Common Paint Mistakes We All Make!

OK. In the spirit of honesty and the common good and all that, I’ll admit that I’ve made a lot of dumb mistakes in my life when it comes to painting. The thing with me is that I should know better. But, unfortunately, at heart, I’m busy. And this lack of time actually makes me an eternal optimist when it comes to trying shortcuts. I always figure that this time the shortcut will work. This time I won’t have a mess on my hands. Turns out, I’m almost always wrong.

Well, I’m not the only one who struggles with this. At RepcoLite, we meet people everyday who are like me. People who wanted to save a little time. People who discovered that shortcuts in the paint world don’t often end well. Here are a few of the most common mistakes we see on a regular basis. How many have you made?

One Coat Coverage or Die Trying

So you start rolling your paint on the wall. You’ve got a schedule to keep and a vision of the rest of your day and everything hinges on getting that paint to cover in one coat. And that’s when you notice, with a sinking feeling in your stomach, that the paint isn’t complying. It’s not covering like you hoped.

And so, our first thought is to load up that roller and by sheer force of will make that paint cover in a single coat. The problem with this is obvious: a heavy coat of paint on a wall will dry dramatically slower than a proper application. And the slower dry time will mean your finish will start to show sags and runs. These are huge problems that are not easy to fix!

If you find yourself in this situation, your best bet is to do what we all know, deep down, is right: Apply the paint as it’s intended. Two thinner coats are going to give you a better looking finish (by a long shot) than one heavy coat. And really, you’re probably not going to spend too much extra time anyway. Rolling two coats on properly isn’t going to be much slower than rolling one insanely thick coat on the wall and then dealing with all the drips and runs!

Scrub that Wall? Are You Kidding? I Power Washed It!

We see this all the time! We’re getting ready to paint our home or a pole barn and we know that we should wash it. And so we gas up the power washer, pull on shorts, lather up with sunscreen, and start blasting! We work our way around the house, engulfed in a rainbow mist, washing every ounce of dirt and grime and filth from the surface, right? Well…

As powerful and amazing as power washers can be, they will never replace the need for a good scrubbing on many surfaces we want to paint. Think of it this way: when you wash your car, what would happen if you just sprayed it with the hose? Do it sometime and check it out. Is it clean? Or is it still coated with all kinds of road goodies? We all know that scrubbing the car and then rinsing is necessary in order to really get it clean.

The siding on our home is the same. A power wash alone will not get it clean enough for paint. It needs to be scrubbed. And yes, I know that sounds terrible but it needs to be done. Skipping the step means you’ll probably have premature failing of your paint coat. If the surface isn’t scrubbed clean, your new coat of paint will bond to that layer of chalky residue or dust that the power washer left behind. That means it’s not bonded to the surface of your home or your barn or whatever . . . it’s only stuck to the dirt that’s stuck to the side of your home. That’s not ideal. By a long shot.

So get a scrub brush on a pole, a box of TSP, and scrub the siding before power washing it. You can still work on your tan and you’ll get a great cardio workout to boot. All the while ensuring that your paint job will last!

Wash My Interior Walls? We’re Not Pigs…

The same thing happens inside (without the power washer, of course!) All walls to be painted should be washed with a mixture of TSP. TSP is a degreaser and it will cut through all sorts of contaminants that will build up on our walls over time: cooking oils, body oils, soot from candles, just plain old dirt, and so on. Even if the walls look clean, these contaminants are likely there and they can prevent or hinder your paint from bonding well.

Also, trust me, even if you’re house is relatively spotless, there’s probably a stray cobweb or two on your wall. And nothing is more frustrating that rolling or brushing into something like that and getting it mixed up in your paint, on your roller, or in your brush.

I Just Stripped Wallpaper. I’ve Done My Penance. I Just Want to Be Done…

Another tempting shortcut when happens when we paint a room where we’ve stripped wallpaper. Taking paper down is bad enough. But then to think that there’s a primer step before you can finally roll your finish paint on is often too much for people. The outdoors is calling! The TV is calling. The tedium of wallpaper stripping has killed a part of our soul and we just need to rest. Skipping that primer step is so tempting!

