Apr 30, 2007

ProForm Compound Issue

We currently have an issue and looking for a solution to painting over ProForm joint compound made by National Gypsum. We have two drywall finishers and they use ProForm Lite and ProForm Topping products.

The problem we are experiencing pertains to applying eggshell paint over their finish work. We have two separate issues. One is the paint absorbs excessively into the horizontal joints but not the patches made over screws.

The problem we have with the patches over screws is the opposite. The paint does not seemingly absorb at all (see photo #2), resulting in a shinier area over the patch and even with 2 coats of eggshell, the patched areas become noticeably shinier than the rest of the wall even when a wall primer is used.

Here is what we tried so far. We applied the following wall primers to the bare drywall with varying results and in most cases, worst results vs. painting eggshell directly over bare drywall.

1) ICI 1010 Prep & Prime Stain Jammer
2) ICI 3210 Prep & Prime Gripper Multi-Purpose Primer Sealer
3) Kilz 2
4) Sherwin Williams PrepRite Classic Primer
5) Zinsser Bulls Eye Water-Based Primer
6) ICI Dulux 1000 Prep & Prime Hi-Hide Wall
7) Sherwin Williams PrepRite® High Build Interior Latex Primer/Surfacer (what a mess)

We tried all of the primers above with 2 coats of eggshell paint for finish. Most primers enhanced the screw patches making them stand out shiny.

Today we applied Zinsser Gardz to the horizontal joints as seen in the top photo and this photo. The Gardz worked very well sealing the horizontal joints. We applied Gardz to a few patches over screws and it appears at this time it may work.
This photo shows a close-up of Gardz over the horizontal joints and how it dried over the mud.
This photo shows one coat of eggshell over the bare drywall with Gardz placed only on the horizontal joints. This is what we expected any of the 7 primers to do to the joints.

I will let the 1st coat dry a few days and try 2nd coating an area to see how it dries down. At this point, we tested about 10-12 different eggshell paints with this issue. More to come...

Additional info: If we were to take USG Topping and make a new patch over the existing patch in the (blue wall photo) above and repaint the new patch, problem solved. I am unable to find any help on this topic. I wrote National Gypsum 4 days ago and no reply. None of the drywall finishers I know use Proform so there seems to be a lack of experience with the product.

Apr 29, 2007

Loading a paint brush

This article covers how to load a brush. Use a cutting can with approximately 2” of paint in the can. Start by somewhat forcefully dunking the brush quickly into the paint several times making jabs until the brush becomes loaded with paint. It is not necessary to touch bottom, if fact, try not to.
Your brush should now look like this on both sides and the bristles should look packed with paint.
If you hold the brush with your right hand, use the rim of the can and gently remove the paint from the side visible to you, do not remove paint from the bottom of the brush. The paint on the bottom is what will be placed on the wall or trim and the side you wiped off will be used to cut cleanly against an object such as a door casing.
I am right handed. This photo shows the remaining paint on the opposite side of the object you are cutting next to. The other side is the side you previously wiped off and will be placed on a wall to cut against an object such as a door casing.
This is the other side. The amount shown on this side of the brush is good for cutting cleanly against objects without tape. The paint on the other side (previous) photo helps the brush glide and also can be used to cut further when this side runs dry.

When I paint I carefully place paint on the bristles based on what I am doing at the time. If I were cutting the corner of the wall, my brush will be loaded on both sides to get into the corner of the wall similar to photo #2. If I am cutting a ceiling line, my brush will be loaded like (photo #3) on both sides. When painting items such as trim, the brush is loaded more like photo #3. If I need to cut tight into an area, the brush might look more like photo #1 with very little paint to cut something sharp.

UPDATED K46 W 51 Epoxy

Observations from 2nd coat were added to the original post of Sherwin Williams K46 W 51 Waterbased semi-gloss Epoxy.

How to hold a paint brush was never this good

purdy brush mod Take more control of your paint brush by providing better comfort holding the brush.

This simple modification to the brush handle will better assist with cutting accuracy by placing your thumb more securely on the handle instead of pivoting on the edge. The placement of my thumb rarely moves when I cut casings and trim so this is where I decided to make the thumb support. The only time I reposition my thumb is in some situations on a ceiling line. I use my thumb and pinky to steer a brush. Pressing my thumb down or inward steers left and pressing my pinky steers it back to the right.

Use a rounded wood file and sandpaper wrapped around a piece of 1 ¼” PVC to smooth it up. I found that I control the paint brush using my thumb and pinky finger with a faint rocking motion to make straight accurate cuts.

