Graco Handheld Sprayer

The Graco handheld sprayer has been out for sometime. In comparison to other airless units it has had the most rapid design improvements. When they first came out in 2010 they were called ProShots. The most unappealing thing to me was that they were disposable. I could never wrap my head around a disposable sprayer regardless of their performance.

We recently had a project at the Omaha Hilton that was perfect for a couple of these units so we decided to give them a run for the money. They are in the $500 range.

We went with the cordless Ultra unit. There are three units available. A corded unit, a cordless unit and a cordless unit designed for “hot” solvent work. This unit is referred to as the Ultra Max.

We purchased two so we could avoid switching between primer and finish. If you are accustomed to a traditional airless gun then you will think these are rather heavy as I did. I thought they were heavy before adding paint. With the addition of paint they are cumbersome and take getting used to.

There are many improvements to the design of these since they first came out. The biggest improvement is the Battery. Previously the battery was heavy and didn’t hold a charge for long. Now they use a 20Volt Dewalt battery that is lighter and lasts much longer. We found a charge lasted about 30 doors before there was a noticeable drop in power.

Charging is fast and the spray pattern is good thanks to the new spray tips. Previously you had to use special tips specific to these units. Now standard RACX tips and housings work on theses units. The best combination is using the new FFLP tips. Fine Finish Low Pressure. These tips allow a softer lighter fan pattern at a lower pressure. Perfect for these units. Once you get use to the weight these handhelds spray similar to traditional airless pumps.

Graco Ultra

The Cup liner is new and a nice improvement. They are disposable but we usually rinse them out and reuse them. One thing that is critical is cleaning these out after use. A lot of guys may leave a pump in paint to spray the next day. That will no work with these. If you don’t clean them out after use you will have a problem with stuck pump parts, clogging.

We had a problem with one of the units. It just stopped spraying or cycling anything through it. Hot water, paint etc… It was replaced without issue and the person at Graco I spoke with said that that happens sometimes. I’m not sure what went wrong. It was not abused and it was cleaned out daily.

If you have items you want a sprayed finish on but don’t want to use an airless pump every time then the Graco handheld may be a good addition to your inventory.

We first used them on doors. Since then we have used them to spray handrail spindles and it worked well. The handhelds are perfect for anything that wouldn’t take more then a gallon of paint.

Cabinet Painting Options

There are many cabinet painting options to consider as part of your cabinet painting or refinishing project.

This is the perfect time to decide if you would like to change your cabinet hardware. New pulls or knobs are a nice finishing touch to the cabinet painting project. The easiest thing is to pick pulls/knobs that match the holes you already have in your cabinet doors/drawers. If you do find new hardware that does not line up it is not a problem however. We can fill in existing holes with a special epoxy filler and drill new ones if need be.

There are many places to choose hardware from. I normally suggest someone go to a big box store and get one pull (on two hole doors/drawers) and make sure the size actually will work. You can then shop with confidence knowing the hardware you buy will fit. Many stores have displays of what they have available and the selection is endless on Amazon.

If you want to change out your hinges, now is the tie to do it. Simply take a hinge to match it and shop knowing it will work.

Soft-close hinges are an option. A little pricey but a nice touch. It makes sense to repaint your walls/ceilings as part of the project. Often customers want a complementary color on their walls and a fresh coat of paint on the ceiling always looks good.

After pulling out and sorting your cabinet contents it is nice to re-stock with cabinet organizers in place. Spice organizers, shelving, cooking utensil organizers… There are to many options to list here but the logical time to consider these is after your cabinets have been painted or refinished. Among cabinet painting options to consider is a new backsplash.

Ceramic tile and many other options are available as a peel and stick option. They look good and are not difficult to install.

Best Paint

I wish I had $5.00 for every time someone asked me what the best paint is.

Everyone wants the best used on their project and sometimes they are willing to pay the higher price for it too. Ha ha.

Millions of dollars are spent on advertising by companies to convince you they have the “best”.

Best Paint

The truth is most paint manufactures have good and not so good. Paint companies try to market to all demographics. People with money to spend and those on a budget.

