Posts Tagged ‘DIY’

Drywall primers… again!

December 20, 2008
DSC_3833aI receive countless emails asking when to use a drywall primer with all the talk today about self-priming wall paints. Many paint contractors commented on my videos on YouTube saying I should use a wall primer on bare drywall rather than applying wall paint directly over it. What do they know that I don’t? So let’s take a closer look at wall primers and their purpose. What is a wall primer supposed to do? (Click any photo for larger views).

Bare Drywall

IMG_0078The objective priming bare drywall is to seal the porous paper and drywall topping (mud) to provide a nice foundation for the paint to bond with. What this means is achieving an ultimate seal and bond with the paint to the porous fibers of the paper and the porosity of drywall mud. We also want the wall primer to produce a solid uniform sheen for the top coat of paint.

Our goal has four parts:

1) seal the porous paper surface
2) provide a surface the paint can bond with
3) seal the drywall mud
4) prevent top coat sheen degradation

What can go wrong using primer:

What if the top coat of paint did not bond with primer? What if the primer didn’t bond with the drywall? What if you had a nice bond to the drywall but not to the drywall mud? What do you do now? You primed right? The paint isn’t sticking that well is it? Did you try the tape test or maybe you tried washing it and the paint and primer came off back to bare drywall? Did you remove the masking tape from the baseboard and it tore the paint and primer off the wall exposing bare drywall?

The label on the paint can says to use a primer. The paint store rep said to use a primer. You read online, you read it in a magazine, you always heard – ‘use a primer’ and you did. You even used the paint manufactures recommended primer.

So now what? Is it too late; you already have a coat of paint over the primer? Was the surface clean? Did you remove all the drywall dust left behind from sanding? Did you shop vac the walls and the paint still didn’t stick? Did you try wiping down the drywall with a damp sponge? Yeah, so did we. Did the primer fail? Yeah, so did ours. Did you do something wrong?

Lucky for you, we have all the answers and before you get discouraged we also have a fix so you can achieve that finish and bond that you initially tried for.

We tested a total of 14 wall primers over bare drywall and not one of them performed as well as a drywall sealer such as Zinsser Gardz. Let’s take a look at why this is.

The Test

2paintYou perform the test yourself. Let’s say for example you have a piece of bare drywall sitting on your lap and 1 tablespoon of water and 1 tablespoon of any wall primer of your choice, there are tons of them out there, pick one. Now, take the tablespoon of water and slowly pour it on the drywall. The water dissipates into the drywall right? Now take the tablespoon of primer and do the same. Not exactly the same result huh?

If you want to dive deeper into testing, try this test over bare drywall mud, it will provide similar results with a completely different effect with the primer.

Do this small test too. Take a sanded drywall patch, clean it, dust it, vac it, damp sponge it if you want and run your finger over it when its dry. I suspect your finger will have a white dusty powder on it.

So what does this test tell us? No matter how well you clean up new board for paint there is only one thing that will prepare it to accept paint. Apply a sealer that will penetrate both the paper and the mud and bond all of it together. Thinner material penetrates better – right?

Click the photo above. Notice the first 24" inches from the corner doesn’t look as nice as the next 24", then you see another 24" that doesn’t look as nice as the 2nd area. That 2nd area that looks best in the photo is 2 coats of eggshell paint over bare drywall. The first 24" is primer plus one coat of eggshell paint.

Sheen degradation

One huge set-back you get from using a primer is top coat sheen degradation. Some primers are better than others but nonetheless, you will lose some sheen that will get absorbed in the primer coat. The loss of sheen is very apparent in the photo above.

proform004Here is a photo of a drywall sealer applied directly over the drywall mudded horizontal seam. You can clearly see how well the sealer absorbed into the mud. The next photo shows what the horizontal seam looks like when you apply one coat of an eggshell paint over it.
proform005Again, you can clearly see the sealed portion of the wall and what was not sealed.

 Primer vs. Paint

Img00970001Think back to a time you applied a coat of paint over bare wood. Do you remember what happens with the paint? Do you recall how much of that paint absorbed into bare wood? Do you remember applying a second coat of paint and it too absorbed into the bare wood, even your third coat looked questionable? (Click any photo for larger views)

Well check this out… the same thing happens when you apply paint over bare drywall. Exactly the same thing but with varied results depending on the paint you use.

There are paints that penetrate bare drywall better than a primer and provide a better bond and also look great when you apply 2 coats over bare drywall. So here we have a classic case of Best, Better and Good options.

