2000—Y2K end of the world

2001—Anthrax will kill us

2002—West Nile Virus will kill us

2003—SARS will kill us

2005—Bird Flu will kill us

2006—Ecoli will kill us

2008—Financial Collapse will kill us

2009—Swine flu will kill us

2012—Mayan calendar predicts the world is doomed

2012—MERS will kill us

2013—North Korea is going to start WWIII

2014—Ebola Virus will kill us

2015—ISIS will kill us

2016—Zika Virus will kill us

2019—MRSA will kill us

2020—CoronaVirus will kill us


When To Prime

Most everyone knows what primer is but not necessarily when to prime. Let’s look at three types of primers. Stain blocking primer, adhesion primer and a general sealing primer and when to prime various surfaces.

Stain blocking primer is used of course for stains. Stains like water stains, smoke, rust, tannin. They can also be used for things like marker or crayon. Normally anything that will bleed through the top coat. In almost all cases you are better off using a solvent based primer. Regardless of the stain, I suggest a quick sand to scuff things up a bit and then two coats of primer. Allow adequate dry time between coats. You should have no difficulty with the top coat.

Adhesion primer is used on difficult to paint surfaces or as part of a coating system. We use an adhesion primer when painting cabinets. We may also use a stain blocking primer when we have tannins bleeding through the cabinet surfaces. Adhesion primer would be used for example on tile, ceramic tile, plastics, etc.

General sealing primer is most often used when you need to seal a surface before painting. For example, repair work to drywall. You would want to seal the new drywall repaired areas before painting so you have a nice uniform surface prior to painting. If this is not done you will most likely see the areas that were repaired after painting. Especially with higher sheen coatings like semi-gloss.

drywall mud repairs
sealed and primed

It is not uncommon to see primers that use all these terms interchageably. You may find a latex drywall primer that claims to also be a stain “killer” or an adhesion primer that is labeled as a stain blocker as well. Many of these products may or may not work as advertised or that claim to work if you put enough coats on. As a general rule, I suggest using specific primers for specific tasks.

A great adhesion primer is zip sand. It’s thixotropic. Which means it’s very thick but becomes less viscous as you stir it or agitate it. It really sticks and sands beautifully.

A very good stain blocking primer is BIN primer. It is a shellac based product. Which is the “big gun” in the stain killer world. If BIN wont seal a stain you have a problem. Occasionally a top coat won’t like the alcohol base BIN is made in and the top coat will wrinkle. It doesn’t happen often but if it does then Cover Stain is a good choice.

Speedhide Maxprime is a good latex wall primer for drywall repairs or new drywall. No need for an expensive “primer” for drywall/repairs. The more expensive products don’t perform any better. Often on drywall repairs, a dead flat latex paint will suffice for priming those areas before painting.

Knowing when to prime is easy compared to navigating the vast number of products out there. The three products above will cover most any priming need you may have.

Painting Terms

Every industry has it’s own language. The paint business is no different. If you know the language you can sound like a pro or at least understand one. The following painting terms can have you sounding like an expert in no time.

Paint: Obvious. A combination of a binder, filler, pigment and a solvent. Can be water based, solvent based or a hybrid coating.

Latex: Water based product. Latex is the term for a suspension of polymer particles in water.  Most common type of residential paint. Soap and water cleanup. Fast drying. External and internal use.

Enamel: Traditionally oil based. Today many water based products available. The resin typically dries hard and glossy.

Off White: Refers to the color. Any white but a pure white.

Acrylic: Water based product. Dries quickly. Acrylic polymer suspended in water. Becomes water resistant when dry. Tough finish. The term is often used interchangeably with latex.

Ceiling White: A flat white paint. Normally a brighter white with a thicker formulation (filler) to minimize splatter. Typically inexpensive product.

Sheen: The gloss level of the paint. Flat, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss, gloss. There is no standard from one manufacturer to another.

A five: Five gallon bucket of paint. Can also refer to a five in one. A painters tool.

A single: One gallon of paint.

Drop: Drop cloths. Used to cover the floor.

Frame: The roller frame. A roller cover goes on it. 9″ is most common.

Pole: An extension pole. Used on the frame.

Grid: The wire mesh that goes in a bucket to roll paint off of.

Stain Blocker: The best are solvent based. Used to seal stains before painting.

Cover: A roller cover. 9″ in most common.

Nap: The thickness of the roller cover.

Primer: Applied to surfaces before painting. Promotes adhesion.

Sealer: Applied to porous surfaces to seal or level the surface out.

Cut In: Brush work. Running a paint line along the ceiling, baseboards, etc.

