Interior House Painting: Curing the 5 Most Common Mistakes

In his role as the “Paint Doctor” for Purdy — longtime makers of handcrafted paint brushes and roller covers — Bruce Schneider fields queries from intrepid do-it-yourselfers on a regular basis. Who better to ask about the most common problems that homeowners encounter in their interior painting projects?

No. 1: Choosing inferior applicators
Solution: “To get the job done right, you need good quality tools,” Schneider says. “It always boggles my mind that people are willing to spend $40 or $50 on a gallon of premium paint but decide to go cheap on the applicators. Later, when they see a hair on the wall or lumps of roller lint under the paint, they’ll realize the mistake. Investing in good brushes or rollers up front is worth the extra expense.”

No. 2: Improper preparation
Solution: “It may seem obvious, but you always want to do repair work first so that your walls are smooth, clean, dry and free of loose debris before you begin painting,” Schneider advises.

No. 3: Overextending each dip of the brush or roller
Solution: DIYers often continue applying a dip of paint until the brush or roller becomes dry. The problem? “When you overextend each dip, the paint can dry in the brush bristles, and the fabric on rollers can mat down,” he cautions. “Be sure to always maintain a smooth line of paint. Once the paint appears to break up, it’s time to re-dip.”

No. 4: Breathing the wrong way
Solution: The way you breathe when painting — especially when cutting in near edges — can affect the steadiness of your hand. “When you need to be precise, hold your breath or breathe out,” Schneider suggests. “Your body moves more when you’re breathing in.”

No. 5: Letting touch-up paint dry out
Solution: To extend the life of your leftover paint, try these tricks. “For water-based paint, place a piece of clear plastic wrap directly on the surface of the paint, then reseal the container,” Schneider offers. “For oil-based paint, add about a half-inch of water on the surface before resealing.”

Source: AOL Real Estate

When To Spray A House?

When to spray a house? We use a sprayer to apply primer and top coat when the surface area of the siding is large enough to justify the extra cost in paint and preparation. If the side of a home is mostly a continuous expanse of siding then the decision is easy to make. If there are lots of different colors or trim that is not being painted or brick and stone, then chances are spraying wont be the most effective way to accomplish the job. We spray when we can because it is typically more efficient then brushing or rolling and applies paint to a mil specificity. Spraying lays the paint on very smooth, smooth and thick. By spraying we are able to lower the labor rate and apply the paint faster. To sum it up: higher paint cost, lower labor cost.

Sprayed or brushed it is recommended that one coat of paint be used when the new paint color matches the old, and that two coats of paint are used when there is a color change or the substrate (wood or vinyl) is in bad condition. The first coat protects the house and the second coat protects the first. Whether one or two coats, a primer coat is applied first. Spraying applies the paint very fast and even.  These advantages are suited ideally for vinyl and aluminum siding and gives the siding a near “factory finish.”

*Interiors can be sprayed as well

Method: We’ll tape off any windows and doors and lay tarps over all surfaces under and around he area that is going to get painted by sprayer. If needed, we will ask that cars be moved but generally we do not spray on windy days. Windows, trim, door frames and fascias are all generally brushed by hand. We use only Purdy or Wooster brand brushes, most professional painters use these brushes and I suggest you do too if and when you choose to paint. A good brush makes a world of difference.

After the first coat is a good time to check over the house one more time. Apply additional caulk if a gap is spotted or put on another coat of wood filler to the woodpecker holes. Then, the second coat. This is where the colors really come out and smooth finish of the paint looks its best. Remember, the second coat protects the first coat that protects the house. It’s all about protecting the home from the elements, increasing its value and making it look great at the same time. Tape is pulled as soon as the paint begins to dry. All tape, paper and plastic is disposed of and removed from the premise.

A final check through and walk-around with the homeowner. We’re not done until the homeowner is satisfied. In other words, we don’t get paid until you’re happy. On top of a complete satisfaction guarantee, we offer a top of the line three-year workmanship guarantee as well.

Source: Eric Welch Painting

Interior Painting Over Winter Months


As the season is changing from fall to winter, we move from exteriors to interiors. A simple or complex paint job can make an interior space go from cold to warm or boring to fun. Take a look at the color trends for 2013 from Benjamin Moore. Whatever your tastes are, there is sure to be a color to go with. Be adventurous or be practical. Either way a space will can be transformed into something more.

In some situations, the color is not as important as the contrast. Or, if a room is naturally dark, then going with a bright or light color makes sense. Use color hues and tones to your advantage. Ask Eric Welch Painting by filling out the short form on the right of the page for more information.

Below: raw pine is being primed and the knots have been filled with joint compound and sanded to ensure a smooth and even finish. We are applying a Kilz brand premium, primer and it will be topped with two coats of Benjamin Moore, latex paint in a satin sheen. After photos will be coming along as the sun had set by the time we were packed up. P.S. The home owners were thrilled!

Source: Eric Welch Painting

How to Remove Wallpaper and Wallpaper Glue Easily

Switching from wallpaper to paint is not a quick task if you take the DIY route. This messy, labor-intensive work adds days to the prep process if doing multiple rooms. Before you pick up that scraper, understand the tools you need and the steps you must take to do a thorough job. You might decide to hire help after all.

Tools Needed for Wallpaper Removal

You will need to hit the home improvement store to get everything on your shopping list. Expect to buy:

  • Commercial wallpaper remover; you also can get by with baking soda or dish detergent but plan on putting more elbow grease into the project
  • Spray bottle
  • Painter’s tape
  • Sponges
  • Steel wool
  • Towels
  • Putty knife
  • Bucket
  • Tarps
  • Ladder

The above are not high-dollar items, but they can add up if you are removing wallpaper from several rooms in your home.