Apr 27, 2007

Testing Brushes

testequip01 Many years ago DuPont developed a method of testing brushes they feel has proven to be a good indicator for benchmarking brush performance. The method was later adopted by several of their own customers for their own internal benchmarking.

The general purpose of the testing is to measure the capability of a brush to pick up paint, to release paint onto a surface, and to visually reflect its effectiveness.

The two basic components of the test are a completed data sheet and the paint stripe test. The key performance indicators on the data sheet are Paint Pick-up, Paint Lay-down, and Stripe Length. DuPont identifies the Stripe Length as the actual measurement on the paint stripe from the beginning of the stripe to the point where the brush begins to skip or miss. The skip point is somewhat subjective but if all brushes are tested equal, the comparative results in theory will be consistent. Keep in mind, brushes are also tested for abrasion resistance and bend recovery.

Procedural testing is fine for the basic tests outlined above but how well do the brushes perform on the job based on these tests? Based on my experience with testing brushes, not very good at all. I have a general conclusion that all brushes lack precision accuracy except for one brush I am aware of. And, while that particular brush might not hold as much paint as the next brush, its main purpose is accuracy and precision feathering. Taking an extra few loads is not really all that bothersome to me.

Understand for a moment my line of thinking on this. I do not use masking tape; the brush must have the capabilities to produce freehand precision cuts. The brush is not positioned on the wall as shown in the example stripe test above. I do however position the flat edge against the wall for feathering-off a previous cut. That method is only used in a dry-brush motion which is the opposite objective what the stripe test provides. For lack of a better example, view the video clip below and note that at the end of the stroke Brian turns the brush flat against the wall for feathering or leveling purposes only. It's a secondary action with a specific purpose.

In all my years of painting I never had a need to take a load of paint and spread it flat against the wall as shown in the stripe test. I believe rollers are designed for that job. The brush is used to make a small narrow cut the majority of the time. On flat work such as bookshelves the paint is applied with a roller and only leveled off with a brush. The brush really doesn’t need to hold any paint in that situation but it does need to feather out brush and roller marks.

I never toured the DuPont testing facility or have any knowledge of other tests brush manufacturers perform. What I do know is all brushes seem to perform much like the other as far as accuracy. If your goal is to tape-off everything before you paint then any brush will perform well, some might hold more paint than the next.

So in conclusion, I suppose the industry testing methods are proving to be just fine for a mainstream painter or Do It Yourself person where tape gives you the edge. Where are the tools for the professionals?

Now don’t think for a minute I can’t produce a nice finish or work with most “professional” brushes on the market, I can. The difference is, how much slower will I have to work to use it and how much skill on my behalf will I need?

Apr 26, 2007

Brushes Closeup UPDATED

Purdy PRO-EXTRA Three brushes were added to Brushes Closeup for comparison purposes.

Purdy Pro-Extra Glide
Purdy Nylox-Glide
Purdy XL-Glide

Pro-Extra Glide shown in photo. The length out measures 3 and 3/16" in. (longest in its class) and 5/8" thick and weighs 3.8 oz. The length is bit too long. The flagging feels excessive and coarse. You will need a paint that self-levels because the flagging wont help you much for fine finish work. I wonder what this brush would be like shortened up, no flagging, chiseled tips and swap out that Chinex for more poly. This brush in my opinion is springy and flings or spits paint with almost each stroke. I’m a neat painter and can’t have that happening.
Purdy PRO-EXTRA I attached 180 grit sandpaper to the drill press in an attempt to remove the flagging. Alternating the brush back and forth, I managed to remove almost all of the flagging. I noticed the blunt end of the brush was cut almost perfectly flat.

My experience with the blades on ice hockey skates tells me that a hollowed cut might perform better. I have not yet seen this type of cut on a brush. Many brushes are cut blunt or have a convex profile. See more photos here. Before I put this brush to further testing I will finish it off with 400 grit paper on the press to see if I can achieve a micro fine tip. This brush is useless to me as it is.
Purdy PRO-EXTRA I wrote Purdy in the past about the flagging on this brush but apparently they didn't see it as an issue.  What the hell do I know, I'm just a painter.
Purdy PRO-EXTRA I never really grasped the idea of flagging except for on cheap throw away fat non-tapered filament brushes. To me, flagging is like taking a fine tapered filament and then busting the end of it up like the end of a piece of straw, then its not so fine anymore.
Purdy PRO-EXTRA Update: I finished the tips off with 400 grit paper to polish way the abrasiveness of the 180 grit paper. Removing the flagging on this brush drastically improved the effectiveness and sharpness. There was such a huge difference - it performed nothing like it did off-the-shelf. I spread approx. one quart of paint to be certain I felt comfortable reporting my results but I noticed the difference the moment I placed the brush on the wall. It did not perform as nice as the Benjamin Moore 65125 brush, which I feel is the best damn brush spawn from polymers, but it resembled some if its characteristics in the finish and sharpness of cut.

