Chapter 7: Painting Part 1

"Wah lau! Why you choose this Buona Visa MRT colour?!" I gave Jen a WTF look.

"This is Cool Mint okay? I like can or not?"

That would be how all the toilets and bathroom would be coloured. The paint was already bought and I am not one who is anal about colours. I just have to remind myself that I didn't have to run off with my zip undone each time use the toilet because I wasn't actually running after the MRT.

Be it neutral or brighter colour, there was no escape, I had to skill up or ship out. I was naive enough to think with experience painting HDB flats a few times, I was a painter. As I painted the place, I realised how wrong I was. I ruined a few walls due to my laziness and I have yet to rectify up to this stage. To the untrained eye, it would be acceptable. However to those who know painting, a few walls I did the earliest was absolutely dog shit. This brings me to share one of the most important lesson I learnt in DIY projects. That is the ability to rectify mistakes.

The worst thing you can do is to bang your head against the wall so hard that you make a huge crack in it. Then you'll have to repair it, or live with a heavily painted-over cavern on the wall - if you don't die from banging your head initially that is. So Knight of the Brook came over on a Saturday to introduce me to his wall putty. With that, I was able to complete my Wall Patching 1.01 lesson. Knight also help me apply sealer for some of the rooms and somehow got turpentine in one of his eyes, resulting in an eye infection and a day away from work. I told myself I mustn't get Knight involved in my own shit anymore. The assistance, advice and discussions with him that few days was enough to allow me to finish my job competently.

The biggest mistake I made was not to clean my floor thoroughly enough before painting. Without any vacuum cleaner around, trust the lazy man to just start painting. I also didn't have the skill to roll the paint so well that I wouldn't get my rollers stained with sand accidentally. However, the thing about doing work like that is that, we tend to get better and better as the days go by. I found myself painting faster, more accurately and creating almost no mess (that I could paint in a carpetted room without a drop sheet in the end). However the first few walls remained shit. I would have to address that later because there are too much incomplete jobs to look into first.

Other than roller, the other main aspect of painting is "cutting-in". That will be when you use a paintbrush to cover the edges and corners. In Singapore, you'll see painters calling themselves painters using masking tapes and stuff. Imagine my surprise when I learnt that painters here did those without masking tape. So how? Freehand. "What?! How?!"

After hours of you-tubing, I realised how. I couldn't believe how anyone would use freehand to do edges without spending a great deal of time cleaning up mistakes until I saw how they did it. I told myself that I had to learn it, by hook or by crook. I skipped the masking tape section entirely and went straight to the paint brush sections and was amazed at the variety of brushes I was offered. In Singapore hardware shop, the impatient uncle would snap, "Eh, you wan cheap, take the red one with black hair, wan expensive take brown one with white hair k? Only two types of brushes in Singapore. Type 1, bristles dropping at 1 per 10 strokes. Type 2, 1 per 1 stroke. Take your poison.

Here, the brushes were amazing. Without anyone looking over me, I twisted and pulled hard at an atas looking brush. To my surprise, not only none of the "hair" dropped off, it went straight back to form. Not only that, how good one of those look! I bought one and told myself for the first time in my life, I would complete a painting job and keep the brush in a condition good enough to be used for another in future (and I did)

With this Blue Demon in my hand, I felt invincible.

Paint selection was a pain in the ass because everything looked so expensive. Then Masters was giving a whooping 40% discount on their paint. So we went, determined to make the best out of it. We ended up buying Pascol, some $36 per 15 litres after discount, if my memory serves me right. The "Cheap is no good" brigade will jump for sure. But what the fuck? I am going to paint the house for less than $200. Meanwhile the guy living in the next few suburbs kept boasting to me about his Dulex "Wash and Wear." Crap lah, wash a few more times it becomes "Wash and Tear," loh. If you get curry splattered on the wall, just paint over it lah. Wash for fuck? Maybe he'll wash and wear his Durex as well.

I will only use good paint in areas where it matters. The Buona Vista colour was a good quality paint, though it will also wear after you are boliao enough to wash it too many times. It wasn't Dulux but good enough.