Since even Oak complained about my lack of blog posts, I decided to motivate myself to some more frequent posting by sharing my favorite home improvement products. So, over the next few posts (until I run out of steam or ideas) you get to read about the things we have found that we have actually been super pleased with in this home improvement adventure. Like anything else, there are so many silly gadgets you don’t actually need. But then, there are silly gadgets that make life so much easier they are totally worth the investment.
Right now, we are working on getting our drywall and trim finished on the main floor. So, I’ve been working on fixing up all of the doors and woodwork. We have a lot of stained woodwork that just can’t stay that way unfortunately, since it’s so scratched/banged up from 30 years of abuse. So, I’m in the process of smoothin’ it all out and getting it ready for painting. My personal favorite for this is a nice fresh tub of Elmer’s Wood filler. Don’t make the same mistake we did and figure oh, we have like 9000 pieces of molding and 37 doors to putty, let’s buy the industrial size! Unless you plan on doing that task in 2 days (good luck with that), it will dry out. Even our clever idea of putting the putty in a sealed plastic bag – not so great. So buy the smaller container.
(SIDENOTE: This stuff is only for wood you’re planning to paint. It doesn’t accept stain all that well. In fact, what I have learned, for stained woodwork, and my stair-staining experience, is that you’re actually supposed to putty AFTER you stain. They sell tinted putty for this purpose. I’ve used the Minwax putty in a few different colors, and I’m generally not impressed… so stay tuned on that..)
Application technique is simple, but for the best results follows a similar train of thought to applying drywall mud – thinner is better to save your arm from falling off from sanding later on. (Oak will have to post his expertise on drywall at some point… in the meantime check out DIY Diva’s Drywall central.) Depending on how deep the gouge is, I alternate between using my fingers and a putty knife to apply the stuff. For the doggy-induced crosshatch patterns we seem to have on every door (seriously.. did these dogs ever want to stay in the room the were in?), the putty knife allows you to get a nice thin layer to fill in the thin lines. For deeper gouges, it’s easier to get in there with your fingers.
After that, let it dry and attack your putty with sandpaper. If you’re puttying flat surfaces like doors, definitely pull out your random orbital sander for this, as it saves a ton of time. Of course, you’ll make a dust cloud in the process but at this point I’m pretty sure our house is a perma dust bowl. I have completely given up on trying to clean it up until we’re ready to put the final coats of paint on everything (sorry, visitors). For door and window trim, you’ll have to pull out a sheet of sand paper and go at it by hand. Just think about the muscles you’re toning in the process!
Usually, this takes a few iterations of sanding, puttying, sanding again to find every little knick and get it all smooth. However, it’s definitely worth the effort because when you prime and paint, your door/trim/whatever will look brand new.
*Disclaimer: This post was NOT sponsored by Elmer’s. I did briefly consider buying stock in the company but discovered they are not a publicly traded company. Bugger.