Wallpaper is still popular on commercial jobs. We are currently doing some wallpaper as part of a new Woodhouse Mazda project in Bellevue. It is not very popular on residential jobs. What we do most often is remove wallpaper on home projects.

It is best to remove wallpaper when possible but sometimes it is better to seal it and paint over it when it is going to cause too much damage to the walls in the removal process. When this situation arises the process is time consuming but not as bad as what is involved with wall repair when the paper won’t come off easy.

The first step is to make sure the paper is truly well adhered to the wall. Sometimes the paper is tight at the seams because they have been glued but the paper is fairly loose beyond that. If it has a good bond then you should be good to proceed. The areas need to be taped off for painting. Next is two coats of a quality oil base primer. Make sure to wait a fair amount of time between coats to insure the first coat is dry.

Oil Priming Wallpaper

Any bubbles that may appear will need to be cut out and re-primed. Those bubbled areas will need to be skimmed over with drywall mud as well as all the wallpaper seams.

The areas that get drywall mud will need to be sanded and re-mudded as needed. Sand all those areas smooth and double prime with an alkyd primer.

Now it is a standard 2 coats of finish and clean-up. This system works but can be a bit time consuming. As long as you don’t cut corners it will work great. One note of caution. When dealing with an alkyd or oil base product, clean up is more of a challenge. Pay attention to any drips, etc. Clean them up while wet.

Dreaded Paint Blister

Dreaded Paint Blister

There are a few reasons you may get a blister on a new or newer exterior paint job. One reason is if the paint is applied within the dew point. You have probably heard a weather man mention the dew point and wondered what the heck is that or “why do I care about that”? The dew point is the temperature at which the moisture in the air will condense on a surface. Like moisture on the side of a cold beer glass. If you paint within the dew point the paint can’t adhere to the painted surface because of that moisture so it cures to itself. It’s just hanging there and will eventually form a bubble or bubbles.

This is easy to avoid. Paint only when the exterior temperatures are many degrees above the dew point and not expected to drop into or below the dew point until the paint has had a chance to cure. This type of failure is common when exterior painting is done in the fall or early spring and the painter isn’t monitoring the weather. If the painting is done in the fall you may not see the failure until next year in the spring or summer.

The “dreaded paint blister” as I like to call them is when the blister is formed because the original coating fails after a new coat of paint is applied over it. Normally there are many older coats of paint and it is on a older home with cedar or redwood lap siding.

There is no way to foresee this type of failure. These homes often pass through power washing without the paint coming off and there is no magic coating or primer to put on the home prior to painting to prevent this from happening. You just have to deal with it after the fact and here is how.

  1. Cut out the bubbles.
  2. Prime the area with an alkyd primer. I like XIM 400 white.
  3. After the primer has dried. I wait 24 hours. Skim over the area with a quality exterior spackle. I like MH Ready Patch.
  4. Sand the areas smooth and reapply more spackle if necessary.
  5. Prime again with the alkyd primer.
  6. Paint the areas again.

I will paint the patched areas after they have been primed and then repaint that side of the house again so it has good coverage and blends in well.

The “dreaded paint blister” is one of the last things I want to discover on a project. They can become very time consuming when fixed correctly.


We took delivery today of a new Man lift. You only have to rent one a few times and it’s paid for. We have rented various lifts for so long it just makes sense to buy one now with all the commercial work we have on the books for the rest of the year.

We got a smoking deal on this one. About half what similar ones are going for!! Will make changing the light bulbs in the shop so much easier. Ha ha.

Epoxy Floor

Epoxy Floor

epoxy floors
Mid Grind

Epoxy floors are labor intensive but they sure look beautiful when done. To do the job correctly, you must grind the floor. Some people don’t. Big mistake.

We use a hand grinder in hard to get to places like this job. There was no way we could get an upright grinder down the staircase so on our knees we went.

epoxy floors

A vacuum system is essential when grinding concrete. So are ear plugs. It’s a very loud process. If you don’t use a good HEPA vacuum system you will very quickly fill the room to the point of not being able to see. Breathing that is very bad too.

