Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Kitchen Nightmares

In previous posts I've alluded to some ongoing work in our kitchen, so it is finally time to elaborate on all of the goings-on in there. While there were things about the kitchen we didn't particularly like, it wasn't high on our priority list for a renovation, given that kitchens are insanely expensive and we had plenty of other more pressing projects. But then the ghosts of owners past struck once again and we had no choice.

When we first bought the house, the kitchen had been freshly painted yellow. While it wasn't our first color choice, it was definitely something we could live with for a while.

However, shortly after moving in, small cracks began to appear in the paint on the walls.  Over time, it got much worse and now, three years later, huge chunks of paint were literally falling off the walls. Here's an example of what pretty much every wall in the kitchen looked like:

 The strange thing is that it wasn't just the top layer of paint, it was ALL layers of paint (and in a 120 year old house that's a LOT!) coming off together, leaving bare plaster underneath.  We couldn't figure out what was going on until we realized that in their haste to sell the house, the previous owners must have just slapped on a coat of latex paint over several layers of oil-based paint without any prep work (sound familiar?).  Most likely there were already small cracks appearing in the old paint and they just painted right over the top to hide them.  So the latex paint seeped into the cracks and caused ALL of the layers underneath to come off. The worst part about this is that the layers underneath contained lead.  So in short, there were literally chunks of lead paint raining from the walls in the room where we prepare our food.

We knew there was lead in the house- pretty much any house build prior to 1978 has it. And it really isn't a danger as long as it's encapsulated under non-lead paint and isn't chipping off.  So had they just prepped properly before painting, there would be no problem.  But because once again they took the easy/cheap/lazy way out, we were faced with a huge problem.

The first thing I did was call my doctor to have my blood lead levels checked. Luckily, because I opted NOT to snack on any of the paint chips that fell from the walls, my lead levels were fine. Then I started calling around trying to find someone to do lead abatement.  This turned out to be a MUCH more difficult task than I'd thought.  It turns out that some of the bigger painting companies who are lead certified refuse to come out to Columbus because it is "too far" from Madison (despite their Angie's List profiles clearly stating that they serve our area). Others told us it would be months before they could even come out to give us an estimate.

Finally, I expanded my search area and called Fine Line Finishes. Matt, the painter, came out the same day to look at the kitchen and give us an estimate to remove the chipping paint and paint the walls, trim, and cabinets.  The price he quoted us was extremely reasonable, and once we signed a contract, he was able to get started within a week.

First he had to seal off the whole kitchen in plastic, and then he had to scrape off everything that was loose and chipping.  The only silver lining here is that since most of it was chipping off on it's own, there wasn't a ton of lead dust flying around.  Then all of those spots had to be filled and sanded to smooth out the walls before he could even start priming and painting.  From start to finish the whole process took about 4 days and we are extremely happy with the quality of Matt's work. We will definitely be calling him again when it's time to paint the outside of the house!!

We also switched out the hardware on the cabinets and decided not to replace the old ugly curtains inside the glass cabinets.

As you can see in the earlier pictures, there used to be a shelf above this counter top.

When we started getting ready for painting, I decided I was sick and tired of the decorative pieces on the shelf and I tried to remove them with a chisel.  Unfortunately, they were stuck on with some kind of impossible to remove glue, so all I ended up doing was  damaging the shelf underneath.  That was actually fine with me, because I hated the shelf anyway, so we just took the entire thing off and we plan to install floating shelves on the wall above instead.

The only problem is that now with the newly painted kitchen, the floors and countertops look TERRIBLE.  So the slippery slope continues, and we will probably have to look at replacing those things in the near future.  But for now, we're just happy to not be living in the middle of a lead paint avalanche.

No comments:

Post a Comment