Steps for Removing Wallpaper

Keep in mind that you must not only remove the wallpaper, but the glue holding it to the wall. If you skip this important step, your paint job will suffer. Remaining glue will cause the paint to look uneven at best and flake off at worst.

Prep — Start by covering floors and furniture with tarps. This will be messy work, and you do not want to damage anything in the process. Tape over trim and baseboards. Also cover all outlets and switches with tape, and then turn off electricity to the room before getting started.

Mix — Mix the commercial wallpaper remover according to directions or, if taking the home-recipe route, combine 1 to 2 tbsp. of dish detergent or baking soda to a spray bottle filled with warm water.

Spray & Scrape — Working in a 3-foot-by-3-foot area, spray the wallpaper to soften the glue. Wait about five minutes.

Begin lifting the wallpaper and scraping with the grain of the glue. If there are several layers of wallpaper, you must remove them one by one. Throughout the process, take care not to damage the drywall with the putty knife.

Clean Up — Once you have removed the wallpaper and the majority of the glue, go back around and spray any remaining paste with the solution. Then scrub it with steel wool and/or a sponge, depending on the size of the patch of glue. Dry with towels as you work your way around the room.

Once you have completed these steps, give the walls a good 24 hours to dry. Run your hands over the walls to see if any stickiness remains. If it does, you must repeat the spraying, scraping and clean-up process in those areas.

Depending on the size of the job, your skill level and available time, you may want to assign this task to a professional painter. Also keep in mind the height of your walls and your comfort level working on a ladder. ProTect Painters offers its services for a variety of prep work. We can perform:

Light Carpentry — Your trim may need repair before prep and painting.

Masonite or Stucco Repair — We can fix the cracks that come with this type of material over time.

Drywall Repair — If you started the removal process and found you were doing too much damage to the wall underneath, we can take over and fix any damage done.

Source: Protect Painters

10 Interior House Painting Tips & Painting Techniques for the Perfect Paint Job

Here are 10 tips to make your painting projects go smoother and faster while giving you a professional-looking finish that you’ll be proud of. You’ll also find ingenious tips that can cut your cleanup time in half and extend the life of your paint brushes.

Tip 1: To avoid lap marks, roll the full height of the wall and keep a wet edge

Roll the full height of the wall

Lap marks are those ugly stripes caused by uneven layers of paint buildup. They occur when you roll over paint that’s already partly dry. (In warm, dry conditions, 
latex paint can begin to stiffen in less than a minute!) The key to avoiding lap marks is to maintain a “wet edge,” so each stroke of your roller overlaps the previous stroke before the paint can begin to dry.

To maintain a wet edge, start near a corner and run the roller up and down the full height of the wall, moving over slightly with each stroke. Move backward where necessary to even out thick spots or runs. Don’t let the roller become nearly dry; reload it often so that it’s always at least half loaded. Keep the open side of the roller frame facing the area that’s already painted. That puts less pressure on the open side of the roller, so you’re less likely to leave paint ridges.

Tip 2: Mix several cans of paint in a large bucket for a consistent color throughout the room

Mix paint in a large bucket

Once paint is dry, you can’t just pull the tape off the trim. Paint forms a film between the wall and the tape, and removing the tape tears pieces of dried paint off the wall. So before pulling off the tape, cut it loose.

Wait for the paint to completely dry, at least 24 hours, then use a sharp utility knife or box cutter knife to slice through the film. Start in an inconspicuous area to make sure the paint is hard enough to slice cleanly. If you cut the paint while it’s still gummy, you’ll make a mess. As you cut the paint, pull up the tape at a 45-degree angle.

Paint color may vary slightly from one can to the next. If you have to open a new can in the middle of a wall, the difference may be noticeable. Mixing the paints together eliminates the problem. It’s best to estimate the amount of paint you’ll need and mix it in a 5-gallon bucket (a process called “boxing”).

When coverage is difficult to estimate, add more rather than less. You can always pour the leftover back into cans. For large jobs, use the bucket and a roller screen rather than a roller tray. It’s much faster to load your roller with the screen than to use a roller pan. Simply dunk the roller into the paint bucket, then roll it along the screen until it stops dripping.

Tip 3: Let the paint dry, then cut the tape loose for a perfect edge

Cut tape when paint is dry

Tip 4: Paint the trim first, then the ceiling and walls

Paint the trim first

Prime and texture wall 
Pros usually follow a certain order when painting a room. They paint the trim first, then the ceiling, then the walls. That’s because it’s easier (and faster) to tape off the trim than to tape off the walls. And you certainly don’t want to tape them both off!

When painting the trim, you don’t have to be neat. Just concentrate on getting a smooth finish on the wood. Don’t worry if the trim paint gets onto the walls. You’ll cover it later when painting the walls. Once the trim is completely painted and dry (at least 24 hours), tape it off (using an “easy release” painter’s tape), then paint the ceiling, then the walls.

Tip 5: Prime and texture wall patches to avoid a blotchy finish

Freshly painted walls often look blotchy

Freshly painted walls often look blotchy. The color is uniform, but the sheen isn’t consistent. This usually occurs over the holes and cracks you patched with a filler or drywall compound. The porous fillers absorb the paint, dulling the surface (a problem called “flashing”). When light hits these dull spots, they stick out like a sore thumb. The smooth patch also stands out in contrast to the slightly bumpy texture of the rest of the wall. A quick coat of primer is all it takes to eliminate flashing and texture differences.

