My New Best (Home Renovation) Friend

Since my last post on home renovation, I am still hard at work painting the old steel frames to match our new windows. I started in the downstairs bathroom, where, as such projects are wont to do, my workplan took a detour.

It’s partly Menard’s fault. They ran a rebate special a couple of weeks ago, so Phil and I decided to change out some light fixtures in the kitchen and study. I suggested that we also replace this old and yellowing bathroom fan


with a new one to match the other fixtures in the bathroom. Isn’t it pretty?


It didn’t take long to discover that the ceiling opening required for the new fan did not match the existing one and would require significant patching following an already complicated process to replace the unit. Reluctantly, we returned the new fan and looked for a replacement fan grille instead. Menard’s carried only the entire fan kit, but a clerk thought we might be able to special order the grille.

Sure enough, I found replacement parts online, but decided to check to see whether Lowe’s might have a grille in stock. Unfortunately, they also carried only the entire fan kit. On my way to the exit, I happened to walk through the paint aisle and spied this:

My New Best (Home Renovation) Friend

According to the label, Rust-Oleum Universal Metallic Spray Paint (Oil Rubbed Bronze) works on most surfaces, including plastic, and does not require a separate primer. I snagged a can and headed home.

I had never used spray paint before, but I figured the worst thing that could happen would be that it wouldn’t work and I would have to buy a new grille online. Here are before and after shots of the bathroom fan:

Still not as pretty as the round fan, but a huge improvement nonetheless. The photo really does not do it justice.

This paint is seriously great stuff. There were a few hiccups along the way. I forgot to hit the inside angle of the louvres, and although I followed the label directions exactly (recoat within one hour or after 48 hours), the finish blistered a bit. I had to wait for that coat to dry, then sand the bubbles off, then wait another 48 hours to repaint. The finish still is not perfectly smooth, but it’s not very noticeable and besides – it’s on the ceiling. We also disrupted the paint around the grille while removing it, but that repair will just have to wait its turn.

Cost of the spray paint: just under $8. It would have cost $98 for the new bathroom fan (plus the aggravation of changing it out and patching the ceiling) or about $35 to have a new grille shipped to us.

But wait – there’s more! The bathroom floor vent had corroded, and since it had to be cut to fit an irregular opening, we never seemed to get around to replacing it. Emboldened by my success with the fan grille, I painted the vent as well. I’m not sure of the cost savings as I have not priced replacement vents, but I estimate $10-$15.

The floor vent turned out even better than the bathroom fan. So well that Rust-Oleum featured it on their Facebook page!

I can envision all kinds of other uses for this paint. I may try painting the shower fixtures this summer. The front door hardware and fireplace screen are also on the list of possibilities.

But for now, it’s back to painting window frames.


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