Archive for April, 2007

ProForm Compound Issue

April 30, 2007

We currently have an issue and looking for a solution to painting over ProForm joint compound made by National Gypsum. We have two drywall finishers and they use ProForm Lite and ProForm Topping products.

The problem we are experiencing pertains to applying eggshell paint over their finish work. We have two separate issues. One is the paint absorbs excessively into the horizontal joints but not the patches made over screws.

The problem we have with the patches over screws is the opposite. The paint does not seemingly absorb at all (see photo #2), resulting in a shinier area over the patch and even with 2 coats of eggshell, the patched areas become noticeably shinier than the rest of the wall even when a wall primer is used.

Here is what we tried so far. We applied the following wall primers to the bare drywall with varying results and in most cases, worst results vs. painting eggshell directly over bare drywall.

1) ICI 1010 Prep & Prime Stain Jammer
2) ICI 3210 Prep & Prime Gripper Multi-Purpose Primer Sealer
3) Kilz 2
4) Sherwin Williams PrepRite Classic Primer
5) Zinsser Bulls Eye Water-Based Primer
6) ICI Dulux 1000 Prep & Prime Hi-Hide Wall
7) Sherwin Williams PrepRite® High Build Interior Latex Primer/Surfacer (what a mess)

We tried all of the primers above with 2 coats of eggshell paint for finish. Most primers enhanced the screw patches making them stand out shiny.

Today we applied Zinsser Gardz to the horizontal joints as seen in the top photo and this photo. The Gardz worked very well sealing the horizontal joints. We applied Gardz to a few patches over screws and it appears at this time it may work.
This photo shows a close-up of Gardz over the horizontal joints and how it dried over the mud.
This photo shows one coat of eggshell over the bare drywall with Gardz placed only on the horizontal joints. This is what we expected any of the 7 primers to do to the joints. I will let the 1st coat dry a few days and try 2nd coating an area to see how it dries down. At this point, we tested about 10-12 different eggshell paints with this issue. More to come…

Additional info: If we were to take USG Topping and make a new patch over the existing patch in the (blue wall photo) above and repaint the new patch, problem solved. I am unable to find any help on this topic. I wrote National Gypsum 4 days ago and no reply. None of the drywall finishers I know use Proform so there seems to be a lack of experience with the product.


Loading a brush

April 30, 2007
This article covers how to load a brush. Use a cutting can with approximately 2” of paint in the can. Start by somewhat forcefully dunking the brush quickly into the paint several times making jabs until the brush becomes loaded with paint. It is not necessary to touch bottom, if fact, try not to.
Your brush should now look like this on both sides and the bristles should look packed with paint.
If you hold the brush with your right hand, use the rim of the can and gently remove the paint from the side visible to you, do not remove paint from the bottom of the brush. The paint on the bottom is what will be placed on the wall or trim and the side you wiped off will be used to cut cleanly against an object such as a door casing.
I am right handed. This photo shows the remaining paint on the opposite side of the object you are cutting next to. The other side is the side you previously wiped off and will be placed on a wall to cut against an object such as a door casing.
This is the other side. The amount shown on this side of the brush is good for cutting cleanly against objects without tape. The paint on the other side (previous) photo helps the brush glide and also can be used to cut further when this side runs dry.

When I paint I carefully place paint on the bristles based on what I am doing at the time. If I were cutting the corner of the wall, my brush will be loaded on both sides to get into the corner of the wall similar to photo #2. If I am cutting a ceiling line, my brush will be loaded like (photo #3) on both sides. When painting items such as trim, the brush is loaded more like photo #3. If I need to cut tight into an area, the brush might look more like photo #1 with very little paint to cut something sharp.

UPDATED K46 W 51 Epoxy

April 29, 2007

Observations from 2nd coat were added to the original post of Sherwin Williams K46 W 51 Waterbased semi-gloss Epoxy.

Brush Handle Mod

April 29, 2007

Take more control of your brush. This simple modification to the handle will better assist your cutting accuracy by placing your thumb more securely on the handle instead of pivoting on the edge. The placement of my thumb rarely moves when I cut casings and trim so this is where I decided to make the thumb support. The only time I notice a repositioning of my thumb is in some situations on a ceiling line.

