Oct 25, 2007

How to dial in HVLP Sprayer

HVLP air control and fluid knob Some guys struggle with the HVLP (High Volume Low Pressure) sprayer. I think if more guys felt more comfortable about how they work, more guys would use them. For the purpose of this article I will be using the ICI Sanding Sealer only because I happen to be shooting it this week.

On the HVLP gun (top photo) you see two dials, the top one is the air flow or air control knob (how much air goes through the gun) and the other is material flow aka fluid knob (the amount of paint passing through). The arrow on the upper knob (air flow) is set at about the 7 o’clock mark. Max air flow is at 12 o’clock. The knob only works from the 12 o’clock to 6 o’clock mark but you can turn it either way. So if we turn the knob to the right to 5 o’clock, it is the same as turning the knob to the left at 7 o’clock. Hope that makes sense.

The photo below shows how thin the material is. Do you know how -when you pour thick paint in a bucket, the paint sort of accumulates on the surface before it levels out? We can’t have that happen with an HVLP. The paint when poured into itself should dissipate immediately into itself. I have my sanding sealer a bit on the thin side but not by much and only because I was shooting a light dusting coat of tinted sealer.

HVLP cup Once the paint is mixed up and in the cup, turn the fluid knob all the way in and then back it out 2 full turns. Start by shooting with the air flow at the 6 o’clock which should be ‘OFF’. Then while squeezing the trigger, start by turning the air flow to the 9 o’clock mark. It should produce paint at least air through the gun at this point. If not, turn the fluid knob another full turn out. If still nothing, your material may be too thick. You can at this point open the air control knob all the way to 12 o’clock to confirm. If still no material, the gun is blocked up or material is too heavy.

If all goes well, you should be able to shoot materials through the gun with the material flow open slightly and air flow set at 7 or 8 o’clock. 12 o’clock is overkill and does nothing but cloud up the room.

Assuming you have paint through the gun, turn the air off again and very slightly turn air pressure up (a hair) or until paint is distributing a fine spray pattern. If you cut off the air flow the gun should spit paint out. Dial-in where the minimum air is needed to shoot a fine spray from the tip of the gun. The knob is very sensitive, use very small increments for adjustment.

Once you get the hang of that, you can adjust the fluid knob more to move materials quicker. When shooting heavier materials you may want to convert the gun to bleeder style.

See also: HVLP Maintenance and HVLP Transfer Efficiency

Weight Loss

With all the TV infomercials on weight loss, how is anyone to know for sure if the program will work for them? Come on people, get off the couch, those are all scams… are they not? My proven weight loss system will eliminate the question and produce nothing but results.

Enter Jack’s workout program.

3 simple steps to fitness and weight loss guaranteed! Actually I only guarantee that when I follow the 3 steps, I lose weight.

Step 1 Buy paint (start off with 15 gallons)
Step 2 Buy roller
Step 3 Spread 15 gallons of paint in less than 2 hours and watch the pounds fall off. Do this each day for 1 week, you'll see.

This post is for entertainment purposes only although physical workouts have proven to help losing weight. Consult with a doctor before using any weight loss program and preferrably not an actor dressed up as a doctor.

Sherwin Williams Exterior SuperPaint Woes

Unlike other ONLINE REVIEW SITES for PAINTS based solely on someone's written experiences, we show you what to expect with photos and videos of the wet paint applied and dry appearance of the paints so you have a better idea of what to expect rather than someone's “word” on it. We apply hundreds of gallons of product across various jobs, surfaces etc. before we review it – not just a couple gallons in a lab.

jack pauhl

Here are a few tips for dealing with difficult colors using Sherwin Williams Exterior SuperPaint. To be completely fair, there are many exterior paints on the market that cover poorly with certain colors like shown above.

For the purpose of this article I am referring to a ‘difficult color’ as any color that will not cover easily in two coats such as reds, deep greens, midnight blues, pastels etc.

General Tips: For best results with most any paint product when it comes time to paint an exterior front door, try to paint 1) early morning, 2) not in direct sunlight and 3) not in windy conditions. Keep all windows and other doors closed while you paint. This will decrease the amount of draft passing by the door. Sun and wind are the enemies. I will postpone however long I have to for optimum conditions to paint a front door. This is important, brace the door in a way that it will not move while you are painting it.