One simple way to determine the quality of paint is to determine the percent of solids by volume. This information is available on a material data sheet. Not a material “safety” data sheet. If you go to a box store like Home Depot, etc. they aren’t going to know what you are asking for and you may get a strange look at even a paint store but this is valuable information to have.

The simplest way to understand this is to think of a gallon of paint. If the percent of solids is 50% then the other 50% is the solvent or water in latex products. The solvent evaporates off as the paint dries so 50% remains behind or on the surface of what you are painting. In general a product with 50% solids is going to be better then one with 40% solids. Do you want to buy a can 50% full or 40% full? The other 40 or 50% serve a purpose but go away as the paint dries/cures.

There are other considerations to consider like what the solids are, what the binder is, etc. but this is a simple way to know what you are buying.

If you buy a product from a reputable and well known brand and pick a product with high solids by volume you are likely getting a good product.

Shopping at a paint store is preferred for quality. Paint stores carry a better grade of products and the employees usually know the products they are selling.

If in doubt ask a painter. I like products from Benjamin Moore and PPG.

Popular White Colors

It can be difficult picking a color for your project. “White” is no different. There are so many variations of white. Whether you are painting your house, walls, or cabinets, picking the right shade of white can be a challenge.

The most popular white colors we use when painting cabinets are

  1. Togue white
  2. Decorators white
  3. Alabaster white
  4. Pure white
Togue, Decorators, Alabaster, Pure

We have used other whites as well but these four are the most popular. We have done cabinets in many other colors too; black, blue, green, etc.

Occasionally we are asked to glaze a set of cabinets or do a special finish on them but “white” is still the popular choice in Omaha.

One of the most important considerations when picking a cabinet color is lighting. Natural light is important but so is the amount of light you have from light fixtures in your kitchen.

White on cabinets almost always works. It is an important consideration if your kitchen doesn’t have enough light. Dark colors work best in kitchens with lots of light. Can lights and other light fixtures that can have the light direction adjusted work well with dark colors. Adjusting the lighting to accent the cabinets is a nice look.

Four other things to keep in mind are:

  1. Counter top colors
  2. Backsplash colors
  3. Floor color
  4. Wall color.

One other consideration often overlooked is the color of you appliances. Stainless steel works with everything. Black does not. White appliances with white cabinets may be too much.

White cabinets will make a kitchen look bigger. Darker colors will make the kitchen look and feel smaller.

One more thing to keep in mind is resale value. Refinishing cabinets is an expensive process and while you may like the color a prospective buy may not.

If you stick to the popular white colors or any other white color you will improve the appearance of your home, make the kitchen seem bigger and you will retain good resale value.

Painting an Obelisk

Painting an obelisk is something different. We are talking about a decorative wood obelisk for a garden. One problem paint contractors have, (that no one thinks about), is “what to do with leftover paint”. We try to give extra paint away but often no one wants it.

I’m certainly not going to throw paint in the trash and paying someone to dispose of it is crazy. I have been looking for creative ways to use the paint up. This past weekend I built this obelisk. It wasn’t hard but I was very surprised by the increase in wood prices. Crazy high. I ended up making the needed 2×2’s out of 2×4’s because I couldn’t find any quality 2×2’s. I bought Douglas Fir which is nice wood but expensive.

Douglas Fir. Strong and straight. It is going to be outdoors so we decided to prime it with STIX primer. This is a very good product. Fast drying and well it…sticks.

Great Primer

We sanded the piece down and gave it two coats of primer. For the finish I decided to go with Acri-Shield a PPG product. It is an exterior rated paint and a good top coat. Since we are trying to use up extra paint It was sprayed many times.

The color I used was one a previous customer had picked for their home. I didn’t think it looked very appealing on their home but it looks good on this. I also sprayed a rubberized water proofing coating on the bottom of the legs since they will have ground contact.


I’m not sure where this will end up but it will be placed outside so I will be attaching some type of anchor to the legs so it can be staked down. Don’t want it blowing over!

Painting an obelisk was easy although there was a lot of overspray. Next time it would be more efficient to roll the 2×2’s prior to assembly.

