Painting and Staining the Tiny House

Marc Bilodeau/ Building, Tiny House

After 600 hours of swinging hammers, drilling screws, and cutting wood, it was time to do some painting. The project list is much smaller now. There aren’t that many construction projects left. However, some upcoming projects can’t begin until the walls are painted.

The best time of year to paint is early summer and early fall, because the humidity is generally lower and the temperatures are favorable. In this case, the painting happened during several selected days throughout the summer months. Regardless of the humidity, I am happy with the results.

[photo album]

Painting the Exterior

The cedar siding was added to the tiny house back in September 2017. It was pretreated with primer. Unfortunately, pretreated cedar siding should be painted within a month to be the most effective. In this case, the siding survived the elements for almost a year. This includes a Maine Winter. Regardless, the exterior needed two coats. If the cedar siding was painted shortly after it was put on the tiny house, it may have only required a single coat.

One gallon of paint covers up to 400 square feet (~ 37 square meters). The outside of the tiny house is roughly 500 square feet (~ 46 square meters) excluding the area of the windows, doors, and utility closet. Therefore, two gallons will do it. However, the entire exterior only used a single gallon of paint.

Tiny House Painting the Outside

The main entrance uses an exterior paint specifically for fiberglass doors. Also, both sides of the door must be painted. Thankfully, the PVC trim doesn’t need to be painted, which saved a lot of time.

Although it may not be the right paint to use for the wooden door trim, I painted it with the same paint. In hindsight, I should have used exterior wood paint for the trim. Regardless, it looks great with no obvious issues with peeling or bubbling after everything dried.

Tiny House painted front door

Of course I have a gallon of this paint. Unfortunately, I only needed a little bit for the door and door trim. Thankfully, the paint will not go to waste. In fact with proper storage, it will keep for many years.

Painting the Interior

Although I can appreciate natural wood, it is not my preference. I wanted white walls and cabinets. So, painting everything shouldn’t take a long time, right? Nope. Painting the outside first certainly warped my perception on how long it would take.

The interior used a lot more paint than the exterior. In all, it took 4 gallons to paint all the walls in every room. Also, we used several brushes, rollers, and a couple of rolls of painters tape.

Tiny House Inside Painting Supplies
(left) Some of the supplies for the interior. (right) The supplies for the bathroom

The bathroom has a different type of white paint than the rest of the interior. Most of the house has two coats of eggshell pure white. However, the bathroom has a base primer and three coats of semi-gloss moisture resistant pure white, because I anticipate the shower will produce a lot of moisture from steam. In hindsight, the kitchen should probably have been painted with the same paint since cooking produces moisture. Thankfully, the split system can remove moisture from the air.

taping around the windows to avoid painting them

Painting roughly 240 square feet (~ 22 square meters) of tiny house surfaces takes longer than you think. Also, since the wood was exposed for over a year, it needed a second coat. Overall, painting the entire interior took roughly 45 hours.

Tiny House - Painting the Loft
There are two coats of paint in the loft. (left) before, (center) after one coat, (right) after two coats. Larger photos are in the album.

Staining

Not every surface inside the tiny house is white. The window trim, stepstable, handrail, couch, and trim around the sleeping loft are stained grey. To avoid painting these surfaces, painters tape protects the edges while painting. I had a lot of extra exterior painters tape. Therefore, I used some inside. It’s not recommended, but it worked fine. Once I used it up, I started using interior painters tape. Not surprising, the interior painters tape is easier to use on the trim.

Solid grey birch stain and polyurethane

All stained surfaces have clear satin polyurethane, which protects the surfaces from moisture. The windows and couch have one coat of polyurethane. Although, the steps and table have three coats because there will be more use on these surfaces.

Mind the Gaps

Even with careful measuring and the quarter round finish wood, there were gaps and spaces. Much of it is where the tongue and groove meets the corners of the walls. However, using Kwik Seal easily fills those gaps. The pure white kind blends in nicely with the white walls.

Tiny House - Mind the Gap
(left) The corners without Kwik Seal. (center) The corners with Kwik Seal. (right) The brand of Kwik Seal used.

Although I may not be able to take credit for this discovery, it’s certainly gives those corners a nice finish. Also, make sure the caulking is paintable. This way I could paint it the same color of the walls. This is especially important if I decide to repaint the walls a different color.

Before and After

I know some are sadden by painting all that natural wood. However like a modern home, a tiny house is an expression of the owners. Regardless, all the painting and staining shows a stark difference. I hope people can appreciate the before and after, even if it isn’t their style.

Tiny House shots before painting the inside
Before
Tiny House shots after painting the inside
After
Tiny House before and after exterior painting
Before and After of the Exterior

Conclusion

Colors are preferences, yet they help make a house feel like a home. After painting, the tiny house feels more homey than before. However, don’t rely on the color sample sheets. When choosing colors, get samples and look at them in the sunlight and in the lighted areas of the tiny house itself. Colors look different in different types of light. They also look different than the color sample sheets.

It’s likely that a second or third coat of paint may be necessary to achieve an even coat and the look one desires. Therefore, calculate the amount of paint to do the entire job. It’s ok if extra paint is purchased, since the extra will keep for many years.

Surprisingly, it took 66 hours between two people to completely paint the tiny house. It certainly is more hours than any other project so far, unless I count part 1 and part 2 of the kitchen as one project. Regardless, always take the time to reflect and celebrate the work, and don’t forget to treat any friends and family for their efforts.

[photo album]