Thanks for your kind comments on my door painting fail – so glad I’m not the only one who’s screwed up a DIY project.
And I’ll give a quick disclaimer right now: painting your floors can look AWESOME and is a great solution for a cheap face lift until you can replace flooring outright.
However … however, if you rush this project, you’ll screw it up royally. Guess which route I took?
After horribly trashing the floor around the door with not one, but two spray painting fiascos, I couldn’t take it anymore and wisely plunged into tackling the floor. I mean, come on … really? How long could you greet friends at the door with a floor that looked like that?
But at the same time … finish one project, woman, and then move on.
The entry floor was covered with the same peel-n-stick vinyl tiles that we have in the kitchen. The original linoleum was a dark, heavy 70’s brown, so the white vinyl was a big improvement. But just like the kitchen floor, these tiles were 10 years old and seriously showing their wear. This is freshly scrubbed.
See? It never looks clean. And that was before several layers of spray paint over spray.
So after a quick wipe down, that floor got two coats of oil based primer.
Seriously, oil based primer is the greatest stuff ever. I was giddy with how much better it all ready looked. I let that dry for a couple days and then rolled on a coat of white semi-gloss paint (what I had on hand).
And then …yup, you guessed it … I went stupid again.
Instead of letting that paint dry for 2-3 days minimum before taping over it, I waited a mere 18 24 hours until it felt dry and started taping away. Laying out the grid was easy …
… I just followed the lines of the vinyl tiles.
Then I rollered on a second coat of white semi-gloss paint over the entire floor to help seal the tape edges so that the next layer of brown paint wouldn’t seep under the tape. Again, only waited a day and then charged ahead with the brown. I rolled on two coats using the same paint I used on the front door. I waited a day, and then started carefully pulling up the tape. And at first, it looked wicked awesome.
But on the second square something really, really bad started to happen: the paint under the tape started coming up. Everywhere. In huge pieces.
I wanted to cry … really, really cry.
But I didn’t, because Mr. Thrive wasn’t thrilled about the huge door mess that had created the floor mess that was now a painted floor mess. And I was determined to save this project and actually finish a project for once. So I lightly sanded down the worst of the edges and and carefully started touching up the peeled off areas in each square. (Thankfully just the white semi-gloss lifted and not the primer underneath.) And while not perfect, I was relieved to see that with some patience, it was completely fixable.
But … but … after finishing my touch ups, I left the paint tray on the stairs and went upstairs for a minute … and my three year old daughter saw the very full paint tray just sitting there and wanted to help momma with the painting … and she tried to pick it up to go down the stairs and paint … and dropped the heavy tray … and watched all of that white paint land on the carpeted stairs and splatter across the newly painted floor … and then probably panicked that momma would be mad and promptly ran back up the stairs, tracking big paint foot prints on all the steps that hadn’t been covered by the paint to start.
And anytime you have a 1/3 of a gallon land on your floor, you know there’s not a snowballs chance that it’s coming out.
That’s when I cried.
For a full five minutes I lost it and cried like a baby.
But then I took a deep breath … and hugged my baby girl and apologized to her for yelling and being mad when I was the one who left the paint out … and I put my big girl pants on and started to hustle.
Because it was two o’clock in the afternoon … and Mr. Thrive was going to be home at seven … and I didn’t want him to have to walk into that kind of mess … or stress over how on earth we’d pay not only for new flooring in the entryway, but also for the stairs. So I scraped as much of the paint out of the carpet as I could … and wiped all the excess paint off the floor … and took a few quick, crappy pictures to blackmail my children with as my mind raced as to how on earth I was going to fix this mess. (Edited to add: yes, yes I was having flashbacks to this moment.)
Oh, and did I mention that we had company coming in from out a state in just two weeks?
The floor I knew could be repainted. Again.
But the stairs? The only thing I could think off was to rip the carpet off the bottom tread and hurry down to Lowe’s and see if could match it. I knew I couldn’t get it installed before Mr. Thrive got home, but I was hoping that having the replacement stuff already ordered would soften the blow. So I grabbed a hammer and a pair of pliers and started yanking.
Holy cow. We vacuum and sweep twice a day and that’s how much dirt was under the carpet and pad. It’s probably ten years worth … but still. Ewwww.
I was completely grossed out … and even more worried about what to do … but the reality was that I couldn’t afford new carpet—even a small amount of replacement carpet – so the choice was to live with the huge paint stains on the carpet plus one naked tread at the bottom –or- figure out a way to rock-what-ya-got.
And so I took a deep breath … and then another … and then made an executive decision. And I started yanking and pulling and ripping until all of the carpet going upstairs was gone and I was left with this:
And suddenly I had not only an unfinished door and an unfinished floor, but was now waist deep in a stair project.
And that’s where things got interesting. Back in a bit.