Recent Questions

Q: How can I avoid overlap marks when I'm painting?

A: Try not to paint too large of an area at one time. Overlapping occurs when a freshly painted section begins to dry before you start painting the adjoining area.

Q: When touching up a wall painted with latex semi-gloss, how do I avoid shiners, halos and outlines without repainting the entire wall?

A: Repair the defects first. Then scuff sand the area around the patched area and apply a drywall primer. Stay away from the primer/sealers used for problem areas. For painting, reduce some of the original paint about 25 percent. Then apply the paint to the center of the patched area, using the original application method, and work it away from the patch. By "feathering" the touchup out from the patch, the difference in film build and appearance should be minimized since you will be blending it into the surrounding areas. If the repaired areas are still noticeable, you may have to paint the entire wall.

Q: What is the best method of touch-up?

A: To achieve acceptable touch-up results, it's important to apply touch-up by the same method as the original application, if possible, to avoid having any difference in sheen or texture. Be sure to use paint from the original batch, reduced 25 to 50 percent, and only apply a thin coat. It's also best to apply the touch-up paint under similar temperature and humidity conditions as the original.

Q: I'm going to be painting the interior of a 1200 square foot home. Can you list some pros and cons of air sprayer vs. roll-on and brush painting?

A: A lot depends on whether the house is new or already occupied. If new, spray painting is a much faster way to get the paint on the wall, especially if the trim isn't in place yet. Everything that you have to move, mask, or cover (furniture, trim, doors, windows, carpet) will slow the process down. You'll get a lot of "bounce-off" with an airless sprayer, that usually falls to the floor. You will need to cover anything that you don't want paint to fall on. Rolling, while usually slower, does not require as much covering and masking. You can also have several people in the house rolling at the same time, which cuts your total job time.

Q: What's the drying difference between alkyd and latex?

A: Latex paint dries to the touch in one hour and cleans up with water. Alkyd paint dries to touch overnight and cleans up with solvent.

Q: What happens to paint that is applied during summer, when it is really hot and humid?

A: Extremely high temperatures (over 100° F) could cause a paint film to dry before it has had a chance to properly adhere to the surface. This can cause it to peel in the future.

Q: With the days getting shorter in the fall and winter months, how late in the day can I paint?

A: When painting with alkyd - or latex-based house paints, you should allow three to four hours of drying time at recommended drying temperatures before dark. This will normally be sufficient to prevent any problems caused by moisture getting on the paint film before it has dried sufficiently.

Q: When staining interior softwoods, how can I get a uniform color and appearance?

A: The most popular method of providing a surface that will allow even absorption of color into softwoods such as pine and poplar is to apply a coat of Minwax wood conditioner. This will allow the wood to still absorb the stain, but more evenly than without the conditioner. Another method is to apply the stain with a rag, rather than by brush. You'll be able to control the amount of stain going onto the wood better and wipe off the excess stain at the same time by this method.

Q: How can walls be "untexturized" and at what cost?

A: There are a couple of different options. One would be to have more material added on top of the texture and then troweled to a smoother finish. This could add a lot of weight and "could" cause some adhesion problems. The other choice is to have the texture sanded smooth. That's a lot of dusty work. Whichever method you choose, make sure the walls are properly primed before applying a topcoat so you get a uniform appearance.

Q: When texturing a ceiling, how much joint compound, water, and paint do you use proportionately?

A: The ratio is one gallon of paint to a pail of joint compound. This ratio may vary depending on the manufacturer of the joint compound.

Q: Why would a popcorn texture peel and fall off in sheets after a latex paint is applied?

A: When latex is applied over a "popcorn" ceiling, the water in the paint can break down the adhesive bond between the texture and the substrate, allowing the weight of the texture to pull the material off the ceiling. Applying an alkyd primer before repainting with latex will usually alleviate the problem.

Q: What happens to an acrylic latex paint if it is diluted with water? In what way would this lessen the durability of the dry paint film?

A: When water is added to paint, the solid content of the system is diluted. As a result, the diluted paint will not form as thick a dry film as the paint manufacturer intended. Since film thickness is important to durability, these paints will perform poorer than expected. Hiding can suffer, too.

Q: What is the advisability of mixing topcoat paint with primer in order to tint the primer?

A: This technique is not recommended by paint manufacturers, and if done, can result in coating failure. We suggest the Sherwin-Williams Color-Prime System for shading primers.

Q: What can I add to a can of high-gloss latex paint to eliminate pinholing?

A: Just adding something to paint may or may not eliminate pinholing. If the cause of the pinholing is that the paint drying too fast, then adding up to 1 pint of water per gallon may help. Another cause of pinholing is excessive film build, which causes solvent pop. The top layer of paint dries faster than the underside and this traps the solvents in the paint. As the solvent attempts to escape from the coating, it first causes a small blister and then the blister pops leaving a pinhole. By measuring wet film build with a wet film gauge, you can determine if you are applying too much paint.

Q: What does reverse hang mean? What's the purpose of "working from two rolls?"

A: Reverse hanging is used primarily for textured, non-patterned wallcovering to eliminate visible shading differences on the wall. If the first strip is hung as it comes off the roll, the second strip would be rotated 180° and hung "upside down." The third strip would be hung in the same direction as the first, then continue to rotate alternate strips. Working from two rolls sometimes cuts down on waste when matching patterns and allows you to pre-cut strips and match before pasting.

Q: After a wallpaper liner is installed, do you have to apply anything more before you put on the paper?

A: If you are using prepasted paper, the answer is no. Just hang the paper following the manufacturer's instructions. If you are using paper with no paste, then you need to use an appropriate paste for the type of paper you are hanging.

Q: What is the recommended procedure for painting over vinyl wallcoverings?

A: It is best to remove vinyl wallcovering before painting. The exception would be the textured wallcoverings on the market that are designed to be painted.

Q: Some painters mix their own solvents and cleaning solutions. Is this safe?

A: In general, it's best to leave such work to professional chemists. Although some homemade formulas are effective and perfectly harmless, the possibility of danger is always present whenever you mix chemicals - even ordinary household products. Many everyday cleaners become toxic when combined with other products. For instance, regular bleach diluted three-to-one with water makes an effective mildew remover. However, mixing bleach with ammonia or any detergent containing ammonia can produce deadly fumes akin to the mustard gas used in chemical warfare. Similarly, many contractors concoct their own solution to etch concrete floors by diluting 1 gallon of regular muriatic acid with 1 gallon of water. This practice is acceptable as long as the acid is added to the water, not vice versa. If the water is poured into the acid, the likelihood of splashing the highly corrosive acid is increased dramatically. In short, amateur chemistry can be very dangerous and is not recommended. If you do use homemade solutions of any kind, read the labels of all products thoroughly to identify possible hazards and wear protective clothing, protective eyewear and a respirator. You can never be too cautious when mixing chemicals.

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