The photo above shows a coat of paint over bare drywall (the darker color). The window wall and into the corner is a tinted primer. So you can clearly see some finish paints perform nicely over bare drywall with coverage. The paint used in the above photo outperformed all 14 primers in coverage over bare drywall. How messed up is that? – paint performing better than a primer designed for bare drywall.

Looking at the photo above, would you honestly say a primer is needed over bare drywall if I can achieve both coverage and tight bond with a paint that is far better than if I used a primer? I’m saying… knock yourself out. If you feel that you have the desire to waste money and labor on a primer coat, then do it.

But let’s take a look at what is best because that’s what this site is all about.

Best

eggshellThe best product known to me for bare drywall is Zinsser Gardz and thankfully we have that product because it makes me never want to use a wall primer again. I say this because I see primers fail all the time, hence the abundance of people writing me about primers. Apply Gardz directly over bare drywall and then for best results – 2 coats of paint. Remember this is new board and you need to build a foundation so use 2 coats of paint. Think about this, even with one coat of Gardz, and 2 coats of paint, your total dried mil thickness is still minimal at best.
gardz2Gardz is a thin clear sealer and most of the product will dissipate into the fibers of the board and mud. This product is similar to injecting glue into the drywall and mud. This is why in the photo above you see a very nice uniform finish with one coat of Gardz and one of finish.

Better

UH1412_01aBecause there are paints that I know adhere better than all 14 primers we tested I am going to say straight quality paint is better over bare drywall. The only problem you may experience is a need for a 3rd coat – prime plus 2 coats is a total of three coats anyway but you can achieve better stick this way. Ok, to be fair the other argument to this method is achieving a uniform finish with paint like an eggshell or semi gloss. But think about this, 1 primer and 2 finish is 3 coats too.

In the photo above the long wall is split half way with two different wall paints and the photo was taken after they dried. Notice in the front most left portion how one product covered and dried much nicer than the other closer to the window.

Good

barrington 24 027aThe cheap and less expensive route is using a primer over bare drywall. You have an advantage utilizing this method but it also disadvantages. The advantages are – you can do one tinted coat of primer and one coat of finish but you lose the stick or bond some of us need to tape off walls, hang wallpaper over and even wash or scrub depending on what your paint allows.

Remember when you got the job, she told you she was hanging wallpaper at a later time. So, do you shortcut her at this point or prepare the job for what is to come? What if its you hanging that paper? Too many guys are doing the "right-for-now" work instead of what is best for down-the-road work.

Primer is generally less expensive than paint. So if your intent is to never wash or touch the walls then do this method but what you might find is what you see in the photo. It looks like it needs another coat of paint.

Primer also requires MORE attention to rolling than wall paint. If you roll primer on any old way – you will never get the finish to look right no matter how many coats you stick on it. Here is a clip on rolling. Utilizing the last stroke down method will provide a level of finish that is consistent. The finish in the Best Method was done with last stroke down.

Something to think about

Here is something else to think about for those of you shooting commercial work. Think about how much you can save on materials utilizing a better method. What is that high-build primer suppose to be shot at??? 20 mil thick? That is crazy!!! Actually its ridiculous. If you are shooting walls – you are already wasting materials and damn near twice as much vs rolling it on.

Here is an interesting tid bit. Same two houses done two different ways. One guy sprayed the walls with 60 gallons and the other rolled it with 15. The guy spraying had a guy back rolling too. What a huge waste of time and money and an extra guy. Guy spraying spent $1,380 on materials and the guy who rolled it spent $345 There was no difference in workmanship.

Funny how a certain manufacturer makes an executive decision to create a primer that requires such a heavy layer of it to cover bare drywall. But that same question also begs the question, was a product like that designed because guys don’t know how to paint or does the manufacturer not know how to make a product that works without laying it on so heavy. If you apply anything at 20 mil, it better look good!

The argument

440i My argument with using a wall primer is the lack of a fail-safe method and I need that in my business. While I enjoy the 440i I received from a paint store due to primer failing, I am not going to have another homeowner come back to me complaining she washed the paint and primer off the wall and obviously this has happened to me otherwise I wouldn’t be posting a fix to this problem online. I have a ton of information and previous test on wall primers. Do a Google search on jackpauhl+wall primers or click this link.

