“I want you to finish the garage,” said my mother when my family and I came back from a non-stop 15 hour drive from Calgary to Winnipeg.
I agreed to do the job with my brother, thinking that the finishing the garage would be an easy job. I couldn’t have been any more wrong. Normally, we wouldn’t really care to finish the garage but since the rest of the house is fully finished, it only felt right to finish to garage to make the house seem more like a whole.
On this project, my brother had taken the lead and I took the role of an assistant. He would do the main jobs and I would do the smaller, more cleaning related jobs. My brother did some research for how exactly we were supposed to do the garage. Since the garage has drywall in, we only needed to fill in the gaps in between the boards of drywall because we can’t paint on a surface that has giant vertical cracks in it. To do this, we had to go to Rona and purchase a bucket of a material called “Drywall Mud”. This substance was like a beige-white colored version of mud that is used to fill in cracks in the wall for drywall. The most useful part of drywall mud is that it can be very easily sanded when it dries so that when you put too much extra mud onto the cracks in the walls, it is very easy to make the wall flat.
After that, we needed to buy painters tape. This tape is essentially thick paper with small holes in it and a crease down the middle which makes it easier to use for corners. The painter’s tape is used to further increase the flatness of the cracks in the wall. We also had to buy 2 putty knives, but the knives weren’t really actual knives. The blades of the knives were actually more like a half-circle but with the flat edge facing away from the handle. Obviously, these are for spreading the mud and also helps with keeping the wall straight. The mud was filled into the cracks, followed by a strip of painter’s tape that was dipped into water to make it better stick to the mud. Once the tape was secured against the mud, we let it dry for a day or so. Then, we applied another coat of mud in order to allow it to stick better to the wall. Another day later, we started sanding off the excess dried mud.
At first when we started the job, I thought that it would be easy because not only because it seemed easy, I was also only an assistant to my brother. Once sanding came along, I changed my mind. Even as an assistant, just a bit of sanding tired me out. Sanding the excess mud must have been the hardest part of the job because of the mind-numbing, arm destroying repetitive motion of dragging a sponge sander across the dried mud. What made it even worse was that since we were still novices at applying mud to the drywall, we put much more than was needed, therefore causing more work. We were so intent on finishing as soon as possible that my brother and I didn’t cover up that stuff in the garage so everything was covered by dust when we finished. This caused more work for my clean-freak mother. Sanding took more than 4 days to finish and we only had a single day each of rest. Other than that, we were mostly working for the next few days.
Once that was done, my brother left to go back to Calgary so I was left with the job of priming the entire garage by hand. Priming is basically the same thing as painting but primer is just a sub-layer to make a pure white surface to paint on. Honestly, I don’t know many things that could be more exhausting than that. I had already finished the side walls when the heat had started to rise but I already had a small taste of the tiring job of balancing on a ladder while meticulously making sure the amount of primer applied to all parts of the walls were equal, so that none of the walls were lighter or darker than each other.
In my opinion, the ceiling was the worst part to prime since I had to break my back while on top of a ladder. The heat made me sweat like as if I were a human sprinkler. When we were sanding and applying mud, I only drank a sip of water occasionally but now I gulped down water as if I didn’t have any water for 3 days. Eventually, after 2 hard days of working, I finally finished priming the ceiling. I still had to add a layer of paint on top of the primer but I didn’t have to worry about the paint as much as the primer because I had a longer paint roller to work with so I didn’t have to balance on the ladder anymore. Also, I now had an assistant which was my mom, who was actually really productive. I worked hard with my mom, finishing the first layer of paint in a whole day. We worked for 6 hours straight. What I would have done differently is that on some of the painters tape, I did not apply a second coat of mud to keep it secure which was a VERY big mistake because the tape kept on peeling off all the time. Because of this, I had to stick lots of the tape back on with paint and primer. This is when my mom quoted a famous builder by the name of Mike Holmes. “If you’re going to do it, do it right the first time.” I couldn’t have agreed more.
Honestly, I’m really proud of myself for being able to do most of the project by myself and it also gave me a useful skill that I can possibly apply to somewhere else in the future.