Apr 25, 2007

Sherwin Williams K46 W 51

We do not use Sherwin Williams paints but I am very familiar with their products. I actually enjoy testing new products, which is how the PRE-CATALYZED Waterbased Epoxy came into my hands. What I look for first in a paint is ease of application with a brush. I want nothing to do with products that waste my time on the job –slow, tacky and no working-time. Once I find a product that applies nice, I look for how long I have to work with it using a brush. The product must cover, hide and achieve full sheen in no more than 2 coats. Also leveling, dry-time and durability are important. Apparently all of that is asking for too much. I only know of one product on the market that does all that.

When I first popped the lid off this gallon I was hoping for one product from Sherwin Williams that would impress me, but that did not happen. There is nothing about the ease of application that sets it apart from the rest. The characteristics of this product are common place for Sherwin Williams, generally difficult and slow to apply and no working-time with one exception of course, their Duration Home. Only if all paints spread like Duration Home.

If a professional finish with a brush cannot be achieved easily, that’s generally when my testing stops. It’s a waste of my time at that point because that’s an immediate sign this product will not keep up with me on the job. Instead, it will slow me down trying to work it to a nice finish. This product will cost me money to use. I would have to spray everything to achieve a professional finish with this product and that is simply not going to happen in my line of work.

This product was tested at temperature of 64º with humidity at 68% on a rainy damp day. I applied this product to a factory pre-primed piece of trim with six nail holes filled with oil-based putty. The product was also applied to a previously primed (by me) piece of crown. The nail putty residue smudges were visible through the first coat. Click the photo to enlarge and look carefully, that bleed through is a common characteristic of an oil-based paint.

The product set-up in a fast 2:12 seconds and was tacky in 5:34 secs. The samples in this humidity were still tacky after 60 minutes. The fastest I can paint one side of 6 panel door is 5 minutes 40 seconds. It would be impossible for me to blend the lower middle portion of a door with the upper portion with this product using a brush, there simply is no working time. ProClassic Acrylic and Oil both perform just like this product for comparison. On my sample pieces as short as they are, I applied a nice coat and the product hardly leveled at all and it drags.

I did however notice this product has nice adhesion. Generally products that absorb or penetrate into the substrate adhere well. I will test for adhesion when the product is fully cured in 7-10 days. This product would be good on previously painted surfaces such as painted block walls or flush steel doors in commercial applications or schools. I have a hunch this product will clean and wear like an oil-based product so that's promising. The dried finish feels similar to touching the finish on a car, glassy, glossy-like, and candy coated. The product tested was a semi-gloss, but I would call this high gloss.

Understand this was not a full test of the product, generally I put much more into reviews but could not get past the application aspect to have this product fit into my workflow but I do see a need for this product in certain spraying applications. I am impressed with how it feels dry, only if it had leveled. More to come...

UPDATED INFO: 2nd coat observations

I used non-loading 180 grit 3M Tri-M-ite sandpaper to sand all of the 1st coat gloss off but only to the point where the gloss began to dull out. My goal was to remove the brush marks from 1st coat that did not level over Zinsser Cover-Stain oil-based primer. No noticeable brush marks were now visible. After applying 2nd coat, some of the finish absorbed into the dull sanded 1st coat but was minimal. The 2nd coat did however level better than the first coat, expectedly but did not pull tight enough to level the brush marks entirely. I used a Benjamin Moore 65125 2 ½” angle brush for both coats.

Am I happy with the finish? Not really, its average. I was unable to capture the gloss accurately with the camera, looks semi-gloss in the photo but its much glossier.

Apr 24, 2007

Roller Cover Care

Those of us who reuse covers and paint everyday of the week know that getting the most out of our covers is worthwhile. Some guys toss them after each use but a quality cover in my opinion works best after a few uses and to ensure the most usage from the cover it’s important to not let them dry out, EVER!

That's over fifty bucks sitting in that bucket.

Simply by cleaning and spinning them out then submerging the covers in a bucket of water will extend their life, especially white woven covers. Besides, it’s best to use a wet cover spun out before you load the cover. Loading the cover will be quicker and help later for cleanup.