But here’s the deal: wallpaper paste is water-activated. And no matter how well you clean your wall after you pulled that paper down, there’s a good chance that there’s some residue left behind. If you roll latex paint over that paste residue, the water in the paint will re-activate the paste on the wall and you’ll end up with a texture in your finish.

We see it all the time. And it’s a problem that’s typically only fixed with sandpaper on a pole. Which is definitely not a fun project.

So no matter how much you don’t feel like priming, it’s the wisest choice! You can use an oil-based primer like RepcoLite’s Pro Flo primer. Or you can use Benjamin Moore’s Fresh Start Multi-Purpose Oil Primer. Both of these can be topcoated with a good, high quality latex.

If oil’s not your bag, there’s one single waterbased option that we will happily recommend: Gardz Sealer from Zinsser. Gardz is specifically made to seal in wallpaper paste residue and we’ve seen great results when using it! So, if soap and water clean up is a must for you, there’s an alternative. But just remember: this product is specifically made for this purpose! Don’t use just any waterbased product. Because it won’t work!

Working Out of the Gallon Container

Who hasn’t done this? We pop open the lid of our gallon, grab the bucket by the handle and start marching around the room with it, dipping our brush in from time to time and working that way. I’ve done it, I’ve seen it done. I think we’ve all done it. But the problem is, it’s kind of a dumb thing to do for a few reasons:

It’s Heavy and I’m Clumsy. Carrying around a gallon can can be a little tiring. It fatigues our arms and fingers and just makes a project more painful than it needs be. Also, some of us (I’m thinking of me, here) are a little clumsy. The likelihood of me bumping into something and sloshing paint onto the floor is high. If I’m carrying around a full gallon of paint, the chances are even better.

Loading a Brush Correctly is Impossible in a Full Gallon. Yes, there’s a correct way to load a brush with paint. And yes, it’s very difficult to do that when you’re working out of a full gallon. (Here’s a video demonstration of the right way to load a brush).

Don’t Poison the Waterhole. I’ve written about this before. The concept is simple: if you’re working out of your source for the paint (the gallon) and you brush into a spiderweb, dirt, or anything else, you’re going to end up dipping that contaminant into your paint when you go to refill your brush. Suddenly your paint isn’t as pristine as it once was because you’ve introduced who knows what into it! This is especially true when working outside.

To get away from this problem, simply work out of a smaller container. We sell any number of them at RepcoLite. Get something light, easy to hold, and only pour some of your paint into it. It’s not as heavy, you won’t be as likely to drop it or spill it, and if you do contaminate it, the bulk of your paint is still clean and fresh!

 

Paint and Primer All-In-One: Miracle or Marketing?

By now, we’ve all heard about Paint and Primer All-In-One products. We’ve seen commercials, we’ve heard the promises. And we know that using a two-in-one product is going to save us almost miraculous amounts of time, right? Well….

Brilliant Marketing

To start with, let’s clear something up right away. Paint and Primer All-In-One products aren’t new. The labeling is. The name is. But in all actuality, all high quality, 100% acrylic paints will function as paint and primer all-in-one. There is no inherent difference between a product labeled as a paint and primer all-in-one and a high quality acrylic paint. It is really just a brilliant marketing gimmick revolving around the concept that we all like to save time and skip steps!

RepcoLite carries any number of products like this even though we don’t label them as such. Our Hallmark Ceramic Paints and Carefree Interior Paints are all paint and primer in one products. Benjamin Moore’s Aura, Regal, Natura, and Ben also fall in to this category.

So, in actuality, paint and primer all-in-one products aren’t as “cutting edge” as we may have been lead to believe by the smart tv ads! But are they still great time saving products?

Can We Really Skip the Primer Step?

