Sharp Paint Lines

Paint Lines


One of the biggest challenges for people is bringing two different colors of paint together and creating a sharp, distinct line between the two. The following photos are from a commercial job we did recently and it is a good example of how it is done.

On this project we were bringing together three colors. Orange, white, blue. As standard practice the surfaces to be painted received our standard prep. The walls were cleaned, sanded and areas addressed with drywall mud as necessary.


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Three Color Bands


After measuring the walls we rolled the center color (white) to overlap the areas where the orange and blue would be and painted an initial band of the orange and blue but keeping those colors short of where they would meet the white.


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Now we measure again and this time using a level we mark the line with a pencil. We then use a soft release tape to mark the pencil line.


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Trick Of The trade


Once all the measuring and taping is done we get to do the most important step. We seal the tape. What we do is take the white paint and paint the tape on the side where the orange and the blue will go. This seals it and any bleed through will be the same product that is under the tape so you wont see the bleed through. The next color over these areas can’t creep under the tape so you will get a crisp and well defined paint line.

Now it is simply a matter of cutting and rolling the orange and blue colors a few times.


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The results were great. The business owner was very pleased and we will be doing a few more of these.

Guide To Painting A Room

Painting guide



painting guide





Cut the confusion


There is lots of advice on picking a color and sheen of paint so I wont be going into that here and if you read my post about determining quality of paint your all set to go buy what you need. So what do you need? A fair estimate of spread rate is about 300 square feet of wall space per gallon.  Measure the dimensions of your room, length by height. A 10 by 10 room with a 8 foot ceiling is 320 square feet. 10 x 4 walls = 40 times 8 = 320 square feet. I always suggest 2 coats unless you are repainting a room with exactly the same product. In this example you need 2 gallons.

Are you painting the ceiling too? Now would be the time for that. A good off white flat latex will do the trick. So you will need another gallon for the ceiling. So far you will need 3 gallons of paint. In addition a short list of additional tools/sundries you will need are as follows. This painting guide suggests only the minimum to get the job done.

A quality 9″ paint frame. Wooster is a good choice.

Two paint covers. I suggest a 1/2 inch nap lambskin or sheepskin for the walls and a cheaper 1/2 cover for the ceiling.

A paint pole for your paint frame.

Good Brush. A  3″  Purdy is a good choice.

A five gallon bucket and a bucket grid to roll out of. Way better then using a tray. Spills much less likely.


One or two drop cloths.

Roll of good tape. See blog post on tape.

Spackle and putty knife.



Stain sealer. If needed. I suggest B I N in a spray can.


painting guide








Lets get to it



Start by removing as much of the contents as possible out of the room. You would be surprised how much time is lost walking around a bed in the middle of a room. Be sure to remove anything on the walls including all switch and outlet covers.

Get your drops down to protect the floor. You will start with the ceiling. Are there any stains on the ceiling that need to be sealed? Dump your ceiling paint into the five gallon bucket with the grid in it. Leave some paint in the gallon to work out of. You wont need much.

Next cut the perimeter (of the ceiling) with a brush. Don’t worry about getting some paint on the walls, they are getting painted (ha ha). A much faster method to cut the perimeter is to use a weenie roller. If you decide to go this route get a cover with nap on the end as well. You can roll the perimeter rather quickly. Just make sure to jamb the roller against the wall to make sure the paint covers all the ceiling. Right to the edge where the wall and ceiling meet. Use your paint pole on the weenie roller. When you use this method you will end up with the perimeter of the ceiling and about the top inch of the wall covered with ceiling paint.

Cut around any light fixtures with your brush and then roll out the ceiling from your five gallon bucket with your 9″ frame and pole setup. Most people don’t load enough paint on their frame. This is the number one mistake people make. It should sound wet as you roll it out. Start at one side of the room and work your way over to the other side.

As the ceiling dries you can start prepping the walls. Fill any nail holes or imperfections with the spackle. Tape off your baseboards, window trim and door frames. Are the walls clean? A diluted Vinegar solution or a no rinse TSP solution works well. We always sand the walls. Bottom to top all the way around. Much easier with a pole sander.

If the walls are receiving a coating with any sheen to it I suggest priming the spackled areas and any areas that have to be sealed. If you are rolling a flat paint,  when you load up your frame go through and roll a light coat over all your spackled and primed spots.