Sandpaper Time Saver

Here are the types of sandpaper I found over the years to save me time on the job. The Glit #150 extra fine works great for sanding sealer, between coats of acrylics, sanding spindles, drywall patches etc. The Glit #100 works great for sanding oil-based primer on poplar.

UPDATE: The Glit pads are now 3M Pro-Pad’s

Hermes J-Flex cloth back is an excellent paper for sanding bare wood prior to priming or staining, you’ll find other uses for it once you have some. J-Flex is a little on the pricey side but worth it to save time. J-Flex is sold in rolls. Hermes Abrasives

For the orbital sander I prefer Norton’s Gold P-150 for sanding dried latex paints on rework jobs, also works well on bare wood. Easily removes cured sags and runs.

Apr 21, 2007

ICI 1410 on Green Board

Seeing is believing, that’s what I like. I only wish when I set out to try new products there was a place to go to see the product in use on real jobs so I can have some sort of confidence in buying products.

The advice and comments from the paint stores only goes so far. How many times have you heard a rep say “the guys love it, we sell tons of it”, then you try the product with disappointment or greater expectations.

About the Photos
Straight forward, this is one coat of ICI Dulux 1410 low-sheen eggshell directly applied to bare drywall with an 18” rig to reflect coverage on standard gray drywall and green board. This product is the only one I know of using light off-whites (mixed to Benjamin Moore Linen White) that will actually cover up the green board nicely in one coat without back rolling. I left the photos fairly large for a better view, click to enlarge.

Apr 20, 2007

Setup doors to spray

spraying MDF doors

If you are considering spraying doors with either an HVLP or airless sprayer, here is simple setup, probably one of the more common methods used. There are a number of door stacking systems available.

TIPS before standing or ‘staging’ doors

  1. Shop-vac floors and put heavy construction paper down, not plastic. Alternatively doors can be sprayed on concrete or subflooring if the builder permits
  2. Group doors together to prime edges with a short nap roller the day before you plan on spraying the doors. Sand and prepare for paint
  3. Use a 1” nail (4d sinkers) and door shims to tack doors together
  4. Nail approximately 3-4” in from the edge for better stability
  5. Let everybody around you know to stay back while spraying. Post a sign. I almost sprayed a homeowner who slipped in the house without my knowing
  6. Allow overnight to dry before removing from paper. The doors should remove cleanly as long as you don’t puddle paint between the bottom edge of the door and the paper
  7. A 4' whip hose comes in handy for better flexibility

spraying MDF doors

In new construction, many of the doors are MDF and require all six surfaces be painted or warranty is VOID. The MDF doors tend to warp much easier than solid wood doors. It’s a PITA but save yourself the headache of callbacks and prime the tops and bottoms.

sanding MDF doors

About the Photo
Two things worth mentioning, the coarse edges on the doors from the factory will not get smooth with multiple coats of paint. It's best to treat the edges with an oil-primer covering any bare MDF and sand it good. Simply applying acrylic to edges will only raise the MDF fibers and make them sharp enough for someone to cut their hands or fingers. Not all MDF doors are this bad.

Baluster | Spindle Spray Rack

Baluster Spray Rack This racking system has been around for some time. You can place the rack on saw horses to position them at a more comfortable height. Here is some information for those who never made one, used one, or seen one. Many of the balusters we see have a ¾” peg on the bottom that will insert easily into a ¾” deep hole in a 2 x 4.
Baluster Spray Rack One eight foot 2 x 4 will accommodate 50 spindles spaced 1 7/8” apart on center and will allow you to turn the spindles if necessary. For larger balusters you may need to insert one in every other hole.

See also: Spraying Balusters 

Spraying Trim & Doors

spraydoors01 - Copy We receive many compliments on our woodwork and doors. Here is how we do it. We use a Titan 440i airless sprayer set at no more than 1800 psi utilizing a FF210, FF211 and FF311 (FF -Fine Finish) Tip producing automotive-like finishes without the high-gloss and orange-peel.

All proper steps are performed to make sure the trim and doors are fully prepped for finish. We apply ICI Dulux 1407 semi-gloss twice mixed in a iridescent-like white for that beautiful reflective finish. The compliments alone say that this combination of finish paint, color and how its applied is a huge hit for the homeowners.
spraydoors02 Sprayed fiberglass doors using a FF210 or FF211 tip produces a nice finish. We use a 209 or FF210 tip for the edges of Masonite doors and shoot the face of the doors with a FF311.

Wall Primers UPDATED

I have two additional primers tested to add to the previous post on Wall Primers Tested.