Yes and no. As we mentioned in the previous post primers are different from paints. Paints are different from primers. When the two are combined into a single product, compromises have to be made. Drywall, for example, is porous and needs to be sealed. Just rolling a finish paint on, especially a finish paint that has a sheen, can result in an uneven finish. The paint is absorbed at different rates into the drywall. In the areas where it lays up on the surface, it will look shinier. In the areas where it penetrates deeply, it will look flatter. Subsequent coats can mask this problem, but not always eliminate it. A drywall primer however is made to seal and provide a uniform surface for your finish paint. And, on top of that, it’s about $15 cheaper a gallon! Why spend all that extra money for lesser results?

Or, if you want to paint a tile backsplash, a paint and primer in one product is likely going to peel right off. You need to use a special bonding primer that is designed to adhere to smooth, glossy surfaces.

Or, let’s say you stripped wallpaper off your walls and want to paint. The paste residue that is often left behind is water soluble. A regular waterbased paint and primer all-in-one will react with this and will result in a texturing problem on your walls. Use an oil-based primer (Benjamin Moore’s Fresh Start Multipurpose Oil Primer or RepcoLite’s ProFlo Primer) and you’ll seal that paste in and you’ll have no problems. (For more information and painting a wall that previously had wallpaper, check out our blog post!)

Bottom line, there are many situations that we run into on almost every painting project where a separate primer and finish paint are going to give you better results than just using a primer and paint in one.

When Can I Use a Paint and Primer All-In-One?

There are certain situations where a paint and primer in one product makes sense:

  • New Coat of Paint (same color)
  • Drastic Color Change
  • Small Repairs

Putting another coat of paint on a wall? Primer isn’t usually needed, so the paint and primer in one products work well. Switching colors? A paint and primer in one will offer better hiding than a cheap paint, so that’s an option. Patched a small area of your wall and you don’t want to buy a separate quart of primer? OK, paint and primer in one makes sense. And there are a number of other situations where paint and primer in one would make sense.

However, remember what we said earlier: Paint and Primer All-In-One products are technically no different from a high quality acrylic latex paint. So, in any of the above situations, do you need to seek out a specific Paint and Primer All-In-One? Absolutely not! If you’ve already got paint, and it’s a high quality acrylic, it’s perfect!

What Do the Professionals Choose?

Professional contractors make their money and build their reputation based on the speed of their projects and the quality of their work. And by an overwhelming margin, they choose to use a separate paint and primer. They know that they will get reliable and consistent results with a separate paint and primer. And they know they’ll get those results at a better price than using the “miracle” paint and primer all-in-one products!

So, why use a lesser system that costs more money when you could use the system the pros consistently choose?

Paint Your Kitchen Cabinets in 6 Steps!

bigstock-Cabinet-detail-13573895_webDid you know that the average cost of remodeling your kitchen is right around $20,000? Yes, $20,000. That’s a significant amount of money. So significant, in fact, that it means I won’t be doing any kitchen remodeling anytime soon. Sure, I’d like new cabinets or a new backsplash or a new floor, but we’re just too attached to having things like groceries and running water. And I don’t think we’re alone. A lot of people like groceries and running water. And yet, many of those same people also wish they had a better kitchen.

And that brings me to the good news: there are many things you can do that will help you update your kitchen without forcing you to give up those little luxuries we all like to have. Like food in the refrigerator. And one of those projects is painting your kitchen cupboards. If the doors and drawers are structurally sound, why rip them out and replace them? With a little elbow grease, some time, and the right products (I’m looking at you RepcoLite and Benjamin Moore), you can brighten them up and, in so doing, completely change the look and feel of your kitchen. And all for very little money!

If you think this project could be perfect for your kitchen, here’s what you need to do:

STEP ONE: Remove the hardware and hinges and label the doors with their location. Removing the hardware and taking the doors down requires no explanation. However, let me stress the importance of labeling the pieces. You definitely want to make sure you do this!  Find a system that will work for you and make sure to mark each door and drawer as well as the place they go in the cabinet. Safe-release (Delicate Surface) painter’s tape works well. Just make 2 tags with a “1” and put one on the back of the door, and the other on the frame of the cabinet where the door goes. It’s a simple step, but will help you when it comes time to put things back together!