Check the ceiling for any touch ups. If you are good to go,  you can either clean out your five and dump in your wall color or have a second five and grid ready to go. Clean out your roller cover and reuse or wrap it up to clean later and use a new cover. Take care of these covers and clean them well they will work for a long time.

Cut out the room with your brush. Along the base trim, windows and door frames. Next the part that distresses most people, the ceiling. Take your time and go slow. If you mess up you can always touch up the ceiling with the ceiling paint. Just make sure the walls and ceiling are dry before touching up.

Now you are ready to roll out the room. Load up the frame with paint and roll a good pattern out on the walls left to right or whatever you prefer. overlap your roll and roll it out. Again make sure you have enough paint on your frame and use the pole, it will save your arm.

Same process for the second coat and your ready to pull tape and put your room back together. Take care of your equipment and clean it well. You can use it over and over. Hopefully you will purchase some quality equipment to start with so it will last a long time. Hope this painting guide was helpful. You can always email any additional questions you may have. This painting guide is applicable to any room in your home and an exterior painting guide is forth coming.







Determining Quality

determining quality

Quality Paint 101


There are several factors to take into consideration when choosing a paint. While price is always important, the quality of the paint is critical. Most people get confused and  assume that the more expensive the paint the better it is. While this may often be the case, understanding what makes one paint better then another simplifies the selection process. I have often found coatings that were far superior to more expensive choices by  knowing what to look for. The superlatives like Ultra, Super, Premium… mean nothing. These are marketing terms only.

There is a vast number of components in paint but all paint is basically made up of 3 key ingredients. The solvent or thinner, the binder and the pigment.

Pigments or the tint is what gives paint its color. It also imparts the hide. Pigments are pure color and tints are pigment dispersed in surfactants and a liquid. Often the liquid is glycol.


determining quality

pigments at a market in India




A quality paint will have a significant percentage of the pigment titanium dioxide along with smaller amounts of other pigments or tint to provide color. Titanium dioxide provides good hide and is considered a more expensive component of paint.

Cheaper substitutes for titanium dioxide are talc, calcium carbonate, clay and silica. These ingredients have poor durability and are much less expensive.




The solvent is the liquid that everything is suspended into. It combines the pigment with the binders. The solvent is critical for consistency, cure time and uniformity of color. Many paints today are Latex or water based paints so the solvent is water. There are of course oil base paints where the solvent is mineral spirits. Often a quick way to determine the solvent is look at the label and see what is suggested for clean-up. That is usually the solvent. If the label says to clean-up with Xylene, then Xylene is the solvent. If it says to clean-up with water, then water is the solvent.




The binder holds the pigments and other solids together once the solvent has evaporated and everything has dried. The binders play a critical role in determining durability of the paint and the adhesion to the underlying surface. When choosing a latex product, look for a 100% Acrylic latex binder.


No More Guesswork


A quality paint contains the best binders, pigments and solvents and these ingredients are more refined. The paint will also contain more of these solids by volume then a lessor quality product. This is a key difference. Knowing the percentage of solids in a gallon of paint (by volume) is a quick reference to performance and the grade of a paint. The solids are what is left behind after the paint has dried. If a can of paint has 50% solids, 50% of what is in that can will actually end up on what you are painting when the paint has dried. A paint with 25% solids has less “good stuff ” in the can. Now we are assuming it is “good stuff ” because one way paint manufactures jack up the percent solids is by adding ingredients that don’t help with performance. They are essentially just fillers like clay.



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Two quick tests you can do are as follows. Pick up two cans of paint. Does one feel significantly heavier then the other. Remember they are both gallons of paint. The heavier of the two has higher solids. Another quick test is to actually get your fingers in the paint. Rubbing a little of the paint between your fingers will quickly tell you how refined the ingredients are. Does it feel gritty or smooth? Higher grade ingredients can be milled much finer then cheaper products. You want a silky smooth product.

A data sheet should always be available where you buy your paint. It will have important information about the percent solids and what those solids are. Any good paint store will have data sheets available for you. In the box stores it may be more of a challenge to get this information.