Primer seals the patch so paint won’t sink in and look dull. To match texture, prime with a roller, feathering out the edges. Choose a nap thickness to match the surrounding wall texture (a 3/8-in. nap roller for smooth walls; 1/2-in. for textured).

Tip 6: Clean dirty surfaces so the paint can form a strong bond

Clean dirty areas before painting

If you paint over dirty, oily surfaces, the paint will easily chip or peel off. So before painting, clean grimy areas with a deglosser or heavy-duty cleaner intended for prepaint cleaning. They work well to clean painted, varnished or enameled surfaces to improve the adhesion of the new paint. They’re ideal for cleaning greasy or oily areas like kitchen and bathroom walls and removing hand marks around light switches and doorknobs.

Wipe on the cleaner in a circular motion using a lint-free cloth or abrasive pad. Start at the bottom and work up. After the surface is clean, fill in any nicks and holes, then sand them smooth before painting. The cleaners are available at paint stores and home centers. Be sure to wear rubber gloves and eye protection.

Tip 7: Roll paint along the edges for consistent texture

Roll out paint near trim

Corners and areas next to trim that are painted only with a brush have a notice- ably different texture than the surrounding paint. To ensure the finished texture will be consistent in these areas, brush on the paint, then immediately roll it out before the paint dries.

Use a 3-in. roller with a nap that’s the same thickness as the roller used for the rest of the wall. Roll as close as you can without bumping the opposite wall or slopping paint onto the trim. Finish brushing on the paint and rolling it out in one area before moving on to the next section.

Tip 8: Use cotton drop cloths rather than plastic

Protect floor with cotton drop cloth

Spills and spatters happen, regardless of how careful you are. It’s a lot easier to pre- pare for them than to wipe them out of your carpeting or off your wood floor later. All it takes is canvas drop cloths in your work area (a 4-ft. x 15-ft. cloth costs $15). The thick canvas stays in place, so you don’t need to tape it, and you can use it to cover any surface. Plastic drop cloths are slippery to walk on or set a ladder on and don’t stay in place. Even worse, paint spills on plastic stay wet, and they can end up on your shoes and get tracked through the house. Canvas is slippery on hard floors, so rosin paper ($10 for 400 sq. ft. at home centers) is better over vinyl, tile and hard- wood. Tape the sheets together and to the floor to provide a nonslip surface.

But even with canvas or rosin-paper drop cloths, large spills still need to get wiped up right away or they’ll seep through. Clean spills with paper towels or cloth rags. Likewise, if you splatter paint on any other surface,wipe it up immediately.

Tip 9: Feather out paint where you can’t keep a wet edge

Feather paint with a dry roller in large areas

You can’t cover large areas like ceilings, extra-tall walls or stairwells in single, continuous strokes, so the best way to minimize lap marks on these areas is to feather out the paint along the edges that you can’t keep wet. The thinner, feathered coat of paint will avoid the buildup that causes the lap mark.

To paint a large section without leaving lap marks, roll the nearly dry roller in different directions along the dry edge, feathering out the paint as you go. After completing the entire length of the wall or ceiling, move to the next section and paint over the feathered edges. For the second coat, apply the paint in the opposite direction. This crisscrossing paint application sharply reduces (if not eliminates) lap marks.

Tip 10: Sand trim between coats for an ultra-smooth finish

Sand trim for a smooth finish

One coat of paint usually won’t hide the underlying color and sheen on trim. And if you don’t sand the surface smooth between coats, the finish may have a grainy texture. For a smooth finish, sand the trim before applying each coat of paint.

Sand the trim with a fine-grit sanding sponge. Sponges get into crevices where sandpaper can’t go and let you apply even pressure. Then apply the first coat of paint, let it dry at least 24 hours, lightly sand it again for a completely smooth surface, and apply the second coat. After each sanding, vacuum the trim, then wipe it down with a tack cloth to remove the dust.

Source: The Family Handyman

8 Classic Color Combos

Trends come and go, but these tried-and-true color palettes have stood the test of time.

Black and White

The most classic color scheme of all — black and white — is inherently sleek and sophisticated, according to Jessica Geller and Virginia Toledo of id 810 Design Group. What they love most is the backdrop the two colors provide for unexpected pops like hot pink, turquoise or lime green. Their go-to white paint: Benjamin Moore’s Super White. “It’s our staple white because it doesn’t change tone with other colors and remains a true white,” Virginia says.

Orange and Blue

Like all of the classic combinations shown here, varying shades of these colors work well together. Here, orangey coral is an equally bright counterpoint to teal blue. “A neutral, like black, paired with a color allows the color to shine without overwhelming the viewer,” says designer Meredith Heron of her decision to accent the teal wall with a black one.

Red and Gold

Often paired with deep green, these colors were used in many Tudor-, Renaissance- and Victorian-era homes. Red was a favorite for dining rooms in particular, giving dinner guests a warm feel in the days before central heating. Today, the combination evokes a rustic, Italian vibe, says designer and color expert Jane Hall. Her red, gold and green of choice: Sherwin-Williams’ Fine Wine, Edgy Gold and Palm Leaf.

Robin’s Egg Blue, Yellow and Cream

Although it dates back to the French courts of Louis XI and Louis XIV, this airy palette could easily be expanded to include soft Coco Chanel pinks, lavenders and celery greens, Jane Hall says. Like the bedroom she designed here, the trio of colors is a staple for romantic French country and shabby chic interiors. To get the look, Jane calls on colors like Sherwin-Williams’ Tidewater, Ionic Ivory and Lucent Yellow.