STEP TWO:  Closely examine the surface of the cabinets and drawers and be sure to remove any peeling paint by sanding and scraping. Whatever paint remains on the surface of your cabinets must be sound! New paint brushed over a peeling surface won’t make that old layer stick. The old layer will continue to fail and will take the new one with it. So make sure that whatever paint you leave on the doors is adhering well. Also, if you have to scrape or sand off some of the paint, make sure that you spend some time feathering the bare spots into the spots where the paint remains.

LISTEN to the “How To” Information in this excerpt from our COLOR ME HOME Podcast!

STEP THREE: Clean the surfaces thoroughly. After taking care of loose, flaking, or peeling paint, you need to clean the surfaces with a mixture of 1 part TSP to 4 parts water. Kitchens are sources of many different surface contaminants and you need to make sure that the surface you’re painting is clean and free of grease, dirt, and so on. Use a Scotchbrite (“scrubby”) pad with the TSP to thoroughly clean the surfaces.

STEP FOUR:  Scuff-sand the surfaces you’re going to paint. You can use an orbital sander for this, or you can do the sanding by hand. Either way, use either 180 – 220 grit sandpaper. And when you’re done, remove all the dust from the cabinets. You can blow them off with an air compressor, vacuum the dust off, or wipe it off with a solvent like Denatured Alcohol or Xylene. However you remove the dust make sure that it’s all removed before moving on to the priming step!

STEP FIVE:  Prime the cabinets with a good bonding primer. We recommend STIX Waterborne Primer. It will bond to the previous coating on your cabinets and will provide an excellent base for your topcoat!

STEP SIX:  Topcoat with a good finish paint in either a satin sheen or a semi-gloss (for washability). If you’re brushing, we recommend giving Benjamin Moore’s Advance a try. It’s a waterborne alkyd which means you’ll get the performance of an oil-based product without the drawbacks. It will flow out remarkably well, providing you with a smooth finish even when you brush or roll the paint on. And, best of all, it cleans up with soap and water. Another great option is RepcoLite’s own Hallmark Ceramic. It rolls and brushes well and can also be sprayed.

And that’s basically what you need to know. Yes, there is some work involved. Yes, it will take some time. You’ll have to do the sanding and the cleaning, the priming and the painting. But, when you’re done, you’ll be amazed at the difference in your home. And all for as little as $200 – $300 (or less!)

If you’re interested in this project, please email us with your questions or type your questions in the comment boxes on this post! And be sure to check out our full podcast on Inexpensive Kitchen Updates for more information and project suggestions!

From Bottle to Vase in 6 Easy Steps

paintedbottles_030716_4If you’re into decorating and if you’ve got even the slightest amount of creativity, you’re always looking for a project. Something outside the norms, something a little different, little things that will set your home and your decorating apart from everyone else.

Well, if that’s you–if you’d love a quick project with a huge payoff–then read on!

Betsy Thompson, at our 17th Street Store, came up with the following project. And I’ve got to admit, when I walked by and saw her working on this in the store, I was intrigued. In my opinion, it’s one of those perfect projects: easy, inexpensive, and there’s no limit to what you could do with it.

Now, the concept behind this project is simple. Betsy taped off or masked off sections of the bottles and then painted them. Once the paint was dry, she removed the tape or masking to reveal areas that received no paint, thus creating the designs.

To do this on your own, all you need to do is follow these simple steps:

1. OBTAIN SOME BOTTLES

The bottles Betsy used for our project are a dark green. Any color glass would work, but clear glass might not provide you with quite the same contrast in the finished look.

2. CREATE YOUR DESIGNS

To create your designs, you can use tape, stickers, or whatever else you can come up with! In her project, Betsy used a combination of masking tape and scrapbooking border stickers. Simply apply the stickers and tape over the bottles in whatever patterns you would like to create. Get creative here and don’t be afraid to experiment with a few different looks!