The Fix

So let’s say you too fell sucker to the “use a primer” method and you are in that same situation where the paint washes off the wall or you had to apply masking tape to do some wild painting scheme you found on TV. There is a fix and leave it to no other than Zinsser to have your back! Zinsser Gardz can be used to apply over a paint that was previously undercoated with primer utilizing the Good method above. Gardz will assist with penetrating the paint and the primer and help with bonding them to the drywall beneath and not only that but moving forward with a new coat of paint will give you the ultimate finish you see in the Best method above.

Painting highly visible walls

Let’s say you get a call and their house is a few years old with builder grade flat paint on the walls and they want you to paint the 16′ high foyer wall that extends to the back of the house (windows on both ends). You go to the basement and see the left over paint and know putting an eggshell over that flat paint might require a certain degree of finesse to make a highly visible wall look right. Your best bet here is to apply Zinsser Gardz over that flat and proceed with one or two coats of eggshell paint.

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Load Balancing

December 13, 2008

superfab What is Load Balancing?

Years ago I conducted a study on how far various roller covers can carry a load of paint. You can see an example in the photo. I wanted to know how much more distance can I get out of all the 1/2" covers available to me and find the best one. Then I wanted to compare the 1/2" covers against 3/4" covers of the same brand to see how much more distance I can get using a 3/4" cover assuming a desired roller texture. The same study was conducted on brushes.

Load balancing is gauged on the capacity of the brush or roller and the amount of paint you load them with for optimum results. Each load (amount of paint) is predetermined before taking the load based on for example where it will be placed on the wall or trim.

Load Balancing is one of the more important aspects with efficient painting. It’s a combination between the right paint brush or roller and the amount of paint in which you load them and how it impacts performance more than anything else.

Load Balancing allows me to paint ridiculously fast because each (next move) or next load of paint is thought out. What this does is eliminates unnecessary brushwork and/or more effective results with each load of paint.

In the video where the side of the casing is painted in about 8 seconds, Load Balancing plays a huge role in allowing me to do that. 1) The brush needs to be capable of holding a load of paint to go the distance of 7’. 2) I also need to know how much paint I will need to travel 7’ and put that amount of paint on the brush.

Look for more on this topic soon along with video demonstrations. For now you can see more on this topic here.

Suck Less at Painting #101

November 9, 2008

HowTO: Freehand Cutting against any single edge source.

cut-in006

We are using a 2.5" angular Benjamin Moore paint brush for this demo. Start by loading the paint brush. It helps to pre-wet the brush with water prior to painting, squeeze or kick it out. This will help keep paint from drying on the brush and will assist with cleaning the brush later. Be sure the brush is loaded about 1.5" up the brush as seen in the photo above.

cut-in004

Start by applying light pressure on the rim of the can to remove the paint from the right side of the brush but leave about 1/2" to 3/4" of paint as seen in the photo on the left. The photo taken after the paint was removed on the right side of the brush. Click any photo for larger view.

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Your paint brush should look like this on the right side and bottom as seen in the next photo below.

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Paint on right side and a bit on the bottom.

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Flipping the paint brush over, here is the left side with all paint removed from this side because this is the side (edge) that will cut against your source object such as a casing or a ceiling line that you do not want wall paint on.

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Do not paint like this with the paint brush flat against the wall. Also pay attention to how to hold the brush in the photo above.

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Hold the brush like seen in photo and make your first pass above the object. Remember your paint is on the opposite side of the paint brush not the side near the wood.

cut-in009

Make your next pass cutting-in closer and tight to the wood. If necessary, wipe the brush lightly on the rim of the can before this final pass. The paint you need is already on the wall, Your second pass only needs to move it closer to the wood. You can see the full video from YouTube below.

MINWAX Sanding Sealer Pt 2

November 5, 2008

IMG_0556 - Copy

I recently posted on the MINWAX Sanding Sealer in October but after preparing for a review on sanding sealers I thought I better leave this one out. This product is not at all like the sanding sealers you are probably used to. I’m not certain I would call this product sanding sealer at all in comparison to all the others.

Here is what you should know about this applying this product.

Number one, you need to have smooth bare wood to start because this sealer will not allow you to sand off anything but lint and I’m not joking. The sealer itself doesn’t allow you to cut through it but rather sand off anything on the surface and barely at that. So if you have slight rough wood under the sealer, you wont be able to get to it.

IMG_0736a Number two, If you apply this product to poplar trim for example, not only will the poplar soak up the sealer like a sponge but there is no way in hell you will get it baby ass smooth like you can with any other sealer out there. If you ever sanded polyurethane, this is far worst.

