Archive for the ‘mail bag’ Category

Painting rooms 101

January 16, 2009

Copyright 2005 -


I am a first time home owner and I plan on painting some rooms. I’d like help from you. Can you provide the dos and don’ts and gotcha’s I have to look out for.

1. What brand of paint should I go for? Big home improvement store or a local paint store?
2. What types of brushes will I need and how many?
3. What other tools should I arm myself with?
4. How many coats of paint is right to get the right shade?

thanks in advance


Hello Ryan,

1) There is no right answer for home improvement store paint or local paint store. The fact is this… each company makes one of two great products and everything else generally performs the same with the exception of the Zinsser Company. Zinsser makes all great products but more geared towards specific applications and a wide range of primers and sealers. There are good products sold at both places but few. You may be able to find the exact product at both places.

Paying $30-$40 or even $50 for a gallon of paint does not mean it is quality paint at all. You would be surprised. One of my favorite wall paints is sold at a box store and that same product is re-labeled and sold at a paint store, two separate prices. Obviously, I opt to save money.

2) You want one or two paint brushes for painting walls in bedrooms and around the interior of a home. A quality nylon/polyester blend is suitable for most acrylic paint. Choose a 2.5” angular sash brush and a 3” flat paint brush for cutting ceiling lines and longer runs like the top of baseboard. I suggest a brush without flagging. Choose a paint brush that is chisel tipped and tapered for a sharp, clean accurate cut.

3) You might want to purchase a 5-in-1 tool, it will come in handy throughout the year. You will need plastic or drop clothes or both, masking tape and rags.

The list:

Step ladder, deep-well roller pan, a 5 wire heavy gauge steel roller frame, an 2’ – 4’ extension pole will save you time and reduce fatigue and get you up to 9’ ceilings. Use a quality white woven roller cover. I recommend a 1/2” or 3/8” roller cover for smooth to lightly textured walls. A single edge break-away razor for scoring the masking tape prior to pulling the tape off the trim and molding. You may need a hammer to remove nails and some spackling or drywall mud and a knife to spread it with to repair any imperfections.

4) Most paint covers good in 2 coats so I would at least plan for that. The more intense wall colors often require 3-4 coats and sometimes more and some require a specific primer. Ask the representative at the place of purchase how many coats should the paint cover in.

Do not purchase cheap inexpensive roller covers, expect to pay close to $5 for one. Almost all roller covers shed fibers but the white woven covers shed the least if at all. Purchase a brush that will last throughout the years. Take care of it. A quality brush will save you time and make painting a whole lot easier.



Common Painting Myths

December 19, 2008

busted When I first posted my painting videos online there were only two other videos online, today, there are countless videos and paint related articles online.

Its unfortunate there is so much misinformation at everyone’s fingertips online (some of those videos people post make me cringe) and much of what I read is that same misinformation republished even in trade magazines over and over, same boring virtually meaningless stuff. But if you think about it, many of the people writing are getting their information online rather than from experience.

If you are a professional painter like me then you too are probably familiar with the misinformation. You want information beyond your current knowledge both with product and with acquired skills. You want to seek out something new, something you don’t already know that can benefit your business. For those new to the painting business, misinformation might send those readers on a costly expense of learning the truth the hard way. This is where the information on this blog becomes such a huge resource of information. I didn’t find this information anywhere online, I write about my real in-the-field applications, methods, products and experience. The information here isn’t secondhand and copied from various unreliable sources. There is no ‘grapevine’ effect.

Here are just a few myths busted on painting. I will try to add to the list for those who write in asking about things they read online or elsewhere. You have every reason to question it and validate it.

1) An Illinois-based decorating company wrote along these lines: Without the correct brush, it won’t lay out a nice finish. This is not true at all. What he is trying to explain has little to do with the brush and more to do with product. I can provide you with an ultra smooth finish using a whisk brush that people use to sweep up into a dust pan.

2) The same guy recommends Ox-hair or hog-bristle China brushes for applying oil-based product, but he says they can’t take the abuse of waterbornes. This was true years and years ago (more than 10 years ago). Now synthetic brushes far outperform china when spreading not only vanishes, sanding sealers and polys but also oil-based paint and even primer. Some perform better with stains both oil-based and waterborne.

3) It is said that nylon is soft, allowing paint to lay down smoothly, and cleans up easily. He recommends nylon bristles for woodwork and other areas that require a smooth finish”. Nylon is recommended for applying clears or painting over highly textured surfaces. The term "nylon" doesn’t mean you get a smooth finish at all.

4) He goes on to say the down side to nylon bristles is clogging easily, especially when used with fast drying paints. He believes for this reason, many brushes contain a blend of nylon and polyester”. I never heard anything about nylon clogging up. This sounds like poor pre-prepping a brush and or brush-work-style or methods and or poor product. I have no idea what that statement means. I do know however that polyester was added to a nylon brush for firmness and bend recovery purposes which he mentioned later. Polyester is not the culprit of brush marks, its one of four other things, 1) tipping, 2) flagging 3) product, 4) application.

5) A manager from a Sherwin Williams store in MO says the brush size matters: he explains cutting in with a dark color against a hard surface usually requires the precise edge of a “thin” brush. Thin has nothing at all to do with sharpness and an ability to cut an edge but everything to do with tipping. A 5/8” brush can be just as sharp as a 15/16” brush. Cutting sharp edges are in fact done more easily with a wider brush due to its fingerprint and stance on the wall provides more stability vs a thin brush.

6) He goes on to say thicker brushes are recommended for cutting in between a heavily textured wall and ceiling. Not quite. A heavily textured wall requires two things, first a soft nylon only brush and 2) the thicker the better. A firm thick brush will do no good on a “heavily textured wall and ceiling”.

7) He adds, there are regular brushes that have flagged bristle which he explains will hold more paint than a tipped bristle but won’t cut as fine a line. There is no such thing as a “regular” brush and flagging and tipping has absolutely nothing to do with how much paint a brush can hold.

8) And as if that wasn’t bad enough he says the fuzzy endings of flagged brushes are also better at eliminating brush strokes than finely pointed, tipped brushes. Not true at all. Flagged bristles are notorious for leaving brush marks despite brush manufacturer’s efforts to reduce the amount of brush marks. Fine tipped bristle is anyone’s best chance with any product to achieve smooth finishes.

iPhone on the job

October 7, 2007

wr The iPhone has proven to be beneficial in the workplace. While listening to my music is always a nice treat, the iPhone helps keep track of my day to day workflow. I keep up with emails, I can browse the painter message boards at lunch keep track and make changes to the website etc.

Perhaps the coolest feature is the photo album and camera. I can snap a shot on the job and email it to the customer real-time. That feature works great when and if you had a question and need an immediate response without the homeowner having to come out to the job or leave work.

The Visual Voice Mail feature is also nice. Up until this iPhone I have managed to operate business without voicemail. I simply answer the phone. But, the iPhone allows me to select which voice mail I would like to listen to. I can rewind or fast forward at the flick of my finger.

The Notes option allows me to make quick notes on what paints I need from the paint store. I can even email the list quickly to the paint store.

The Calendar feature syncs with my Outlook 2007 Calendar in Vista. I can schedule on the job and sync it when I get back to the office. Even some of the little things are nice to have like the Weather Feature. Oh, and how can I forget, the Stopwatch so I can keep time on projects at work, it will even do laps.

wr-1 Having full internet on the go also allows me to keep up with this blog and answer back to my readers.