Color selection is an individual choice and usually not a factor in the grade of a paint. However, a high end product can have its performance diminished dramatically by over tinting. Paints are available in different bases and each base can take different amounts of tint. The bases available vary from each manufacturer but are usually white, midtone, deeptone, ultra deep, neutral tint and accent base.

The maximum amount of tint that is added to each base is a factor of  the final color. White and tint bases usually can take about 4 oz of colorant, deep base about 8 oz, ultra deep about 10 oz, and accent bases about 14 oz. Using the wrong base or over tinting any base will cause problems. When large amounts of tint are used,  factors such as curing time, hide, water and abrasion resistance and color uniformity are affected negatively.

The weakness comes from the increased amount of surfactants and glycol that the pigments are suspended into to make the tint. The surfactants stay in the paint film longer and affect dry time, hide and durability of the paint. If you are painting with a over tinted product you will notice it is taking multiple coats to hide what it is going over and you will notice it taking much longer for the paint to dry. We painted a door black years ago only to discover the paint that my supplier gave me was way over tinted. They did not have a “factory” black in stock or the correct base to make a black paint and subsequently gave me a a product that had so much black tint in it that days later it was still “wet”. You could press your finger print into the paint film a week later.

Mistakes are made but not common. Trust that your supplier will give you the right base and tint accordingly. As a rule I stay away from neutral tint bases whenever possible. They generally have such poor hide that multiple coats are required. Try to get an accent base instead. Much more money but worth it see Quality Paint blog post.

As a general rule a brands various paint sheens perform the same. It should be noted that there are no standards for paint sheen. One brands idea of an eggshell sheen may be another manufacturers flat.  Paint sheen cannot be adjusted at the store. There isn’t something they can add or subtract to change the sheen. A contractor can however make some adjustments in the field by mixing a flat with a satin, etc. Any paint store can match another paint stores colors but they cannot match the other guys sheen. Sheens available are usually flat, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss and gloss. As a general rule the flatter a paint the better it hides imperfections on what it is applied to (like a wall) but it will be subject to less stain resistance. As you increase the sheen of the paint imperfections are highlighted but stain resistance and cleanability increase.

Warranty claims from paint manufactures are pure marketing but can be used as a guide to quality.







Painting Mistakes

The Big Four


Almost all paint failure can be traced back to these 4 lapses in judgement.


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Painting Mistakes


Poor surface prep. Regardless of the skill and experience of the painter, inadequate prep is the number one reason paint jobs fail. Good prep work and attention to detail will almost guarantee success. Cleaning the surface to be painted whether it is indoors or out, Sanding, caulking, priming and sealing stains are all necessary steps and are the sign of a “real”  skilled pro.


Working with poor/cheap equipment. The equipment you choose is critical to a successful job. Quality brushes apply paint in a uniform and professional manner. Proper paint poles provide the right height and grip to reach difficult areas. High end roller frames hold onto the roller cover and don’t fall apart under stress. A quality roller cover hold enough paint and applies it properly.


Working under poor conditions. On an exterior job; painting when it is too cold or too hot or prior to rain. Painting in direct sun on a surface that is too hot. On interior work, working in poor lighting conditions or when others are creating less then optimal work conditions for painting or staining (carpenter creating sawdust).


Using poor quality paint. Always purchase the best paint you can afford. You can have great prep work, super equipment and perfect painting conditions and end up with a disaster if you skimp or bargain shop for paint. I have always found it amazing that in the United States we gladly pay $300.00 a gallon for the paint going on our cars but consider it expensive to pay $20.00 or $30.00 a gallon for the paint going on our home. You get what you pay for.


Painting mistakes happen but if these 4 are avoided you are well on your way to a successful paint project.

Paint and selling your home

Touchups that sell


The home real estate market is hot. Sellers are definitely in the drivers seat in 2016. If you happen to be considering selling your home there are areas where a little time and paint will help you get top dollar. Touchups =$.




Curb appeal: The exterior of your home may need a little touch up. Areas around the front door and trim are common areas of concern. Window sills and areas around gutters are also good touch up candidates. Check around the garage door and trim where it meets the driveway. One walk around your home will help identify what needs a little attention.

Entry way: The walls and trim in the entryway are a persons first impression of your home. Smudges around light switches and scuffs on base trim are good places to invest a little time. A fresh coat of a neutral color is something to consider.

