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May 2020
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Particle Board Bathrooms – Finished

The particleboard bathrooms are now in the history books. After removing the wallpaper, scraping and sanding the walls, mold removal, stain blocking, skim coating, sanding, priming spot spackle, sanding, priming,and painting, removing tape and red rosin paper, wiping down and re-caulking, these rooms are done.
Here is the hall bath.


Here is the Master Bath looking in.


Here is the Master Bath looking out.


The weirdest thing besides the obvious is that they used 3/8″ particle board for these. The only plus to this is that you can hang towel bars just about anywhere and be relatively assured of having solid blocking for for mounting them.

Don’t get me started on towel bars that are built on no known centers, with really birdshit mounting plates. Towel bars are one of those items that should really be used to beat the designers over the head until they understand what on center means, what secure mounting means, what sufficient plating and attachment mean.

Probably one of the biggest education challenges is that most designers don’t have children, so secure mounting means nothing to them, they have been bought off by the washcloth size bath towel lobby, and they bathe in car washes rather than using inside plumbing like most regular folks.

Don’t get me started….

Toilet Mold Remediation

In working on the Particle Board Bathrooms, after removing the wall paper was the mold issue behind the toilet. Part of the problem was the water leak from where the toilet was attached to the wall. Removing the mold was a simple issue of wiping the area down with household bleach. An effective and cheap method.


These are wall mount toilets.

Wall mounted toilets are for the most part a commercial product. Partly
due to the ease of cleaning in a commerical arena.  One of the more annoying spots to clean
in your house is the floors and walls around the toilet in your house.
Especially with the cheaper toilets with the snake sides with all those
nooks and crannies that attract dirt and crap.

I thought for some time that these were cool items, because of the
cleaning deal, but I have revised my thinking. The setup and backing
necessary is not for the faint of heart and certainly outside of the
range of your typical tract carpenter or builder. Cost and replacement
is another consideration. Big people may have a problem over time, as
the wax ring is vertical and is the major source of leakage, which can
go unnoticed until the backing has rotted and it falls off the wall. These are not the things that you can run to the mega store and buy off the shelf.

The second issue was the water stains. After repairing and smoothing down the wall surface, I applied KILZ to the wall areas where the stains were.


A coat of primer and two coats of semigloss and we are done.


Definitely a high number on the weirdness scale.

Particle Board Bathrooms – Continued

Having gotten over the weirdness of particle board as a wall material in bathrooms, the next stage of the project is bag the room again prior to sanding the walls. ( We did it once already for removing the wallpaper.The walls have to be sanded to remove bits of trash and glue left over from removing the wallpaper. Plus the fuzz from the water used getting the paper backing off the wall, and the odd bits and holes from the compound popping out from the paper removal, and the leftover silicone caulking.
There is some water staining around the base of the toilet, that will get repaired and a coat of Kilz, before priming and painting. It is remarkable how little water damage there is considering this is a bathroom. Good Wallpaper. It is also amazing how much time these two little rooms are taking.

Here I have covered the floor in Red Rosin Paper, taped and bagged the counter, toilet, and  shower. All of the towel bars, mirrors and other fixtures are sitting in the tub while I do this.

Tech Note: Remember to wipe down and vacuum the areas where your tape goes.  You get a better seal and only have to do it once. The deal is to do it right or do it over.  I don’t do over.


Having bagged, it is time to skim coat. I am using 45 min. speed set, in the belief that I would be able to skim coat,  sand and prime  this day. Silly me.

By the time I got finished skim coating these two rooms I had seriously run out of time for the day. Next up is sanding, touch up, vacuuming up the dust, caulking the inside corners,  walls and ceilings, baseboards and door trim, KILZ around the toilet, and primer.

For those of you contemplating doing a bathroom refresh by removing the wall paper and repainting, allow enough time to be able to work around surprises. For example I have around 16 hours in these two to this point. Sanding, cleaning, touch up,  caulking and priming will suck up another 6-8 hours. This is taking longer because it is smooth wall, and that is how it is done.

Laundry Room Makeover 2

In our last posting on the laundry room we had installed the cabinets. This is the state of play in our last episode. The cabinets are pre finished inside so we will leave well enough alone. The outsides of the cabs are solid red oak face frames with red oak faced plywood inserts. The sides are raw particle board.