I used a rounded wood file and wrapped sandpaper around a piece of 1 ¼” PVC to smooth it up.

Flaxen vs. Oregon

April 28, 2007
The Purdy White China Extra Oregon is a popular brush for stain, sealers, varnish and oil-based paints and primers. In my line of work the Oregon is used mainly for staining, sealing, and varnishing. I made the switch to synthetics for spreading oil-based paints and primers for less brush marks. There is no doubt the Extra Oregon is a true performer. There are some things in life best just left alone and this is one of those things. The length out is 2 and 7/8” and 5/8” thick.
The Wooster Flaxen was recently demo’d to me and I must say it’s a very close competitor to the Oregon. The Flaxen is made up of 80% brown china and 20% ox. Its length out is 2 and 11/16 inches and 5/8” thick. I was always impressed with the Purdy OX-O Angular brush with its unique blend of ox and china. I could not get used to its short length of 2 and 3/8”. The Flaxen does however feel bulkier than the Oregon and a little bit heavy in the heal. Also, the Oregon feels lighter and slightly softer.

The Flaxen weighs 4.1 oz. and the Oregon weighs 3.8 oz. I think Wooster could take a pinch of bristle out of the Flaxen and all would be fine. Click photos to enlarge.


Not so Fabulous

April 27, 2007
Recently I read a thread on the House Painter Forum message board which dated back a little over a year ago discussing the decline in quality of brushes and roller covers which got me to thinking. I recall many times over the past year saying roller covers are not what they used to be.
Nap fibers (fuzzies) shedding on the wall was never an issue. I’ve been a loyal SuperFab user for many years but now I am questioning my loyalty. The roller covers in the photos were used only once and cleaned up and placed back in water. None of the covers shown dried out since first use. The photos were taken spun-out immediately after removing them from water. Take a look at the bevels on these covers. I’ve seen nicer covers at the Wooster Outlet store. I get the impression ICI feels these covers are good for painting.

A quick and easy fix for bad beveled edges is to use scissors to re-bevel the edge. Over time the bevels wear and reshaping is suggested.

Some people suggest wrapping masking tape around a new cover then pull the tape off. The idea is to remove loose fibers but what this does in fact is only loosen more fibers. My best suggestion is to wash the cover as you would prior to using it and spin it out. Even then, I would not recommend placing the first load on a highly visible area of a wall. Start by rolling somewhere low or behind a door where you can if needed, sand the fibers out and touchup a less conspicuous area.

I may be acting on a hunch but it seems as though the SuperFabs do not hold as much paint as they once did and they shed a little at first use but not near as bad as the UltraFabs which tend to continue to shed after several washes. I will dig up some previous tests I’ve performed on covers to help identify if this is true and post back here. Also worth mentioning is the beveling of these covers. Photo #1 is a cover I beveled with scissors.

Some of the photos with the worst bevel are ICI UltraFabs, made for ICI, these covers shed badly. The others with noticeably nicer bevels are SuperFabs and some photos are questionable as to which of the two they are.

I recall SuperFabs took longer to get loaded on the wall almost as if they resisted loading paint but once they were loaded they rolled and finished further.
UPDATE: I used two 18" SuperFabs in addition to the dozen 9’s and the 18" shed fibers badly when I cleaned the covers – wads of nap came off. Coming from a guy who probably purchased a few hundred of these 18" SuperFabs, something isn’t right here.

Testing Brushes

April 27, 2007

Many years ago DuPont developed a method of testing brushes they feel has proven to be a good indicator for benchmarking brush performance. The method was later adopted by several of their own customers for their own internal benchmarking.

The general purpose of the testing is to measure the capability of a brush to pick up paint, to release paint onto a surface, and to visually reflect its effectiveness.

The two basic components of the test are a completed data sheet and the paint stripe test. The key performance indicators on the data sheet are Paint Pick-up, Paint Lay-down, and Stripe Length. DuPont identifies the Stripe Length as the actual measurement on the paint stripe from the beginning of the stripe to the point where the brush begins to skip or miss. The skip point is somewhat subjective but if all brushes are tested equal, the comparative results in theory will be consistent. Keep in mind, brushes are also tested for abrasion resistance and bend recovery.