The photo above shows Do It Best brand sanding sealer on the baseboard and Minwax sanding sealer on the casing, both sanded. Notice how the baseboard clearly sanded smooth and to a powder where the casing was not.

Number three, call me Caption Obvious but there is something about calling a product "sanding" sealer when you cant sand it.

MINWAX 2hr Sanding Sealer

October 22, 2008

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Sanding Sealer is the single most important component to finishing stained trim and doors yet so many people know little about it. One of the more common methods people (DIY) are using today to finish woodwork is one coat of MinWax stain and 1-2 coats of MinWax polyurethane and often they don’t bother sanding between coats.

If you want nicely finished woodwork then after you apply your stain to the trim and doors the 2nd step to finishing them is applying sanding sealer. Most sanding sealers dry super fast and can be sanded the same day but for outstanding results its best to wait a day. The sealer becomes more hardened and sands so much easier and smoother a day later.

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Use a White China or Black China brush to apply sanding sealer. The White China will provide better results and holds more vs. black china.

It is not necessary to apply sanding sealer heavily. It is important to be sure the area absorbed the sealer enough before you move on. I apply a nice load to an area and work it in quickly and move the rest of the load off into the next area. I want the area saturated but not left heavy on the surface.

6 STEPS to Smooth Woodwork

1) Stain your trim
2) Apply sanding sealer (wait 1 day)
3) Sand the sanding sealer smooth
4) Vacuum with a shop vac (some people like to use a tac-cloth too)
5) Fill nail holes
6) Apply your compatible clear coat.

More on Sanding Sealer here.

SPECIAL NOTE: If you are familiar with ICI Wood Pride Sanding Sealer, Sherwin Williams, Cabot or Benjamin Moore’s SuperSpec, the MINWAX Sanding Sealer is nothing like them. The MINWAX is more like sanding polyurethane. Its best to have your wood sanded smooth prior to staining because MINWAX Sanding Sealer will only allow you to sand what’s on the surface where the other sealers listed allow you to cut deeper than the surface.

Part 2. More on this Sealer here.

How to stain Windows

October 22, 2008
IMG_0562Here is a quick How To for doing windows regardless if painted or stained. These are Andersen Windows. I first removed the window latch hardware and cleaned them up with a shop vac.
IMG_0563I first pull the back sash (outer most) down a bit and unlock the front sash and allow it to open into the room. I will be starting on the bottom of the back sash first.
IMG_0564Starting at the bottom of the back sash and working my way up on the right.
IMG_0565Continuing up on the left
IMG_0566Across the top
IMG_0567While the front sash is still down, run around the trim closest to the track so when the sash is popped back in place that area is complete.
IMG_0568Lift and hold the front sash and finish the top edge
IMG_0569Pop the front sash back in place and push down a bit to lock in (you will hear it) and slide the sash back up a bit
IMG_0571Finish off the front sash
IMG_0572Slide the front sash up to allow you to finish remaining area closest to the track guide
IMG_0573Here is completed area around track guide. At this point you can slide the front sash down and finish the casing areas. This is a good time to step back and look over your work.
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Here is one portion completed. You can click photos for larger viewing. This method allows me to do one double-hung window in 7 minutes. I do them exactly the same every time.

For Oil-Based Stains

October 21, 2008

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It is probably no argument that white china bristle is more common for applying oil-based penetrating stains so I am not going to try to tell you different. One thing to point out with the Purdy 100% Natural Black China Bristle vs. White China is how fast white china bristles wear and lose shape. What is most common with White China is the bristles as a whole become puckered out or fattened where the Black China tends to keep its shape much better and takes longer to wear.

There is no question white china bristle can carry a load of stain better than black china but if you are caught with 20+ solid wood doors to stain you might want to grab a black china brush and a wool applicator pad. Also the black china brush might work out better for you when you have a ton of intricate work.

Wooster Pro Classic Easyflo

October 20, 2008

To call Pro Classic Easyflo amazing is an understatement!

easyfloIt’s not so much what you spread – but what you use to spread it. If you are looking for a better way to lay down your favorite sauce, then Christmas has come early. In my opinion, the Benjamin Moore 65125 still rules as far as brushes go – it simply kicks ass for acrylics but if you are looking for a more readily available brush in some markets then the Wooster PRO CLASSIC Easyflo found at Lowes is a nice contender. The Wooster Pro Classic Plus appears to be replaced with the Easyflo.
easyflo3I should note: The brush cover states ‘All paints & stains’, don’t think you are going to get this brush to do what a Purdy White China or a Wooster Flaxen brush will do when spreading penetrating stains such as Minwax but if you need to spread solid stains then this brush will do a nice job and will carry a nice load.
easyflo4To put this brush into a category of similar brushes, you might want to look at the Benjamin Moore 65125 or the Purdy Clearcut for very similar precision characteristics and handling. One area where the Pro Classic Easyflo outperforms the Benjamin Moore 65125 is in ‘bend recovery’. The 65125 is a bit on the limp side in comparison.
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More on brushes here and here. Click photos for larger view.

