I set a goal for this past weekend to paint the porch ceiling blue. Technically, the goal was to paint the ceiling the previous weekend, but after a small setback in which I chose a shade of blue (Serene Sky by Behr) that was all wrong for the house, I had to postpone my efforts until this past weekend. Actually, if I’m going to be completely honest, I really set the goal to paint the porch ceiling blue many weeks ago when I the made The List — 20 tasks to do around the house, each costing less than $20. But when I created The List, I didn’t put a date on any of the “to do” items, so I really wasn’t behind on the porch ceiling project until last weekend.
Armed with a quart of Cloudy Day by Behr, I set to work Saturday morning. I applied blue painter’s tape around the edges of the porch where the ceiling meets the molding. Then I took a brush and cut in around the painter’s tape. After that was done, I used a roller brush to roll the paint onto the ceiling. I got about three quarters of the first coat done when I ran out of paint. So in the middle of my project, Mark, Charlie and I drove to Home Depot to get more paint. Running out of paint was particularly distressing because I’d hoped to paint the porch ceiling for under $20 and I’d already gone over budget after wasting money on the quart of the way-too-cheery Serene Sky. This, people, is why they make testers of paint. I could have bought one for Serene Sky, in fact, I thought about buying one but I decided not to because I didn’t want to spend the $3 or whatever relatively small amount it cost. Silly, silly me.
Anyhow, off we went to buy more Cloudy Day. I knew I could finish the ceiling with two more quarts, but the price of two quarts was only a couple of dollars less than a gallon, and Mark said he liked the color of Cloudy Day so much that he might want to use it on other projects, so a gallon of the stuff came home with us.
I finished painting the first coat of Cloudy Day and got to work on the second coat. That’s when Mark couldn’t stand it anymore and took over. Mark used to be a professional house painter. He’s very, very particular about painting. The fact that Mark hadn’t shown much interest in the porch ceiling project until he ultimately took it over was a little, uh, odd to me. At some point in the middle of the first coat, when he came out and started giving me unsolicited advice, I asked him why he wasn’t insisting on painting the ceiling himself. He replied, “I’m trying to learn to let go.” Alrighty then, I kept painting. I don’t think I’m a bad painter, but I will never be as good a painter as Mark. So by the time I got around to rolling on the second coat of paint, Mark had watched my efforts for long enough. He finished up the porch ceiling while I played with Charlie and tried not to interfere too much.
While I’m happy with the ceiling, I’m not happy that I went over the $20 budget. In fact, you may be wondering just how far over budget I went.
(All paint by Behr in satin finish, exterior paint & primer in one)
- 1 quart Serene Sky: $15.95
- 1 quart Cloudy Day: $15.95
- 1 gallon Cloudy Day (by the time I got to buying a gallon of Cloudy Day, I wanted to have it mixed using a cheaper Behr exterior paint in order to save money, but Mark told me that was a bad idea. I don’t know why it was a bad idea, but I didn’t really feel like I was in a position to argue): $34.95
- 1 roller brush: $4.97
- paint brush: FREE (thank goodness, we had it already)
Grand Total: $71.82
Hmm, not even close to $20. So how did I go so terribly wrong? First, I should have sprung for the tester in Serene Sky rather than buying the quart outright. Second, once I had settled on a color — Cloudy Day — I should have just bought a gallon rather than hoping that a quart would be enough. To my credit, however, I did use a paint calculator tool which estimated that I only needed about a quart. Granted, I knew my measurements probably weren’t exact since the calculator is based on painting four walls rather than a ceiling, but I figured I was close enough. Third, I didn’t choose an inexpensive paint. Behr offers a basic exterior paint that would have saved me several dollars, but I bought the paint that has the primer built in thinking it would save me a step. Maybe it did, but maybe I also could have just used the less expensive exterior paint and not bothered priming. I’ll never know. Finally, I bought the small roller brush (and I used it for this project), but we had two larger roller brushes at home I could have used instead. Had I just bought a couple of tester jars (one for Serene Sky and one for Cloudy Day), and had I bought a gallon of Cloudy Day to begin with, and had I properly checked our supplies at home before I went to Home Depot, my total costs would have probably been about $40, still much more than the $20 I’d hoped for, but a lot less than what I did spend.
Regardless of how I annihilated the budget, the ceiling looks great. The blue is subtle yet unexpected and fun. Unfortunately, however, when Mark finished the second coat and removed the carefully placed painter’s tape — the tape that was supposed to prevent me from getting blue paint on the cream colored molding — there were several spots where the blue paint had seeped through the painter’s tape, like here:
I probably wouldn’t have noticed this, but Mark sure did and that’s all it took for him to announce, “We’re going to have to repaint the whole porch.” To be fair, the porch needed to be repainted even before my ceiling mishaps, but the mishaps have provided a sense of urgency that Mark hadn’t felt before. So I guess repainting the porch will be the next project at Casa Yikes Money. I’ve already started looking at different shades of tan. But this time, I’m investing in some tester jars.