Green and Yellow

“Most classic color combos in design are those borrowed from nature,” says California designer and color expert Kelly Berg. Case in point: yellow and green, reminiscent of sun and plants. “If nature tells us they work together, then they work together,” Kelly says. And since there isn’t just one yellow and one green, the combination can create many different effects. Use the two as a base, Kelly suggests, and then add a third and a fourth color to the mix, such as blue or red. Her favorite shades: Pratt and Lambert’s Yellow Quartz and Sea Oat.

Pink and Green

Bright colors were briefly popular during the mid-1800s, but it was mid-20th-century homemakers like Dorothy Draper who really made them famous. Her modern Baroque style and bold use of colors like hot pink, apple green and turquoise were exemplar of the era, says color expert Jane Hall. Her best brights: Pittsburgh Paints’ Fuchsia Flock and Lime Green.

Green and Blue

Designer Cynthia Mason says that the blue and green combo she’s partial to “can be traditional or go all the way modern.” She opted for the traditional version in this family room, accenting an apple green sofa with a light blue throw and matching trim on the custom window cornices. “The blue and green work together because they are analogous colors of similar intensity,” she says. For a more modern feel, deepen the intensity to kelly green and navy, such as Farrow & Ball’s Hague Blue.

Earth Tones

As the name implies, these colors are derived from earthy elements like rock, water and sky. Stick to this palette for a more neutral color scheme or add “natural” accents in brilliant floral or plant shades for a punch of color, designer Barbara Jacobs suggests. Earth tones she likes include: EcoHues’ Nomad, Peacock Blue, Vintage Gold, Blue Grotto, Red Clay and Fieldstone.

Source: HGTV

A Pro Confides His Best Tips for Painting Exteriors

“What’s this?” grumbles Andrew D’Amato, squinting at a minuscule droplet of wet paint on a windowsill. He steps back for the wide-angle view. “Man!” he mutters as he spies a half dozen more all-but-invisible paint beads clinging to the window’s casing. Striding around to the side of the house, he buttonholes the offending employee. “Front of the house, to the right of the door?drips!” he says tersely. The worker trots off toward the site, double-time, as D’Amato shakes his shaggy head. Among the many chores that humans tend to botch or rush, repainting a house’s exterior must rank near the top. The word slapdash, denoting all acts hurried and shoddy, could have sprung precisely from the near-universal tendency to slap pigment on a weary clapboard, then dash off to do something more thrilling. While this tendency is regrettable, it’s also understandable. The perfect metaphor for an endless, grueling task is a lone house-painter staring up at a three-story Victorian replete with mildewed shingles, peeling muntins and alligatored filigree. Exhausting labor, dizzying heights and the specter of lead poisoning?no wonder average mortals blanch. But D’Amato, co-owner of Andrews Painting in Milton, Mass., actually enjoys painting, and he cares deeply about tiny drops on a huge house. “Painting is the last step in the construction process and the most dramatic,” he says. “The change we make is very satisfying.” Over the past 15 years, D’Amato, partner Andrew Lieberman and their crew have attended to dozens of grand old houses throughout greater Boston. “Our clients care about their home,” D’Amato says. “It’s more to them than a place to plunk. It’s a showpiece. That’s why they love us.” A graduate of the Art Institute of Boston, he took up house painting to repay school debts and discovered his affinity for it. Today’s project is in Milton, at D’Amato’s own house, which he and his wife began renovating three years ago. With an expansive front porch and gorgeous fretwork, the circa-1865 house has awesome potential waiting beneath a striated, peeling, moldy, graying skin. “I’m sure it hasn’t been painted since the ’50s,” he says. Which made him eager to get started. But the first requirement of any job is patience. D’Amato never paints an exterior before June. “The long winters in New England saturate wood, especially exposed wood like this,” he says. Atop a 24-foot ladder, he pulls a battery-operated moisture meter from a pocket and presses the meter’s two prongs 1/4 inch into a clapboard high on the house’s north side, typically the last spot to surrender its load of spring rain. “We like the moisture content to be under 12 percent. Here it’s 10, so we’re OK.” Time to paint? Not so fast. The most important single lesson about top-notch house painting is that more than half the job is not painting. “It’s preparation,” D’Amato says. “When we hire people, we tell them that prep is most of it. They say, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know.’ But as the days go by on the job, they say, ‘I’m sick of this?I’ve got to paint something!'” D’Amato is generally an affable guy, but he never bends on this point. “I tell them, ‘I think you need another job.'”

