We had three warm, sunny days in a row towards the end of last week, so I put painting the garage side of the house on the calendar. We were running out of paint-friendly days outside and I wanted to take advantage of them so the two most visible sides of the house were painted and checked off the to-do list. We’ll then be ready to do landscaping in the spring. The front is painted, has new windows and replacement shutters on the garage and it’s looking great. We just need to replace the panels below the windows on the right side of the house, but that’s a one-day project we can squeeze in on a nice day.
Now we’re moving to the garage side of the house, which functions as the front of our house since it’s where we park. As a reminder, here’s how it looked when we moved in…
I started on Thursday with priming the garage and cellar doors. I thought the garage door would be a pretty quick project, but it took me most of the day.
To get it ready to paint, I sprayed it with Simple Green Cleaner and then hosed it down once it was dry, I taped off the rubber weather stripping to protect it from the paint. Removing it is also an option, but I decided to tape it off and work around it.
With the door cleaned and taped off, I started priming with tinted primer. I am a huge fan of using tinted primer anytime I’m painting with a color other than white. It reduces the number of coats of paint needed, which almost always saves money and time. It also gives you a better result. Good prep work is annoying, but it is definitely worth it. I used PrepRite ProBlock Primer by Sherwin Williams tinted to Card Room Green.
This is the first garage door I’ve painted so there was a bit of a learning curve. My idea was to paint each panel as it was angled at the top and lower the door after each panel was painted. I realized that it was just too tight, so I decided to just lower the door entirely and prime it while closed. Since our door is metal with a wood-grain texture, I used a 3/8″ nap roller and a brush to apply the primer.
That did okay, but I wanted to get into the angled corners at the top, between the joints, and along the sides a bit better.
So, after playing with the garage door like a kid who just discovered the button, I discovered the edges of each panel were more accessible as they were just turning vertical on the track. So, I cut in on the bottom panel, then lowered it a bit more, cut in some more, painted in between the joints of the bottom panel and the next panel, and then let it dry for about 30 minutes so wet primer didn’t stick in the closed joints or to the weather stripping. While the primer on the front side of the door was drying, I went inside the garage and painted what I could reach along the top and edges of the door. Since our ceilings in the garage are only 8′, there is only a few inches between the garage door and the ceiling, so it was a tight fit, but I was able to reach some of the spots I couldn’t reach when the door was closed.
It was tedious and awkward, but I was able to get the door primed and it looked great. Priming the cellar doors after the garage door was a treat! I had washed them earlier in the day and scaped off the peeling paint. As a side note, we had the entire house tested for lead before we purchased it, so I didn’t have to worry about disturbing chipping lead paint.
I was planning on priming and painting the doors all in one day, but I ended up applying the paint the next day since the priming took so long. I used to plow through projects even when I was tired and it was getting late, but I’ve learned to pace myself better, allow time for rest, and keep projects more manageable. So, the next day I started painting. Since I did such a thorough job priming and I learned some tricks along the way, I was able to apply the paint much quicker. And, because I used the tinted primer and made sure I got good coverage, only one coat of paint was required.
I used Farrow & Ball’s exterior paint in Card Room Green for the garage door and cellar doors. This is also what I’ve used on the exterior doors and shutters. I selected it because I felt like it worked nicely with the pinkish-red undertones of the brick. It’s also just a lovely, classic green-gray.
With the cellar and garage doors done, Jeff and I worked together on the trim. Jeff had scraped the chipping paint off on the previous day so we’d be ready to prime. Jeff had been the “ladder man” to paint the gables on the front side of the house, but the vents were lower and smaller, and he was painting over grass. Painting this vent was a bit more precarious given that there were more hard surfaces he could fall into and the position of the ladder in relation to the vent made for awkward painting. After a few minutes on the ladder, Jeff got his feet safely on the ground and we put together a new plan.
After a bit of brainstorming and trial and error, we put a 6″ roller with a 3/8″ nap on an extension pole and were able to reach the gable vent and trim from the 8′ ladder. I would stand on the ladder and apply the paint and Jeff held the ladder steady and reloaded the roller. It worked much better and was definitely the safer option. We have two more gables to paint on the house, so now we know the best way to do it.
And here is how it looks with the trim and doors freshly painted!
There is still more to do, but we’re making progress!
We’re getting a quote on having the sunken section of sidewalk replaced and we’ll replace the handrail with something that is a bit more substantial. I’m also looking forward to doing more planting and work on the landscaping in the spring.
Our long-term plan is to add a portico over the side door and increase the size of the stoop. Since this is the main door we use, it would be nice to have it covered. It would also detract attention from some of the utilitarian components, like the cellar doors, electric meter, dryer vent, etc.
This is sort of what I’m thinking…
Or perhaps an enclosed portico, which would be charming…
The one above is definitely too grand, but that’s the general idea. A covered portico is probably more realistic, but it’s fun to dream!
We’ll do some cleaning up in the garden over the winter and plan to work on our backyard fence when the weather is nice, but we’re going to turn our attention mostly back towards the interior. Up next are Calvin’s room, the boys’ bathroom, and the family room and I’m pushing to get it all done before it’s time to decorate for Christmas!