Since this is a ‘wet’ location we want to protect the surfaces. We will primer and apply two coats of Behr Semi Gloss Interior Enamel. It has everything you want in a paint. Excellent body, wonderful brushability, excellent coverage, and a reasonable drying time. Actually we are painting the entire room.

Because I am basically lazy, I only want to do things once. So to paint the cabinets I am taking the doors off and painting them in the garage.

This does a couple of things. It allows me to paint the doors flat, minimizing paint buildup in the lower corners, and not having to fight the door to paint the face frames on the hinge sides.

After applying primer and paint, I took some wire coat hangers and made hooks to hang the doors. I am using the garage track as my hanger. You don’t need as much space to spread out the doors, and you can only work on one at a time.

Note: Remember to unplug the garage door opener when you do this.

Having painted and installed the doors, here is our painted  laundry room. We also applied a coat of polyurethane to the small shelf over the units and on the cabinet side next to the dryer. Just a little added protection for these areas.

On the left end we will install a little white board for notes and a key holder below.
The overhead shelving will hold all of the industrial size packages of paper goods and other things. On the right side some hooks will hold the step ladder and some brooms and other cleaning paraphernalia.

Here is the other side of the laundry room.

Here is where we started.

Cabot Water Borne Polyurethane

 I am lazy. I try do do things with the smallest amount of hassle as I can.

Polyurethane is one of those products that makes life a wonderful thing. It is the stuff for protecting wood. Until recently poly was a product that was solvent based giving off fumes, taking long drying times and requiring solvents like mineral spirits to clean up after. Not any more.

This is Cabot Water Borne Polyurethane. It has almost no odor, brushes well, lies flat, dries quickly, and cleans up easily with water. It is available at Lowes for sure.

This is the Satin finish, which I prefer as I am tired of shiny. It comes in shiny and flat as well.

Working with poly is a little different as you need to brush a little slower so that the finish does not bubble, and it will if you are not careful. You also need to brush thin coats. A minimum of two if not three coats, which can be done in a day.

A light sanding with a scotch brite pad or one of those foam sanding blocks (180 grit or so) between coats will give you a very nice finish. Using a good brush like the Cub will also help.

Purdy XL Cub Paint Brush

I have a large collection of paint brushes. Straight, Tapered, and a bunch of specialty brushes for oddball effects.  But this is hands down my new favorite one. This is the Purdy XL Cub.

It is tapered like a sash and trim brush, made with nylon and polyester, so it can be used with any type of paint or stain.

The real deal with this brush is the way it handles.
A standard brush has a long handle, which on flat surfaces works great, but this brush has a small handle with thumb depressions, allowing you to get into small spaces like the inside of shelving units and not banging into the stuff you have already painted.

The handling of this brush is like the difference between driving a chevette and a porsche 911.

If you are going to buy a brush for working on your house, this is definitely one to have.
Available at Amazon for under 10 bucks.

Artroom Expansion 12

The electrician was a no show, as he had other work. This is okay as I got the sanding and we got the primer done.

Always prime sheetrock!!!

First, it will save you money. You really don't want to apply two or more coats of 30+ bucks a gallon paint to cover your wall.

Second, by priming your walls, you have an opportunity to fix any small problems that show up before you paint your finish color.

Third, cause I said so.


The ceiling came out pretty well.

The damage on this wall went away as well.

24 sheets of drywall, 2 bags of speedset, 2 boxes of dust control mud, and this is all the mess there is. Love that dust control mud.
Tomorrow I get to bite the electicians ass…

The New Temporary Workshop Episode 7

I managed to get some primer on the NTW the other day. The temp was in the high 60’s.

I am using KILZ brand primer. Great stuff. It works best in the 70’s, as in the 60’s it has the consistency of sour creme. But then so do all paints.

Inside I have hung the pocket door, which I am going to cut open and install a dog door on the bottom and a piece of tempered glass salvaged from a shower removal. Putting up the NTW, turned the kitchen into a bit of a cave, so I need to get as much light into the house as I can. I am also making the trim on one side of the pocket door frame removable, so when I find or build the door I really want, I can install it.

