Posts Tagged ‘painting’

Spring Checklist

Take advantage of the moderate temperatures to get a head start on what should be an annual spring home maintenance routine. EXTERIOR INSPECTION “It’s good to do a walk-around of your property, especially after a storm,” says Curtis S. Niles, Sr., owner of Armored Home Inspections, Upper Darby, PA, and president of the National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI). “Winter is tough on roofs and chimneys.” It can also take its toll on windows, walls, foundations, gutters and decks. Roof. You don’t need to climb up there yourself; with binoculars and a keen eye, you can probably spot trouble. Do you see any shingle-shift, suggesting that some fasteners may have failed and need replacing? Any cracked or missing shingles? What about nail-pops? “We call them eyebrows,” Niles explains. “It’s when nails push the tabs of the shingles up, allowing water to get in where those nails are coming through.” All will need to be addressed to keep your roof at peak performance. Chimneys. If you have a masonry chimney, check the joints between bricks or stones. Have any fallen out? Is there vegetation growing out of them? Each signals water infiltration. Also, look for efflorescence—”a white calcium-like deposit that indicates your masonry joints are no longer repelling water but absorbing it,” says Niles. Consider re-sealing masonry with a clear, impermeable or water-resistant barrier material (like Thoroseal products). Brush it on, small areas at a time; let it absorb for 15 minutes, then reapply—it may need a couple of applications. Exterior Walls. Whether you have wood siding, stucco or brick, look for trouble spots, especially under eaves and near gutter downspouts. Water stains normally indicate that your gutters are not adequately containing roof runoff. If you have wood siding, check for openings, damaged areas or knots that have popped out, making way for carpenter ants, woodpeckers and other critters that may nest in or burrow through. Foundations. When inspecting the exterior of your home, be sure to examine the foundation from top to bottom for masonry cracks. “Routine caulking by homeowners won’t do the job,” says Niles. “Hire a foundation specialist who can employ a two-part epoxy injection system that will bond cracks chemically,” he adds. Windows. Leakage around windows will admit warm summer air and let cooled indoor air escape, so be sure to check that any caulking and weather stripping you have in place has remained intact. “A tight seal is the first line of defense against air and water,” says Marty Davis, marketing manager, Simonton Windows, Columbus, OH. If you experienced condensation inside the glass on double- or triple-glazed windows during the winter months, the weather seal has been compromised, and either the glass or the window will need to be replaced. Spring-clean your windows—inside and out—with a store-bought or homemade window cleaner (one cup rubbing alcohol, one cup water and a tablespoon of white wine vinegar will work just fine) and either a squeegee or a soft cloth. Never use abrasive cleaners or a high-pressure spray washer. You don’t want to scratch the glass or crack the caulking around each unit. If screens were on all winter, remove and clean them with mild detergent. Lay them on a dry surface, like a driveway to air-dry before putting them back on. “Never power-wash screens,” urges Davis, “it could damage the mesh.”

General Cleaning. Spring is a good time to clean areas of the house that often go neglected. Dust or vacuum chair rails, window casings, tops of wall-mounted cabinets and ceiling fans. Launder or dry-clean fabric draperies and use a damp cloth to clean wood and vinyl blinds. Vacuum upholstered furniture and mattresses and consider renting a carpet cleaner—anything you can do to remove settled dust, mites, and allergens will make for a cleaner, and healthier, home.

If you detect grease residue in the kitchen, consider washing cabinets, backsplashes and walls with warm water and mild detergent. The same is true in the bathroom, where soap residue and fluctuations in heat and humidity combine to create the perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew. While you’re cleaning tile, look for areas of worn or missing grout, as these may lead to more serious water damage if not repaired.

Air Conditioning. Just as you readied your furnace for fall, now is the time to make sure that air conditioning units are in good working order for the warmer months ahead. Change the filter, check hose connections for leaks, and make sure the drain pans are draining freely. In addition, vacuum any dust that has settled on the unit and connections; over time it can impact the air conditioner’s effectiveness. If you suspected problems with the efficiency or performance of the unit last summer, now is the time to call in a professional to check it out.

Attics. Search for signs that indicate insects and critters have colonized. Also, search aggressively for mold, which often takes the form of “gray or black blotches that look like staining,” according to Tim Gentry, vice president of technical services, DaVinci Roofscapes, Kansas City, KS. Proper insulation and good ventilation will deter mold growth in the attic, so take action now to prevent the problem from developing in the warmer months ahead.

Basements. The basement—prone to dampness and insects—must be part of any thorough seasonal maintenance effort. Dampness suggests higher than normal relative humidity, inadequate ventilation and the need for a dehumidifier. Check the base of poured-concrete walls. “Cracks start from the bottom up, not the top down,” Niles points out. “If there’s water penetration, it’ll show at the bottom of those cracks.” And be sure to use a flashlight to examine exposed framing. “If you see even a quarter-inch or so of tunneling on the wood,” says Niles, “call a pest control company immediately.”

Leaks. Spring is a good time to check for leaky faucets, clogged drains and sweaty pipes. Check under the kitchen and bathroom sink to make sure connections on pipes and hoses are properly sealed, and look for any wetness around the dishwasher that could signal an existing or potential problem. The same is true of your laundry room; check washer machine hoses for cracks, bulges or dampness. The same is true for hot water heaters, which may show sign of corrosion and leaks.