Kitchens/baths: These areas of the home are subject to a lot of wear and tear. Kitchens are one area that typically help sell a home. extra scrutiny in these areas will pay off.

Woodwork: Whether it is stained or painted it is a good idea to touch up. Interior window sills are a common area that gets sun damage and wear.

Cabinets: Kitchen and bathroom cabinets take a lot of abuse and should be cleaned and touched up.

Garage walls: Consider removing the contents and giving it a fresh coat of an off white.


What I like

The 2 main tapes I keep around are PG29 by Intertape and 3M’s lacquer. Through years of trial and error I have come to trust these two. I know what to expect from them and when to use each one. There are others I have on hand for various uses but the lacquer and the PG29 are my “go-to” ones.






It is one of the most overlooked items painters use. It plays a critical role in almost every job. You should never “bargain shop” for tape. Whatever you pay is money well spent. Never scrimp.

So whats’s so special about these two? The PG29 is the main one for most projects. It sticks well and comes off clean. You can use it on delicate surfaces like wallpaper. It adheres well on base boards and cabinets as well as painted surfaces.

When adhesion is a problem I pull out the lacquer tape. It has a much higher adhesion to surfaces so it is not for wallpaper or in most cases, painted surfaces.  It is important to not leave it on for long and for only a short period of time in direct sun light.


Intertape is located in Sarasota Florida and their products are available in many paint stores like Pitsburg Paint and Diamond Vogel. You can also find their products on Amazon

3M Lacquer tape is also available at most paint stores as well as on Amazon



Quality Paint

Save $20 and It’ll cost ya!


When choosing a paint the smart money is on the good stuff. A very simple guideline is what it costs. I have always found it fascinating that we spend $300 a gallon for the paint used to paint our cars and $30 a gallon for the paint we use on our homes. Spend as much as you can afford on a quality product!

Here is a good example of how you can save on a gallon of paint and it ends up costing you.


Accent Color Base


accent color base


Here are two quality coatings. Both are Pittsburg Paint products. The one on the right Speedhide is a good product used by many paint contractors. Most contractors will pay in the mid teens, say $15, a gallon.  The one on the left Accent Color Base is a great product but costs almost double.


accent color base



They are the same color. Both are quality acrylic latex products but the one on the left is designed for high hide/coverage. So with the Accent Color Base 2 coats will get the job done. The Speedhide will take multiple coats which means much much more time. In this example it took 8 coats to cover a grey color. That’s not a typo. 8 coats. So from a contractors perspective if you are paying someone $18 an hour to paint those 8 coats guess what saving money ended up costing you. If you are doing the work yourself, just imagine the time investment for those extra coats of paint.

This happened to be a small commercial job that gave us the opportunity to test the difference between the two. My guess was it would be 4 coats of Speedhide. I’m glad we planned on using the Accent Color Base.








Brush Preservation

Clean Brushes = Quality Work


I always say you should buy the best equipment/tools you can afford. They pay for themselves in the long haul. Once you have made that investment you need to maintain what you have. The paint brush is a key component to any paint contractors tool bucket. I recommend a 3″ Purdy, Wooster or Corona and the best way to keep them in top condition is to keep then clean.

I like to keep my brush clean as I work. I don’t stand it up in a cut bucket of paint and I keep the paint on the business end of the brush. Never up on the heel and ferrule of a brush.




Always clean your brush when you are done your work. Never wrap it up in plastic or foil to clean later. I often clean my brush after I’ve worked for a bit just to keep it performing right.

The best way to clean your brush is with water for latex coatings. In a sink with water running in it rinse the brush and dab it in the sink till the water runs clear. Get the brush wet and squeeze it in your hand forcing water back towards the ferrule. You will see more paint come off the brush. I usually do this till the water is clear and then use some dish soap and run the process again.

When you think it’s clean, shape the brush (align the bristles) and allow to dry.


clean brushes



If you need extra cleaning a safe product is Krud Kutter brush cleaner. It works well and is safe on the brush. I’ve tried several different cleaners and most are very hard on the bristles. you end up with a clean but useless brush. The bristles are soft and don’t hold their shape. Krud Kutter works very well and is easy on the brush. It’s my go to cleaner when I need one.

Remember clean brushes = quality work!


Some good information about Krud Kutter and quality brushed can be found below.


Additional information: