Sunday, October 31, 2010

How to Paint A Room, While Sitting on your Rump

I hear that necessity is the mother of invention; for us, necessity took the form of poverty.

We are fixing up our home, with the plan of putting it on the market in the Spring. For different reasons, Mike and I both have difficulty standing; we thought we could never do it ourselves; so we got a couple of bids to paint the six rooms we need to paint.

Yoikes, painters are expensive! Immediately after recovering from the sticker shock, we decided that we were going to become DIYers. However, there was no way we could do it the traditional way. With no other choice, we adapted the job to fit our abilities.

We just finished the living room, dining room and hallway today; and are struttin' like peacocks over our new neutral-so-buyers-can-see-their-own-stuff-in-the-room “Cincinnati Hotel Taupe” walls.

Picture of an office chair with a plastic drop cloth over it.We also thought there may be others who might not think they can paint their walls, because they use wheelchairs or cannot stand for any length of time... Hence, this blog on how we did it.

I use a scooter for mobility (my new power chair is in the pipeline—can't wait); it's not conducive for painting at all, so I used our office chair. To ensure that it stayed clean, it got its very own drop cloth. It slid around the house nicely while I was painting. I do have the use of my legs; so, I could just push off in any direction with ease. I do think that power chair users who cannot push off, could use their chairs, just as easily. Unless you are really really really neat, drop cloth cover it too.

It took us about three weeks to finish the job. That is probably longer than it would take most people. Among my list of medical conditions, I have chronic fatigue. Mike has to baby his back since his surgery in June. We could only work on the project a couple hours, every other day (sometimes 3 days would pass before we got back to it). Here's how we did it:

Room Prep

  • I moved the furniture... in my office chair. I pulled out the small pieces, turned my office chair around, touching the furniture and pushed it backward to one end of our living/dining room.

  • When we finished one area, I'd push it back the same way.

  • Power-chair users could accomplish these tasks much easier.

  • We did need a little help; taping the tops and down the sides of windows and doors about a foot. The rest we could reach from a chair. We were able to tape off baseboards, and ¾ way around the windows/doors while seated.

Photo of paint brush duct taped to a stick, and two paint rollersPainting

  • Supplies: You will need the traditional paint supplies, paint, drop cloths, a cut-in brush and a roller (we also used a mini roller, which was good in small spaces). The adaptive technology you will need is a long-handled broom stick handle. Make sure the roller brush holders have a place to screw the broom handle. And, of course, beer.

  • We used a canvas drop cloth to protect the floor from spatters, drips and beer spills; because you will knock over an open one with your chair; I personally guarantee it. The chair moved easier on canvas than those thin plastic dropcloths. Don't buy a canvas drop cloth at the hardware store. Go to a fabric store (Jo-Ann Fabrics). I found canvas in the bargain bin; it was less than half the price Lowe's wanted for a smaller size. Who cares if its edges are raw and not sewn, its a freaking drop cloth! A vinyl tarp might work well too, if you have one.

  • Applying paint from the baseboards to over our seated heads was easy and required no accommodation, except of course that we were on our rumps.

  • Once we could no longer reach, we attached a broom handle to the rollers and duct taped the brush to another. We did all the roller work in a section first; then used the cut in brush for the corners and around the windows. I was surprised at how easily the high work was. Note to self: Use much more duct tape on the paint brush, or use two screws to attach the paintbrush to the handle.

Photo of Cilla in the hallway, using the paintbrush to paint the ceiling and wall near the ceiling.Trim

  • We are going to have crown molding installed in the living/dining areas, (HGTV says it adds value to a house and I believe everything the Channel tells me). For that reason, we did not have to paint all the way to the ceiling.

  • However, in the hallway, we just painted the ceiling the same color as the walls—no need to tape off that unreachable area at the ceiling.

  • I even painted the smoke detector, since I could not get on a ladder to take it down. It was old and looks much better painted.

  • Painting around the hallway ceiling light was time consuming.

  • We needed help removing, then putting the light cover back on after we painted around the light.

That's pretty much it. The rooms look great. Photo of Cilla using the roller on the broomstick, painting low, under a window.Three down, three to go. But now I feel very confident we can do it, be done by Spring. Hope “springs” eternal that we can a reap a small mint, in a depressed market ,and another family will continue the history of our current, lovely cozy home. :)


bint alshamsa said...

You. are. amazing. We are painting our house right now and I will definitely be using these tips! My partner has back injuries and his TBI makes it a little dangerous for him to stand on ladders for any extended period of time. I have my lupus-related fatigue issues and my cancer surgeries have made standing for long periods rather impossible. Using my left arm for anything that must go above my shoulder (like when using a paint brush or roller) is extremely painful. Your tips are going to make it possible for me to do a lot more of the work around here without having to rely on when my dad comes to town from time to time. Thanks a million!

Big Noise said...

Happy to oblige. I had a feeling it might be helpful to some! Glad you were one! :)