Lawns. Rake the lawn to remove any branches, debris and leaves that you might have missed in the fall; if left, they can suffocate the grass beneath. During the winter, soil compaction, along with chemical changes altering your soil’s PH, may have left your lawn vulnerable to weed growth and other issues. Even if you can’t see weeds, they are more than likely waiting for optimum conditions to propagate. If you want to prevent them from germinating, consider an organic herbicide; fertilizers are better suited to the fall.

Make sure outdoor water systems—pipes, faucets, and in-ground sprinkler systems—are in working order. Once the ground thaws completely, start preparing new garden beds for summer plants. And take stock of your garden tools and lawn-maintenance equipment, including lawn mowers, trimmers and hoses.

Decks and Patios. Look for warped, loose or splintered boards, and do a good sweep to remove any leaves and debris accumulated in the space between boards. “Whether it’s wood, plastic or composite, a deck should be cleaned every year to extend its life,” says Chuck Harris, owner, Custom Lumber Manufacturing Co., Dothan, AL. If the finish on your wood deck is faded or worn, now is the time to clean, stain, and reseal it. If you have composite decking, follow manufacturers’ recommendations on seasonal care. The same is true for wood and composite fences, pergolas, trellises and other structures. If you have a stone patio, a simple hose down provide be all the maintenance required (unless you detect moss or staining, in which case a more serious cleaning may be necessary).

Outdoor Furniture. If you stored your lawn furniture for the winter, bring it outdoors and give it a hose rinse, or wash it with a mild detergent. For metal furniture, check for signs of rust or paint erosion; a simple remedy of spray enamel will prevent further damage from sun, rain and humidity in the months ahead.

Grills. If your gas grill has remained idle over the winter months, check burner jets for clogs and obstructions, and be sure that gas hoses and connections are sound and secure. You’ll also want to check for propane. For charcoal grill owners, make certain your grill is clean of ash and free of grease residue. It’s a good habit to adopt throughout the grilling season, not just in the spring.

Painting Mistakes




Skipping the Tape
Do you have the skills to get straight lines around the woodwork, windowsills and doorframes? Grab the painter’s tape and get the nice, clean edges you want.

Painting Without Primer
Primer gives paint a good surface to adhere to and brings out the true color of the shade you’ve chosen. Going without it can lead to poor results.

You took the time to fix every imperfection with patching compound. Wait. Make sure it’s completely dry before you sand and prime. Otherwise, all that patching was a waste of time.

Paint Buildup on Pad Edge
When using edge pads around ceiling edges and corners, make sure to wipe off excess paint frequently to avoid marking the surface.

Brushing When You Should be Rolling
For a large interior area, a roller will do a better job in less time. Select the right nap roller for your sheen of paint and try to avoid pushing the roller into the wall when you paint.

Underestimating How Much Paint Needed
The pros say you need one gallon for every 400 square feet. Plan ahead and you can avoid running back and forth to the store with a paint swatch in your hand.

Assuming Walls are Clean
Paint looks much better when it has a good, clean surface to stick to. Wash your walls before painting and get professional results you can be proud of.

Painting When the Humidity is High
When the air is full of moisture, water-based paint takes longer to dry. If the weather winds up more humid than expected, take the day off and wait for a dry day.

Skipping the Surface Prep
Your new paint won’t stick to glossy, dirty walls that are in bad condition. Take the time to prep, or you’re bound to have problems down the road.

Paintbrush Abuse
When using latex paint, wet your brush bristles with water and shake the brush dry before you dip it in the paint. The brush will hold more paint and deliver better results.

Buying any Paintbrush
When you’re choosing paintbrushes to use with latex-based paint, nylon/polyester blends produce the best results. Turns out polyester is good for something besides sport shirts.

Painting with Furniture in the Room
Getting paint off your furniture is a lot of work. If you can’t move it out of the room, at least make sure it’s completely covered with a drop cloth.

Failure to Protect the Floor
Paint has the amazing ability to go all the places you’d least expect it to. Before you pop the can open, make sure you have a drop cloth over everything and the edges are taped.

Polka-Dot Doorknobs
Unless you like the look of splattered paint, we recommend that you slip plastic bags over your doorknobs and tape the edge to avoid unsightly paint splatter.

Painting the Wall Plates
Want professional-looking results? Take five minutes to remove the wall plates and tape around your light switches and electrical outlets.

Spring Painting DO’s



Primer comes before paint.
Tempted to skip the primer? Primer not only provides a good surface for the paint, but it also brings out the paint’s true color.

Paint like a pro.
Painting is your chance to show off your skills. Use an edge pad for clean lines around doorframes, ceiling edges and corners so your walls look great — down to every last detail.

Create a sticky situation.
Paint won’t stick to the wall if you haven’t taken the time to prep. The surface must be clean, non-glossy and in good condition.

One gallon at a time.
How much paint will it take to cover your walls? The pros recommend one gallon for every 400 square feet. Covering textured, rough or unprimed surfaces may require more.

Dry days make good painting days.
Moisture in the air keeps water-based paint from drying. Skip the humid afternoon paint project and slow drying walls won’t wreck the rest of your day.

Put your sandwich bags to work.
Slip a small plastic bag over your doorknobs and tape the edge to avoid getting paint in places it wasn’t meant to go. You’re so resourceful.

Out with the old.
If the old paint on your wall is flaking off, it’s a good idea to buy a paint scraper and get it out of the way. Once all the old paint is gone, sand the surface smooth, prime and your new paint will look great.

