• Q Smelly PaintAll paint has an odor associated with it. Solvent based products have a strong smell and even latex paint will have an odor; just not as strong. What we are discussing is paint that just smells awful. I have had people often ask me why paint sometimes smells like bad milk.On commercial job-sites I have employees bring smelly paint to my attention and think someone has urinated into open five gallon buckets of paint. Which does happen believe it or not.The culprit is bacteria. Just like with milk, bacteria will grow in a latex product and produce a strong odor. This normally happens in an older open can of paint but can also occur in any open can where bacteria can get introduced and grow.Smelly paint is often an indication of bacteria growth. In solvent based products this is not a problem because the solvents kills bacteria. You can sometimes use the product if there is no visible growth or mold but my suggestion is to get rid of it. It is possible to transfer that odor to what you are painting even if the paint appears to be good in all other respects.If you have already applied a latex product that has an odor to it and it appears sound in all other respects, the fix is to apply a sealer. Preferably a solvent based one and repaint. I would suggest tinting the sealer to your finish coat to make coverage easier when you repaint.
  • Q Door StainingDoor staining is not difficult with a little know how and the right tools. Not surprisingly the most important component is the stain. There are the big box store stains and the stains available from paint stores. Even among paint stores there are some that are garbage. I like Gemini stains and prefer to use them when possible. There are some others that are good as well. I've previously discussed the different types of stain and for theses doors, pictured below, I used a mineral spirit based wiping stain. [caption id="attachment_3221" align="alignnone" width="300"]door staining Stain Match[/caption] Besides the stain you will need a good area to work in with good ventilation. Sand paper or sanding sponges, gloves, rags, a few throw away brushes and I like to apply my stain with sheepskin scraps. stain tools Once you have your work area picked out and the floor protected you will want to lightly sand the doors. I normally use about 120 grit paper. Then wipe them down with a clean rag. door staining  On raised panel doors I like to stain the panels first. This is a good area for the brush. To get the stain into all the seams around the trimmed out areas. I next stain the horizontal panels and then the vertical ones. These doors were made from oak so no pre-treatment or wood conditioner was necessary prior to staining. On softer woods or woods with open grain it is usually a good idea to precondition the wood to make the appearance uniform. I make my own wood conditioner and will discuss that in a future post. There are wood conditioners available for sale if you need one. door staining horizontals The appearance of the stain can be adjusted by many means. How long the stain is left on the wood prior to wiping, how it is applied, how much you sand, if you precondition the wood or not, etc. If you stain a door and discover it is not quite what you want, you can darken it by staining again or by "dry brushing" addition stain onto the surface. door staining done These doors were stained on saw horses. If you need to stain larger doors, a trick is to nail a piece of wood at the top of the door and lean it against a wall. door stain leaning to wall against wall Because you can adjust the look by so many means I recommend first staining a piece of the same type of wood so you know what you need to do when ready for the door or doors. Once the doors are stained you can lightly sand and seal/finish with your preferred finish. These doors got 3 coats of Pre-Catalyzed lacquer. 
  • Q Can Frozen Paint Be Saved?Can frozen paint be saved? While we would never use frozen or even leftover paint for a customers project, we are often asked if paint left in the garage or likely frozen paint can still be used.Paints are composed of liquids and solids held in suspension. With latex paint most of the liquid is water and the solids are suspended into that water. When the water freezes the solids are often squeezed out of the water, become separated and no amount of mixing will force the solids back into suspension.The separation of water and the solids is a process and often it will take more then 1 freeze to render the paint unusable. How hard or complete the paint freezes is also a factor.In my experience many latex paints can slightly freeze 2 or 3 times and be salvaged. A quick indicator is the consistency of the paint after it is remixed. Pour the paint from one container into another. Does it appear smooth or does it have a consistency of cottage cheese? If it is lumpy it's no longer good.If the appearance is good you will still want to test it. Often the paint may look ok but when used there is often differences in the sheen. It looks streaky or nonuniform on the substrate. Put some one a piece of drywall to check appearance and see how well it adheres.If after testing the paint it appears ok, it may be safe to use on a small project or touch-up.Frozen paint can still sometimes be used but the safer bet is to use that frozen paint to get a paint match and complete your project with a quality paint you can have full confidence in.
  • Q Picking a Paint Color for Your ClosetPicking a Paint Color for Your ClosetWhile most rooms have some sort of closet, there is so little conversation about what color to paint these useful spaces. Since they each have varying degrees of visibility, there are many different options to consider with color choices. While there are no rules for these areas, here are some general guidelines you can consider for the closets in your home.Amount of VisibilityClosets come in all shapes and sizes. Many homes have a coat closet in the entry way to hang their jackets and coats, and those that belong to guests. This is one that more people will see than inside your linen or cleaning supply closet, which usually has a closing hinged door. Most interior designers will tell you to just paint the inside of these closets the same color as the surrounding walls. If the closet is especially dark or in a poorly lit area, using a lighter version of the surrounding color is a great way to add a little variety and brighten the space. If you want a more dramatic feel, you can always add a light, neutral color that complements the rest of the room.Other closets are more open, like a walk-in closet, which is practically another room. There are three main options in these types of closets that are ideal from a design stand point. You can paint the closet:
    • The same as the bedroom. This gives the entire master suite a more cohesive feel.
    • A complementary color. While keeping the room still in the same color palette, the room is still a part of the suite’s overall feeling, but still a separate space.
    • Neutral light color. This option is most ideal for a walk-in closet that does not have any windows. This allows the room to feel bigger, but also increases the visibility in the space.
    The color in these big closets matter and will change how you feel in the space.Use of the ClosetAnother thing to consider is what the closet is used for. Since these spaces are so handy for storage, there are all kinds of directions you can go with color choices. Three good examples are storage closets, guest room closets, and laundry closets.Storage Closets. If you are storing holiday décor, camping gear, or anything you use several times a year, it is important to go with a light, or ever white paint color inside the closet. This increases the visibility in the closet, especially with a glossier sheen, and makes the space feel cleaner and organized. If you are storing memboralia, photos, or even random items that you have stuffed in there, a darker color is more ideal because it preserves the items or hides the junk a little better.Guest Room Closets. There are two definite directions to go with these closets. You can go with a white interior to make the room seem cleaner or go with a darker color to make it more stylish. Depending on the room colors, you might feel like one option goes more naturally than another. This is one of the closets that there is more freedom of design here.Laundry Closets. The best paint color for a laundry room Is a lighter color, even white. This gives the space a cleaner feel, which is the entire purpose of the closet.Making a ChoiceClosets are a great space for you to get creative with your tastes. They are a critical part to each room, yet the color options have no set rules to guide you in your choices. Next time you walk by a closet, think about the pop of color it could provide or the color that could lighten it all up and make the space seem fresh and clean.
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