Southern Mom Loves: Refreshing Your Kitchen on a Budget: Repairing Drywall and Painting {with a Giani Granite peek}

Refreshing Your Kitchen on a Budget: Repairing Drywall and Painting {with a Giani Granite peek}

Saturday, September 27, 2014

When we bought our historic century home, we knew it would take a lot of hard work and time to update and repair a house that had been neglected for so long. It hadn't had any updates since the 80's, so it wasn't that just had issues

I'm going to walk you through how we updated our kitchen on an extreme budget by ripping out a bad backsplash, repairing our damaged wallboard, painting the walls and trim, and transforming our countertops with a paint kit, with all the tips and tricks we learned on the way! 

We are the proud owners of The Money Pit. I'm joking...kind of.

It seems that a lot of the work that was done previously was either shoddy or just plain odd.  

Case in point: Every room in this 4200 sq. ft. house (except the kitchen and Den) were sprayed completely in a light avocado green. That means all walls, trim, windowsills, etc. were a light shade of puke-y green. Plus, all of the bathroom tile was done in varying (but not always coordinating) shades of green. Walking through it gave me a major Matrix vibe. There are tons of 18-light doors, some double, with transoms throughout the house, and huge windows full of tiny panes, so taping and painting around the glass has been a nightmare.

Nightmare room. Seriously. Those ceilings are 12-feet high and that table is pub-height.
Perspective: Now you have it.
The kitchen was the most updated space in the house, so we left it alone while we repaired, painted, and updated other areas of the house over the last five years, but it has always bugged me.

It's the heart of our home and also where I spend most of my day (the breakfast room is my office), and it was tired. The entire space was sprayed in an unvarying cream, the canned lights made it a dim space - even with the amazing amount of windows on the East and West sides, and although I love the color of the cabinets, the trim is outdated. 

Also, there were some questionable update choices here too. They took the laminate material from the countertops and glued it up as a backsplash (I'll show you a little of that genius decision-making later), and instead of baseboards, or even a strip of quarter-round trim, they glued up grey, industrial rubber bumpers at the base of all of the walls and cabinets. I know. Weird.

And since we're slowly replacing the appliances, I knew we didn't have the funds to complete an entire reno, so I started researching ways to update our kitchen on a small budget. I knew if we painted, it would brighten the room up substantially. I could live with the cabinets (for now), but the countertops and matching backsplash were pretty awful. They were cream-colored with gold flakes embedded in them. I'm sure it was the height of fashionable finishes in 1980, but in 2014 they aren't even in the running.

I remembered seeing that there are paint kits that could transform your countertops, but wasn't sure if I could actually make them look like the samples. Professionals painted those samples, right? And I also remembered they were pretty expensive in the Home Improvement store that I saw them in. Hmmm.

So, I started researching online. The first company I came across was Giani Granite. They provided plenty of tips and tricks, videos, and also customer pictures; Those looked amazing and gave me confidence that I could do it too. Also, the price tag was was about one-third of the kit that I saw in the store!

After convincing myself I could do it, I was excited. I contacted Giani Granite and they were so kind! They provided me with their Sicilian Sand Granite Countertop Paint Kit to review.

But before I started on the countertops, I had to make some other changes.

Here is a pic showing part of the weirdness of the backsplashes. I'm guessing they didn't quite know how to handle the corner between the grill and the stove and were trying to prevent grease splashing? IDEK.

I started ripping out the laminate backsplashes before painting. That was...a little horrific. I suspected they used it to cover up something, and I was right.

Mostly, it was just ding-ed up Drywall, but there was also a hole over the grill, patched with nothing but old newspaper. Womp. We also did a fair amount of damage ripping the backsplash off, which means it's repair time, but no fear! It was fairly easy to do.

There are a few rules to follow when repairing damaged wallboard, and you can follow this method whether you removed glued-on laminate, or truly ugly tile. If you removed something from your walls, and made a gouge or ripped the paper layers, I have a tutorial for you!

Materials (depending on area of coverage):
We had a lot of these things already from previous paintings and repairs, so use what you have first! I'm linking the list up just so you can see what the product looks like if you're unfamiliar. In most cases, there will be a selection of these items in the store for you to choose from.