Procedural testing is fine for the basic tests outlined above but how well do the brushes perform on the job based on these tests? Based on my experience with testing brushes, not very good at all. I have a general conclusion that all brushes lack precision accuracy except for one brush I am aware of. And, while that particular brush might not hold as much paint as the next brush, its main purpose is accuracy and precision feathering. Taking an extra few loads is not really all that bothersome to me.

Understand for a moment my line of thinking on this. I do not use masking tape; the brush must have the capabilities to produce freehand precision cuts. The brush is not positioned on the wall as shown in the example stripe test above. I do however position the flat edge against the wall for feathering-off a previous cut. That method is only used in a dry-brush motion which is the opposite objective what the stripe test provides. For lack of a better example, view the video clip below and note that at the end of the stroke Brian turns the brush flat against the wall for feathering or leveling purposes only. It’s a secondary action with a specific purpose.

In all my years of painting I never had a need to take a load of paint and spread it flat against the wall as shown in the stripe test. I believe rollers are designed for that job. The brush is used to make a small narrow cut the majority of the time. On flat work such as bookshelves the paint is applied with a roller and only leveled off with a brush. The brush really doesn’t need to hold any paint in that situation but it does need to feather out brush and roller marks.

I never toured the DuPont testing facility or have any knowledge of other tests brush manufacturers perform. What I do know is all brushes seem to perform much like the other as far as accuracy. If your goal is to tape-off everything before you paint then any brush will perform well, some might hold more paint than the next.

So in conclusion, I suppose the industry testing methods are proving to be just fine for a mainstream painter or Do It Yourself person where tape gives you the edge. Where are the tools for the professionals?

Now don’t think for a minute I can’t produce a nice finish or work with most “professional” brushes on the market, I can. The difference is, how much slower will I have to work to use it and how much skill on my behalf will I need?

Brushes Closeup UPDATED

April 26, 2007
Three brushes were added to Brushes Closeup for comparison purposes.

Purdy Pro-Extra Glide
Purdy Nylox-Glide
Purdy XL-Glide

Pro-Extra Glide shown in photo. The length out measures 3 and 3/16" in. and 5/8" thick and weighs 3.8 oz. The length is bit too long. The flagging feels excessive and coarse. You will need a paint that self-levels because the flagging wont help you much for fine finish work. I wonder what this brush would be like shortened up, no flagging, chiseled tips and swap out that awful Chinex for some more poly. This brush in my opinion is springy and flings or spits paint with almost each stroke.

I attached some 180 grit sandpaper to the drill press in an attempt to remove the flagging. If I were to do it again I would use 150 grit because it took awhile. Alternating the brush back and forth I managed to remove almost all of the flagging. I noticed the blunt end of the brush was cut almost perfectly flat. My experience with the blades on ice hockey skates tells me that a hollowed cut might perform better. I have not yet seen this type of cut on a brush. Most brushes are either flat or slightly beveled. See more photos here. I did not have any 400 on hand but before I put this brush to further testing I am going to finish it off with some 400 grit paper on the press to see if I can achieve a mirco fine tip. This brush is useless to me as it is.
I wrote Purdy in the past about the flagging on this brush but apparently they didn’t see it as an issue. What the hell do I know, I’m just a painter. I never really grasped the idea of flagging except for on those cheap throw away fat non-tapered filament brushes. To me, flagging is like taking a fine tapered filament and then busting the end of it up like the end of a piece of straw, then its not so fine anymore.
Update: I finished the brush off with 400 grit paper to polish way the abrasiveness of the 180 grit paper. By removing the flagging on this brush, I managed to improve the effectiveness and sharpness of this brush drastically. There was such a huge difference – it performed nothing like it did off-the-shelf. Purdy would be wise to look into it. I spread approx. one quart to make sure I felt comfortable reporting my results but I noticed the difference the moment I placed the brush on the wall. It did not perform as nice as the Benjamin Moore 65125 brush, which I feel is the best damn brush spawn from polymers, but it resembled some if its characteristics in the finish.