Clean finish.
If you’re looking for paint in high-traffic areas, semi-gloss is the way to go. Shiny and durable, semi-gloss is a parent’s best friend.

Give the walls a sponge bath.
Washing your walls from top to bottom is always recommended because paint sticks better to a clean surface.

Don’t look back.
Once an area starts to dry, it’s best to leave it alone. Going back over it can leave marks and color streaks in the paint’s surface.

Polka dots look good on fabric—not floors.
Unless you’re trying to paint your floor, we recommend covering it up with a drop cloth. It’s the cheap, easy way to save yourself a whole lot of irritation.

Take away the shine.
Paint doesn’t always adhere to glossy surfaces. We recommend using a light grade sandpaper to take the gloss off the surface so your new paint sticks like it should.

Turn in the brush.
Small rooms can feel gigantic when it comes to painting. A roller will do a better job than a paint brush in less time.

Spare the wall plates.
Before you start, remove all wall plates and tape off light switches and electrical outlets. You’ll get high marks for professional-looking results.

Patience is a virtue.
You’ve completed your mission to fix every imperfection with patching compound. Now, make sure it’s dry. Then sand smooth, prime, and you’ll have a surface good enough for any pro.

Paint Application Tips

Application tips- top to bottom
Application tips- top to bottom

Whether you’re a pro or novice, starting at the top gives you a chance to fix those little goofs and other mishaps as you work your way down.

Paint the ceiling Paint the walls Paint windows, doors and trim Cleanup

Edges should be cut around doors and windows, above baseboards and at the line where the ceiling meets the wall. Cutting the edges involves outlining the area to be painted with a 2 1/2″ angled-bristle brush and is a crucial step in “framing the canvas.” From there, a roller can be used for most of the rest of the job.

When painting with a roller, it’s important to work in three- to four-foot square sections to make the job more manageable. This also works as a guide for “roller loading” – a roller should not be reloaded until the section has been finished.

Work in a zig-zag pattern: A “W” should be painted on the surface from top to bottom and left to right. From there, the section should be filled with horizontal strokes. To finish off, the section should be smoothed with all-vertical strokes – this will maintain the same “pattern” and help to fuse the smaller sections into one finished surface when the paint is dry. For complete coverage, two coats are almost always recommended.

Faux Finishing
These step-by-step instructions will help you turn plain, dull walls into dramatic backdrops that coordinate a whole room.

Decorating Techniques

Decorating is easy with Ace Paint and the Helpful Hardware Folks there to guide you. In this section, our experts will give you step-by-step instructions on how to turn plain, dull walls into dramatic backdrops that coordinate a whole room. You’ll enhance the visual effect of furnishings, floor and window treatments.

Learn more about these exciting techniques:

Here you simply apply one or more transparent glazes over a dry base coat. Then you use almost any household tool or material to remove some of the glaze while it’s still wet. The result is an almost unlimited range of depth of color, pattern and texture. Glazing truly brings out the artist in you, because you can produce virtually any visual effect you can imagine.

Tools Needed:

Base Coat

Ace Royal Touch Semi-Gloss or Satin Latex Wall Paint

Roll Coat(s):

  • 1 part Ace Royal Touch Satin Latex Wall Paint (tinted to desired color);
  • 3 parts Ace Great Finishes Latex Acrylic Satin Polyurethane (thin with polyurethane as needed)

Just follow these simple directions:

  1. Mask off areas not to be rolled.
  2. Roll or brush on base coat. Allow to dry overnight.
  3. Roll rag into sausage shape.
  4. Pour first rolling color into tray.
  5. Dip rag into tray, wring out slightly.
  6. Starting at the bottom, and with very little pressure, roll the rag up the entire wall without stopping.
  7. To avoid repetitive pattern, turn rag frequently.
  8. If paint builds up on rag, either turn it inside out or switch to a fresh rag.
  9. Avoid lap marks by rolling wall corner to corner without stopping.
  10. Let dry to the touch. Apply additional colors one at a time, repeating steps 3 through 9. Allow to dry between each coat.

Helpful Hints and Tips:

Practice rolling on a sample board until you get a feel for the pressure needed for the effect you want.

For corners, use the tip of the rag.

Cut the rags to a width that’s comfortable to work with. And don’t change rag textures in the middle of your work.

Protect your work with a coat of clear Ace Great Finishes Acrylic Polyurethane Satin Finish.


Here you simply apply one or more transparent glazes over a dry base coat. Then you use almost any household tool or material to remove some of the glaze while it’s still wet. The result is an almost unlimited range of depth of color, pattern and texture. Glazing truly brings out the artist in you, because you can produce virtually any visual effect you can imagine.

Tools Needed:

  • 3/8″ short nap roller
  • 3″ – 8″ brush
  • Gloves
  • Painter’s masking tape
  • Ace Painter’s rags
  • Drop cloths
  • Various glazing tools

Just follow these simple directions:

  1. Mask off areas not to be glazed
  2. Roll or brush on base coat. Allow to dry overnight.
  3. Pour first glazing color into tray.
  4. Starting in a corner, apply a thin, even coat of glaze with a brush or roller to a width of 3-4 feet on wall. Remember, the more you apply, the more you’ll have to remove
  5. Using your technique of choice (such as the brush show here), remove glaze to create a pattern or texture.
  6. Avoid lap marks by glazing wall from corner to corner without stopping.