Painting front doors:

In the new home market we are required to paint front doors to match factory vinyl shutters manufactured by Norandex. You may experience a similar requirement with another manufacturer.

Some of our builders use metal factory primed steel doors and others use white shiny fiberglass entry doors. Typically most of these shutter paint colors cover fine in two coats over the dark grey factory primer except for 3 of them, Bordeux, Midnight Green and Midnight Blue (shown). Not all factory steel doors are primed the same shade of grey, some are very dark and others are pale grey.

Sherwin Williams SuperPaint Exterior

If you were to brush Sherwin Williams Exterior Super Paint mixed in any one of the three colors shown you are likely to apply 4 or 5 coats to achieve full color depth over a pale grey or white fiberglass door. To work around this labor intensive process you can reprime the door with a dark grey flat primer (flatter the better) and apply two coats of finish. Or do like I do and mask the door off and spray it. More info here on spraying Trim and Doors.

If you decide to brush the door, another option is to get two quarts mixed up, have one quart mixed in Sherwin Williams Exterior Super Paint Flat and one in Satin or Semi-gloss. I do not recommend Exterior SuperPaint mixed in Gloss for doors. You have more working time with Satin than you do with Semi-Gloss. If the final result is semi-gloss then use satin for your first coat and semi-gloss for your 2nd and 3rd. If your final result is satin, then use flat for first coat and satin for the 2nd and maybe 3rd if needed.

Here is a TIP for applying Exterior Super Paint. Paint the edges first. If your door had defined panels such as a 6 panel style door, paint the inside of all panels completely first and use a damp rag to wipe wet paint away from any area but the panel. Take a look at the photo here for a numbered procedural method for painting a door. Then finish off the door using that method.

A TIP for painting the hinge edge is the same, paint the edge and as you move down the edge of the door, remove any paint with a wet rag that got on the face of the door.

Be sure to SUBSCRIBE for future updates on this exterior paint.

Oct 24, 2007

How to Rolling walls Techniques

How to roll walls

I've seen many rolling techniques in my day. Home shows generally show people rolling a W pattern without an extension pole. I’ve seen the X pattern etc., also there is some silly Z pattern floating around on YouTube for people who roll without poles and want to be sore for days.

That reminds me, mental note: make post of 101 silly things homeowners do when painting.

As far as I’m concerned, there is only one way to roll. This technique is certainly not anything new but it is simple and very effective for achieving consistent finishes but there is one exception to this technique. If you are rolling a 16’ high wall, I strongly suggest you roll this pattern on the lower 8’ and then do the same pattern on the upper 8’ with your last stoke from ceiling to floor. Be sure to put plenty of stuff in your way too as seen in the photos.

The photos are pretty much straight forward. Start in the middle of the wall; roll down then up passed the middle to the ceiling and finally finish the last pass from ceiling to floor.
See also: Rolling Duration Home for more info. Head on over to YouTube.com and search 'rolling walls' for video demonstrations.

ICI Sanding Sealer

ici sanding sealer I am just going to cover briefly using ICI Dulux Wood Pride Sanding Sealer with a brush, roller and an HVLP.

We use sanding sealer as part of our wood finishing process. Once the stain is applied and dry, I apply sanding sealer to raise and lock down the grain of the wood allowing me to sand the sealer baby smooth before applying a varnish. Many guys think sanding sealers are all created equal. Here is a secret, they’re not. Sherwin Williams isn’t the same as ICI’s and neither of them are anything like MinWax Sanding Sealer or Cabots sealers. Now that Sherwin Williams has a hold on Minwax, maybe the two are the same now.

This product is pretty straight forward although you have little time to work with it. It is best to keep moving ahead and try not to back brush previously wet areas.

It is not recommended to roll sanding sealer and leave it as is. I recommend always laying off with a brush. Work in small areas and use a Mohair short nap cover.

Spraying: When using an HVLP you may find it beneficial to slightly reduce the sealer. A formula of 24 oz. sanding sealer to 8 oz. thinner is sufficient to allow fast steady flow from the gun. Reducing should allow you to dial in your gun with minimal air flow. My air flow is almost all the way to off. I use a #3 projector set for sealer.