On this sparkling June morning, D’Amato goes to the north side of his house, pulls off one of the abundant paint flakes and examines it. From its approximately 1/16-inch thickness, he guesses the house bears at least 10 coats. Because lead paint was not banned until 1978, all 10 layers may contain the toxic metal. To confine the aged paint he will remove, he unrolls a 20-foot-wide section of 6-mil-thick plastic and staples one edge of it to the bottom of the first course of clapboards. Then he and his crew prop up the tarp’s edges with 1×8 boards, creating an 18-by-20-foot basin to catch debris. Hand-scraping a huge house is only slightly more fun than a messy divorce, so power-tool manufacturers have tried to mechanize the chore. Of the half-dozen tools available?all variations on the theme of a spinning cutter or grinder?D’Amato’s choice for this job is called the Paint Shaver. A head with three triangular carbide scrapers buzzes off a full 1/8 inch from the clapboards, while a vacuum attachment keeps dust to a minimum. (Nonetheless, employee Tom Thevenin wears a respirator.) The shaver is far from perfect—it’s heavy, noisy, awkward, and “chews up the clapboard’s surface pretty bad,” D’Amato says. But the tool does strip paint right down to bare wood. D’Amato concedes that he virtually never goes this far on other jobs—normally, he vigorously hand-scrapes and sands the remaining paint to round over sharp edges and promote adhesion. Strip-mining to bare wood is slow, expensive and unnecessary unless a house is experiencing massive paint failure, as his house is. The mechanical stripper’s bulk prevents it from removing paint within a couple of inches of trim such as corner boards. In these areas, D’Amato employs a heat gun, which softens the paint with hot air, so a handheld scraper can peel off layers like orange skin. His stripper can be adjusted to temperatures ranging from 250 to 1,100 degrees Fahrenheit, the maximum recommended by federal authorities to minimize the risk of vaporizing lead. To protect the wood and prevent fires, he sets the thermostat at the lowest level that does the job. Still, he says, “You want to wear a good-quality respirator with vapor cartridges.” With the wood bare, D’Amato patches missing post corners and other gaping wounds with a two-part wood-epoxy putty. “This stuff is fabulous,” he says. “You just mold it and press it in place. You can fix almost anything with it.” Because the mechanical scraper roughed up the clapboards and the epoxy must be smoothed, the crew commences a double round of sanding using a disk sander with 36-grit paper followed by a random-orbit sander and 60-grit paper. “Strenuous and monotonous,” D’Amato says, “but necessary.” Even the most assiduous scraping and sanding can’t vanquish mold and mildew that have nestled in wood fibers. So D’Amato mixes a cleaning solution: a cup each of bleach and trisodium phosphate to 2 gallons of water. He sprays dirty and/or moldy surfaces and, after scrubbing with a stiff-bristled brush, allows everything to sit for half an hour while the bleach seeps in and destroys. His final prep step is a gentle rinse with the hose to wash off paint dust, bleach and dead mold. “You have to rinse it—you don’t want to mix all of that dust back in,” D’Amato says. “Some people use a power washer, but it’s just too strong. You can write your name in a clapboard with a power washer. They’re great for masonry, but I would never use one on wood.” On D’Amato’s 3,000-square-foot, two-story house, all of this preparation takes the four-man crew two weeks. But finally, after the rinse water dries, comes the moment: The brushes are brought out triumphantly, and the first coat goes on.

A Hidden Layer of Protection Makers of wooden windows and doors have a secret: Coating bare wood with a paintable water-repellent preservative keeps paint on longer. Now, Andrew D’Amato and a few other top-of-the-line painters are borrowing the trick, which is backed up by research at Purdue University and the U.S. government’s Forest Products Laboratory in Madison, Wisconsin. It’s important that a product’s label make three claims: “water repellent,” “preservative” and “paintable.” The water repellent, often a wax, keeps the wood from shrinking or swelling as much when it rains, so the paint stretches less, stays intact and grips the wood longer. The preservative kills mildew, which could grow into the top paint layer and ruin its look, and fungi that cause wood to rot. There is a wide variation in formulas on the market, however. To find an effective preservative, follow the lead of the many window and door manufacturers who use products that contain 3-iodo-2-propynyl butylcarbamate, an iodine-based preservative often abbreviated IPBC. (Preservatives are usually listed on labels.) Repellents not labeled “paintable” may contain so much wax that paint won’t stick. When in doubt, test first in an inconspicuous area. “After the paint is dry, press a piece of adhesive tape on it,” says Alan Ross, vice president and technical director for Wolman Wood Care Products, which makes water-repellent preservatives. “When you pull it up, does it pull up the paint? Compare it to an area where you haven’t put the repellent.” Bad painters brush paint on bare wood. Good painters prime first. But D’Amato and other excellent painters follow the recommendation of the Forest Products Laboratory in Madison, Wisconsin?they pretreat bare wood with a clear, paintable water repellent to keep the siding from absorbing moisture that gets past the paint. After the repellent dries, the crew masks windows with blue painter’s tape and builder’s paper and applies an oil-based primer. “We spray it on, then brush it out,” says D’Amato, expertly sweeping and stabbing with a natural-bristle brush to work the wet primer into cracks and crevices. He prefers oil-based primers because they penetrate better than latexes do. The primer, however, raises the grain. So, D’Amato’s crew smooths the dried film with light passes of a palm sander fitted with 100-grit paper, then sweeps off the resulting dust with a soft-bristled shop brush. In the course of 133 years, D’Amato’s house has collected cracks, crevices and dings which are unsightly and accelerate leaks and rot. So he guns on 25-year latex-acrylic caulk, patrolling every square foot of the exterior. He seals around trim but leaves cracks between clapboards, so moisture can escape from the house’s interior; if the whole exterior were sealed tightly, migrating moisture could make the paint bubble and peel. For clapboards, D’Amato chooses an airless sprayer, which pumps paint fast (but also wastes much in overspray). For detail work such as lattice, he switches to a high-volume low-pressure sprayer. It ejects less paint but is more accurate.
Caulking finished, D’Amato sprays on another coat of primer. “Now all of the caulk is sealed between two coats of primer. It’s not essential, but at this point it’s easy?you’ve already got the sprayer out and the windows masked off, so why not?” Finally, the painter paints. “My wife, of course, couldn’t pick out a chip, so we had this custom color mixed up,” he says, waving at the burnt-orange shade of flat latex in the open can. After all of the prep work, this long-awaited metamorphosis seems almost instantaneous. “We just spray it on. The surface is already perfectly smooth, so there is no need to brush it in.” D’Amato applies two coats. A sprayed-on coat is thicker, and some is lost to overspray, so a gallon covers about 250 square feet instead of the usual 500. D’Amato sprays as lightly as possible, in keeping with a fundamental rule: Two thin coats are more durable than a single thick one. He paints the body of the house first, then progresses to the trim, brushing on two coats of an appealing glossy off-white around doors and windows. “I always go with an oil-based paint for the trim coat,” he says. “I like its sheen. You can work it longer. You don’t have to worry about it drying up and leaving ugly lap marks.”

