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Rental Refresh: Big Bangs in Small Projects :: New Faucets and Countertop Paint for a Vanity Redo



I am a property owner. I mean – we (Mrs Moxie & I) are landlords and we have been for many years now. While at one point we had two properties, today – we only have one, but it houses two units. It is located in Baltimore’s Canton neighborhood, and one of the great things. Canton is a high demand area and because we price it pretty reasonably, we have been pretty lucky keeping tenants in it for, well, the longer…ish term.

In this article, I detail recent budget refresh of our apartment. Try to hang around, you’ll find a quick Vanity Redo, small updates: Painting the Vanity Top with Countertop Paint and Installing the Vanity Faucet. (Click those links to jump right to it.)

For my ultimate Rental Refresh Checklist, click to Jump.


Because of that, though, this property doesn’t always present itself as a topic for content on this blog. Sure, I wrote about it, and about the Canton area, here >> The Tip of the Rowhome :: Working with Coil Stock and Baltimore’s Cornices. I wrote about its formstone and then its lack thereof. Going a ways back I wrote about it too when had to Adjust a BiFold Door. Okay, and maybe I’ve written about it a few other times.

I do often tell folks who ask – being a landlord is often harder than it looks. But recently and fortunately, there hasn’t really been that much. That is … until now.  Our long time tenant, let’s call her Pam, moved (actually buying a home with the help of real estate agent Mrs. Moxie). She had been with us for her second stint of four years.

Unlike some tenants, she rarely called – I think I might have adjusted the back patio door for her and maybe I installed a ceiling fan. This on one hand of course – I loved! On the other hand, well … and after four years, as you can probably imagine – there was a little bit of a todo list.

In fact, this rental unit needed a complete refresh.

Some of the items you probably could guess: a power clean, but including weeding and debris removal from a back patio, small hole repair and a complete repaint – all walls and ceilings (which Mrs. Moxie handled deftly).

Mrs Moxie

Mini Moxies


Rental Refresh Checklist 

Basically, if you own or plan to own a rental property, be prepared to invest some time on improvements if the property flips. Beyond painting, my Rental Refresh Checklist usually looks something like this:

*Replace all Mini-Blinds

Way easier then cleaning them.

*Miscellaneous Repairs

This time, for example this includes a new knob for the oven, and remounting some closet hardware.

*Replace Light Bulbs

*Seal up some holes in the exterior.

(Especially because the property’s in the city, I chose Great Stuff’s Pest Block for this task.)

*Check Toilet and all Plumbing connections.

This time, it meant replacing both the kitchen faucet, resurfacing the bathroom’s vanity top as well as replacing that bathroom faucet.

*Recaulk the tub.


Some of the items while not necessarily exotic were a little less common.  This is a two unit property with the two units stacked atop each other. When we gutted and remodeled about ten years back, we made the decision to leave the ceiling in the first floor bedroom exposed. Other than a coat of poly it was more or less unfinished.

Now, while this was a great decision for aesthetic reasons, it hasn’t proven so wise through the years for noise reasons. To correct this and while we considered many options, we (actually the Other Man did this job) insulated with Roxul’s Safe’N’ Sound and finished with 1×8 v-groove paneling. Not necessarily completely balls out, but the sound reduction was immediately noticeable.

New Faucets or should I say PFaucets

Now, what apartment rental refresh would be complete without a quick update on the faucets? Big bang for just a little effort there.

And here’s where Pfister comes in. Yeah, I’m actually involved in a program of the same name. It gives me access to faucets to, well, try.

I will say this go round we toyed with the idea of remodeling both the kitchen and the bath in the apartment, but in the end decided not to solely for cost reasons. I bring that up because, well, even though we didn’t do it this time, we likely will in the future.

And in my selection of new faucets, I was mindful of that fact. I picked both a kitchen and a lavatory faucet out of their Classic line – Stainless in the Kitchen and Chrome in the Bath. Both PERFECT for a rental property. These selections I think would go well with anything even if we choose and choose to re-use when we update in a few years.

Installing the Kitchen Faucet

The kitchen faucet went easy enough and I posted real time about on Facebook.  After removing the existing faucet, it took me something like 15 minutes to install the new one.

Refinishing a Vanity Top with Countertop Paint

But before I could install the new lavatory faucet, the vanity I set in the bathroom a few years back needed a minor overhaul too. It has a veneered top and was showing significant signs of wear. I also noticed that the wall behind the sink too had taken some damage. I had scrap piece of marble splash (that I cut down even further using my angle grinder) … that would fit into the thin space behind the elevated bowl.

For the top itself, I sanded it off quickly using a palm sander and refinished, again after considering options, with Rust-Oleum’s Countertop Coating (available on Amazon), mixed to a Putty color.

Installing the Vanity Faucet

Instead of boring you with details here I decided to make a vid of the bathroom faucet install … and please forgive me for what is some funky bad hair (I mean – there was a mirror I could have checked right there. ha!). I had removed the bowl from the vanity top, which made both the faucet install and the making of a video much easier. (Ever try to shoot an under the sink vid? Oi!)

My vanity and raised bowl had a 4″ 3-hole spacing. I.e. – I selected and installed a 4″ centerset faucet.

Oh … and one last note on cleaning fixtures with certain, sometimes aggressive cleaning products, see below:


The manufacturers mean it!



Thanks for reading. Thanks to Pfister for the faucets, I mean – Pfaucets. ha! Enjoy! and hey – yes please, I’d love if you subscribed to our YouTube Channel.

For much more on Plumbing, the Pros and Cons of Vanity Combos and even How to Install a Bathroom Faucet, please click around.

For more on working with Rust-oleum’s Countertop Coating, an article from Sarah at the Ugly Duckling House – RUSTOLEUM PAINTED COUNTERTOPS AND FLOORS: MONTHS LATER.

Cheers. ~jb

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