Dealing with drips and sags:
Yep, even I get them from time to time and I highly recommend keeping an eye on your work as you go. Every so often take a look back at your work. If you can, try to remove sags with a dry oil brush by feathering the sag out. If the sag had too much time to dry but is still soft, grab your 5-in-1 and shave it off carefully. If the sag or drip has dried completely, use a single edge razor blade and shave it off very carefully, sand smooth and repair.

About the photo: The photo shows ICI sanding sealer over stained poplar.

Also look at Do it Best Sanding Sealer

Cutting 8' vs. 16'

Painting high ceiling lines.

Have you ever figured out the time difference for cutting a 16’ high wall vs. an 8’ wall? - I have, here are the shocking results! I can comfortably cut 8’ and 9’ ceilings at the rate of 11-14 fpm. with the help from this.

Now once I hop on a 24’ extension ladder my foot rate per minute drops drastically to 3 lousy fpm. THREE FEET! So, the next time you estimate a job with a high wall, you will now know how much more to charge.

Be faster painting ceiling lines. Learn how.

Here is a video on cutting in ceiling lines using a 2 step approach.

How to be faster cutting-in ceilings

Werner TW372-30

Werner TW372-30 Step Ladder

When painting there is no other more time consuming task for me besides cutting in ceiling lines, and we do it twice. This small investment will shave countless hours off your day-to-day grind and you’ll do it with a smile and like it.

The wide step ladder when placed in the corner of a room allows me to reach 7' each way. I comfortably cut-in 8' or 9' ceilings at the rate of 11-14 fpm, that’s damn quick! and a lot less up and down a ladder. When I hop up on this step ladder, I cut-in 7' one direction and 7' the other, about 14' in one minute. On a small room, I move this step ladder 4 times, about 4 minutes or so to cut a small room.

Werner TW372-30 Be sure to check out Werner ladder for other sizes. I keep a 2’ and 3’ step in the truck. The 2’ works great on 8’ – 9’ ceilings.

Oct 23, 2007

Corrective Finishes

Wood Finishing Using Toner

stained fireplace You may come across a homeowner who might ask you to magically blend all their wood to look exactly the same. Well, magic is exactly what you will need for that. But, if you manage to compromise with the homeowner after the 60 minute lecture on wood, you might come to the following conclusion.

Let’s make the center plywood look more like the real solid wood around it. We are going to do this by applying several, (as many as necessary) toner coats over the plywood. You will notice the fireplace is otherwise finished except for the center 3 pieces.

We will be masking off everything but the plywood and using the HVLP, we are going to mix the stain directly into the clear finish and apply dusting coats of toner until the homeowner is happy.

This TIP is also useful for adjusting blotchy stained pieces or areas such as you see in the photo. Also a toner coat adds depth to the wood.

If you have a deep red mahogany color on poplar, you can  adjust color depth utilizing toner coats. Also effective on poplar when you want more solid uniform color cast like you see on furniture and kitchen cabinets. Toner coats work great for kitchen cabinet refinishing too!

Poor mans cover keeper

Simple, cheap and effective! Wrapping your roller cover in a trash bag for overnight or 30 days later will save you time and headache. I use plastic when I exceed the number of PVC keepers I have. Plastic bags keep the cover wet for at least 30 days, just keep them out of direct sunlight.

I use a low tack masking tape for easy removal. If you know you are going to be in and out of a color, after you reopen the plastic bag, fold the bag in half (wet on wet) and reuse it when you're done.

See also: Roller Cover Care

When touchups go bad

Many complaints about paint touchups not matching are not necessarily paint related, imagine that. There are three main factors to consider when touchups go bad or paint does not match.

1. Was the touchup made in the same manner in which it was initially painted? Meaning, did you touch up with a brush over an area that was previously rolled? It is also just as important to use the same roller cover to touch up from the initial roll.

2. Is the touched up area shinier than the area around the touchup? If so, the main area is not at full sheen. Read this on how to achieve full sheen.

3. Does the touch up appear to be a different color? If so, it is likely the paint was not stirred adequately. It is especially important to stir dark colors frequently and stir the bottom of the can. Also important is proper boxing of the paint across multiple gallons.

The most common scenario: Don't expect much as far as touchups go using one coat of wall primer and one coat of finish, you're simply not done painting yet.

Other possible paint touch up failures can be attributed to temperature and the time taken to spread the paint. Do not expect nice touch ups if your paint sits out to (evaporate) for too long. Paint sitting in an open cutting can or bucket dries out quickly.

