Saturday, August 16, 2008

Earning My Keep

For a long time now, maintenance and home improvement has meant hiring someone to do something around our house. I just proved that it’s not always necessary.

I recently noticed that the iron railing on either side of our front stoop was badly rusted. It didn’t seem like such a difficult job, so I decided to do it myself.

First I went to Frager’s, a hardware store where they still know how to do everything and are only too willing to educate their customers. A young guy about 25 years old told me exactly how to tackle this project.

I ended up buying naval jelly, a steel brush, Rustoleum primer, flat black enamel paint, a drop cloth, and 3 brushes. I purposely bought brushes that were cheap enough that I would not feel compelled to clean them and keep them forever.

First I cleaned the cobwebs and other unidentifiable gunk off the railings. Then I applied the naval jelly with a brush to all the visibly rusted areas. After about 10 minutes, I took the steel brush and scraped off the loosened rust. A jet of water from the hose took off any remaining rust and naval jelly.

The next step was to paint Rustoleum primer onto all surfaces. There were a lot of surfaces; every one of those little spindles has 4 sides. I then decided to let the Rustoleum dry overnight.

Today I applied the flat black over the Rustoleum. Just that step took about 3 hours. I was being super careful since it was enamel paint. One of my best ideas was to wear disposable gloves, which did end up full of paint.

I managed to get through this project without kicking over a can of paint or screaming at anyone. The newly painted railings look fresh and clean and ready for a few more years before the process will need to be repeated.

Today’s painting session took a little longer because mid-way through a black lab wandered into the yard looking sort of lost. I stashed the brush and paint while I managed to corral her and put her in the back yard with Jake. She belongs to a neighbor down the street who has yet to come pick her up. So Bella is stretched out on the family room floor and Jake is totally ignoring her. But meanwhile I’m reminded of our sweet departed Dylan every time I look at her.


Blogger Steve said...

Awww, Bella! Wonder how she got loose?

Doesn't home improvement give you a tremendous sense of satisfaction? I always feel so good when I tackle a do-it-yourself project. (Though it IS pretty uncommon!)

7:35 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Steve -- We're back to a one-dog family. Bella apparently was on a long leash in front of their house and somehow managed to escape. She is fairly old and looked like she might not know how to get home. She loves to fetch as much as Jake, so for once we had 2 dogs chasing things in the back yard. (Dylan had many good qualities, but he was not a retriever, despite his name.)

I do feel good when I manage to do something constructive around the house. I have to make sure it's not too big a job because I don't like the ones that take a long time!

Loved your reading list. I look forward to finding out which were your favorites.

7:40 PM  
Blogger Gary said...

Well done! I am finding that I am not as helpless as I pretend to be in these situations either, although I do love to paint (wall and such, not canvas).

The black lab is gorgeous. She chose a good time to show up. If you got black paint on her it wouldn't matter. And if she gets a little 'rusty' you know what to do. :)

9:52 PM  

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