5.27.2011

Picardy Poll: Behr vs. Glidden

Of course there are a bajillion other kinds of paint as well, but I know, for us at least, these are the two we stick to the most. Every big box sticks with their two big brands, and because our closest big box is Home Depot, these are the two that they really concentrate on.

Of course it would be great if we could use Benjamin Moore or Sherwin-Williams all the time, but it's just too costly for us :( Of course when we tackle painting the exterior of the house, we'll definitely go with a higher rung paint as it's an area we want to make sure stays in tip top shape with all the beatings it'll get.

Now, on to the task at hand: for me, it's Glidden all the way, absolutely no question at all. And here's the perfect example:

I'm working on a painting project and am using some yellow paint that's Behr, and some white paint that's Glidden. I wrote, in pencil, on the project in small letters where certain colors were supposed to be, and then I painted over them.

Here I wrote a "W" and covered it in only two layers of the Glidden white

And here I wrote "Y" and painted over it in FOUR coats of Behr yellow and you can still see a slight haze of the pencil lines. And it really is a tiny haze (you'll have to click the pic to make it bigger), but to me, if there is still a tiny haze at all after FOUR coats, that's a bit ridiculous

Chris of course is always more scientific than me :) So here's his opinion:

ben moore and sherwin-williams (along with dunn-edwards, kelly moore, and others) are most often used by the pros. they're expensive, but they cover real well and are just better paints all around. they also have a better variety of paints for specific applications - commercial grade paints, epoxy paints for steps, alkyd paints, paints with mildewcides, low/no voc paints, etc.

behr is pretty much the lowest quality paint i would bother with. it's good enough on interior surfaces and places that don't have problems.

glidden covers better than behr.

paint is highly scientific stuff. they put in all kinds of chemicals that control the dry and cure time so fewer brush strokes are seen or so that mold can't grow or any number of other desirable attributes. behr is just paint. behr has the premium line which i've used and is supposedly self-priming and better quality. i didn't find it to be worth the extra cost. in general i eschew the self-priming paints and prime first with a dedicated primer. they all claim it, but i've still not found a paint that gives true one coat coverage either (unless the colors are close).

So what paint to you like?

Which Paint is Best?


5.25.2011

Berkeley Roof Services = No Longer Friends

In December of '09 we got our roof redone. It was VERY necessary as there were at least a dozen leaks in our attic and there were cups and buckets strewn everywhere to try and catch everything

We got about 4-5 contractors out to bid because there was no way we were attempting our first re-roofing job on a roof as complicated and dangerous as ours. We ended up going with Berkeley Roofing Services, a small local company that got bought by a larger local company, Westco Roofing.

Getting our roof redone was awesome to watch, and awesome when it was done



I thought the workers did a great job but I wasn't too thrilled with the office staff, especially our contact Ki-Suh (not sure of the spelling). He was incredibly disorganized, called us one day and said we had to rush home from our jobs to pick our gutter colors in an hour or they'd be on back order and we wouldn't get them for at least a week, and wasn't very easy to get a hold of.

But in the end, the workers were professional, nice, and their work looked great. And above all, our roof didn't leak anymore!

Well, fast forward to today and we discovered some stuff they didn't do a great job on. I know I'm being SUPER picky, but when you pay $20,000 for your roof to be redone (and by pay, I mean borrow from your parents), you expect a flawless, perfect job. And yes, that amount made our jaws drop too, but it is definitely the going rate in our neighborhood because of the price of living here in the Bay Area and the level of complication of our roof. Bids came in $6-$7,000 more than that in some cases.

Anyways. When you pay as much as a new car for your roof, you want things to be perfect. So when the paint on the venting starts to peel off only 16 months later, you get a little ticked off

Peeling here

Here

And here

And those are just the ones I could conveniently photograph.

Finally annoyed with staring at peeling paint that was OBVIOUSLY not primed (take an extra 20 minutes to prime and let dry you lazy workers) I called to get them to fix it. Yes, you may find that annoying that I called to make them fix it, but hey, they fucked up and didn't paint it right and we paid for something to be done correctly.

It took a month. A MONTH for them to finally get their ass in gear. This included about 6 phone calls made by me and a couple made by Chris. The assholes never called back after numerous messages I left and a few times said "oh, we'll get someone on this and give you a call back." No call back.

Parents, teachers, coaches, everyone always tells you to be polite and nice. Well, sometimes being polite doesn't work. So finally, I called and was a bitch on the phone. I told the receptionist this was absolutely unacceptable and that the workmanship was not up to par and that they needed to come out and fix it pronto because I'd been hounding your company for FOUR WEEKS.