Helpful Hints and Tips:

Practice your technique on a sample board.

Because the glaze must be removed before it becomes too tacky to work with, glazing is easier with two people. One applies the glaze, the other removes it. To maintain a uniform look, the same person should always remove the glaze.

To blend one section of glaze into the next, leave a “wet” edge-a small strip of unworked glaze at the end of each section.

If it looks like you will run out of glaze, stop in a corner or other natural break. Do NOT stop in the middle of the wall.

Let your imagination be your guide. Glazing lets you give a wall a subtle richness of a delicate pattern. By carefully choosing color combinations, you can define the mood of a room and decorate with one-of-a-kind effect. Remember – the final appearance of the glaze depends on (a) the thickness of the glaze, (b) what material or tool you use to remove the glaze and (c) how you hold the tool and the amount of pressure you apply.


Here are just a few of the many possibilities. Try one. Or make one up… that’s the fun of it!

  • Stippling technique with sponge
  • Rag-rolling technique with 100% cotton cloth

  • Stippling technique with scrub brush
  • Striating technique with wallpaper brush
  • Striating technique with steel wool
  • Dragging technique with whisk broom

  • Dragging technique with decorator comb
  • “Crinkling” technique with plastic drop cloth (lightly apply sheet of plastic to wet glaze and carefully peel off)
  • Dragging/basket-weave technique with cardboard cut-out


Here you simply apply one or more transparent glazes over a dry base coat. Then you use almost any household tool or material to remove some of the glaze while it’s still wet. The result is an almost unlimited range of depth of color, pattern and texture. Glazing truly brings out the artist in you, because you can produce virtually any visual effect you can imagine.

Tools Needed:

Sponge Coat(s):

  • 1 part Ace Royal Touch Semi-Gloss or Satin Latex Wall Paint;
  • 8 parts Ace Artistic Finishes Latex Glazing Liquid
  • 3/8″ short nap roller
  • 2″ brush
  • Gloves
  • Paint trays
  • Natural sea sponge
  • “Corner” sponge (cut on side to give flat edge)
  • Gloves
  • Painter’s masking tape
  • Newspaper
  • Drop cloths
  • Various glazing tools

Base Coat: Ace Royal Touch Semi-Gloss or Satin Latex Wall Paint

Just follow these simple directions:

  • Mask off areas not to be glazed.
  • Roll or brush on base coat. Allow to dry overnight.
  • Wet sponge with water, wring out until damp.
  • Pour first sponging color into tray.
  • Lightly dip sponge into tray; remove excess paint by dabbing on newspaper.
  • Practice your sponging technique on a sample board until you’re satisfied with the results.
  • Starting anywhere on the wall, gently dab with sponge in a broad even pattern. Keep dabs equally spaced in 3’x3′ area for best results. Then fill in the detail of the pattern for that area.
  • Reload sponges and dab in an adjacent area. Continue until wall is covered.
  • Sponge corners with corner sponge.
  • With a dry 2″ brush and a straight-up-and-down motion, soften and fill in corners.
  • Let dry to the touch. Apply additional colors one at a time, repeating steps 3 through 10.

Helpful Hints and Tips:

Practice your technique on a sample board.

Because the glaze must be removed before it becomes too tacky to work with, glazing is easier with two people. One applies the glaze, the other removes it. To maintain a uniform look, the same person should always remove the glaze.

To blend one section of glaze into the next, leave a “wet” edge-a small strip of unworked glaze at the end of each section.

If it looks like you will run out of glaze, stop in a corner or other natural break. Do NOT stop in the middle of the wall.

Best of all, these wonderful techniques don’t require any special skills or high-priced tools. You’ll give your home an expensive, custom look for far less cost than high-priced wall-coverings. So you’ll not only get good results, you’ll get a great value!

Choosing Paint Colors

Choosing colors with confidence
Choosing colors with confidence

Discover Your Colors

Let our designer inspired Personal Color Palettes help you discover the Colors of Your Life.

Color can be used to create a mood and evoke an emotional response. Certain colors have the power to energize and uplift us, while others will have a soothing and calming effect.

Discover the colors that are just right for you and create a space that’s all your own.

Blues, greens and purples are calming, contemplative colors, perfect for favorite retreats like bedrooms and libraries. Blue evokes harmony and peace, while green suggests safety, nature and revitalization. Purple is associated with creativity and serenity.

Bright and bold colors like red, orange and yellow project energy and vitality. Use them to bring a stimulating and cheerful air to dining rooms, family rooms and any other space devoted to activity and socializing.

Neutral colors like whites convey an aura of simplicity, purity and cleanliness, as well as creating a sensation of openness. Whites work well in kitchens, bathrooms and smaller spaces.

Here are some very simple ways to find perfect colors for your home:

Your perfect color could be on any object in the room. Look at pillows, rugs, artwork and other decorative objects for inspiration. Flip through home décor magazines for color ideas. Then bring the item or picture to your local Ace store and they can match the color for you.

Preparation – It all Starts Here

Take down window coverings, wall decorations, and remove wall plates from switches and outlets. Cover furniture and the area of floor to be painted with tarps or drop cloths. Repair any holes, cracks or flaws and give the surface a thorough cleaning. Tape woodwork and other surfaces not being painted. Prime new drywall, unpainted surfaces, or any dark colored surface you plan to cover with a lighter color.

