31 May 2012

Semi-DIY: House trim painting

Guess what, guys? THE ROOF IS NO LONGER ON FIRE. I mean, the roof is repaired! Literally one minute before I was going to call the company president yesterday morning (oh yes, I have the president’s cell number now), I got an email saying the company was sending someone out that afternoon. And they came! So thanks for your well-wishes/offers to call the company on my behalf/suggestions that I inform the president that I HAVE A BLOG, I AM A BLOGGER, I WILL SLANDER YOOOOOU ON THE INTERWEBS. It all worked out well in the end! Whew.

So let’s move on to another home-selling challenge: the fact that our trim looked like this awfulness:

And if you looked up on our porch roof, you’d see this disaster:

Yikes. That is some grody stuff, right there.

So, we had to get our trim painted before we put our house on the market. I wasn’t that happy about it, but considering that it’s all wood, and considering that I’ve lived here since 2006, it was definitely time. Which, by the by: hey, all you young twenty-somethings thinking that a mortgage costs the same as your rent so “you might as well make an investment”! You are almost certainly underestimating maintenance costs and overestimating the amount of time you have before you have to maintain something expensive. Voice of experience, here.

Anyway! Before we could get our trim painted, though, we had to find painters. I think I lucked out by googling around for a company with good reviews, who could do it that very week, and whose price seemed fair based on my research. I didn’t comparison shop because other painters were too slow getting back to me – remember, we had to do this before we could even get the house on the market. With this company, I called for a quote on Friday, got the quote on Saturday, and they were out there power-washing on Tuesday to prep for painting the very next day. That is the speed at which I like to do business, right there.

And speaking of power-washing, here’s what the window trim looked like following that watery beat-down:

Paint flaking right off with the dirt. Indeed, TIME TO PAINT THE TRIM.

After a few days of work, including a ridiculous amount of sanding and patching and a city-wide hunt for a 40’ ladder that is apparently as elusive as unicorn hair, our trim was gorgeous:

I mean, I’m no expert on exterior paint, but that looks pretty spiffy to me! Job well done, boys.

But here’s why I stuck a semi-DIY in the title up there. You guys are well aware that I paint interior trim to achieve nirvana. Why not get my trim-painting on outdoors, as well? It’s not as fun outdoors, but it would cost costs!

So, I bargained with the painters and got two quotes: one for all the trim, and a second quote just for everything I couldn’t reach (the eaves, the porch roof, and the second-story windows). And that’s how I saved a few hundred dollars by DIY-ing the first-story windows and door trim, like this easily-reachable office window:

True, it wasn’t power-washed, but it also wasn’t as grody as the upper levels. I even used old trim paint I found in the garage (good idea? ehhh) so painting it myself was F-R-E-E. It did take me many hours over two or three days, particularly because of the stupid deck door with its stupid fifteen windows (unlike the office window with its fake panes that didn’t need painting):

And Mr. P had to spot me as I teetered on the stepladder to reach the arched window over the front door – which drew the attention and comments of the neighbors oh geez:

But it was worth it! I think that trim, both interior and exterior, is one of those things that you don’t exactly notice on a house if you’re not looking for it. It’s more like... the fit of a pair of jeans. If the cut of jeans is good, it flatters the person wearing them without anyone actually thinking, “Those jeans fit that person exquisitely.” It’s just, “That person has an nice figure.” Same with freshly-painted trim! You don’t notice it specifically – you just think the house looks attractive and well-kept.

As far as the painting company goes, I’m planning a hopefully-helpful post of all the different companies we used, how much they charged, and our overall rating of them. But suffice to say, the trim painting was more painless that the roof, and it helped to both maintain the trim of our house and make it look pretty again. Win-win!

So that’s it for the big repairs we did to get the house to market! We’ve since had several projects since the house has been on the market, and even more to get to closing. But I’ll have to tell you about those next week... hopefully after closing. Which is scheduled for TOMORROW. There’s been some talk of the mortgage underwriting not being ready (even though our buyer was pre-approved), so cross your fingers for us, pretty please? And also keep them crossed, as we load the truck today and drive it to St. Louis tomorrow and unload it tomorrow and Saturday? I know three days is a long time to keep your fingers continuously crossed... but I’d really appreciate it!