Later that day Ki-Suh came out to look at things and agreed that, yes, that was wrong and that he'd bring some guys over to fix it. When the guys came over (with the wrong color paint), they feigned responsibility and insisted that they had primed. Really? Because all that paint peeling is where the fucking sticker labels were and they obviously just peeled off because you were clearly too lazy to pull a sticker off and took some extra, unprimed paint with it. We're not idiots over here.

Another week goes by and the workers come over while Chris and I are at work. I got home from the A's game to find them crawling around on the roof. I greeted them and they seemed quite put off by me, oh the fuck well. I went inside, checked my email, got the mail and then came outside. I was inside maybe 5 minutes. They had left. When I opened the door I found a can of spray paint on the doorstep and them gone. Not even a knock to let me know they were done and to make sure the job was done correctly.

We had told them they needed to chip all the paint off, prime, and repaint. And to PLEASE mask off so spray paint wasn't everywhere.

Well, they removed the old paint, but they certainly didn't mask off, because, yup, that's blue fucking spray paint on our 90 year old brick

And on our shingles

And in the sunlight you can see that their paint job wasn't done well. There's streaks and inconsistent coverage.

Overall, I'm totally pissed off. I'm sure some of you readers think I'm a raging bitch, but to me, when you pay a lot of money to have "professionals" do things, they need to be done right. And the part that is most annoying is that peeling off a sticker and priming and letting it dry would have taken 20 MINUTES. It's just absolute laziness. And then, when you have to call and call and call for 4 weeks to get someone out to look at it, and then they're lazy again, it just makes my skin crawl.

Chris wanted to know if I'd call again and have them fix it, and at this point I don't really care anymore. Clearly they don't care, and they're not going to do it properly again, so I don't want more of the roof fucked up. Assholes.

Berkeley Roof Services and Westco Roofing - you're on my shitlist.

5.24.2011

While We Were There...

While we were at my mom and CBH's we decided to kill two birds with one stone at repair their front porch. It was a two visit job (drying time) so we worked on it while we were out there for Mother's Day, and then again this past weekend before we headed up to Windsor.

My mom and CBH have a way cute little 1920s cottage on a hill

Picturesque, no?

The paint on the "handrail" of the front porch has never taken properly, it has always bubbled up - when my parents got their house painted, when they tried to fix it themselves - always bubbled. The plan was to try to help DE-bubble it. And of course I didn't get a before picture.

When we were out there for Mother's Day Chris got started on sanding things. I wasn't much help because CBH and I were going on our last long training day before the half marathon and running 10 miles, so Chris got to it without me


He'd sanded the top part, but the bottom part with the white spots is where primer was painted because all the reddish paint had bubbled up and peeled. Chris worked on sanding it all down to try and get down to the bare wood

He also tore down the board below the "handrail" because it was rotten

And then the top got painted in shellac based primer

When we came back to the house on Saturday afternoon to finish up the task before leaving for Windsor Chris decided he didn't approve of his prior sanding job (he'd only had the palm sander the first time) so he brought the belt sander this time and sanded the "handrail" down again

I followed with the palm sander and two rounds of finer paper and we got things down pretty bare (a bit more bare than the above pic showed). We were hoping that with the wood that bare and a really good shellac primer coat on top that the bubbling problem would hopefully be solved.

We also filled in some gaps with great stuff...

...and put in a new redwood 2x4

Once we got the shellac primer on, it was time to head up to Windsor to stay at our hotel for the night (the half marathon started at 7am and was about an hour north of mom and CBH's house).

The afternoon after the half marathon, after my mom's newspaper reveal breakfast :), Chris and I came back to mom and CBH's house to get the first coat of paint on over the shellac.

The job's not done as there still needs another coat of the reddish shade and the bottom piece needs to be painted gray, but it's a vast improvement, and hopefully a solved problem as well!


5.23.2011

I Did It!!!

Yesterday morning me, Chris and CBH made our way up to Windsor, CA (about 2 hours north of us here in Oakland). I'd been training long and hard and was finally ready to tackle my FIRST half marathon! CBH, a running machine, was running with me for moral support and to be an energizing force. The man has already run 3 half marathons and clocked in around 1:43 for his best time (at the age of 59 no less!) Mr. Christopher, the dutiful and amazing boyfriend that he is, woke up at 5:30 in the morning to be there with us, cheer us on, and take pictures :)

CBH means business :)

We got our bibs, stretched, did a little warming up and were ready

And by ready, I mean I was totally terrified. We did the Road to Hana Relay last year, and I'd been training for this for a few months, but I was so nervous.