When painting over an existing semi- or full-gloss finish, the surface must be sanded to give the new paint something to adhere to (paint adheres better to rough surfaces than smooth ones). Smooth over cracks and other surface imperfections with spackle and a putty knife, and then sand smooth. Viewing the surface from an angle will reveal any spots that may have been missed.

How to Paint



Latex paints can be thinned with water and are easily applied. Compared to oil-based paints, the advantages of latex paints are:

Less odor
Water cleanup … Very easy
Rapid drying
Easy touchup
Easy application, even on damp surfaces
Better gloss and color retention (less fading) on exterior surfaces
No yellowing on interior surfaces
Remains more flexible and less brittle, which makes them less likely to crack and peel.

The disadvantage, especially of some lower-quality or promotional products, are poorer adhesion to blistered, peeling or chalking surfaces, and, in some cases, less-effective hiding qualities.

Latex paint films on wood allow moisture to evaporate through the film, reducing blistering.


Oil-based paints consist of a pigment in a vehicle made up of resins and thinners. When thinners evaporate, the resins form a hard coating while the pigment forms the color.

Major advantages of oil-based paint are:

Better penetration of the surface
Better adhesion
Better flow and leveling
Dry to a smoother finish with fewer brush or roller marks.

The disadvantages of oil-based paints are the odor, cleanup with solvents or thinners and longer drying time. Also, oil-based paints cannot be applied to moist surfaces. Oil based paint can not be applied over Latex paint, but you can apply Latex over Oil based.


Interior paints are available in flat (no shine), satin, semigloss and gloss (high shine).

Enamels provide a high-gloss washable finish for hard-wear areas or for rooms such as the bath and kitchen that require a high resistance to moisture, dirt and grease. Today, companies not only sell high-gloss, but eggshell or even flat enamels. Interior paints are sold in various formulations-oil based, alkyd based or synthetic based, latex, etc.

Interior paints are sold in various formulations-oil based, alkyd based or synthetic based, latex, etc.

Flat paints usually have an alkyd- base that thins with turpentine or mineral spirits, or a latex base that thins with water. Latex paints are usually vinyl or acrylic based or a combination of the two.

Alkyd flat paints may hide better with one coat than will comparable latex flats, but brushes and other tools must be washed with turpentine or a similar solvent. Latex flats spread easily, especially on porous surfaces, and seldom require a primer. Tools clean with water.

Flat wall paints are usually applied to ceilings and walls, except in kitchens and baths. Semigloss or gloss paints withstand the frequent washings required in these two rooms.

For windows, doors, wood trim and other woodwork, satin, semigloss or gloss enamels are recommended. These surfaces get more wear than walls, more fingerprints and soil. Because glossier enamels wash more readily, they are more desirable.

Semigloss latex paints serve well as finishes for wood-trim areas. They have the advantage of water cleanup.

Because enamels and gloss paints dry rapidly, more care must be exercised in application because they tend to brushmark, especially on hot, dry days. Preparation of interior surfaces is vital to good end results. Surfaces must be free from grease, dirt, mildew, chalking, etc., washed well, thoroughly rinsed with clear water and allowed to dry before repainting. Cracks and holes must be repaired and patched areas spot primed.

If surfaces are badly soiled, a trisodium-phosphate (TSP) cleaner may be necessary. However, phosphates are a recognized pollutant and TSP is more prone to deposit crystals that impair adhesion than do some other products.

When repainting glossy surfaces, sufficient cleaning materials must be used to dull surfaces, or they should be lightly sanded. An alternative to sanding is the use of a liquid cleaning/dulling solvent. High-gloss surfaces typically do not provide good adhesion for new coats of paint.

Painting over wallpaper is not recommended; the old covering should be removed. Once painted, wallpaper is extremely difficult to remove.
Wash all grease and dirt off walls and woodwork.
Don’t expect good results on dirty surfaces.
Patch cracks in walls and ceilings before painting.
Don’t paint over a damp surface with oil-base paints.
Seal all new surfaces with a primer.
Don’t apply the second coat of paint until the first coat has dried properly.
Scrape off all loose paint and sand the surface to a smooth finish.
Don’t sand woodwork across the grain.
Stir paint thoroughly before any applications.
Don’t change cans of paint in the middle of a wall area. If you need more than one can of paint to do the job mix the new can with the last 1/4 – 1/2 of the old can and continue. All paints can be a slight bit different in tint.
Allow new plaster to dry before painting.
Don’t add thinner to the product unless directions call for it.
Properly ventilate area to be painted.



Latex- and oil-based house paints are formulated to withstand wear and exposure to severe weather conditions. Many manufacturers offer specific formulations for regional climates.

Surface preparation is critically important for good adhesion. Proper preparation includes scraping as much old paint as possible from the surface, sanding to feather edges of scraped areas, washing the surface with a good detergent solution, repairing chips, cracks, splinters, etc., cleaning and sealing nail heads.

Major problems encountered with house paints are generally due to:

Failure to completely clean surface of dirt, grease, old paint, etc.
Excessive moisture
Painting damp surfaces
Painting under adverse weather conditions
Failure to use proper primer coat
Failure to follow manufacturer’s directions

Any of these conditions can cause blistering, peeling, early fading or other similar problems.


Trim paints are bright colors, chosen to contrast with the house color. They dry quickly to a hard finish; they are primarily for use on window frames, shutters, railings, etc. and are not recommended for large surfaces.