3. IT’S TIME TO PRIME

Glass is a tough surface to get paint to bond to, so it’s necessary to use a special primer. Betsy used XIM primer to solve this problem and to give the finish paint a good surface to adhere to. XIM is what we call a “bonding primer” and is designed to bond to tough-to-paint surfaces like porcelain, tile, glass, plastics, and more. So it’s the perfect primer for this project.

4. SPRAY ON THE FINISH PAINT

When the primer is dried (typically anywhere from 20 – 40 minutes), it’s time for your finish paint. Betsy used white spray paint. She applied a couple coats to ensure solid coverage and then left it to dry.

5. REMOVE THE STICKERS

This can be somewhat tricky and requires a little patience to do it well. You may want to carefully run an X-Acto knife along all the edges to cut through any paint film that might have formed over both the bottle and the tape. Failing to do this could result in peeling paint off the bottle when you remove your tape. At any rate, carefully remove the tape, the stickers, or whatever it was you used to mask the bottle off.

6. A LITTLE CLEANUP and then ENJOY!

Once that’s all done, you’re basically finished! You may need to clean up any areas where the paint bled under your tape or stickers, but you can do that with your X-Acto knife or, if you start soon enough, a little of the proper cleanup solvent on a Q-tip.

This is a simple project with a huge payoff!  You create a very unique piece that’s perfect for displaying cut flowers, dried flowers, or just sitting empty on a shelf.

Give it a try and see what you can come up with. Experiment with different designs and paint colors. Get creative and post your projects in the comments section below! We’d love to see what you’re working on.

Chalkboard Paint Tags in 5 Easy Steps!

Benjamin Moore’s Chalkboard Paint is a versatile product that can really bring out the “creative” in us! Here’s an interesting project by Betsy Thompson from our 17th Street Store that might get you thinking about some different ways you can use Chalkboard Paint in your own home!

Chalkboard Storage Tags

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STEP 1

The first step is to gather all your supplies. You’ll need some wooden tags from a local art supply store as well as some light-colored chalk designed specifically for chalkboards. Finally, you’ll want to stop at RepcoLite for some primer, a quart of Benjamin Moore’s Chalkboard Paint (in whatever color you want!), and a sheet of 180 grit sandpaper.

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STEP 2

The second step is to apply primer to the wooden tags. In our project, we used a spray primer to minimize brush strokes or roller marks on the tags and because it’s a little quicker!  Now, even though “Primer-and-Paint-in-one” products are very popular, we still recommend the primer step in a project like this. The reason is that bare wood can be exceptionally porous. The helps fill in the wood grain and creates a smooth surface for the Chalkboard Paint.

STEP 3

The third step involves a light sanding of the primed tags. Depending on how quickly your particular primer dries, you might be able to do this quite soon after application. At any rate, when the primer is sufficiently dry, lightly sand the surface to knock down any raised wood fibers. When finished, wipe the tags clean with a damp cloth. Don’t introduce a lot of water to the surface. We’re only talking about using a damp rag to get the dust that you created from the sanding step off of the surface.

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See Corona Excalibur Brushes in our Shop!

STEP 4

The fourth step is to apply the Chalkboard Paint. Once the tags have dried from step four, apply one or two coats of Benjamin Moore Chalkboard Paint. In our project, we used a high quality Corona Excalibur Brush for application. However you accomplish it, Whether rolling or brushing, make sure you use a high quality applicator. Cheap brushes will be more likely to leave brush strokes (or release bristles into your finish). Cheaper roller covers will provide you with a rougher, orange-peel, texture.

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STEP 5

The final step is to condition the chalkboard surface. After allowing the painted area to cure for at least 3 days, rub the entire chalkboard surface with a piece of white chalk. After you’ve erased that, you’re chalkboard surface is ready for use!

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Benjamin Moore’s Chalkboard Paint is available in any color in the Benjamin Moore spectrum. So, get creative! Think outside the box and see what you can come up with!

Some Hints:

  • For erasing, we recommend using a clean, damp cloth or paper towel. We do not recommend using a chalkboard eraser.
  • You’ll acheive the best results when using light-colored chalk designed for use on chalkboards.