Roll: Using a frame to roll paint on the surface.

Lay off: A final roll in the same direction (usually down) to level the paint out.

Picture framing: A noticeable band in the finish. You can see the cut line VS the roll.

Hat Banding: Same as picture framing but only refers to the ceiling cut line.

Dry Time: There are two types. Dry to the touch and dry to re-coat.

There are a lot of painting terms. It is easy to take for granted that everyone know what you are taking about. These are the most common.

Save Money When Painting

I am often asked for ways to save money when painting. There are several things you can do that will make it easier for a Paint Contractor to do his job. The easier and more efficient a job is the less expensive it will be to do.

The first way to save money when painting is don’t buy the paint yourself. Many homeowners believe they will save money by doing this. Most of the time it is not the case. We buy a higher quality paint and pay less for it then the public. Most Paint Contractors get special pricing. The better the relationship the painter has with their supplier the better the price. We don’t mark up the price of paint. Some contractors do but many don’t.

On interior work, the less there is to work around the easier the job will go. It is easier to paint an empty room then one full of stuff. You may not be able to completely empty a room but the less there is in there the better. It may cost more to paint a room full of furnishings. Most Paint Contractors will charge more because they will have to work around everything or spend time moving things.

In most cases doing things like removing switch plates or filling holes in the wall won’t translate into cost savings. Most Paint Contractors prefer to fix drywall issues/holes themselves.

On exterior work, again the less there is to work around the better. If there are trees or branches in the way it will slow things down. Large wood piles against the home. Sheds built too close, these are things a Paint Contractor will take into consideration when preparing an estimate. It will greatly speed things up if decks are clear of things like grills, toys, etc. Front porches loaded down with furniture will slow the process down too.

It never hurts to ask your Paint Contractor if there is anything you can do to make things easier for them. The easier the job is the cheaper it will likely be for you.

Paint Industry Insights

Paint industry insights for the Omaha market. There are several trends in the local market that are holding strong.


The trend has been to paint previously stained cabinets. This has been the case for several years and appears to continue this year. We do cabinet jobs every month and many customers are going from the classic stained oak to an off white. Another trend this past year has been to go with a different color on the cabinets on an island in the kitchen. Most common is a sharp contrast color which is dark. Dark browns, dark blues, etc.

We have done many glaze cabinet jobs. This is where we put a glaze over the painted cabinet and seal it with a clear coat. The numbers for this type of cabinet job continues to grow. Re-staining to a different color is loosing popularity.


Like cabinets, the trend has been for painting the trim in a home to an off white. Getting away from the golden oak color that was so popular years ago. This holds steady too. Many customers are also doing a two tone color scheme on the stairways. The newel posts and spindles one color and the handrail another.


The trend for putting epoxy on garage floors has fallen significantly. First the trend was to put an epoxy on the garage floor and broadcast decorative flake into it. Then the flake lost popularity. Now tit appears that the epoxy is trending out as well.

Accent Walls

Increasing in popularity. Many of the interior repaint jobs we do incorporate an accent wall. Usually a bright vibrant color.


Earth tones still dominate the Omaha market. Taupe is very popular.


Almost completely gone. We have very few wallpaper jobs that are not commercial jobs.

Exterior Repaints

Again earth tones are still the most popular. Minimal trim color in the front of the home is the most common. Usually around windows or trim boards.


Water based (latex) paint dominates the market. The past two years has seen an upsurge in the hybrid water based or water borne coatings. “Oil” paints, “urethane” paints that are soap and water cleanup. These are alkyd or urethane emulsions. They have been around for years but are becoming more readily available and popular for trim and cabinets.

These are the paint industry insights for the early spring of 2020.

We’re Growing

We’re Growing

We have been at our Bellevue location for a couple years and we’re growing a bit more. In April we will be expanding into space next to our current Bellevue location.

With the additional space we will have an enlarged spray booth and larger prep area. This added space will enable us to deliver on a greater number of cabinet projects.

We have been at max capacity in the space we currently have so the additional space is definitely something we are looking forward to.

When the space is set up we will post some pictures of the additional area.

Time to Hire a Pro?

One of the most cost effective ways to dress up your home is to apply a fresh coat of paint to the interior or exterior. To guarantee a successful project with minimal impact to your lifestyle consider hiring a professional Paint Contractor. When it’s time to hire a pro consider the following.