Masonry surfaces include stucco, concrete, cement, asbestos shingles, etc. Most masonry paints are latex based; some are acrylic based. Oil-based paint is not recommended for masonry because of the residual alkalinity in the masonry.

Latex-based masonry paints require a special pretreatment or bonding primer to “tie down” old chalk and dust before application. They dry to a flat finish.

Rough surfaces should first receive a coat of block filler. Acrylic elastomeric coatings bridge cracks and pinholes to provide the best waterproofing.

Powdered cement paints, which have a shorter exterior life than latex coatings, must be mixed with water. They can be applied only over a porous masonry surface such as brick, stucco or concrete, or over surfaces that have been previously coated with this same kind of paint. For proper adhesion, the old surface must be wetted down thoroughly and the paint applied to the damp surface.

Masonry paint can be waterproof as well as decorative. For best color retention, coat with a good acrylic-latex paint 30 days after application of a waterproof masonry paint.


Both latex- and oil-based paints adhere well to galvanized steel and aluminum gutters. Oil based works better on tin gutters.

Galvanized gutters require priming both inside and out and should be cleaned with coarse cloth dampened with paint thinner before they are painted, or should be left unpainted for three to six months so the weather can etch the surface for better paint adhesion.

Oil-based paints should never be applied directly to unpainted galvanized metal. They will eventually peel off. A galvanized metal primer must be applied first. Acrylic-latex paint can be applied directly to unpainted galvanized as long as it has been cleaned thoroughly.


Many shingle paints (really stains) are low in pigment content, leave light color on the surface, and are used primarily to provide surface protection for wood shingles.

In some instances, shingle paints may be applied without a primer. Where the surface is badly weathered, recommendations may call for a companion primer, undercoater or two finish coats.

Most shingle paints have oil or alkyd-resin base, which thins with turpentine or similar solvent.


Floor paints, also called deck enamels, are for “walk-on “surfaces. Ordinary high-gloss enamel is not suitable. Floor enamels are formulated to withstand weather and wear on wood and concrete. Available in both oil based and latex, the latter dries to a flat finish while most oil-based products dry with a medium- or high-gloss finish.

Oil-based paints are not recommended for many concrete surfaces, especially those in contact with round moisture, such as basements and patios, because they will not adhere to damp surfaces. The alkali in concrete may combine with the oil to form a soap, resulting in poor adhesion, peeling and paint lifting from the surface.

Concrete floors which have been penetrated by oils, gasoline, etc., are virtually impossible to paint because it is extremely difficult to clean these surfaces well enough to make paint adhere.

A final advantage of latex floor paints: The homeowner can lay resilient floor tile without removing the old paint. This is not possible with other floor paints.

Conventional floor paints work poorly on garage floors. Car tires get hot as the car is driven, and when the hot tires come in contact with the floor paint, the paints sticks to the tires and is lifted off.

Many gloss floor paints are slippery when wet and a nonskid additive should be considered.



Special acoustical ceiling paint forms a porous film which will not harm noise-reducing properties of acoustical tile.

Its consistency is much like regular wall paint so it can be applied with a brush, roller or sprayer.


High-quality aluminum paint is aluminum blended with a resin base. It works equally well on almost any surface and may be brushed or sprayed. Colors become more intense with age.

Aluminum paint can be used on all interior and exterior metal or wood surfaces, or applied to metal flashing, gutters, downspouts, tools, tool sheds, patio furniture, pipes, mailboxes, fences, etc.

Do not apply aluminum paint during freezing temperatures; paint should dry at least overnight before re-coating.


Texture paint is a good answer to problem walls and ceilings; it is thick bodied enough to seal most minor imperfections (large holes and cracks must be filled) and leave a decorator finish. It is available as a liquid base with tinting colors or as a powder in several colors.

Texture paints come in several consistencies, ranging from smooth formulas to larger-texture particles in sandy textures, all the way to coarse stucco finishes, which create the deepest texture.

Depending upon the desired visual effect and the specific coarseness of the paint, brushes and rollers, putty knives, trowels and other applicators can be used to create a variety of patterns or designs such as swirls and deep-texture finishes.

After these finishes have been applied and allowed to dry, the surfaces can be painted any color. Texture paint also may be tinted prior to application.


Lacquers, the fastest drying of all finishes, are available in clear or colors. Because of fast-drying characteristics, they are usually difficult to apply by brush. However, some manufacturers do offer specially formulated “brushing”-type lacquers that apply more easily with a brush. Lacquer thinners are required to clean tools.

The secret to successful application is to work fast, not going over same spot twice. For beginners, use a 50/50 mixture of lacquer and lacquer thinner, preferably made by the same manufacturer.

Lacquers are hazardous to handle. Fumes are noxious and in a closed room can be dangerous to the user; furthermore, fire and explosion hazards are much greater than with ordinary paints and varnishes.

Lacquers cannot be used over old paint or varnish because the solvents will lift old finishes. Lacquers should be applied to new wood only or over previously lacquered surfaces.


Epoxy finishes are primarily for bare or previously finished wood floors, and eliminate “dusting” when applied to concrete floors. They do not darken or change the color of wood to any degree. They penetrate rapidly and can be applied with a brush or mop.

An epoxy finish adheres to most surfaces and is especially good for doors, cabinets, trim and furniture: any interior wood surface where a clear-gloss, easy-to-clean finish is desired. Resists detergent, oil and alkali, but may lose gloss under exposure to sun and weather.