Zinsser PRIMECOAT2

August 26, 2008

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I’ve been using Zinsser’s PRIMECOAT2 found at Home Depot for bare pine and poplar lately. Once again I was impressed with their products. One consistent aspect of Zinsser is their products DO what they say they will do and PRIMECOAT2 is no exception!

PRIMECOAT2 went on solid and dried solid. The product sands well on poplar with minimal raising of the grain which is a HUGE advantage when finishing poplar trim.

If you are at all familiar with my ongoing goal to minimize the efforts on the job (the purpose of this blog) and simplify the system then – you know there was more to selecting this product than to prime bare wood.

Using PRIMECOAT2 allows me to use one primer where in the recent past I was using three on the same job. This product can never replace the advantages of Zinsser Cover Stain oil-based primer but PRIMECOAT2 allows me to minimize when to use Cover Stain with other advantages.

I use PRIMECOAT2 for 3 reasons/applications.

1) as a wash-coat over factory primed trim. In this scenario, the trim, casings, baseboard etc is installed in the home and PRIMECOAT2 is applied BEFORE filling nail-holes or caulking. The main advantage is this primer allows better ‘bite’ when filling nail holes. It provides a better ‘cut’ or ‘break-off’ of putty in the hole allowing for flush fills and ease-of-use. It also prevents the putty from shrinkage.

2) When priming bare pine you will find there is no real reason to sand the product prior to finish assuming the bare wood was installed in good shape. You can give the primer a quick sanding for that extra assurance that the surface is free of any debris but if you shop-vac the trim prior (not dust-off) then all should go well on the finish.

3) PRIMECOAT2 is excellent over poplar trim! The main advantage here are two things over using an oil primer such as Zinsser Cover Stain. a) minimal raising of the grain. b) lack of absorption. You might get some grain to raise and will sand off nicely and the fact that the primer does not dissipate into the wood allows for one nice coat of primer vs. two of oil and a ton of sanding.

So, is it KICKASS? Absolutely! and you will suck less at painting by using it.

CONS: bad odor. Similar smell in comparison to ICI Gripper

ICI Sanding Sealer

October 24, 2007
I am just going to cover briefly using ICI Dulux Wood Pride Sanding Sealer with a brush, roller and an HVLP.

We use sanding sealer as part of our wood finishing process. Once the stain is applied and dry, I apply sanding sealer to raise and lock down the grain of the wood allowing me to sand the sealer baby smooth before applying a varnish. Many guys think sanding sealers are all created equal. Here is a secret, they’re not. Sherwin Williams isn’t the same as ICI’s and neither of them are anything like MinWax Sanding Sealer or Cabots sealers. Now that Sherwin Williams has a hold on Minwax, maybe the two are the same now.

Brushing:
This product is pretty straight forward although you have little time to work with it. It is best to keep moving ahead and try not to back brush previously wet areas.

Rolling:
It is not recommended to roll sanding sealer and leave it as is. I recommend always laying off with a brush. Work in small areas and use a Mohair short nap cover.

Spraying: When using an HVLP you may find it beneficial to slightly reduce the sealer. A formula of 24 oz. sanding sealer to 8 oz. thinner is sufficient to allow fast steady flow from the gun. Reducing should allow you to dial in your gun with minimal air flow. My air flow is almost all the way to off. I use a #3 projector set for sealer.

Dealing with drips and sags:
Yep, even I get them from time to time and I highly recommend keeping an eye on your work as you go. Every so often take a look back at your work. If you can, try to remove sags with a dry oil brush by feathering the sag out. If the sag had too much time to dry but is still soft, grab your 5-in-1 and shave it off carefully. If the sag or drip has dried completely, use a single edge razor blade and shave it off very carefully, sand smooth and repair.

About the photo: The photo shows ICI sanding sealer over stained poplar.

Also look at Do it Best Sanding Sealer