Phase I: Prep and Paint
The first step is to lay out the panels and stiles along the walls to determine the proper sequence and alignment. This process also reveals if the electrical outlets align favorably within the panels. Measure the wall length and mark its centerline. Lean a panel against the wall, centered on the mark, then slide a 3-inch stile up against it. Be sure the rabbet milled in the edge of the stile overlaps the panel. Continue laying out panels and stiles until reaching the corner (step 1). The last corner piece must be a stile, which you'll rip down later to the proper width. If it turns out to be a panel, go back to the centerline and shift all the parts so the layout begins with a 3-inch stile centered on the wall. The goal in making this adjustment is to have a stile at each corner. Now, with the panels and stiles still leaning against the wall, locate every electrical outlet. If you're lucky, each one will be positioned behind the flat portion of a panel, but chances are you'll need to move at least one or two a few inches to the left or right. Moving electrical outlets isn't a particularly difficult task, but if you don't have experience or aren't up on the code, hire a licensed electrician. It shouldn't take more than a couple of hours to have two or three outlets relocated. Once the final layout has been established, you can start painting all the parts. To save time, we used a Campbell Hausfeld Easy Spray paint sprayer (HV2050, $299; other models start at $189). Using a high-volume/low-pressure sprayer helped us achieve a smooth, professional-quality finish with no brush strokes. Apply one coat of latex primer, let it dry and then lightly sand with 220-grit sandpaper. Wipe off the sanding dust with a tack rag ($2) before applying the topcoat of paint. To save time, build a long easel across two sawhorses and paint several panels at once (step 2).
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