For Christmas I received this. Oh yeah! This tops the list of christmas presents for sure. I love stained glass.

Now I just have to find the best place to put it. The windows in the casa are dual pane energy efficient units with one big drawback. The damn faux pane dividers inside. These are the standard here in arizona. I’d like to bitch slap the person who thought this was cool. I hated multi pane windows when I had to repair, refinish and paint them. Having them in the center of the window, makes it doubling maddening as replacing dual pane units are more expensive than the window in the first place.

Right now it is in my bathroom in the window.

The forecast calls for high 60’s during the first part of the week. I hope so. Then I can get the outside painted, and finish the inside, and move my tools into the workshop. Start building cabinets for my DVD’s and books. Then I can move down the hallway and work on getting my office setup, and the media room/movie theater finished.

What do you mean it’s a different White?

While I am looking for color advice for the walls in my living room, I have made a design choice regarding my ceiling. It is going to be White. I am using Home Depot’s BEHR No. 558 Ultra White Ceiling Paint in a flat finish.

As you can see there are many shades of white. Where I have cut in is the Ceiling white. The previous wall and ceiling color was Glidden Professional Finish Ultra Build White, which in my opinion fails on all counts as a rolling paint. It has a gray tinge, it is a thin paint, doesn’t roll well, and requires at least 2 coats to cover. May work okay in a spray gun, but I don’t use them.

Home Depot’s Behr Brand is really great paint. It has good body, lays down well, and when properly applied covers in one coat. I haven’t used any other paint since my first can. Worth every cent you pay for it. And a lot of times it goes on sale making it an even better value.
Highly Recommended.

Door Painting

In our last episode, we removed the doors and painted the walls. Let’s look at the doors and paint them.

The vast majority of interior doors are flat slab hollow core doors. They have 2 sheets of masonite separated by a series of thin bits of wood and a honeycomb of cardboard in the center to keep the two panels from collapsing or booming like a big base drum.

Moving on. One of the things that hardly ever gets done is painting the top and bottom edges of the door. Paint’s other job besides creating a serene or energetic environment is to protect the surfaces of what it’s applied to.

See? The nail is there to be able to stand the door up after we paint it.

There are a couple of places in your house where this will bite you. The bathroom, kitchen and laundry room. Humidity will swell the wood, and in the case of masonite paneled doors, it looks like this.

House builders buy them prehung, bang them in, the painter sprays them, and everybody goes home. Painters never take them down and paint these edges. Time is money, and builders won’t pay to have it done.

This is your house now and you are painting. Let’s fix this problem.

Over time the bottom of the door swells, and the paint will peel. You can see this on the right side of this photo. The peeling on this particular door was due to the builder buying un-primered doors. Cheaper, and the painter didn’t prime before he painted. I see this crap a lot.

When I took the doors down, I marked the bottom. I had a garage and a couple of saw horses to set the doors on. You may be only doing one door. In any case, remove the knob and striker from the door, and put it in the ZipLock bag in the room that you got it from. This is why you need a gallon bag and not a quart size.

When you get back, take a piece of tape and write on it, what door it is and place it in the hole you took the knob from.

Now that you have the door off, you can do any sanding and patching that needs to be done. Here I have taken a sander and sanded down the swelling from the masonite. I have also put two nails in the bottom of the door. I also put a nail in the top of the door and bent it 90 degrees. This is so that I can stand it up and not ruin the paint while it is drying, and the nail on the top allows me to place it on a wall, and not have the top of the door stick to the wall. Put a coat of paint on the top and bottom being careful not to paint the face of the door. We will roll that.

After patching, sanding, and painting the top and bottom, there is one area we want to paint before we roll the door. We want to paint the hinges with a brush across the hinge and the hinge pocket. We also want to cut in the front of the hinge where it is inset into the face of the door, because this is a pain to do it after. Here is the door with your sticker letting you know where it goes.

After you have rolled the door, you can stand it up against a wall, and paint the rest of the hinge edge, and the knob edge. Since it is off the floor and away from the wall, you should have no problem painting these. Tomorrow is soon enough to paint the top and bottom edges again and roll the other side.