couple minutes to dry and start painting.  If you are doing a big wall, you should be able to paint immediately if you start painting where you first started caulking.  Frankly, you don’t even need to give it a couple minutes to dry but it usually works out that way.

5) After your last coat of paint, you should pull your tape off within an hour or two.  At this point the caulk is still soft and will not prevent you from pulling the tape off easily.  If you have to leave the tape up after your last coat for a while and the caulk hardens, just run a utility knife along your tape line to allow the tape to release easily.

Pretty easy right?  You end up with a nice clean paint lines, and don’t have extra wait and cleanup!

Clean Paint Lines - All

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