Interesting paint products II. This is the follow-up to the last post “Interesting Paint Products”. Apparently a lot of people found it interesting and requested more so here we go.
No Miss Ceiling Paint
There are lots of varieties of this product out there but the theory is the same. It starts out as one color, usually a pink or blue and as it dries it changes to a white. It makes it easier to see where you have painted so as to avoid missed spots. It is a cool idea. I have never tried one of these but can see the advantage to it if you are not accustomed to painting. I have talked to people that have use these types of products and the feedback was good.
As interesting paint products goes this one is right up there! This company (Galaxgtools) has developed a counterweight for a paint brush. It apparently creates a balanced, lighter feeling paint brush and reduces fatigue and hand stress. For $3.99 it might be worth a try. You get three different weights to find what works for you. I’ve decided to give it a whirl so I will let you know what I think. Galaxgtools
These are kinda cool. I have used one before and it works as advertised. We don’t tend to use them because we can cut corners very fast with just a brush but if you are looking for ways to speed things up a bit, this might be for you. You want to remember to stop short of the ceiling when you get to rolling the corners fast!
Useful painting tools are sometimes hard to separate from all the plastic garbage you find in the big box stores. I always keep my eye out for the new and interesting. Above all it has to be useful and do the required job. Here are three I like.
These are great little gadgets. If you have ever set a nail, you know what a pain in the backside it can sometimes be. Balancing the nail set on the nail head and then striking with a hammer can be challenging in tight spaces. With these little tools no hammer required and they easily fit in your pocket. You just hold the set against the nail and pull back on the spring and let go. They work great! The door hinge pin version is also great and works like a dream.
If you have a five gallon bucket full of tools then you know how heavy that bucket quickly gets. I have gone trough numerous handles and have even struggled with only the wire portion of the handle because the plastic part broke away. I have a stuffed “painters bucket” and it must weigh a good 60+ lbs. I have one of these handles on it and it works extremely well. They aren’t “cheap” but then nothing in my bucket is so…
The tool of tools. I always have mine on me. It’s hard to feel like your really “one the job” without one. Once you have one you will quickly realize how many things you can do with it. Open cans of paint, scraping, knife down your tape, etc. A must for any painter that is the Real Deal!
Water Stains. Everyone has some sooner or later. Usually on the ceiling and this is a common time of the year (February) to notice one. They can be caused from several different problems. A leaky roof or ceiling vent. Condensation problems, plumbing or venting issues, etc.
Once you have identified the cause of the problem and corrected it, it is time to fix that unsightly stain. You want to make sure the stain area is dry and that there is no damage to the drywall or as the case might be, the plaster. If the area is dry and undamaged, you will want to protect the area (floor) or surrounding wall from over-spray. The best sealer to use is BIN.
I like to spray two to three light coats over the stained area, making sure each coat is dry before respraying. If you happen to have left over or know the correct ceiling paint (If it has been painted) you can repaint only that small area. If you don’t know if it has been painted or don’t have any leftover ceiling paint, by sealing it you have greatly reduced its appearance and can wait until you have time to repaint the ceiling or of course you can call in a professional to do it for you.
Well some of the advantages seem pretty obvious right? Quality work, speed, etc. Those are listed below but it goes much deeper then that. If you happen to find a paint contractor with lots of experience, you would be surprised at the added benefits.
I listed this one first because it is so important to me. I always feel like my ass is on the line every time we take on a new job. While I am still on lots of our jobs, much of the work is actually carried out by staff. That’s tough for a quality control freak. Warren Buffet once stated that it takes 20 years to build a reputation and 20 minutes to wreck one. I believe that is true. My guys are very good but If I’m not actually working a job you better believe I am checking every detail.
One of the secrets to speed is never sacrificing quality for speed. The goal is speed from efficiency and experience. When you have all the tools and the knowledge, it is surprising how fast the job gets done.
Having all the necessary tools for the job. There is quite an outlay in cost for high end painting equipment. Someone that has been in the business for some time is already going to have what is needed for almost any job. Scaffolding, 40 foot ladders, HEPA vacuum systems, etc.
As time goes by, knowledge will be gained. It is not just a matter of improving painting skills. It is also managing people, jobs, scheduling, problem solving, etc. When a new problem is solved, that knowledge is added to the trouble shooting, problem solving checklist. Immediately identifying a problem or potential problem speeds the process along and adds to efficiency.
A good paint contractor is going to be up on what is trending and have valuable suggestions on colors and coordinating them into your home. Color consulting is something we do weekly and it’s free.
That’s important. You don’t want one guy showing up to paint the exterior of your home. Putting the correct number of people on a job is learned over time. Two workers might be just the right number to paint a bedroom. Four people would be inefficient and actually slow the process down.
Knowing how long a job should take and putting the right number of people on that job to stay on schedule is a learned skill. It isn’t just a matter of paint scheduling, it can also be knowing how to properly combine the schedules of multiple trades like plumbers, carpenters, electricians, etc. Knowing who should be first and last is important.
How to safely stage a job is critical. Knowing when to use a lift or scaffolding. Ladder jacks, safety harnesses, etc. It all comes together to make for a safe work environment.