After the grinding is complete we use a special concrete patch material to fill cracks and holes. There are very few patch materials that can do the job and be top coated. The 2 component material we use can be top coated in 8 hours but we wait 24.

epoxy floors

The patch material must be sanded after it’s cured. After which we vacuum again.

The primer coat is next. We double prime our epoxy floor jobs. On this job we are using MegaSeal primer and self leveling top coat. Once you get to this stage it is very important to observe the re-coat windows. How long you wait before applying the next coat and the maximum amount of time you can wait to recoat. Not paying attention to this is disastrous.

The self leveling product we used for the top coat is MegaSeal. Not an easy product to use. The pot life, or how long you have before it sets up, is about half of what they advertise so you have to work quickly. It is mixed up, poured out and spread on the floor. It gets cross rolled in two directions and then before it sets up we use a spike roller on it to release any air bubbles. All of this is done while wearing spike shoes. I haven’t fallen yet but I have had many close calls. This process is done again after the first coat cures over 24 hours.

A finished epoxy floor.

Sprayed Ceilings

Sprayed ceilings are very common on commercial jobs where the ceiling structure is exposed.

Sometimes a homeowner wants the same effect. These photos are from an older home in the North/West part of Omaha. The exposed structure was redwood so tannin bleed was a concern. We normally use an oil based product to seal the surface but decided to try a latex product instead. The big plus with using a latex or water based sealer is low odor.

Using the latex product worked but it required 3 coats to lock in the tannin bleed. Fair trade off in my opinion. This room had no windows and ventilation was a concern. Because the homeowner picked a dark color it also required a couple coats of the finish color. We decided to use an exterior grade product for the finish for durability and hide.

When you spray such a large volume of paint in a small area like this there is a dramatic increase in humidity as the paint dries. To combat this we had several fans going. We still had a problem with condensation on the exposed duct work. We would normally turn the air conditioning off before spraying but since it was a typical Omaha summer day we decided to spray the duct work in very light coats and then put the fans on them to speed drying.

Sprayed ceilings can be a challenge sometimes. This one turned out good. Next we will prep and paint the walls and a couple doors and trim. The floor is also getting an epoxy coating.

No Parking

I am referring to NO Parking signs. We have a great shop and a great location but the big pain is parking. Our neighbor is a mechanic and the onslaught of vehicles constantly parking in our spots is irritating. Arrgg.

We have purchased so many signs over the last 6 months, we should start making our own. Interior shop signs, exterior, vehicle signs… and now No Parking.

Hope they get the message.

Stripe It

We recently did a round of repaints on the Fazoli’s in Omaha, Council Bluffs, Bellevue and Lincoln. When we were done they asked if we could stripe their parking lots.

This is not a difficult task. I think the biggest challenge is finding a time when there is limited traffic and getting a clean surface to stripe.

We went with the traditional yellow and blue for handicap parking and used a latex product for ease of use and quick drying. I was surprised how fast this stuff dried. We could walk on it in 5 minutes. Also surprising was how durable it was. It was difficult to scrape out of a plastic bucket. An unscientific indicator of a paints adhesion and durability.

We haven’t done lot striping before and I wasn’t sure if we would again so I didn’t spend a couple grand on a striping machine. I found an inexpensive rig that worked great. It is something we will use again. You simply attach your airless gun to the rig and your good to go. The Airless pump we were using was not gas driven so we used a generator for power and maneuverability. We are very happy with this setup and will be striping again soon.

It’s All About The Base

Paint base that is. I had a conversation with my foreman the other day and we were discussing how badly some colors cover or hide when in a neutral tint base.