Meet the Paint Contractor. The best time to do this is when an estimate is being done. Ask questions. Do you have any specific concerns? This is the perfect time to have those concerns addressed. Ask how long the project should take. Does the Paint Contractor do the work in-house or do they sub work out. Subbing work out is becoming more common and it is a problem. There is little to no quality control, you have no idea who will be working on your home and you have little control over the people showing up at your house. I suggest you stay away from any company that subs work out. It is full of pitfalls.

Insurance. Insurance is a big expense. It is however necessary. The contractor should have both liability and workers compensation insurance. If in doubt ask for a certificate of coverage. If the Paint Contractor does commercial work they will be very familiar with how to get an insurance certificate to you. All commercial jobs require that proof of insurance be provided. Another pitfall of having subcontractors on your project is that there is almost always no insurance coverage. If there is damage to your home or someone gets hurt it will cause a major problem.

Experience. Been there done that! There is no substitution for experience. Everyone has to learn but preferably not on your home! Hire a Paint contractor with a long tract record of success. The more experience the better for you.

When it is time to hire a pro, if you follow the guidelines above you will be well on your way to a successful home project.

Painting Over Wallpaper

Painting over wallpaper is something you can do successfully. We remove lots of wallpaper and occasionally put up new. Sometimes removing wallpaper is more trouble then it’s worth. In that situation we suggest painting over it.

To be able to paint over your wallpaper it must be tightly bound to your walls. If the wallpaper is tightly bound to the wall the the next step is to clean the paper. a damp cloth and a mild laundry detergent works well. I like Dawn dish soap. Be sure to rinse the walls using a clean damp cloth. It is important to not over saturate the walls with water or you may have a problem with how well the paper sticks to the wall.

The next step is to prep the walls for painting. Tape off the base, remove stitch plates, etc. You will want to use an oil base primer over the wallpaper. We do two coats. After priming you will want to look at the paper for any open seams, tears, on the wallpaper. These imperfections will need to be skim coated with drywall mud. After drying you will sand smooth and re-prime those areas.

Now you should be ready for the finish coat. If you notice any bubbles that rise up in the paper, they will need to be cut out, have mud applied and sanded, then primed. Sometimes you can get all the way to the finish coat before bubble form. Just cut them out and mud.

Two coats finish are best. Painting over wallpaper isn’t hard at all.

Modified Polymer Coatings

Modified polymer coatings are used when enhanced durability is needed. They offer abrasion and chemical resistance but also have an additional benefit. Most are less sensitive to colder environments. Once they are activated they will cure even in cold temperatures. Sometimes the time to dry is extended but they will cure out.

An extended dry time can pose a problem when there is the risk of someone coming into contact with the painted surface like what we just had painting doors and frames and some structural steel at a transit station for the City of Omaha. The areas were enclosed to protect the painted surfaces from blowing debris and so we could pump some heat into those areas.

The coating we used was difficult to work with. It was a two component modified polymer urethane. High performance coatings like this are often two component. The tinted base is mixed with an activator. You can also add some solvent to try to extend the dry time and make it easier to work with.

This urethane did not brush well. Between the cold temperatures and a difficult product to work with, this was not a fun job to do. We managed to prep the frames, doors and structural steel and get the first coat applied one day and return two days later for the second coat. The dry time was extended because of the cold.

The end result was good. The finish is very durable and will look great for years to come.

Brick Staining vs Paiting

Many times each year we are asked to paint or stain brick. Interior and exterior. Let’s discuss brick staining vs painting.


I like the look of brick but sometimes change is good. I must admit, I still cringe a bit when asked to paint or stain a customers brick. Whether you stain or paint your brick bear in mind either approach should be considered a permanent decision.

Whether painting or staining, much of the approach is the same. The first step is to determine if the brick has a sealer on it. The easiest way to do this is by putting some water on the surface and see if the water beads up. If so the brick likely has a sealer on it. This you will want to remove. Easiest way to do this is by using lacquer thinner. You will want to wear eye protection and chemically resistant gloves. We often use scratchy pads and the lacquer thinner. It is easiest to do it a brick at a time and then wipe with a clean rag.

If staining the brick, you will need to decide if you want a water based or solvent based stain. The water based is easier to work with. The solvent based often has a sealant as part of it.


If painting the brick, you will want to use a primer first. On exterior brick we power wash the surface prior to using the primer. I like some of the better water based primers like Gripper. We use this product often.

When staining you will want to apply a uniform coat from top to bottom. It is also a good idea to give the stain a stir from time to time because the stains tend to separate. When painting you will want to apply 2 coats after priming. It is a good idea to scrub the coating in by brush into the porous areas like the mortar.

Between the two systems, brick staining vs painting, painting will prove to be more durable. It is also easier to change the color by repainting if you like.