It isn’t just a matter of good brush work and how well someone can cut a straight line. It is combining all the above to provide the customer the best experience possible when they choose to hire a professional paint contractor.
Mildew can be found almost anywhere. It can be found both inside and outside homes. Both mildew and mold are types of fungi. Mildew tends to have linear growth and mold will grow structurally with multicellular filaments. If you have either of them (or both) you want to get rid of them. It is easy to do!
Both of them are easily killed with sodium hypochlorite (bleach). On exterior structures I recommend using a hudson sprayer (garden sprayer) and use a diluted bleach solution on it. I normally use about a cup of bleach to a gallon of water. It is a good idea to spray down the surrounding area with water prior to using the bleach solution. Spray plants, decking etc. After you have sprayed the affected area wait about ten minutes and then spray well with water. You will want to respray the area around the affected area again as well.
When you have a problem on the inside of your home it is the same process only you have to be more controlled about the spraying. Any area that can be damaged by the bleach solution will need to be protected and you will need to be careful with the spray pattern.
If the areas are still structurally sound then they can simply be repainted when dry. I recommend using a mildewcide additive to the paint.
Painting mistakes are easy to make. Whether you are painting yourself or hiring someone else to do it, here are some do’s and dont’s.
It’s amazing how many painting mistakes revolve around the word “Cheap”. Cheap materials, cheap paint, cheap painting contractor…There are times to bargain shop. Painting isn’t one of those times. If you use cheap, poor quality materials, how can you expect a quality result? Always buy quality painting tools and paint. It is an investment that pays off.
We were recently “hired” to do a painting project. It was actually us coming in to fix another paint contractors mistakes. It was a sizable job but nothing we are not accustomed to doing. So we are told the job is ours and after we buy a lot of materials for the job we are told they wanted additional work done and by the way, wanted to pay $1000.00 less. Well, we used those materials on another job. There is a direct correlation between dollars and quality. It blew my mind that after a bad experience with a cheap painter this homeowner wanted to cut the agreed to price. Oh well.
So don’t scrimp. When getting bids for a painting project, get two or three from experienced, well known paint contractors. Check references, talk to previous customers, look at their work. Then decide. You can always find someone cheaper, you just can’t then complain about the results you get.
A common mistake is not allowing enough time for a project. Interior projects are in a controlled environment. Exterior projects are not. If you are planning an event at your home and would like the exterior to be repainted prior to it, plan ahead. The weather is unpredictable around Omaha.
Paying too much attention to all those home improvement shows. The shows where a kitchen is remodeled and painted in a day. False expectations. Quality takes time.
Trying to work in a chaotic environment. If you or your painting contractor are going to paint a room, you don’t want kids or pets running around the place. Never a good idea. I was painting a kitchen for a customer many years ago and I came back from lunch to discover the family dog chewing my Purdy brush down to a nub. Not happy.
Scheduling your project. More then once we have been spraying an exterior and discovered the lawn crew cutting the grass and spraying the cut grass onto the side of a wet house or had a sprinkler system kick on while working. If you are having several things done on the interior of your home, think about the schedule. You don’t want a carpenter cutting wood in a room that’s getting painted. Talk about painting mistakes!
Exterior house painting time is quickly approaching. You would think the time is now. We have had 60 and 70 degree weather for a couple weeks now in Omaha. That’s not common for February.
Every paint contractor develops their own system for painting houses. Everyone has their own process however there are 3 steps that should be part of every paint contractors system. There are many steps to painting a house but skipping any 1 of these 3 is a critical error.
1. Power Washing
This just seems like common sense. I have seen on numerous occasions “painters” painting a house without power washing it first. This is mind blowing. I can’t even imagine the mindset that would motivate someone to do this. Every exterior house painting project needs to start with power washing and you need to use chemicals for mold and mildew as part of that washing.
2. Repair Work
When a house is painted, that is the proper time to inspect it’s condition and do all necessary repairs. There are areas prone to damage like brick molding around windows, window sills, soffits and fascia areas. Painting a house without doing the necessary carpentry work doesn’t make sense.
A very important step. All joints, seams, windows and doors should be caulked with a high end quality caulk. I encourage customers to consider sonneborn NP1 or Vulkem for their exterior house painting project. These are not commonly used by paint contractors because they are more difficult to work with and most importantly because there is a dry time of about a week before it can be painted.
To spray doors correctly takes a little time and effort. Each paint contractor has their own idea about how to go about this and there are various “systems” available out there that will supposedly make the job easier. Many Painters in Omaha will pick a room and tilt the doors against the wall and spray them that way and then flip them over to spray the other side. There isn’t anything wrong with doing it this way if you can control the overspray and deal with the wall that will have many door shadows on them after spraying. This method is very common in new construction.
The way we prefer to do it is to do any prep work while the doors are laying on saw horses, sanding,etc., and then “soldier stand” the doors. That’s the term I use, I don’t know if anybody else calls it that. When you soldier stand doors you stand them upright and form a zig zag pattern by attaching a piece of wood at the top of the door. There are metal brackets sold for this purpose and I have recently seen a plastic bracket that you attach the doors with that connects at the door hinge screw holes. I am not a fan of plastic anything so I would pass on that.
