Tag Archives: home depot

the DIY files: painting a screen door

25th September 2013

So remember this post back in May when I threw around some options for paint colours for our front door? And how I was trying to make it work with our uber-ugly brown screen door? The screen door that didn’t match with our house numbers, mailboxes, or shutters?

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Well, I couldn’t make a decision about the front door colour because I just felt like nothing would look good with that screen door. We didn’t want to take it down as we leave our front door open fairly often, and it provides an extra layer of insulation in the winter. And we didn’t want to replace it with a new one, since when we do our reno/second story addition, we are going to replace the whole front door area and will get all new doors at that point.

So what’s a DIY, budget girl to do? I took a bit of a risk and decided to try and paint it….with the lazy girl approach to painting – I didn’t want to take the door down and then have to re-install it, so I just taped it off in place and went for it. No priming or sanding or anything.

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I grabbed some of this matte black tremclad rust paint from the Home Depot.

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It’s the same paint that I used on our shutters and it holds up well in the outdoors. I wiped the door down with soap and water, patted it dry, and started brushing on the paint with trepidation. I’m not sure why I was so nervous. I envisioned the paint not sticking well to the metal, getting drips, or coverage being poor. Well, after just a few minutes I realized that things were looking pretty darn good.

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Oh, and if you’re wondering if I did this project recently with the baby in tow… nope! This was a days-before-delivering project. I think I was 39 weeks + 5 days pregnant? Hello, belly!

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It took about an hour to do the first coat, and then about half an hour to do the second (I let the door dry for about 4 hours in between coats). I didn’t paint the mesh screen part, but you really can’t tell that it’s brown next to the rest of the black door.

DSC_0551 (2)Peeling off the tape was a cinch, and the lines came out really crisply.

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The result? Love, love, love. I feel like it makes a huge difference to the curb appeal of our place. DSC_0558

And since I did this project about 7 weeks ago, I can happily report that the door still looks good as new. The paint has great coverage and there are no chips or peeling parts to be seen.


The door looks so much better from the inside too. It cleans up the space and plays off nicely with the black light fixture we have in the entry-way.



And now I feel like I have total freedom in terms of front door colour – pretty much everything going with black, white, and brick!! sa-weet!

Please don’t pay any attention to the garden and rest of the curb appeal, m’kay? We totally ignored the outside of the house this summer. Oh and that weird zig zag line in the brick? It’s due to some issues we are having with our foundation (that we will fix when we do the second storey). DSC_0555Now onto that front door… so many options!

Have you guys tried painting a screen door? What about your front door? Have a favourite colour? I’m totally kicking myself for not having done this sooner!

the DIY files: getting frosty

16th November 2012

I am pretty embarrassed to admit that this project has taken us 3 years to do (granted we didn’t live in the house for a year of that, but still!). You know our main floor bathroom that we renovated earlier this year? Well, you might have noticed that there is a window… and that that window has a great view out to our driveway and our neighbours house. Right into their kitchen window. Well, hello there!

As you can imagine, there was a lot of quickly-hopping-into-the-shower-so-that-the-neighbours-don’t-see-me behaviour. Doesn’t really make for a peaceful, relaxing space. Haha.

So out came some of the peel and stick frosting you can get from most hardware stores (ours came from Home Depot). We got the plain stuff – so nothing with any kind of pattern or special texture. It comes in a big roll, so you measure out your window and cut it down to size using an exacto knife. Just make sure to cut on some sort of hard surface underneath (I used that brown board you see in the photo).

Next step is to give the windows a really good cleaning. Luckily my lovely mum had just cleaned our windows for us with vinegar and water (I know, I have the most amazing mama!). Right before applying the frosting, you want to give the windows a good spritz of a water and soap mixture – I used a few drops of dishwashing liquid in my spray bottle.

Then peel the backing off the frosting and stick it on the window. Follow that up with a second, liberal spritz of the water + soap mixture on top. At this point you will see lots of bubbles… don’t panic!

Take a credit card out of your wallet (or air miles card in my case) and smooth out the bubbles. I found it was best to work from the middle out towards the edges. You’ll get quite a bit of water coming out from underneath, so I found it useful to have a small towel nearby to wipe it down as I went.

Once it’s all smooth, give it a last wipe down, and let it all dry. They say it’s good to leave a gap between the edge of the film and the window. Mine is probably slightly bigger than what I needed to leave, but I figured since the screen would be on top, it wouldn’t be too noticeable.

And here it is the next day. Look at all that privacy! I could even start to do some air drying in here… hahaha.

I was a little worried that the frosting would look ultra tacky, but actually it’s pretty inconspicuous and doesn’t really take away from the window or the light streaming through.

Have you guys used this peel ‘n stick frosting stuff before? Have a window directly into your neighbours pad? Feeling a little too ‘out in the open’ like we were?  Have a great weekend!! 

getting our roofing on

22nd October 2012

So on Friday you saw how we installed some new shutters on our little house, and I mentioned (among other tasks) that re-shingling our roof was on the to-do list.

You can’t see super clearly in the photo above how bad the shingles on the front part of our house had gotten. They were all peeling away and some had even flown off last spring with some gusty storms. Our garage, which is free-standing, was in the same condition and needed some serious re-shingling. See below how the shingles are peeling? Luckily though, it was just the front section of our roof and garage that needed re-doing. The two sides and back of the house were totally fine (you can also see a glimpse of the side of the house in the photo below).

