Wednesday, April 22, 2009

House Painting Begins!

Last week while I was out of town, the house painter started working on my home. This is a big deal as I've never done any home improvement project this big before! Fortunately, the painter has been wonderful through this beginning process and really willing to work with me. When we met last summer, I explained my financial situation and when we got together again this spring to do the quote, I was brutally honest about what I could afford to pay. Because of this, he and I were able to work out a deal to do two sides of the home at a time. That way I can get two done now and then once they are finished, I can evaluate when I will be able to do the other two. It may be mid summer, and then again, it may have to wait until late fall. It just depends on finances.

Although I hate spending all this money, what is great is how well we are working together. For example, when he gave me the quote, we decided to do the North and West sides of the house first. However, he was able to score a great deal on renting some scaffolding for a couple of weeks this month. Since the South and East sides of my house have pavement near the home while the North and West will have to all be done on a ladder, we swapped the the order of the sides. It didn't matter to me, after all, the house has four sides and they all need paint, but it helped him out. In return, he noticed that some woodwork needs replacing and asked me this morning if I wanted it done. He offered to include it in the original quote if I buy the lumber. Perfect!

Painter guy has been great about communicating with me on what is happening, what he is working on and on top of that, he even came over on a Sunday to sweep up the paint chips that were all over my driveway from the power washing. I haven't had any worries about the job getting started, then him disappearing. So, even though I am spending a whole lot of money, I feel pretty good about who I am spending it with. Which is good, because I discovered that this isn't the only work that needs to be done...

Power washing the house really pointed out a problem I had been suspected for awhile - one of my windows is all "wonky." (Yes, that is the technical term.) This probably isn't too surprising for a house that is 200+ years old. In fact, you have to expect this kind of thing. Anyway, the water actually came through the window and ran down my cloth blinds. Not too pretty! Fortunately I have a friend* whose folks used to be in the blind cleaning business, so I plan on picking his brain and seeing if my blind can be saved or if I am just out of luck. On the outside, the window looks normal, but on the inside you can see that the foundation has sunk and the inner portion of the window is all off kilter.

Anyway, painter guy and I got talking about it this morning. He even came in and and took at a look at the window for me. Not only does he do house painting, but he does other types of older home refinishing, so I thought I would get his opinion. His suggestion was to seal up the outer (normal looking) storm window with caulk, then rebuild the inner wonky looking window by redoing the framing on the inside.

The window itself consists of a large newer window on the bottom with an original small panel window on the top. Painter guy said that I cannot replace the window because he thinks my home is in a historic area. I think I'm just on the outskirts of both nearby historic areas, though I haven't been able to find a map online to tell me for sure. Most of the windows in my home have been replaced, so I wouldn't be too worried about it, but truthfully, I would like to keep the old window for its aesthetics. Part of the reason you buy an old home is for details like these. However, it is better if they are at least straight! I'd love to get this repaired, especially because if water can get through, you can bet the cold winter wind can, but it is all about money - and at this time, I don't have it. It will just have to wait for another day; all I can do is one project at a time.

Still, it is nice to see the progress happening. Currently he has power washed the two sides and they look pretty rough - but in that "break a few eggs to make an omelet" kind of way. You can see that this will be a good start. Next up will be replacing some of the rotten wood, which is the whole reason I am getting the house painted this year - because the wood was starting to go, and that gets expensive!

One silver lining to all of this is that a portion of the work will be tax deductible because there is a rental unit in the house. That is something I think I will really appreciate come next April!

* Yes David, I mean you.

Photo by: Bjorn Sahlberg


Miss M said...

Don't wait too long to paint or the two sides won't be the same color. Paint color starts to change once it is on the house, especially when exposed to UV. Plus you want to use 1 large batch of paint, color varies from one batch to another. Hope the project goes smoothly!

Dawn said...

To be honest, Miss M, the sides mismatching is the least of my concerns. I know you are right, but if I can't afford to pay for it, the point is moot, you know? I would rather do this on my own time and pay for it with cash and have a slight color difference from side A to side B then have to borrow from my mom or my credit card to get it all done at once. Its a concern, but one I can't afford to worry about too much.