Australia: Renovating during COVID-19, Part 4

In Part 4 of this small Australian renovating series, you can experience the pain and hurdles of renovating a kitchen during COVID-19.

A little background

Flying from Italy to Australia, initially, we set 6 weeks to complete a mammoth renovating project. As it so happens, it’s at the height of COVID-19.

You may like to read Part 1 (the reason for so much renovating), Part 2 (internal and external house painting), and Part 3 (Replacing the patio and enclosure) of this renovating series, before continuing.


Kitchen refurbishment

After the state that the kitchen is left in, why install a new kitchen and pay thousands of dollars for the next lot of new tenants?

Instead, we take on the job of refurbishing the kitchen as it’s cheaper and after all, this is a rental property. Although, refurbishing is a ton more work and not as though there isn’t anything on our plates right now.

renovating a kitchen, bathroom, and en-suite, Queensland, Australia

The renovating staged approach

A staged approach to renovating the kitchen is the better option, as there’s so much to renovate. So, start with repairing everything before renovating doors and cupboards, followed by the benchtops.

Before

I’m not sure the exact age of the kitchen but must be 20 or 30-plus years’ old and following the tenants leaving after 14 years, it’s not in a great state.

The timber is quite grotty, greasy, knocked about, doors don’t close any longer and need shaving. Everything needs a lot of preparation work. This is where I come in as I’m the filling and Sanding Queen! I’m sure this is legacy from the boatbuilding days in my early 20s.

How do you prepare old worn timber and benchtops?

With loads of systematically filling dents then sanding. A very time-consuming renovating job.

Preparation

While the cupboard doors are still on, holes, dents, cracks and anything else is repaired and filled.

  • kitchen cupboards, Brisbane, Australia, Oceania
  • kitchen cupboards, Brisbane, Australia, Oceania
  • crack filling kitchen cupboards, Brisbane, Australia, Oceania
  • crack filling kitchen cupboards, Brisbane, Australia, Oceania
  • crack filling kitchen cupboards, Brisbane, Australia, Oceania
  • sanding kitchen cupboards, Brisbane, Australia, Oceania

Digging out the old silicone from the splashback is next. Although everything is dry, the splashback behind the sink suffered water damage over the years and swelled out.

  • splashback, Brisbane, Australia, Oceania
  • splashback, Brisbane, Australia, Oceania
  • splashback, Brisbane, Australia, Oceania
  • splashback, Brisbane, Australia, Oceania

Instead of replacing the panel, the laminate panel is screwed back into place before filling and sanding. This works well and is much cheaper, although, takes time.

As with any renovating, it’s the preparation work that takes a lot of time but crucial to get a great result.

  • renovating kitchen, Brisbane, Australia, Oceania
  • renovating kitchen, Brisbane, Australia, Oceania
  • kitchen cupboards, Brisbane, Australia, Oceania
  • renovating kitchen, Brisbane, Australia, Oceania
  • renovating kitchen, Brisbane, Australia, Oceania
  • renovating kitchen, Brisbane, Australia, Oceania

There is so much repairing, filling, and sanding that goes into renovating before the painting of this kitchen even starts.

Painting the cupboards

Removing the cupboard doors is really the only way to end up with a good finish and is also much easier to apply the paint with a roller.

  • renovating kitchen cupboard doors, Brisbane, Australia, Oceania
  • renovating kitchen cupboard doors, Brisbane, Australia, Oceania
  • renovating kitchen cupboard doors, Brisbane, Australia, Oceania
  • renovating kitchen cupboard doors, Brisbane, Australia, Oceania
  • renovating kitchen cupboard doors, Brisbane, Australia, Oceania

More sanding then a couple of undercoats followed by a couple of topcoats is required, to really cover the aged thirsty timber.

The 4 coats of paint harden the timber up nicely and hope that it’s also hard-wearing for future tenants.

Painting the benchtop

After sanding the laminate benchtop to create a key, cleaning down the area properly also takes time.

Masking everything up around the benchtops takes a couple of hours but well worth the effort. I’m a messy painter so always need to take this step before painting anything.

A clear primer coat is applied, otherwise, the topcoat won’t stick – even though it’s sanded – as the benchtop is laminate.

My job is to cut-in corners, surrounds, and small panels while my partner follows after me and rolls the paint on the larger benchtop areas.

It’s a pesky paint product to use and seems to dry quickly. You can’t re-paint over what’s been painted more than once. Also, the paint doesn’t look as though it covers the laminate.

Once the paint settles out, it does cover the laminate. This is left to harden overnight before applying a 2nd top coat.

To really harden the benchtop surface, we apply another 2 clear topcoats, which also brings out the shine.

After

After 2 weeks of never-ending work on this kitchen and waiting 7 days for the benchtop paint to fully harden before use, the result is fabulous – from a distance. The hard work paid off.

renovating the kitchen, Brisbane, Australia, Oceania
Like the finished look?

A dilemma

Although, look closely at the benchtop and you notice the effect that’s known in the painting trade as “orange peel”.

The smudgy part of this photo is where I brushed the surface lightly with a damp cloth containing Mineral Turpentine, as I tried to removed silicone residue. And, how delicate the Dulux renovating paint range is after a few days, when not fully cured.

paint orange peel
Close-up shot of the worse orange peel area

Before starting the kitchen renovating, we watched many DIY videos, including the Dulux video. Also, using the correct implements to apply the expensive Dulux Renovation Range and following instructions to the letter. But still, the finish close-up is unsatisfactory with the orange peel effect. Although it’s not noticeable from a distance, it’s still disappointing after so much hard work and effort.

Of course, Dulux blames how we applied the product, for this end result. Many emails, phone calls, a little shaming on FaceBook, and finally, Dulux offers a can of the benchtop Renovation Range for free – “out of goodwill” – so generous! Accompanied by the words of wisdom that it’s best to sand everything back and start again! Seriously?


So what’s next?

Check back next week for the never-ending fun and games, which sees renovating the bathroom and en-suite next…

Visit Nilla’s Photography for more global images. More posts at Image Earth Travel.

18 thoughts on “Australia: Renovating during COVID-19, Part 4

Add yours

    1. Thanks carol!
      Actually, I think it looks so much better, cleaner, and a little more modern than the older timber look. Think the hard work paid off really, regardless of the problem with the benchtop paint.
      It’s amazing what we can achieve for a minimal cost instead of using tradesmen…although some jobs are best left to the professionals. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Really enjoying reading about the renovation, you are both very dedicated I would have looked at the grease and run for the hills, well done the finished kitchen looks beautiful. Looking forward to reading part 5

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hi Lesley,
      Thank you for your kind feedback. Dedicated or masochists? Just hope that the next tenants appreciate all the work and look after the kitchen.
      Yeah, the grease and grime seemed to be a recurring theme when we entered this house as you know from reading Part 1. 😉

      Like

    1. Thank you for the vote of confidence!
      That is funny how the word is reversed, but does sound correct. Also, it should really be “splash-back” in UK grammar, although colloquially and in the trade, it’s known as “splashback”.

      Liked by 1 person

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