For Drywall repair:
You can usually find the next 4 items in a kit like this for a discount.
a Trim Brush
Aluminum Foil
Sandpaper, 80-grit and 120-grit

For Painting:

Paint+Primer in your color choices for trim and walls
You can usually find the next 4 items in a kit like this for a discount.
a Trim Brush
Aluminum Foil

  1. You'll need to prime and seal the damage before you go any further. In a room like a kitchen or bathroom, there is a lot of moisture going on, and this can seep into the center of your sheetrock and cause it to expand, or at the least cause your paint to bubble up. After searching in vain for "Drywall Primer", I broke down and asked. I was told I can use the oil-based Kilz to prime the drywall and seal out moisture. It made sense, so that's the first thing we picked up. You'll also need supplies like painter's tape and a brush, and if you have a large area to do, a roller with a tray.
    TIP: Unless you want to spend hours cleaning up oil-based paint, line your paint tray with a couple of layers of aluminum foil, that way you can reuse it. The brushes and roller-covers will be a lost cause.
  2. Scrape any remaining glue off of the walls. Use a sharp box-cutter to make a light cut behind any loose or peeling paper before you rip it off. That will give it a clean, sharp edge that is easier to repair than a graduated edge.
  3. Brush or roll on the oil-based Kilz over all damage and allow to fully dry.
    TIP: Since you are going to have to prime again, wrap your brushes and rollers well with plastic wrap. That will keep them usable until you finish the job.

    First Priming
  4. Once the initial priming is done, you'll need to fill in the holes with a good joint compound. You'll need to pick up a tub of joint compound, a joint knife, and a mud pan. Apply the joint compound to the damage on the walls with the joint knife, then at a 90 degree angle, and with a smooth stroke, scrape the excess off to almost level with the wall. Some compounds will shrink as they dry. Let dry completely and add another coat if needed. Don't worry if there are lumps and bumps, we'll take care of that next.

    Mudding the walls
  5. Once the joint compound is completely dry (read your label, some are faster-drying than others), it's time to sand. We have an orbital sander, but you can use a sanding block or sponge. We started with 80-grit paper to get off rough edges and major out-dents. We then used a finer 120-grit paper to smooth it all out. Use a light hand; You don't want to have to re-mud with compound. After sanding, you'll want to vacuum up any dust and wipe down the sanded walls with a barely-wet cloth or sponge.
    TIP: If you get joint compound on anything, it will wipe right up with a damp cloth.

    Sanding the mud
  6. The last step before painting is to prime the sanded joint compond with Kilz again. Unwrap your painting tools and make sure to completely seal over that joint compound. Once, dry, you're ready to paint! If you don't know how to paint, read on. If you are intimately familiar with this oh-so-fun process, you can skip to the end. ;)

    Second, and final, priming. Ready to paint!
  7. Start by taping off anything you don't want painted, and if you're like me, you may need drop-cloths to cover the floors and counters too! You don't need to tape around all of the trim, just in places that the trim meets counters or cabinets. If you get trim paint on the walls, that's okay. You'll be painting over that soon. Also remove all outlet covers.
    A note about choosing a paint: The cheaper paints may be tempting, but you will save money overall if you opt for a paint + primer. You won't have to buy a separate primer, which can bring your total to more than a can of Primer + Paint, you will save time by skipping the priming step, and you'll save paint by skipping extra coats for coverage.
  8. Once you're all taped off, I start with the trim first. We used an Ultra-white semi-gloss, and the difference was amazing. Use your chip brush to paint all of the trim. You may need a couple of coats, but once you're done painting, go ahead and remove any tape that you used to block off the trim because once it dries, it may pull off your trim paint with it. If needed, score the line between the tape and the paint with a sharp utility knife. If the trim paint has already dried, you definitely want to do this. Let the trim dry completely.
  9. When you paint your walls, it may make it easier to have a helper. You want to start by "Cutting in", which means painting with a brush all of the areas that a roller can't fit, which means all corners, the top and bottom edges of walls, and near any object you don't want the roller to touch, like around cabinets, appliances, and windows. You want to cut in one area at a time and then immediately roll the wall before the edging starts to dry. This will help the paint from the edging step to blend in with the paint from rolling. We chose a Craft White for our walls and this was by far the easiest step.
  10. As soon as you're finished applying the wall paint, remove the remaining tape and enjoy your new kitchen walls! 

A simple update like this can be an inexpensive way to breathe new life into a tired room, but I'm not quite done! My next step is to update my countertops with a Giani Granite paint kit. I can't wait to reveal my gorgeous kitchen! Until the next post, here's a teaser:

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