In all, D’Amato and his team will spread and spray 53 gallons of paint and finishes on this house: 8 gallons of sealer, 15 gallons of primer, 15 gallons of the burnt-orange body paint, 12 gallons of trim paint and 3 gallons of deep green on the shutters. Total paint cost: $1,530. If he were charging a client, D’Amato estimates the total for materials and labor would come in at about $20,000. “The scraping to bare wood is what really elevates that price,” he says. A less vigorous scrape could drop the cost by half, to as little as $10,000. As the sprayer’s compressor groans and the last coat hisses into place, D’Amato’s affinity for his craft suddenly makes perfect sense. Once forlorn, just another big old Boston-area house gone to seed, the Victorian is now breathtaking. Sweaty, rumpled and dappled orange, D’Amato shades his eyes and takes a long, loving look at the flawless facade. “This is not a color change,” he says. “This is a transformation.”

An Expert Evaluates Old Paint

1. CRACKS. Numerous horizontal and vertical fissures signal that oil-based paint is losing its grip and must be removed. When the buildup is more than 1/16 inch thick, as it is here, sheer weight is part of the problem. “There’s just too much paint on this place,” Andrew D’Amato says.

2. GRAY WOOD. Weathered wood makes a poor base for new paint. Because sunlight degrades the lining that holds wood cells together, surface fibers no longer bond to the wood underneath. New paint will stick?but just to a surface that’s about to be sloughed off. Peeling will reappear.

3. BRIGHT WOOD. Underneath all the gunk is wood that looks as good as new?and may be even better at holding paint than clapboards sold today are. Old clapboards often came from trees that grew slowly and were rift-sawn to minimize warp.

Source: This Old House

5 Mistakes Everyone Makes When Choosing A Paint Color

Some design rules are meant to be broken. And then there’s color. While the vast array of palettes and fabric colorways allow some room for interpretation, too many options means even the pros among us are bound to take an occasional wrong turn around the color wheel.

Enter Tobi Fairley, award-winning designer and color maven, who recently hosted a course on using color in home design on Tobi chatted with the Huffington Post about the most common mistakes we make when choosing paint color for our homes… and the best ways to avoid them.

Mistake #1: Picking Your Paint Color First

“It’s one of the last things I pick, because I wait to see what all of the fabrics and other elements in the space are. If you pick the paint color first, you can really pin yourself in a corner as far as finding the right things to match.”

Correct It: Get the room planned and then select the paint to support all of the other things going on in your space. You can take your color cues from fabrics, whether it’s accent pillows or an occasional chair that has a pattern or print to it. That’s usually my jumping off point for selecting a color for a space.

Mistake #2: Picking A Color That’s Too Bright Or Saturated

“A bright cobalt blue, which is really trendy right now, can look great as a ceramic lamp, because it has a sheen to it, or as a silk pillow, because it has depth or interest, but when you put that same really bright color on the wall, it’s a whole lot stronger. Lighter, muddy colors (meaning they have more gray or black mixed in with them) work better than a really bright strong hue.”

Correct It: If the walls are going to scream a bright color, you want to wrap the rest of your furnishings in neutral tones or even white. Decide what your focal point is. If it’s the wall color, then let everything else support it, not fight with it.

Mistake #3: Not Considering The Home As A Whole

“Even if it’s a small apartment, transitioning color from one room to the next can be tricky and it doesn’t flow well if you’ve got bright orange in one room and bright pink in another.” Correct It: Use other things to bring the spaces together. Mistake #4: Losing Sight Of Your Emotional Goal

“Even if it’s a small apartment, transitioning color from one room to the next can be tricky and it doesn’t flow well if you’ve got bright orange in one room and bright pink in another.”

Correct It: Use other things to bring the spaces together.

Mistake #4: Losing Sight Of Your Emotional Goal

“I hear people say things like, ‘My favorite color is red, I’m going to put that in my bedroom,’ but what they really ultimately wanted was a space that was relaxing and calm, so there’s a disconnect between picking colors and what the space is intended for.”

Correct It: If you want a room that’s really serene, you might want to look at cool colors on the color wheel, like blue and green; if you’re looking for something energetic and exciting, warmer colors like yellows and oranges.

Mistake #5: Ignoring Trends

“Even though I’m known for using really bring colors, we are trending back to softer colors, more muted tones and a lot of black with metallic accents. A lot of the hot orange, painted lacquer furniture — all of the things that I’ve really enjoyed using over the last several years — have become overexposed.

Correct It: When you see it everywhere, which is where we’ve been seeing tons of bright colors of the last several years, it’s time to think of something different that’s maybe a little fresher or softer or moodier. Look to colors like lavender and black… metal and brass… things that work well and support a rich, sophisticated, even a little bit more masculine look.

Source: Huffington Post

Bathroom Color on the Quick

Need to inject some color into your bathroom but don’t have time for a total redo? Try these quick color tips from interior designers.

The toilet handle you have to jiggle a little, the shower doors that will almost instantly get mildewed unless you leave them open “just so,” the slightly loose tile on the floor to the right of the sink? There are lots of irritating little bathroom flaws that we never seem to take care of and just learn to live with them instead.

But a bathroom without much color? That’s something you should fix, says designer Cy Winship of Minneapolis. “You need colors you like to make you feel good in any room, and the bathroom, even a small powder room, should not be neglected.”

Luckily, says Winship, there are dozens of ways you can add color without ripping out tile floors or walls, installing new tubs, sinks or toilets. And they come right back out of the bathroom if you need to move them to another room or another place.