Sherwin Williams K46 W 51

April 26, 2007

We do not use Sherwin Williams paints but I am very familiar with their products. I actually enjoy testing new products, which is how the PRE-CATALYZED Waterbased Epoxy came into my hands. What I look for first in a paint is ease of application with a brush. I want nothing to do with products that waste my time on the job –slow, tacky and no working-time. Once I find a product that applies nice, I look for how long I have to work with it using a brush. The product must cover, hide and achieve full sheen in no more than 2 coats. Also leveling, dry-time and durability are important. Apparently all of that is asking for too much. I only know of one product on the market that does all that.

When I first popped the lid off this gallon I was hoping for one product from Sherwin Williams that would impress me, but that did not happen. There is nothing about the ease of application that sets it apart from the rest. The characteristics of this product are common place for Sherwin Williams, generally difficult and slow to apply and no working-time with one exception of course, their Duration Home. Only if all paints spread like Duration Home.

If a professional finish with a brush cannot be achieved easily, that’s generally when my testing stops. It’s a waste of my time at that point because that’s an immediate sign this product will not keep up with me on the job. Instead, it will slow me down trying to work it to a nice finish. This product will cost me money to use. I would have to spray everything to achieve a professional finish with this product and that is simply not going to happen in my line of work.

This product was tested at temperature of 64º with humidity at 68% on a rainy damp day. I applied this product to a factory pre-primed piece of trim with six nail holes filled with oil-based putty. The product was also applied to a previously primed (by me) piece of crown. The nail putty residue smudges were visible through the first coat. Click the photo to enlarge and look carefully, that bleed through is a common characteristic of an oil-based paint.

The product set-up in a fast 2:12 seconds and was tacky in 5:34 secs. The samples in this humidity were still tacky after 60 minutes. The fastest I can paint one side of 6 panel door is 5 minutes 40 seconds. It would be impossible for me to blend the lower middle portion of a door with the upper portion with this product using a brush, there simply is no working time. ProClassic Acrylic and Oil both perform just like this product for comparison. On my sample pieces as short as they are, I applied a nice coat and the product hardly leveled at all and it drags.

I did however notice this product has nice adhesion. Generally products that absorb or penetrate into the substrate adhere well. I will test for adhesion when the product is fully cured in 7-10 days. This product would be good on previously painted surfaces such as painted block walls or flush steel doors in commercial applications or schools. I have a hunch this product will clean and wear like an oil-based product so that’s promising. The dried finish feels similar to touching the finish on a car, glassy, glossy-like, and candy coated. The product tested was a semi-gloss, but I would call this high gloss.

Understand this was not a full test of the product, generally I put much more into reviews but could not get past the application aspect to have this product fit into my workflow but I do see a need for this product in certain spraying applications. I am impressed with how it feels dry, only if it had leveled. More to come…

UPDATED INFO: 2nd coat observations

I used non-loading 180 grit 3M Tri-M-ite sandpaper to sand all of the 1st coat gloss off but only to the point where the gloss began to dull out. My goal was to remove the brush marks from 1st coat that did not level over Zinsser Cover-Stain oil-based primer. No noticeable brush marks were now visible. After applying 2nd coat, some of the finish absorbed into the dull sanded 1st coat but was minimal. The 2nd coat did however level better than the first coat, expectedly but did not pull tight enough to level the brush marks entirely. I used a Benjamin Moore 65125 2 ½” angle brush for both coats.

Am I happy with the finish? Not really, its average. I was unable to capture the gloss accurately with the camera, looks semi-gloss in the photo but its much glossier.

Roller Cover Care

April 24, 2007

Those of us who reuse covers and paint everyday of the week know that getting the most out of our covers is worthwhile. Some guys toss them after each use but a quality cover in my opinion works best after a few uses and to ensure the most usage from the cover it’s important to not let them dry out, EVER! That’s over fifty bucks sitting in that bucket.

Simply by cleaning and spinning them out then submerging the covers in a bucket of water will extend their life, especially white woven covers. Besides, it’s best to use a wet cover spun out before you load the cover. Loading the cover will be quicker and help later for cleanup.
See also: Poor Mans Cover Keeper