“My name’s Dan and I’m a recovering Prep Work Skipper.”
If there were support groups for those of us who consistently mess up paint jobs, that’s how I’d introduce myself every week.
See, I do a lot of things right when it comes to a paint job. I take the time necessary to pick the colors I really want (usually). I amass the necessary tools before I start. I buy quality materials and paint. I do many things right.
However, what I routinely screw up is this: I skip or skimp on the prep work. Every time. It’s like an addiction. An addiction to skipping prep work. I mean really, that’s got to be one of the dumbest sounding sentences I’ve ever written, but it’s the truth: I hate prep work when I paint and so I skip it. And then, inevitably (and by inevitably, I mean ALWAYS) it comes back to bite me. Inevitably (always).
And so I’m turning over a new leaf. From here on out I’m going to make the following changes to my painting methods and practices:
RESOLUTION NUMBER 1
I will no longer simply roll around or over the nails that are stuck in my wall. This usually messes up my roller, creating a weird divot that repeats over and over on my wall, frustrating me; or, it creates drips on the wall or floor that I don’t find until after the paint has dried. And that always makes me profoundly sad. From now on, I will remove those nails ahead of time.
RESOLUTION NUMBER 2
I will patch the nail holes left in my wall when I implement Resolution Number 1 above. And I will patch them with the proper spackling compound AND will let that compound DRY before I try to SAND it. (Because I’ve tried to rush this and sanding only partially dried spackling results in results that make me profoundly sad.) To give myself the proper time to accomplish these spackling and sanding tasks, I will have to tackle this aspect of the project ahead of the day that I plan to paint. This will require planning and discipline, and I resolve to practice both.
RESOLUTION NUMBER 3
I will no longer tell myself that my walls are clean enough and do not need to be wiped down before I paint. I will accept the fact that I do not regularly clean the top corners of every room and that even though I style myself as a clean and tidy person, there is a good chance that random cobwebs may be there. I will take the necessary 20 minutes to wipe away those cobwebs so I don’t end up rolling into them later with paint and then spreading them over my walls.
RESOLUTION NUMBER 4
I will no longer let myself believe that “scuff sanding” is a great idea, but that I really don’t have time to do it right now. I will take the necessary 10 minutes to scuff sand a dresser before I prime and paint it. I will scuff sand my woodwork before I paint it. I will scuff sand all shiny surfaces EVEN IF I’m using a primer that says “no scuff sanding necessary.” I will remember that there are no shortcuts.
RESOLUTION NUMBER 5
I will no longer do everything else right–buy the right paint, buy the best tools, choose the right colors–only to screw the project up by skipping the prep work. I will admit that an extra hour or two is worth all the extra work and frustration and money I’ve cost myself through the years by skipping prep work. I will do the proper prep work, no matter how boring it is, so that my project looks as professional as possible when I finish. In short, I will no longer convince myself that certain prep-work projects are worthwhile, but that I simply don’t have time for them. I will make time for prep work precisely because it is so worthwhile.
Those are my resolutions. I’ll probably screw up from time to time, but I’m going to give it my best shot from here on out. How about you? Anyone else out there who routinely skips the prep work stage only to be burned in the end? Anyone else out there ready to circle up, admit your addiction to hating prep work, and start the recovery process? The recovery group is open….