Finishes are formulated in one- or two-part systems. Two-part epoxies come in kits containing equal-sized cans and contents are mixed; epoxies can be tinted. They are more chemical and abrasion resistant than one-component epoxies.


Conditioners are added to oil-based or latex paints to keep edges wet longer, prevent lapping, make paint cover better and lessen drag on the paint applicator. Conditioners also lessen paint clogging in spraying systems.

Insecticides are added to paint for outdoor use only, to eliminate pests nesting on painted surfaces. Insecticide paints contain chloropyrifos, a poison that insects absorb through their feet. The insecticide is poured into the paint which is applied as usual. Insects susceptible to the poison include spiders, ants, silverfish, ticks, roaches and earwigs.

Some manufacturers warn that additives may not do what they claim. They may also have adverse effects, such as increasing mildew growth. They may also void paint warranties.


Primer/sealers work to eliminate stains (including stains from water and fire damage), cover wood imperfections, hide wallpaper designs and serve as a foundation coat on metals over which a finish coat is applied. They also seal the surface evenly so a topcoat will have uniform gloss.

There are three basic types: alkyd based, latex based and shellac based. The alkyd and latex types work well as stain killers and general-purpose primers on both interiors and exteriors.

The shellac-based type blocks out the widest variety of stains, including knots and sap streaks in new wood, and adheres to slick surfaces such as glass and tile. This type is recommended for general-purpose priming on all interior surfaces, but should only be used for spot priming on exterior surfaces.

Acrylic or vinyl-acrylic latexes are the most frequently sold latex-based primers, but vinyl-based types are available. The term “latex-based” includes vinyl, acrylic and vinyl-acrylic copolymer types.



Wood sealer is used on soft woods to help tame wild grain patterns and even-out stain absorbency. The sealer penetrates the wood, slowing stain absorbency for a more even color appearance and grain pattern.


Stains accent grain without hiding it and protect the wood surface. There are two types of stain: semitransparent and semisolid. Semitransparent stains can be applied over bare wood or previously semitransparent stained (but not sealed) wood. Solid color stains can be applied over bare wood, previously stained and even painted surfaces in sound condition.

Exterior stains are used primarily on wood siding and shingles, decks, outdoor structures and furniture. They are available in latex and oil-based formulas. Latex stains do not typically fade as rapidly as oil stains. Latex stains are often recommended for redo over previously oil-based stained or painted surfaces due to their excellent adhesion properties.

Latex is recommended for woods such as cedar, redwood and cypress that have natural resistance to rotting. However, putting a light-colored stain on these woods can result in brown discoloration of the stain. Oil-based stains also take more abuse than latex types.

When staining exterior wood decks, only semitransparent oil-based stains should be used. If the deck is made of pressure-treated wood, it should be stained two to five months after installation.

Water-repellent preservative stains contain a fungicide and a water repellent, protecting against decay, mildew, warping, splitting and cracking, as well as wood deterioration. They can be oil- or latex-based stains in semitransparent and transparent finishes.

Interior stains, used for furniture and woodwork, come in either pigmented or dye categories. Both can have oil or synthetic bases.

Pigmented stains color the wood with the same type of pigments used in paint. They range in color from almost clear to semitransparent. They are easy to apply, usually brushed on or wiped on with a rag, and then wiped off to control the depth of the stain. They leave no brush or lap marks if applied properly.

Stains are generally used to enhance the grain of the wood and emphasize grain contrasts. They may or may not protect the wood; check manufacturers’ labels. An oil or polyurethane finish is generally mixed with the stain, so the do-it-yourselfer can complete the staining and finishing job in one step.

Dye stains are more difficult to use and are more frequently used by professionals. Most come in powders, to be mixed in a solvent. Most are highly flammable. Premixed dyes are most often used by the d-i-y-er.

Dye stains offer deeper penetration of wood surfaces and less grain hiding. However, they also fade more quickly than pigmented stains and require more effort to prepare the wood.

Water-based dyes tend to raise the grain on many woods because the water penetrates the wood and raises the tiny fibers. Wood should be wetted first, then sanded down, before applying water-based dyes.

Nongrain-raising (NGR) dyes are dissolved in a NGR solvent. They dry faster than water-based counterparts, so application must be faster to avoid lap marks.

Colored oil finishes, such as Danish oil, tung oil or Swedish oil, provide coloring and protection in one step. However, oil finishes do not stand up to alcohol or water the way polyurethanes do, so they are not recommended for high-traffic, abuse-prone applications.

But oils make nice, low-luster finishes for furniture and other fine pieces. Waxing can provide water resistance with these finishes.


Varnish is a blend of oils and resins that coats the surface of wood and gives a transparent, protective coating, allowing the beauty of the wood to show through. Depending on its formulation, it can leave a gloss, semigloss or satin finish.

All varnishes must be applied to a clean, dust-free surface in a dirt-free area with a clean brush. Dust can damage the wet surface.

Varnishes fall into four groups, divided by their base: alkyd, polyurethane, latex, or phenolic. Varnishes are typically mixed with a tung oil or linseed oil.

Phenolic varnishes of modified phenolic oils are the most expensive of the varnishes but deliver the best performance in terms of durability, especially in exterior uses. They absorb ultraviolet light and neutralize oxidation. The downside of phenoics is that they tend to yellow faster than other varnishes.

Alkyd varnishes offer flexibility and hardness in both interior and exterior uses, but they oxidize more quickly in exterior use. However, they do not yellow as much as phenolics.