But soon, we were off!

Can you see me with the white hat and CBH with the white hair? We match :)

Now, I'd been running a good amount and CBH and I had figured that finishing in 1:55:00 was a good goal. That would give us just under 13 nine minute miles, and I'd been running about that for my training. We knew that we might be a little faster because of the adrenaline, but we thought that was realistic and that's what I was shooting for.

Well, fast forward to race day and we SHOT out the first two miles and kept up a really fast pace the whole time. A pace I thought might make me fall over and pass out. Around mile 8 I got a blister. Around mile 9 I thought I might keel over. Around mile 10 my post-surgical knee started hurting. And around mile 12 I thought I was going to fall over and quite possibly die.

CBH was SUCH a great motivator and wouldn't let me stop or slow down. Many times I told him, "No, I can't do it, go ahead, you can go faster, go ahead, I can't do it, go ahead." But he stayed with me the whole time and pushed me. It was BY FAR the hardest physical thing I've ever done, and I played 12 years of soccer, countless tournaments, and 6 years of baseball. But man, that half marathon kicked my ass.

When I saw Chris around the last curve taking our picture and shouting "ONE MINUTE LEFT!" I thought I might cry tears of joy

BTW, do you like how in sync CBH and I are? Both right legs kicking up, both left arms pumping forward, and our matching white heads and outfits. Hilarious.

With 1 minute left I summoned everything I had left (which wasn't much) and CBH and I ran through the finish line at 1:48:06!!!! We beat our goal time by 7 minutes!!!! I was floored and so proud of myself. It took a little bit to recover, but man, it felt good! CBH finished 3rd in his age group! And update, I just checked online, I finished 8th out of 51 for ladies in my age group!

Yay!!!!!!

We met up with my mom back in Fairfax for a post-race breakfast and found out SHE MADE THE FRONT PAGE OF THE MARIN INDEPENDENT JOURNAL! Creative Balance, that's my mom!

And she had a big article, above the fold :), on the front page of the weekend section


Amazingness! You can, and should, read the article here! :)

After a great breakfast Chris and I headed home. Chris spent the afternoon working on miscellaneous tasks

Look at that handsome fella :)

And I laid in the grass reading magazines :)

I'm trying to get rid of my "home renovation tan" (I am not a farmer). A tanline on my arm like that will look not so great at my bro's wedding in two weeks.

It was the perfect end to a great day!

5.19.2011

A Tile Saw Cover

Our tile saw sits on the floor in the garage

Chris was thinking that because it gets all dusty and covered with saw dust that it'd be nice to have some sort of cover for it. He's been bugging me to work on this project for a loooooong time, but I was nervous, so I'd been putting it off for a looooooooong time :) I can sew a panel of curtains and have sewn a simple quilt before, but something with weird angles and a three dimensional shape made me scared.

But I finally got my ass in gear and decided to tackle it.

So I pulled out the saw and took some measurements and reference photos


And armed with my notes and photos...

...I went inside and tried to sketch up a plan of attack.

I decided to construct a cover for the tall, back part of the saw, and a separate one for the shorter, front part, then I'd sew the two together

I figured this would be the easiest way for me to not mess up. Or at least not mess up drastically :)

I labeled each piece I'd need to cut, and then drew out how much fabric I'd need to buy

2 1/2 yards would give me plenty to make the cover and enough to re-cut some pieces if I messed up.

Now that I knew how much fabric I needed I went online on fabric.com (great source for cheap, good fabric) to look at what might be a good material for the project. I picked out a few, thicker, more durable fabrics and sent Chris the links and let him choose which one he liked best. He picked a light khaki canvas.

Once the fabric arrived...

...it was time to get started.

Because I had labeled my pieces on my drawing, as I cut them out of the bolt I pinned their number to them so I'd easily be able to tell which piece was which


Soon all the pieces were cut and I was ready (fearful, but ready)

But I just followed my directions piece by piece and slowly assembled


And after about 90 minutes of sewing and two trips out to the garage to make sure things were fitting properly I was done!

I wasn't completely thrilled with my work (it's too big on the top part), but for my first three dimensional project I was pretty satisfied that I didn't royally mess up and that it fits kinda okay. Chris is much more impressed, which is a nice motivator :)




It's not perfect, but hey, it works. And it serves it's purpose, so I guess I give this project a thumbs up