The beauty of this system is you can spray all sides of the doors at once and you get fit a lot of doors in a smaller area. There is no overspray on the walls you would have to sand and prime and overspray is manageable. We normally use wooden shims and put two nails or screws per door. The zig zag pattern helps provide stability to the doors.
Paint color trends come and go. The trends are generally gradual. Over time you can definitely see a pattern forming. It is very interesting to see people from different parts of Omaha and the surrounding communities request the same colors or design ideas. Here is what is trending in Omaha and the surrounding area.
Accent walls are in. We consistently get requests for accent walls as part of a larger painting project. The colors vary somewhat but reds are popular as well as darker grays. Living rooms, family rooms, kitchens, entry ways, bedrooms, even hallways are all areas we are getting requests for an accent wall.
Oak cabinets and woodwork is out. This trend has been going for the past few years. It actually appears to be increasing in popularity to date. Prepping and painting oak cabinets and woodwork is something we have on the job schedule every month. The winter season has a spike in this request and then levels out more through the rest of the year. The most popular color is white. Black has been gaining in popularity over the past six months.
The paint color trends for interior wall colors are for grays and beige.
The most popular sheen for walls appears to be shifting from eggshell towards satin.
More people were asking for painted brick in 2016 and it is continuing this year. Both interior and exterior painted brick.
Brushwork. The skilled application of paint by means of a brush. It is at the heart of being a skilled painter. Even today with airless sprayers and cordless spray guns, it always comes back to the brush. All painting is basically a means to efficiently transfer paint to a surface in a controlled manner. Brushing is still the most efficient and controlled way to paint.
Like all things, what makes for good brushwork is practice but there are ways to shorten the learning curve. I have had pretty good painters on staff over the years that could cut a straight line with a worn, gnarly brush but that is the exception. You want to invest in the best you can get your hand on.
There are many good paint brushes available. Two brushes I like are the Purdy 3 inch pro extra swan and the Proform 3 inch Picasso. These are great brushes. Between the two, the Purdy wears better and lasts longer but the Picasso is a great brush. I just hate that it wears out much faster then the Purdy. The Picasso definitely has an expiration date.
Once you have the right brush, get use to having it in your hand. You want the part of the handle closest to the ferrule of the brush to rest on the webbing between your thumb and index finger. Your fingers then hold onto the metal ferrule. Practice with a dry brush on a wall. This is a good way to get use the the feel of the brush.
The parts of a brush are of course the handle, ferrule, heel, belly, and toe. Pretty obvious where the bristles are.
One of the tougher cuts with a brush is where the wall meets the ceiling. If you are in a situation where you are going to paint the walls and ceiling in a room, this is a good scenario for practice on the wall to ceiling cut. Since you are going to paint the ceiling anyhow, any paint you might get on the ceiling you can paint over with the ceiling color.
One of the big mistakes many people make when brushing is not loading enough paint onto the brush. Using a good comfortable cut bucket, pour enough paint into it so it is not too heavy. A couple inches is good. Push the bristles of the brush down into the paint enough to flex the bristles and pick up paint. One good swipe on the side to wipe any drips and your ready to go. The working part of the brush is the first inch or so. You don’t want paint all the way up the bristles and on the ferrule. Keep all but the working part of the brush clean as you work.
One good long swipe about a half to a quarter inch away from the ceiling will give you a “glide path” for the second pass. Think of it as lubing the wall to make the cut smoother. As you go back for the second cut you will notice how much easier the brush runs along the wall. You just bring the cut closer to the ceiling until you get a good cut. If you notice ceiling texture in the groove where the wall and ceiling meet, run a putty knife or five in one along the wall and ceiling to make a nice channel to cut into.
When brushing woodwork the biggest mistake people make is brushing back into areas previously coated/brushed. This will give you brush marks as the paint sets up. A nice trick is to use floetrol or a bit of water in latex paint to slow down the set up time and give the brush lines enough time to level out. In alkyd paint use penetrol.
When you invest in quality brushes, always clean them well after use. Don’t leave them in paint for long periods of time or store them overnight covered in paint.
People often ask how to determine the size of the brush to use. My standby is the 3 inch beaver tail pictured above. There are times a different brush is necessary. Two factors always determine the size of brush to use. The size of what you are painting and how much detail there is. The smaller the target the smaller the brush. fine detail means a smaller brush. For spindles or divided pane glass I would use a 1.5 or 2 inch brush. I sometimes use very small artist brushes for fine detail or hard to reach areas.
You can find yourself in situations where the cut of the brush matters. An angled cut makes it easier to reach areas and gives you more control for detail work. A flat cut helps you cover more surface area faster.
Use man-made bristles for water based products and natural bristles for alkyd, varnish, etc.
A quick tip off, in most cases, for the quality of a brush, besides the price, is the handle construction. Cheap handle materials = cheap brush (Plastic). Good handle craftsmanship, materials = quality brush.