“There’s nothing wrong with a colorful bath rug, but why stop there?” says LaDonna Pare, a franchise owner for Interiors by Decorating Den in the Bowling Green, Ky. area.

Pare and Winship share these ideas for adding quick — and easy to change — color to the bathroom:

Daring Decoupage
Winship and his partner moved into a 1907 home in Minneapolis, housing a 1970s bath, all dark brown and mustard and Mediterranean plastic, with walls of floral Masonite, he remembers. The two were working so hard on so many other rooms, Winship did a quick-change in this one, turning to collage artist Matisse for inspiration.

“I painted over the Masonite with a really good primer and then I decoupaged tissue paper in vivid colors over it — indigo blue, sunny yellow, even some silver tissue paper. It looks luminous, freckled, almost like water. Above the shower stall, I did much brighter colors and I sealed it all with a water-based polyurethane.”

While Winship applied his decoupage directly to the wall, his “simple French” look would work just as well applied to foam core or poster board, framed or not, and then hung on a bathroom wall for a splash of color you could change out whenever you want.

“Paint the walls, or if they’re mostly tile, paint the ceiling!” says Winship. “If the color doesn’t work, you can paint it something else.” And should you need to sell the house later, and believe the accepted wisdom that only white walls are appropriate in “For Sale” bathrooms, you can spend an afternoon painting it back. Or for just a minimal change, paint a frame and hang it on the bathroom mirror with Velcro.

Buy colorful, off-the-shelf window treatments and shower curtains, or consider custom. “That way you can pick pretty fabric that goes with your color scheme and coordinate it to look nice with something on the wall,” says Pare. “There are lots of options when you go the custom route.” If you have one of those bathrooms with the rare empty wall, consider tacking a bright, batik bedspread to cover it, hanging straight down or in easy folds.

Bright Decorative Items
“Use the top of the toilet for bright, fun items,” says Winship. He, for example, placed a bright yellow vase on the toilet tank that picked up other colors in the bathroom and holds corn husk flowers he got on vacation. He also decoupaged fake vases on the wall behind the tank and says his Ugly Duckling bathroom is now his favorite room of the house.

“Put a piece that’s really fantastic, really pretty over the toilet,” says Pare, “because once that door closes, people definitely spend some time looking around and getting an impression.” Unless the art’s going to be in a central bathroom with lots of traffic, “moisture’s not such a worry,” she says. “But if you’re placing art somewhere moisture might get to it, opt for something that’s not that expensive.”

The bathroom’s also a great place for those bright posters and large prints you never know what to do with, says Winship. “You know, the ones you keep around but you think are too expensive to mat and frame? Buy an inexpensive poster frame and hang them in the bathroom. No one cares what the frame looks like there, and if the moisture gets to one and it ripples, you can switch it out.”

He recommends haunting estate and garage sales for bathroom art. “That’s where you find that weird art like those little oils Aunt Martha painted. Think, ‘Oh my gosh, there’s a clown with a knife in his hand! Let’s buy that and put it in the bathroom.’ It’s nice to see something to make you giggle in the morning.”

Of course, even the zaniest art should have at least one element that picks up other colors in the room, says Pare.

Choosing Colors
And what should those colors be? Often, you’re limited by the hard-and-fast items in the room, like the ’60s style pastel tiles, says Pare. “When you add other colors, they’ll have to complement, but the right selection can update the design and downplay the colors you don’t like.” Today’s popular chocolate-brown accessories, from towel racks to curtains, for example, give old-style pastels a fresh look, says Pare.

The Pantone “color palettes” that are released each year can give you good ideas for bathroom color, “and I love them,” says Winship. “Next year they’ll come out with a whole new set and those will be out.”

Instead, says Winship, “choose what you like.” But he’s got a few caveats. “Peach looks like a bad ’80s hotel room,” he says. “We’re not over it enough to laugh at it yet.”

The light in the bathroom should also influence your decision. “Really dark colors can be fabulous, but you have to make sure the bathroom gets enough natural light, or put in some other lighting, if you want to use them. Otherwise, the effect is just dark, and you need to be able to see to shave and put on makeup.”

The idea of looking at yourself in the mirror with these colors framing you brings up another issue. “Even when it’s just extra color, you shouldn’t put anything in your bathroom that will make you look ghastly in the morning, like lime green—a mistake I’ve made before—and yellow, unless it’s a real warm shade.”

“More than anything,” says Winship, “remember that it’s your house. The color you choose should express who you are? unless it’s peach.”

Source: HGTV

Trim Painting Tips

Careful sanding is the key to a perfect job

Sand all moldings

Smooth all rough spots with sandpaper.

If your woodwork is smooth, just give it a once-over with 120-grit sandpaper. But if your trim is in rough shape like ours, start with 80-grit sandpaper. Switch to 100-grit for smoothing and blending in the areas with layered paint. Finally, go over all the wood with 120-grit. Buy sandpaper labeled “no-load.” No-load sandpaper won’t clog as easily and is better for sanding painted surfaces.

If your home was built before 1979, check the paint for lead. Call your public health department for instructions on how to test for lead and on what to do if you have lead paint.

Fill holes and dents

Fill all holes

Fill holes with spackling compound using a flexible putty knife. Deep holes will require a second fill after the first dries.

 To repair large dents or gouges on edges that are vulnerable to abuse, use hardening-type two-part wood filler (Minwax High Performance Wood Filler is one brand). Fill smaller dents and holes with spackling compound. Since spackling compound shrinks as it dries, you’ll have to apply a second (and possibly a third) coat after the previous coat dries.