There are some paints out that suggest adding a certain amount of water to the paint for touch ups. Check the label for specific instructions. I found that some paints perform better and touch up nicer when initially thinned slightly with clean water, typically any thick paints. This thinning is especially useful for rolling 16' walls. Do not thin if you need thickness for coverage.

See also: Rolling Eggshell Paints for TIPS on rolling techniques.
Color Shown: Shewin Williams Totally Tan mixed in ICI Dulux Velvet Sheen

When paint touchups go bad pt 2.

Oct 22, 2007

HVLP Transfer Efficiency

spray spindles There is no argument that an HVLP [High Volume Low Pressure] Sprayer pulls its own weight. I recall the first day, first job I used my first HVLP unit. I had a stained trim house all prepared on the drying racks and all I had to do was shoot some sanding sealer on the trim. I suppose two guys brushing the trim for an hour and a half isn’t bad but the HVLP did the whole trim package in under 30 mins., nice. Needless to say, the HVLP paid for itself time and time again.

Besides its time saving abilities, the HVLP when dialed in properly will save on materials too. Take notice in the photo of the spindles above, that is the extent of the overspray. I shot 2 coats of Zinsser Odorless Oil primer on those bare poplar spindles before carpet and shot the oil finish after carpet. The photo shows the accuracy and transfer efficiency is incredible.

See also: Cleaning your HVLP

Factory exterior primer fails brickmold

Here is a very popular issue with new construction homes. The factory primer on brick molding and door jambs comes off regularly. There is no failsafe work around for this issue aside from stripping the lousy factory primer off.

Here are a few tips to help this troublesome problem along. Let’s face it; until enough builders complain about this issue, it won’t change. You can run a palm sander or orbital sander vigorously on all areas possible. These jambs are finger jointed and it is important to smooth up those joints and seal them better. Take some 150 grit sandpaper and knock off any sharp edges everywhere else. The paint will fail if you were to paint over these sharp edges.

Now, mix up some Zinsser Cover Stain at this formula. 32 oz. of Cover Stain to 12 oz. of NAPTHA and apply to the entire jamb. This diluted mixture will do three things 1) penetrate the finger-joints 2) soften factory primer and 3) penetrate factory primer to give some added bite. When dry, apply two heavy coats of your favorite acrylic finish.

See also: Sandpaper Time Savers

Full Sheen Ahead

Most everyone seems to appreciate higher sheen or gloss finishes when it comes to trim and molding, the shinier the easier to clean.

Personally, I prefer a true semi-gloss to semi-satin finish and I have been known to mix 50/50, equal parts to achieve the sheen I like. Sometimes I like high-gloss on stained stair systems then other times I like true satin finishes.

Regardless of your preference, this topic covers how to achieve a full sheen that holds gloss levels true to its formulation. There is no known paint to me that holds gloss regardless of 1 coat, 2 coats or 3 coats. Typically you’ll experience this, the second coat is shinier than the first coat and the 3rd coat is shinier than the second coat. So when does the sheen stop getting shinier and become true to its formulation?

The answer depends on what is under the finish paint. For example, if we paint a PVC casing with semi-gloss, the dried finish is going to be shiner than if you painted a piece of primed wood. The PVC will not absorb sheen but the primer coat will. Not all primers absorb sheen the same. Some primers if not sanded will not absorb any sheen and the same primer sanded will. I’ve been known to do one coat of an oil primer on bare wood and one coat of an acrylic primer prior to two coats of finish. Again, not all primers and finishes are equal. Generally primers dry flat, I know of one primer that dries like an eggshell and that is ICI Gripper. Because Grippers sheen is eggshell, you are already one step ahead over a flat primer to achieve a full sheen.

Regardless of which primer you choose, the absolute best finish will come from one coat of primer sanded smooth and a second coat of primer not sanded, and then apply 2 coats of semi-gloss. I know, four coats of paint is not realistic and many homeowners do not want to pay for it, but it looks great!

See also: Iridescent White Trim as seen in above photo along with SW Totally Tan.

Duration Home

What is this, a circus act?

Click Link for NEW 2010 UPDATED Information on Duration Home Matte.

Outrageous claims are common place in the paint industry. Lifetime Guarantee, Excellent Brushability, One Coat Coverage, Blocks Tannin Bleed… ring a bell? The products shout “step right up” you fools we’ve got the next best thing! Some manufacturers put anything on a label to get you to buy their product but do the products deliver?