I’ll let you in on a little secret that I haven’t actually talked about on the blog yet. We’re hoping that in a couple of years we’ll be able to put a second story onto our house. We live in a neighbourhood that is super trendy and luckily the market in our area can take a bigger house. We’re actually probably the smallest house on our street. This past spring, our neighbours put a second story on their house, and it looks fabulous. Needless to say, there is a lot of planning and penny pinching that has to happen before we can go down that path, and a fix of our foundation (I’ll save that for another day!). What we are trying to do in the meantime though, is not invest too much money into things that would need to be torn down and re-done come second storey time. The garage roof was one of those things — we’re hoping to knock it down and build a new one alongside the house (attached), giving us a way bigger backyard and additional building space above the garage. All that to say, that we decided to hold off on replacing the garage roof and just focused on the front part of our house. We’re not getting any leaks, so hopefully it will hold up for another year or two.

Since it was only one side of roof that we were tackling, and because you know we like to save money wherever we can, instead of getting big roofing companies to come in and do the whole thing, we hired our contractor/builder/plumber/jack of all trades friend (the same guy who helped us with our bathrooom reno). He has a reasonable hourly wage, had all of the equipment we needed for the job, and is super skilled (he has built his own houses from the ground up!).

The whole thing happened in a day. Here is DIY Dan bringing shingles up. His job was to get the shingles out, cut to size if necessary, and haul up onto the roof.

Then it was our pal’s job (thank you, Daryl!), to hammer in the shingles one-by-one. This team effort meant the job was so speedy.

Luckily the under-pad from the previous roofing job was still in pretty good shape, so the boys just had to lay down a new piece of black base sheet on top (this stuff) and then shingle. We used lifetime shingles in charcoal from Home Depot (these guys).

After about 5.5 hours, it was looking good as new!

The shingles aren’t exactly the same as the ones on the sides, but are only slightly different variations of charcoal. You can only tell if you’re looking really closely.

Budget breakdown?

  • $220 in labour
  • $300 in supplies (shingles, under-lay, nails, etc) –> this may be off by a few bucks since we still have a return to do
  • $16 in rentals (for that big ladder)

TOTAL: $536

Not bad for a whole new roof front. It definitely would have been a lot more if we had gone with a roofing company, so we’re feeling pretty grateful to know someone in the industry who we can hire on his own.

What about you guys? Had to do any roofing on your place before? It’s not really one of those fun things to spend time or money on, but if you have ever watched any episodes of Mike Holmes, you’ll know that all of the fun decorating stuff doesn’t mean anything if you don’t have the structural part of your house looked after!  Oh and has anyone done any huge renovations (like added a second story) onto their place? Any tips and advice are so welcome!

we shutta done this earlier

19th October 2012

Okay, was that pun just way too cheesy? I said to Dan last night that I was trying to come up with a title for this post and couldn’t stop thinking “just shut up, shut up” a la Black Eyed Peas, but that it didn’t really make sense. So this one was what popped into his head. Serious giggles, some singing/dancing to Black Eyed Peas, and more bad puns ensued.

Alright, let’s get down to business. This is our wee house early this spring. Please ignore the black (and later red-ish) squares over our house number. There is SO much we want to do to amp up our curb appeal, and we have sort of neglected it to date, other than planting a few things. We always get so busy in the summers with cottages and travel, that we aren’t often home to get outside things done. One easy upgrade that I have been wanting to do for a long time was install some shutters.

So when I saw these guys at Home Depot for $50, I scooped them up. They are a hard plastic, instead of the expensive custom wood ones, but look really good from afar and are paintable in any colour you choose.

We held them up to make sure they were the right size, and then promptly left them in the back of our garage for the past 2 months. Whoops. Told you we weren’t good at getting outdoor projects in the summer.

So I finally pulled them out and gave them a couple coats of black paint. I originally was going to use a can and paintbrush, but when I realized there were so many nooks and crannies in the shutters, spray paint seemed like the much more sane option. I used a high-quality outdoor/all-weather matte black spray paint and applied it in numerous thin coats. Definitely didn’t want any drippage on my pretty shutters.

Then it was time to install. These things are actually super simple. You hold them in place, drill holes in all 4 corners and 2 in the middle on either side, and then tap the plugs in. Here is the play-by-play.

Drill, using a hammer drill and masonry bit:

Tap, tap, tap:

Done! Be warned that the drilling is super loud. Definitely not something you want to do at 6am on a Sunday morning. Neighbours might get a little cranky.

Here is the after shot. The shutters definitely add a lot more depth and character to our little pad. I’m bummed we didn’t actually finish this project in the summer so that the house wouldn’t look quite so shleppy in the after photo. We clearly need to do a bit of raking and the plants in front are looking pretty sad. But the shutters are so much better, huh?

And of course, there is SO much we still need to do out here. Sigh. That ugly brown screen door next to our new black shutters totally makes me cringe.

Most are cosmetic, except for the whole roof re-shingling thing. It’s actually on the schedule for this weekend. Will let you know how it goes!

Have a good weekend, everyone! Got anything fun planned? Probably won’t be as exciting as our roof work (ha!)! And last week’s giveaway winner was announced – go check back to see if it was you!