Painting Our Dormers

As you know from my post last week, we have intended to paint our dormers for a while. We finally had the chance to do so yesterday. I am glad that we got it done after all this time. It is a great relief not to worry about it any more. The house looks great.

Cape of Dreams with painted dormers

I debated for a while about telling the real story of how we did it or skipping a few details. I am afraid that if I tell all, then you will think that we were unsafe or reckless. I truly was not in danger at any time. However, if you are not comfortable with heights or have not had experience with them, then you should hire a professional. Climbing around on the roof is highly dangerous and should not be undertaken lightly. That being said, here is the whole story.

Up on a ladder painting dormers

Our friend Mike showed up at 10:00 am to help with the project. We would not have been able to do it without him. That 32-foot ladder was very heavy! Mike and Douglas were able to maneuver it without much difficulty, but it was nearly impossible for Douglas and I to do it.

Carrying a 32' ladderPutting a 32' ladder on the roofPutting a 32' ladder on the roof

Once they had the ladder resting on the roof, it was my turn. It was decided that I would be the best person to do the painting. Mike has had a bad experience on a roof, and Douglas is scared of heights. I spent my childhood swinging from the very tops of the trees, much to my father’s chagrin, and also rock climb. These experiences make me much less afraid than either of the guys. I was pretty comfortable up there.

Comfortable on the roof

I wore my old climbing shoes just in case. I am not sure if they really made things easier or safer, but I felt better with them on. They gave me a good grip on the ladder and roof.

Old climbing shoes

I started by scraping the loose paint on the first dormer. Then, Douglas passed me the paint. I put a thick coat on. Then, the guys would move the ladder, and we would repeat the process on the next side. I made a few touch ups on the fronts of the dormers, but they did not need a full coat.

Scraping paint off dormerPainting dormer

We were planning to do more than one coat, but it did not seem necessary. We bought a really good paint and primer mixed, and it was sufficient to cover. It is also supposedly mildew resistant, so hopefully we will not have that green mold growing on the northern side any more.

Painting supplies

The dormers are covered by a textured asbestos tile that was hard to paint, especially along the bottom. I could not avoid getting some paint on the roofing tiles, which of course I could not wipe off. I do not think that it is terribly noticeable from the ground. Most of the white you will see on the roof in the after pictures is what I scraped off of the dormers before painting. That should fall off in the first rain.

Dormer up close half paintedPainted dormer up close

Here are the before and after pictures.

South side, south dormer beforeSouth side, south dormer afterNorth side, south dormer beforeNorth side, south dormer afterSouth side, north dormer beforeSouth side, north dormer afterNorth side, north dormer beforeNorth side, north dormer after

We were done with the dormers by 1:00 pm. I was impressed that we were able to do it that fast. I did most of the work. Douglas and Mike only had to move the ladder every half hour or so. The rest of the time they were supposed to be holding it steady for me, but it seems that fantasy football was more important. Nothing makes you feel more secure than being up on a tall ladder on a steep roof than looking down to see this. They were really watching out for me.

Boys checking fantasy football scores rather than holding ladder

They also consumed a couple of beers. These were the behaviors I was scared to tell you about, least you think us irresponsible. I really was safe up there. I promise.

Drinking beerHolding ladderEmpty beet mugs

So, now our dormers are done, and I used the rest of the paint in my cup to touch up the railings on the back porch. We are planning to repair and repaint the porch this fall, but I thought this would be a better use for what was left of the paint.

Porch railing before paintingPorch railing after paintingPorch railing before paintingPorch railing after painting

I feel much better now that my house is looking more respectable!

Cape of Dreams with painted dormers

Happy Homemaking!

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I am a teacher, traveler, artist, writer, homemaker and a whole lot more. In January 2009, I bought the Cape of Dreams. It was the second house that I had ever owned, but it was the first that I bought by myself. I now live in the house with my husband Douglas, our dog Kahlua, and Crème de Menthe, the cat. Because, what life is complete without a little Kahlua and Cream? I love arts and crafts of all kinds, and I refinish furniture as well. We are slowly redoing our entire house. You can read about my projects on my blog

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12 comments on “Painting Our Dormers
  1. tanya monier says:

    Mike! So good to see him again.
    I have some painting jobs for you. I’ll even pay!

    • Jessica says:

      Mike is a great guy; isn’t he? I wish I could say yes to your painting jobs, but I hate to paint. There are so many things around my house that I still have to paint!

  2. Dear Husband says:

    Hey, I used to run around on the rafters in my grandparents’ barn, about 30ft off of the ground, and have jumped out of 2 perfectly good airplanes about 2mi off the ground, I can handle sitting on a ladder painting, I just don’t enjoy it. 😛

  3. D'Arcy H says:

    Looks great! Love the pic of you lounging on the roof! When I first bought my house, I attempted to crawl out the attic dormer so I could sunbathe on its flat roof. I barely got out the window when I chickened out (I don’t like heights)! I could not have done what you did!

    • Jessica says:

      Heights scare me but not enough to keep me off of them, just enough to give me a healthy fear. When I was in high school my bedroom window went out to the porch roof which was not flat, but I spent a great deal of time hanging out there anyway. My brothers went sledding off of that roof!

  4. Good work on getting a job jobbed! The house is looking great.

    • Jessica says:

      Thanks Eve! I was worried I was going to have to stop blogging because I wasn’t getting anything done around the house. Finally checked another project off the list!

  5. Stacey says:

    Looks so much better, Jessica! I love how a fresh coat of paint makes you feel so good about your investment. It becomes a shiny happy house! Walking around on the roof always scares me but I kinda like being way up high and seeing the neighborhood from a different perspective. Girl Power!!
    It’s good that you had such great help (cough, cough). Although those beers were looking mighty tasty. I might have had to ditch the painting and join them. 🙂

    • Jessica says:

      Thanks Stacey! I agree that paint is a miracle worker and really not that hard to do. My favorite part of being on the roof was the expressions of the people walking by.

      I hope you’re doing well and your busy time at work is not eating up all your time.

  6. Great job, Jessica! That is QUITE a ladder! That looks like kind of a fun project!

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