Which Room to Paint First

Which Room to Paint First

When hiring a painter, perhaps for the first time, it is hard to know which room to paint first when what you want painted is the interior of your occupied home.

The two most common questions I get when we are painting the interior of a customers home is:

  1. How long will it take.
  2. Where to start.

How long it will take comes down to two things.

  1. How difficult the job is.
  2. The amount of contents in the home.

Most residential jobs are not difficult. However the amount of stuff in the home can both slow the job down and make it more difficult at the same time. If there is a lot of “things” in the areas to be painted it will slow the job considerably. A bedroom full of children’s toys, furniture, posters on the wall, etc. can make a job miserable for both the painter and the customer. There are situations where there is so much in an area that the job must be rescheduled.

For example. A typical 10’x15′ bedroom with no contents may take a couple hours to paint start to finish. That same room full of “stuff” can take a full day.

A customer can greatly streamline the time it will take to do a job by reducing the contents of the areas to be painted.

Which room to paint first? Every job is unique but I usually recommend that the kitchen is first. This gets it out of the way and meals can go on as planned. Next would be bathrooms for similar reasons. One at a time of course. Common areas like living rooms, hallways, stairways are next and bedrooms are last.

Occasionally we use a different approach. Sometimes taking care of a child’s room first gives them a space away from the project as it progresses and is less stressful for the child

The goal is to do a professional job with the least disruption to the customer.

Painting A Historic Building

Painting a historic building has many twists and turns. Historic buildings almost always have lead based paint that must be mitigated. I’ve yet to run into one that didn’t have lead based paint. The other main concern is there is always others involved in the project that have concerns with the painting process. The main concerns are centered on preserving the original colors and using processes that minimize impact upon the surfaces to be painted. Sometimes we run into people concerned with safety but that is not common.

We do not get involved with lead mitigation so when we are on site the mitigation has already been done. In most cases the lead mitigation is scraping and removal of the lead based paint and then sealing/priming the various surfaces.

We are on the front side of a project in Louisville Nebraska that is a historic building. There are always bureaucratic hurdles to deal with such as color submissions and scope of work submissions. The process of doing a project is always slow. If you recognize that upfront it makes things less stressful. Travel time to this project is worth noting. We do a lot of work in Western Omaha, Elkhorn area so travel is something we are accustomed to.

To start we will be doing the interior of the building. No decision has been shared with us on the exterior yet. We will be doing mostly walls, doors and trim. I believe we will be doing white walls/gray trim. Like I said the process on painting a historic building is slow so we will update this post as the work progresses.

Color Trends For 2022

Every year a new color is proclaimed as the color of the year. Here I will give you what the industry is saying and also my own observations for color trends in Omaha for 2022.


The various paint manufactures have their own opinion on what is trending and each has their own choice for color of the year. Everyone has their own opinion. There isn’t ONE color of the year. The same can be said for what is trending.

If you do a search for color of the year or what is trending you will see many results.

The color of the year:

  1. Pittsburg Paint- Olive Sprig
  2. Benjamin Moore- October Mist
  3. Behr- Breezeway
  4. Valspar- 12 colors they couldn’t pick just one I guess.
  5. Dunn Edwards- Art and Craft
  6. Pantone- Very Peri
  7. Glidden- Guacamole
  8. Sherwin Williams- Evegreen Fog

What is trending is different depending on where you live. East Coast, West Coast… Nationwide the color trends for 2022 is as follows.

  • Greens and gray with yellow undertones.
  • Blues and green, with gray undertones.
  • Pinks and peach and deep brick tones.
  • Violet, Lilac and Deep berry are new.
  • Clean bright primary colors as accents.

Here in Omaha the color trends are earth tones and whites for exterior colors.

Front door colors are going more toward something bold like bright yellow, red, blue.

Interior colors are all over the place. As varied as peoples personalities. Accent walls are still popular in Omaha and the surrounding areas.

On cabinets we have seen a shift from the Whites (which are still popular) to blues, greens and very dark colors like blacks and very dark blues. Last year many people were having their cabinets painted white and doing something completely different on the kitchen island. Usually a darker color. This is less popular this year.