Polyurethanes are not generally recommended for outdoor use. They yellow and crack when exposed to ultraviolet light unless ultraviolet light absorbers are added to make the polyurethanes more durable for outdoor use. Check manufacturer specifications.

Polyurethanes are highly recommended for interior use because of their superior protection. For interior use, phenolic or polyurethane stains are better for water resistance and hard use, but customers may object to the plastic appearance they produce. Alkyds offer a natural-looking gloss for furniture and indoor architectural trim and doors.

There are varnishes that offer the cleanup convenience of water-based latex coatings. These varnishes combine polymers with urethane or acrylic polymers. These water-based products offer the advantages of oil-based coatings and the cleanup convenience of water. The acrylic coatings take from one-half hour to 1 1/2 hours to dry and do not yellow the wood. Some acrylic-based varnishes are durable enough for use on floors.

Except for two-package or moisture-cured urethanes, exterior clear finishes do not last as long as pigmented stains or paints.


Shellac provides a fast, hard-drying, durable finish for furniture, woodwork, hardwood floors and other wood-finishing applications. It also functions as a sealer and stain killer on drywall, cured plaster and new wood. Shellac is widely compatible with other coatings, and it can be applied over old shellac, varnish or lacquer finishes that are adhering well.

Most shellac is sold in a “3-lb. cut,” the consistency recommended for most uses. The 3-lb. cut can be thinned to a 1-lb. cut for applications such as wood sealer before staining by thinning one quart of shellac with three pints of alcohol.

For applications where water spotting may be a problem, protect shellacked surfaces with paste wax or varnish.

Shellac may be applied with a brush, foam brush or from an aerosol can. When brushing, flow on the shellac from a full brush with minimum brushing, and do not re-brush areas, since shellac’s alcohol-based solvent dries quickly. Shellac offers convenient cleanup in ammonia and warm water.


All wood preservatives must contain an EPA-registered fungicide to classify as wood preservatives. Pressure-treated wood, with lifetime warranties, does not require a brush-on preservative coating. Brush-on preservatives are used for untreated wood and should be reapplied periodically.

They are generally classified as one of three types. A clear alkyd or oil-based type without fungicide is sometimes called log oil or log-cabin finish. The second type has the same base with fungicide additives of penta, cuprinol or a preservative. The third type consists of a non-paintable preservative containing wax or creosote oil, primarily for farm use.

Wood preservatives for the d-i-y-er generally should be paintable.

Wood preservatives by themselves provide no protection against moisture or water. Water repellency must be formulated into the product. The preservative chemical used varies according to need and type of exposure.

Waterborne, water-repellent preservatives for wood offer lower environmental hazards and convenient water cleanup. They provide an alternative to conventional solvent-based water-repellent preservatives while retaining effectiveness, rapid drying qualities and excellent paintability. Another preservative, 3-iodo-2-propynyl butyl carbamate, is offered in some of these waterborne preservatives.


A water repellent helps minimize water damage on pressure-treated and untreated wood. Some water repellents also contain a mildewcide to help control mold and mildew growth. It’s best to use a water repellent that is formulated for immediate application to pressure-treated wood to avoid premature cracking, splitting, splintering and warping. Periodic re-applications help prevent water damage as wood ages.


Wood toners are water repellents that add color to highlight wood grain. Although toners are not to be considered a stain, adding color to a water repellent gives wood the benefit of ultraviolet light protection. Most toners on the market are designed for use on pressure-treated wood. Not all repellents contain ingredients that cause water to bead.

About two thirds of the homes built before 1940 and one-half of the homes built from 1940 to 1960 contain heavily leaded paint. Some homes built after 1960 also contain heavily leaded paint. The sale of lead-based paint for residential use was banned in 1978. Lead can be on the walls, the woodwork and on the outside of houses.
Lead paint in good condition is not usually a problem except in places where painted surfaces rub against one another and create dust. For example, when you open a window, the painted surfaces rub against one another. In older buildings where the paint is not in good condition, lead paint can chip off or wear off. Lead dust and chips can also be created during preparation of surfaces for painting and during renovating or remodeling. The dust and chips are especially hazardous to small children.
Lead can be harmful even at Iow levels. Even children who appear healthy may have high levels of lead in their blood. You can’t tell if a child has lead poisoning unless you have him or her tested. In many cases, the harm lead causes cannot be reversed.
Being exposed to lead can affect a child’s mental growth. Lead interferes with nervous system development, which can cause learning disabilities and impaired hearing. Children with lead poisoning may complain of headaches or stomach aches or become very grouchy, but they often show no symptoms of lead poisoning.
Adults can get lead poisoning through occupational exposure as well as through home renovation and remodeling activities. In adults, lead’s health effects include high blood pressure. In extreme cases, lead poisoning can cause comas, kidney or brain damage, or death.
If you are remodeling, test for lead paint first. Some local health departments offer a lead testing service. If this service is not available, you should hire a qualified inspector
If high levels of lead are detected, you should not attempt to remove the lead paint yourself. Instead, you should hire a person who is specially trained to correct lead paint problems, who knows how to do the work safely and has the proper equipment to clean up thoroughly. Improper removal of heavily leaded paint can endanger the health and lives of the entire family.
Contact the National Lead Information Center at 1-800-LEAD-FYI for information. The purpose of this federally funded service is to provide information to the public on lead.

Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

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