Shine a strong light across the woodwork to highlight depressions and ensure that you don’t miss any spots as you’re applying the filler. Let the filler dry and sand it smooth.

Caulk for a seamless look

Caulk all cracks

Squeeze caulk into every gap and crack.

Here’s a step that many beginners don’t know about but pros swear by. Caulk every crack or gap, no matter how small. Use latex caulk or a paintable latex/silicone blend. The key is to cut the caulk tube tip very carefully to create a tiny, 1/16-in.-diameter hole. Fill all the small cracks first. Then, if you have wider cracks to fill, recut the caulk tube tip to make a larger hole. Move the caulk gun swiftly along the cracks to avoid an excess buildup of caulk. If necessary, smooth the caulk with your fingertip. Keep a damp rag in your pocket to clean caulk from your finger and to keep the tip of the caulk tube clean. If caulk piles up in the corners, remove the excess with a flexible putty knife.

Spot-prime to avoid blotches

Prime bare wood and filled areas

Brush a stain-blocking primer over bare wood and filled areas to prevent spotting when you paint later.

Brush a stain-sealing primer (B-I-N is one brand of shellac-based primer) over the areas that you’ve patched or filled, and over areas where you’ve sanded down to bare wood. If you have a lot of patches and bare spots, it’ll be faster and easier to just prime the entire surface. Also seal discolored areas or marks left by crayons, pens or markers to prevent them from bleeding through the finish coat of paint.

Add an extender to latex paint

Add a conditioner

A conditioner usually helps reduce unsightly brush marks.

Most pros prefer to use oil-based paint on trim for two reasons: Oil-based paint doesn’t dry as fast as water-based paint, leaving more time to brush. And oil-based paint levels out better than most water-based paints, leaving a smoother surface with few visible brush marks. But because water-based paint is more environmentally friendly, less stinky and easier to clean up, it’s a better choice for DIYers.

You can make water-based paint perform more like oil paint by adding latex paint conditioner. Floetrol is one brand. Conditioners make the paint flow better and slow down the drying time, allowing you more time to spread the paint without leaving brush marks. Check with the manufacturer of the paint you’re using to see if it recommends a particular brand of conditioner.

Paint from a separate pail

Pour paint about 1-1/2 in. deep into a separate pail. A metal painter’s pail (shown); a specialty pail (at paint stores and home centers); or even an empty 5-quart ice cream pail all work great. Placing a small amount of paint in a pail allows you to easily load the bristles of the brush by dipping them about 1 in. into the paint.

Slap, don’t wipe

Slap the brush

Slap the loaded brush against the sides of the can to avoid drips when brushing.

Slap the brush gently against each side of the bucket to remove the excess paint. This method of brush loading is best for laying on paint because it keeps the bristles fully loaded with paint. To use the brush for cutting-in, follow up by wiping each side of the brush gently on the rim to remove a little more paint.

Cut in edges before you fill the center

Cutting in technique

Brush close to the edge first, then right along the edge with a second smooth stroke.

Cutting-in is a skill that takes practice to master, but it’s worth the effort. To cut in, first load the brush. Then wipe most of the excess paint off by gently scraping the bristles on the edge of the can. Start by pulling the brush along the edge, but keep the bristles about 1/4 in. away from the wall or ceiling to deposit some paint on the wood. Now return with another brushstroke, this time a little closer. Sneaking up to the line like this is easier than trying to get it perfect on the first try. At the end of the stroke, arc the brush away from the cut-in line. Cut in a few feet and then fill the middle using the lay-on, lay-off technique we show in the next section.

Lay on, lay off

Unload your brush quickly

Lay on your paint in a few strokes. Smooth it with a single stroke. Avoid overworking the surface.

The biggest mistake beginners make is to work the paint too long after it’s applied. Remember, the paint starts to dry as soon as you put it on, and you have to smooth it out before this happens or you’ll end up with brushstrokes or worse. So here’s the tip. Load your brush. Then quickly unload on the surface with a few back-and-forth brushstrokes. This is called “laying on” the paint. Repeat this until you’ve covered a few feet of trim with paint. Don’t worry about how it looks yet.

Now, without reloading the brush, drag the tips of the bristles over the wet paint in one long stroke to “lay off” the paint. Start in the unpainted area and drag into the previously painted trim. Sweep your brush up off the surface at the end of each stroke. Areas wider than your brush will require several parallel laying-off strokes to finish. When you’re done laying off a section, move on and repeat the process, always working quickly to avoid brushing over partially dried paint. Try to complete shorter pieces of trim with a continuous laying-off brushstroke.

Don’t start a brushstroke on already-smoothed paint

Start your brush stroke in an unpainted area

Lay on paint from your loaded brush in an unpainted area and brush toward the already coated zone.

Setting the paintbrush on an area that’s already been smoothed out with laying-off strokes will leave an unsightly mark. Try to start laying-off strokes at the end of a trim piece or board, or in an unpainted area. Brush toward the finished area. Then sweep the brush up and off, like an airplane taking off from a runway, to avoid leaving a mark.

Don’t brush across an edge

Avoid brushing across an edge

Brush toward edges or along them. If you get a paint build-up or drip, wipe it away immediately.

Brushing across an edge wipes paint from the bristles and creates a heavy buildup of paint that will run or drip. Avoid this by brushing toward edges whenever possible. If you must start a brushstroke at an edge, align the bristles carefully as if you’re cutting-in, instead of wiping them against the edge. If you accidentally get a buildup of paint that could cause a run, spread it out right away with a dry paintbrush or wipe it off with a damp rag or your finger.

Source: The Family Handyman