Let’s take a closer look at Duration Home from Sherwin Williams.

This review is older and products do change from time-to-time. Most of us have seen the large Duration Home display in the store or perhaps heard about Duration Home on the radio or saw it on TV.

In the store you’ll find a sample board with the left side coated with Duration Home and the right side with an unknown flat wall paint. One important factor to point out is the sample board is a piece of Masonite which is hard on the surface and when primed properly, very non absorbent. The second thing to point out is the water based markers they allow you to draw with and wipe off the samples. The third item to point out is the type of sponge sitting on the display they want you to use to wipe the marker off with a light spray of water, also provided in the display. The sponge is a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. The forth and most important is the color of the sample board, it’s none other than white the same color as the sponge nonetheless.

Well while many people are fooled by this little gimmick, we were not. It did however remind of us the vacuum cleaner commercial where they suck up a bowling ball using a toilet plunger mounted to the end of the vac hose. Duration Home is a lot like that commercial. We can’t argue at all that Duration Home is a nice product.

We are assuming you tried wiping the marker off the display board and maybe you were impressed but did you know, you can take that same marker applied to almost any flat white paint (except) the flat wall paint they put on that sample board, and wipe the mark clean.

We suspect they used white as the sample board color (as did Behr) and a white sponge because they don’t want you to see the paint it’s removing. Try this little test next time you spread a color in Duration other than white, take a marker and make a mark on the paint then take a damp Magic Eraser sponge and wipe it off, now take a look at your sponge, same color as the wall we suspect. Be sure you give the paint time to cure, we gave ours 60 days.

We went crazy with a black permanent Sharpie making marks on the walls all through our house. We are painters, I don’t think any two rooms have the same product on them. We were able to remove all our marks with the Magic Eraser and surprisingly we found the builder grade eggshell paint we used on our kitchen walls wiped off the easiest. Sure its eggshell paint and should clean nicer then a flat paint but that was cheap $11 paint and one of the lowest sheen levels we’ve seen in an eggshell even less of a sheen than Duration Home Satin. Get my point here?

Now don’t get me wrong we like Duration Home but we like it because it applies nice, saves us time and resists burnishing on the matte finish. No flat wall paint we know of resists smearing your finger across it but Duration Home. ICI's Dulux Velvet Sheen is almost the same sheen as Duration Home Matte and will not burnish either for half the price. If you ever had a chance to spread ceramics, you will find Duration Home applies much the same. Duration Home is a styrene acrylic and does have a nice feel to it when dry. Just be cautious how you sell Duration Home to your customers. The miracle here is the sponge. Some guys sell this stuff off like it’s the best thing since sliced bread, we just think its pretty decent and we are excited to spread it any chance we get.

Now if Sherwin Williams would work on quality control they will have a nice product to boast about. We spread 25 gallons the other day in matte finish and our paint was very inconsistent. We had 2 colors some mixed in 5’s the rest singles. Some of our singles were full to the rim, others were below the pour spout. One color when boxed was thick to spread, the other was thin and smooth like a ceramic. Needless to say, the full singles did not mix well on the shaker so we had tint issues too. It’s a great product if they could only get their QC together but is it worth the price? No!

See also: Rolling Duration Home

Oct 21, 2007

Duration Exterior

This is a review on Sherwin Williams Duration Exterior Paint from 9/03

Are you looking for Sherwin Williams Duration Home for Interior?

Sherwin Williams Duration™ Review performed by an independent painting contractor.
Exterior Latex Satin Coating K333 Series

Retail Price: $40.00
Usage: Exterior

Front Label:
On the front of this product you will find a nice shiny silver label which is rather impressive. My initial thoughts gazing at the shiny label in the store were somewhere along the lines of, ‘No wonder why this product costs so much’, look at that label. The only thing it lacks is a nice black velvet jewelry-like case for packaging. I would think for $40 we would get some sort of nice carrying case. Personally, for a premium, I would expect this product to be Sherwin William’s top-of-the-line product and it should have been labeled in gold. Doesn’t silver represent something less than gold? The more I think about it, I wonder what product SW has that might supersede Duration for exterior expectations and I can’t think of one.

