Monday, July 28, 2008

Trimming and Final Paint

Okay. Now it's time to trim.

Hopefully, if you have come this far, this isn't your first trimming project. If it is, well, be patient. I am going to start this section with tips vs. a step by step process of how to trim.

TIP #1. You can cut it too long every time. You can only cut it short once. Fudge to the big side and re-trim after test fitting.

TIP #2. Use finish nails sparingly, but don't go so light with them that trim can "separate" from work. You will have to fill ever nail hole and if you have already filled the plywood, you know how much fun THAT is...So, secure it and stop.

TIP #3. When doing the crown trim stops, and you have it cut to the perfect length, cut the associated Cove trim that butts up to the stop. You will save yourself a trim trip due to the fact that you can cut precisely what you need.

TIP #4. If you do cut it too short, all is not lost. If there isn't another spot you can use the piece, or it was getting very specific, install it. Caulk the open spot. The naked eye won't see your "faux pas" from 3 feet. Believe me, it will still look great.

TIP #5. When you are cutting the 67.5 degree cuts for the interior triangles pieces that need to mitered, build a jig for miter saw. This will save some time and allow you to make precise cuts quicker and more accurately.

TIP #6. I didn't have a lot of coping saw cuts to make (In fact, I didn't have any - all my cuts were opposing angles) but if you do, remember to cut the angle and cope the un-needed portion away by following the cut line.

TIP #7. Patience. Take your time. This is where the effort really starts to pay off. If you can make this look good, everyone will notice....

TIP #8. Trim done? Start caulking and filling all those finish nail holes. There are multiple types of caulk sticks on the market that will make this job easier. I use the gun with the smallest hole I can make on the tip. Then, I use a finger and paper towel to smooth and get rid of the excess.

TIP #9. Start final painting - TRIM FIRST. Why? The trim will be easier to wipe off the base color due to it's gloss finish. Also, it you are painting a darker bae color, any white you get on the base will cover in one coat.

TIP #10. TAKE YOUR TIME. It's getting near the end now.....


Okay - If you've read this far, you're probably asking, "Why are you paininting before you put trim on?

1. I hate painting trim in place.
2. If you are going to try and build one of these, you'll find out very quickly that there is a lot more surface area, not to mention trim length, than meets the eye. Everything you can do BEFORE IT'S assembled will be a time saver.

So, Actually, I should have titled this - Make your trim run to Lowe's Depot. Buy your paint from Sherwin Williams. Personally, I think Home Depot, at least locally, has a slightly better trim selection at better pricing. But both their paints suck. Buy sherwin williams or another specialty paint store paint. You won't have to paint as many coats and the overall performance of the paint will be that much better.

Calculate how much trim you will need. I used the following for my pergola:

1. Bottom 1/2" corner mold on the bottom of the "field" beams.
2. 1" corner mold on the face beams.
3. 3/4" stop for the base of the crown or upper beam trim.
4. 3/4" cover for the final crown detail on all the beams.

Approximate lengths of molding needed for pergola:

Bottom 3/4" corner - 110 feet
Bottom 1/2" corner - 220 feet
Top 3/4" stop - 330 feet
top 3/4" cove - 330 feet

Even if you get it for $0.75/foot, you are figuring to spend about $700 on trim alone. If you can, buy pre-primed trim.

1. Set up sawhorses to accomodate all trim pieces outside or in your garage.
2. Prime all trim pieces. I tried several ideas that included soaking a sponge in paint and pulling through to cover. However, this didn't give the desired finish.

TIP: Spraying the trim's first couple of coats may give you an excellent finish. I didn't have access to a commercial sprayer, but if you have and can spray the trim before installing, by all means, use it.

3. Apply at least one coat of gloss white or prefered color to the trim.
4. Apply a 2nd coat. (The reason I do the second coat is because I like a true coat and a thicker "Appearance."
5. If you followed my advice, you already are looking at primed plywood in the pergola. If not, prime.
6. After priming, get out the caulk. Because you are painting, caulk every seem, nail hole and wood imperfection. Some of my gaps required hitting with caulk twice or three times.
7. Paint pergola. At least two coats. Re-apply caulk as needed.

TIP: Painting is a big deal and I didn't go into a lot of steps here. But it is a time consuming process and the patience you exercise now by looking for every nook and cranny with the caulking gun in hand will give you a much better "finished" look later. Be patient, take your time.

I did NOT use a roller when painting the pergola. I used a foam brush and I didn't want the "textured" look. I really wanted a smooth or wood grain look to show through.

TIP: Find an online site to buy your paint supplies. You can get a great deal when you buy in bulk. You will need a lot of foam brushes. Try this link (I use them for boat building supplies and general supplies. Watch for their discounts)

Jamestown Distributors



Okay, you have completed the rough in and now we need to wire this thing. What I did was:

1. I added 17 halogen "puck" lights on the top of the beams. I did this for two reasons: I didn't want that much light shining down and I wanted the indirect lighting to reflect off my ceiling surface. I came up with 17 based on the layout and number of lights per beam. I ran a wire down to an existing switch where I pulled an additional circuit for the puck lighting, based on wattage and requirements.

TIP: If you are not familiar with electric loading or how to figure max electrical loads for a circuit, seek out a qualified electrician.

2. Task Lighting: I wanted task lighting at the cooktop and at the prep sink. I ran two wires here and down into my island. I plan on pulling power from the existing island lighting.

Step by Step on Wiring.

1. You will need to cut 1/4" plywood "top" skins for your beams. These are 4" wide.
2. Miter and cut to size for each beam. Place loosely on top of the beams.
3. Using a recommended size hole saw (2 1/8") mark per your layout grid and drill holes according to plan. (DO NOT FASTEN TOP PLYWOOD TO BEAM YET)

TIP: I tried to center the lights as much as possible and keep linearity with respect to the edges and face beam. This is where a really good drawing will help you with the task of orienting the lights.

4. Install the puck lights. Follow the manufacturers directions for installing. If you cut the hole precisely, you may need to keep a rasp or knife handy to open up the hole in order to get the fixture in.
5. Wire to source.

TIP: You may want to search out a lighting or electrical specialty shop and locate a "manifold" or power distribution bar. This can mount in one of the main beam races. Wire all your puck lights to this source and run main power source or 12-2 to the distribution bar.

6. Test puck lights. After successful test, go back and make sure you have secured all the wiring in the races with wire staples.

click on picture for larger image
(You can see from this picture how I tried to maintain linearity in the lighting layout).

7. Locate beams where task lights are going to be located.
8. Pull romex wire to location leaving an extra 18-24" in final location for wiring fixtures.
9. Pull remaining wire to switch.
10. I will power up the fixtures from the sitch, vs. powering at the source. This is not a major issue, but some prefer to power the source. It's up to you.

11. Once all wiring is complete, finish nail your top skins in place.

It's starting to look like a pergola.....