The following primers were tested as outlined on the previous post with the same or similar results.

Basically, now 7 primers tested in comparison to 2 coats of ICI Dulux 1410 Eggshel paint over bare drywall.

6) ICI Dulux 1000 Prep & Prime Hi-Hide Wall
7) Sherwin Williams PrepRite® High Build Interior Latex Primer/Surfacer (what a mess)

About the Photo
One coat of 1410 applied to bare drywall and sanded excessively for the second and final coat. The second coat was applied today. I will post the photo on Monday.

Radius 360º Pole Sander

Radius 360 Pole SanderThe newest addition for sanding walls was introduced by Full Circle International last year. The Radius 360º pole sander features a full 9” diameter, die-cast aluminum head with wide pivot brackets providing unique side-to-side, up and down, and circular mobility.

A common problem with the traditional sanding poles also seen in the photo was flipping on the wall causing some pretty serious wall repairs if you were not careful. We’ve been using the 360º pole sander for some time now and it’s never been flipped.

Another beneficial feature is the ability to attach most any extension pole so you can sand those 16’ high areas often seen from a loft upstairs. What more can you ask for? There is more, the ½” thick foam detachable disc forms to the wall far better than the rectangular designs which often only sand around the outer portion of the sanding pad. The Radius 360º sands much more evenly with less effort. 

And if that wasn’t enough, the sanding pad sheets are hook and loop so swapping out a worn pad is a snap.

Radius 360 Pole Sander

Cons: Does not fit below outlets and all the tight areas that the traditional pole sanders can but Full Circle International has you covered on that too. Check out the FlexEdge sander and say goodbye to wing nuts.

recom_01 - sm


It's nice to see when you write in about product suggestions to make life easier that things actually get done and this 2 gallon square tub of joint compound with DryDex is a perfect example of life made easier. Now DAP listen up, here is your plug, now where is my tinted CrackShot? White is boring and not effective for finding patches made on pre-primed white trim. Again, here are my color suggestions, pink, dirty white, gray, blue, green whatever, just not white!

Information on DAP products can be found here.

Apr 19, 2007

Synthetic Brushes for Oil

synoil01 We all know any decent brush can get the job done but it doesn’t necessarily mean the job will turn out nice. Synthetic SRT (Solid Round Tapered) filament brushes are proving to be more beneficial in the workplace over china bristle with oil-based products. It seems not long ago the majority of our materials spread on jobs were oils, today, we only use a few.

Priming is a key component to determine what the outcome of the job will be. The final outcome of finishing anything will fall back on what’s under the finish coat and how it was prepared. For those of you who like to produce quality finishes you know that means the primer coat better be smooth and we all know that means sanding endlessly until it is.

To minimize our sanding efforts to produce quality finishes in less time we turned to spreading oil-based primers using precision tipped nylon/polyester blend brushes which ultimately will reduce brush marks and improve leveling performance. A quality SRT brush used with a quality primer will save you time on the job.

About the Photo
Oil-based primer applied with a nylon/polyester brush over pre-primed finger jointed wood. The photo was taken immediately after a brush stroke, leveling is easily achieved.

Roller Frame End Cap Trick

This little trick comes in handy for rolling a ceiling. A nicely rounded button glued on the end cap of the roller frame allows you to roll tight to the wall with minimal cutting required.

The button should get you close enough so all you need to do is cut maybe ¼” to ½” along the ceiling edge and four corners with your ceiling paint.
Rolling out of a bucket may be too messy for this trick if the end cap becomes covered in paint. Silly but effective when timing is everything. You will be on to rolling walls in less time. This trick is very beneficial on popcorn ceilings, try it out, with some practice you can roll without using a brush at all except for corners obviously.

Be sure to give the end cap a light scuff so the glue sticks. Also, this mod was never tested with any nap heavier than 1/2".

Apr 18, 2007

Zinsser Bulls Eye Odorless

Zinsser Bullseye Odorless Zinsser Bulls Eye odorless covers excellent on bare wood and sands very easy to a powder. Brush marks can be easily sanded out. In the photo we applied it to poplar achieving a nice solid white. Because this is poplar we will apply two coats of primer to achieve a full sheen with our finish product
sanding dust Sanding dust is like baby powder.

ICI 1407 Semi-gloss reduced

The finish is ICI Dulux 1407 mixed in a custom white. I recommend a synthetic brush for applying Zinsser Bulls Eye Odorless vs. a black or white china brush, I used a Benjamin Moore brush. 

More on poplar here.

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