Often the reason for this is the color base that is being used. The culprit is what is called a neutral tint base. It is essentially clear and all the color and hide comes from the colorant or tint being put into that gallon of paint. The base itself has no hide what so ever. I have a standing order at my supplier to Never give me a neutral tint product but sometimes one slips by. Argg

The reason there are neutral tint bases is that some colors can only be mixed up in a neutral tint base or a base for that color. For example red is often a color that is difficult. It is either mixed up in a neutral tint base or a red base. If your paint supplier has a red base you have no problem. If they don’t then be prepared for many many coats of paint.

The single biggest expense on a paint job is labor. If someone has to paint something several times it will cost the employer more and the customer more.

One time many years ago. Actually a couple decades ago we were painting a Wendy’s restaurant. It had a green band and a red band going around the top of the restaurant. No one in Omaha at that time had a red paint base. I knew we were in trouble but had no idea how bad. I had two guys start at the front of the restaurant. One went left the other right. They passed each other at the back of the restaurant and kept going round and round. I lost count of how many times they circled that place but it was many. A lot of coats. We were going over a white primer we actually tinted a bit red kinda knowing what was coming.

The point is neutral bases suck! Avoid them at all cost. When you have to load lots of tint into a paint to achieve a color not only do you loose hide but you loose many of the components that make a quality paint because they have to make room for all that colorant.

Another quick example is one time we needed to paint a door black. Black is traditionally a factory mix color. It’s already black just needing to be tweaked a bit. My supplier didn’t have a factory black so they loaded a neutral base with black. Big big mistake. There was so much tint the paint would never dry. It never did. Days later it was still a tacky mess. I wasn’t directly involved with that project so I didn’t know there was a problem until it was brought to my attention. That customer got a new door at the paint companies expense.

Direct To Metal

Direct To Metal

The exterior painting season has begun for 2020. We got to kick the season off by painting a barn. My vision of a barn is like Green Acres. If you remember that show I imagine we were born in the same decade. Anyhow it was actually a metal building. A pole barn. This would require a direct to metal coating.

We ended up doing both the interior and exterior. The prep was similar to most exteriors. One thing that was a pain was the exterior had lots of vine suckers. The remnants of where vines were attached to the exterior. These are always difficult to remove. Even on metal. It is amazing to me how well those things stick. We typically use sanders and then spot prime the areas that are sanded. It takes lots of labor to do it right.

The choice of color was nice. An attractive red with white trim. A real improvement in my opinion. The interior went all white and the homeowner decided to not paint a few of the trusses inside which was a nice look but a lot of masking labor off of scaffolding.

Using the right direct to metal coating and proper prep turned this pole barn into a showpiece.

Roll Like A Pro

Roll Like A Pro

By roll I actually mean rolling a wall and not how you carry yourself throughout the day.

When painting a room or the exterior of your home for that matter the typical choice of paint frame is the classic 9″. These are commonly found in all home improvement and paint stores. The quality of the frames offered runs the spectrum. Very cheap to contractor grade. I encourage people to always buy the best quality when it comes to tools. It more then pays for itself. Like the quality of the frame is the quality of the cover. Spend some money for a quality cover. A quality 1/2″ nap cover will be money well spent. When done clean it and use again in the future.

Another consideration when picking a paint frame is the 14″. Not a big as an 18″ which is typically used on floors and can prove unwieldy when used on walls. The 14″ frame is my preferred size. The motion when painting is the same but your coverage is much better. Only drawback in my opinion is you will have to roll out of a speed bucket and not out of a five gallon bucket which is the choice of most paint contractors.

We of course use both 9″ and 14″ frames. Wennie rollers and 18″ frames too. On most jobs we will break out a wennie roller, 9″ and 14″. All are used depending on the need.

It’s amazing what coverage and speed you can get when handing a 14″ frame/cover to someone that knows how to swing one. It dramatically cuts to time to do a job and I think the results and finish is better. I actually got the title of this post from a customer. She was amazed at the size and speed of a 14″ frame ans said “you roll like a pro”. Ha ha.

On your next project consider trying a 14″frame/cover. You too can roll like a pro!