It started with a drip

It all started when the old guy bought a new faucet for the kitchen. Have you had one of those projects? It’s a simple project that goes south in a matter of minutes.

We have very hard water, which made the water lines corrode around the base of the faucet to the sink. That made it impossible to break loose. We tried everything to loosen it – even applied heat with a torch. Nothing worked. We removed the sink and faucet in one piece thinking that would easier, but we still couldn’t get them to separate. So it was off to buy a new sink. Guess what? The new sinks are one inch larger than our old sink. Geez! Now we had to make the sink opening larger in the countertop, which meant removing the countertop.

Fresh-painted walls and new countertop.

To remove the countertop we had to squeeze into the open cabinets and unscrew all the screws holding the countertop to the cabinets, which isn’t easy for two old people! But we got it off and carried it to the garage, cut the opening to fit the new sink, and attached it back to the cabinets. The problem arose when we realized we forget to add the lift spacers back in and accidentally screwed right up through the countertop! That led to buying new countertops to go with the new sink and the new faucet.

Taping off the countertop to protect it while filling holes and painting.

After bringing the new countertop home we Googled how to cut it to fit, and how to make the opening for the new sink. After tracing the sink outline onto the underside of the countertop we had to flip it back over and lay down some painter’s tape where the jigsaw would cut. The tape helps prevent the Formica from chipping as it’s being cut. It worked really well.

Painting tips

  • Line your paint tray with foil for easy cleanup
  • Wrap your used brushes in a plastic bag and store in the fridge for reuse (I only left them overnight at the longest)
  • Follow the paint manufacturers instructions – they really do know best

By the time we finished installing the new countertop, sink, and faucet I decided I would go ahead and paint the kitchen. It’s needed it for years and I just kept finding better things to do. We live in an older mobile home so nothing is ever easy. All the walls are paneled and some in the kitchen were the vinyl-covered paneling.  I tested the vinyl to see how well it was glued to the paneling behind it and it seemed tight so I decided to leave it rather than peel it off. Of course, about the time I decided to paint we had come into the Covid-19 Pandemic and couldn’t shop because of Shelter-in-Place. That didn’t stop me! Being the DIYer I am I have tons of paint and opted to go with what I had to make it work. I used Zinsser oil-based primer on the walls first after taping off the new countertop. I’ve painted these mobile home walls before and have found if I start with a good oil-based primer like Kilz or Zinsser I have really good luck with the paint adhesion.

The white trim around the windows goes well with the gray walls.

I use inexpensive brushes – not chip brushes, but just one step up – for the oil-based primers because I don’t like to clean them. I wrap them in a plastic bag and put them in the fridge overnight and between coats. This keeps them fairly fresh and I can use them throughout my project for about 3-4 days without hardening. Then I toss them when finished.

Tools of the trade.

After washing and rinsing the walls well and letting them dry I begin painting on the oil-based primer. I like to do all my cut-in work first – those edges around the cabinets, window, doors, trim, and counters. Then either brush or roll on the first coat. It doesn’t need to be a heavy coat and it actually shouldn’t be. It’s always best to start with a light coat. I tell people your first coat isn’t going to look pretty but it will do its job. What you’re doing is making sure the paint will adhere to the paneled wall. The nice thin coat of primer lets the primer dry thoroughly to the paneled wall and gives a nice tooth for the second coat to grab. Painting these paneled walls I find I always need at least two coats of oil-based primer and two coats of a good, quality paint. I allow the primer to dry overnight. Depending on humidity and temperature it could take longer. My living room walls required two days for the first coat of primer to dry before I could continue.

Can’t wait to repaint the cabinets.

I had a gallon of kitchen and bath paint at home that was purchased for another project that never materialized.  It was the palest shade of green and I wanted gray. So I mixed in some dark gray paint I had on hand until it became the color I wanted. You need to stir very, very well and it takes time, but in the end I was happy with the color and it was approved by the old guy!

On the third day I was able to add the first coat of my new color. Again, I went in with a brush and did all the cut-in work before painting the walls. I like to allow each coat of paint and primer to dry overnight so the project took me nearly a week but with Shelter-in-place it’s not like I had anywhere else to go.

The old guy reading installation instructions while Bailey is being nosy.

The cabinets need a new coat of paint now and I need to put down new flooring. We’re still in Shelter-in-Place so it will be a while to finish, but it looks a lot better than it did. The cost to redo has been minimal. We stuck with Formica for the countertops and we have a small kitchen so it came in at under $300 for the counters, sink, faucet, and all the other little pieces needed for assembly. The paint was free and I was so happy to decrease my stash. The whole space feels new and light.

Have you encountered a simple project that went south quickly? How did you handle it? Let me know if you have any questions.

It’s just so much brighter in here.

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