Back Label:
On the back of the label you’ll find some helpful tips on how to apply this product, what to apply it with, what to apply it to and when it’s most appropriate to apply along with preventing damage to surfaces not intended for this product in the event you should spill or spatter it on something you don’t want paint on, including your person. The label boasts this product has a “tenacious” grip almost like a bright red and white sign jumping out at you saying “BEWARE”!!!

· One Coat Protection
· Self-Priming
· Easy Application
· Superior Hiding
· Thicker. More Flexible
· Resists Blistering and Peeling
· Low Temperature 35º Application

It’s most intriguing feature is in the name Duration, kindly implying that this product will be on my home for the duration of its existence. Well, maybe not that long but it implies something along those lines but does not say what its life expectancy is. Five years? Ten years?... we don’t know, it just sounds promising. There is something to be said about calling a product ‘Duration’ but not specifically saying what duration you might expect.

Under the Lid:
I was anxious to get this product back to the shop. I had a lot of uses in mind. I grabbed my handy 5-in-1 tool and my nylon/polyester brush from my keeper and my viscosity cup from the work bench and proceeded around the lid. I gently raised the lid with two fingers peaking into the can as if it contained some sort of treasure, remember… I just paid a premium for this product. I quickly wiped the lid clean of dripping paint and dunked my viscosity cup in for a swim and pulled it out… one thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three, one thousand f… drip. I quickly realized that this product is way too heavily bodied for my vcup so I dumped the paint back into the can and swapped it for a nice birch stir stick from my vintage wood collection and began stirring. It’s just like the features say, “Thicker. More Flexible”. Yes it’s thick but thicker than what and more flexible than what?

The product was surprisingly thick but not quite like mayonnaise then I quickly wondered how it would spread as many heavily bodied paints do not spread well but Sherwin Williams boasts “Easy Application” so for now my mind is at ease. The limiting factor becomes the ability to spread the product evenly across the substrate and when you factor in the element of wind for example, heavy bodied paints become increasingly difficult to spread - add in low weather temperatures and you have a very difficult product to spread.

The Line Up:
For this test I will be using the following materials, cedar, redwood, pine, pre-primed man-made composites, pre-primed finger jointed southern pine, fypon decorative molding, PVC trim components and factory primed steel doors.

The Test:
This review will cover most aspects of the product except for the time in which it will last due to obvious reasons. We will be using the Satin version of Duration in plain White – stock off the shelf with no additives or preservatives.

In the shop Duration applied well straight out of the can to the above mentioned material however when we took the product outside to paint in 70-75º temperatures with a humidity level of 65% and a slight wind at 5MPH, we had strikingly varied results.

One Coat Protection/Coverage:
In this portion of the review I will sum up both Protection and Coverage.

Although the Data Sheet specifies that when applied to bare cedar, knots or redwood – the first coat may show some staining but assures the product will lock in the stains. We found redwood to show very little staining after first coat however the cedar boards tannin bleed through was very apparent and questionable whether or not a second coat will provide adequate coverage as our white coat turned a dirty brownish white color.

Cedar/Redwood 2nd Coat:
Some portions of our cedar samples did not cover the tannin fully with a second coat. My suggestions would be to disregard the self-priming aspect of Duration on Cedar and use an oil based primer specifically designed for blocking tannin. Even if you could get Duration to cover in two coats on cedar – chances are great that tannin will bleed through during the first week after the final coat was applied. I am failing Duration on this portion of the review to provide a nice seal to lock in tannin. There are very few oil based primers on the market that will lock in tannin. I think Sherwin Williams squeezed in the stain blocker portion into the specs where in my opinion should have been left out.

Reality Check:
Let’s say you have a project that requires 1 gallon of paint on cedar. Let’s say you purchased Duration because it says it can be used on cedar and you take your chances on a $40 gallon of paint only to realize you will need a second coat and even a third to really cover tannin, $120 plus labor 3 times - absolutely not worth it. I am thinking more along the lines of a $16 gallon of oil based stain blocker and a $20 gallon of finish. $84 savings plus a days work saved.

When applied to bare pine trim we were impressed at the ability to cover bare wood as the data sheet specifies Duration is self-priming. At this stage I would say so but looks are very deceiving when it comes to paints. Just because a product can cover bare wood in one coat nicely does not mean it will hold up well in the elements. Besides, pine is not a recommended material for exterior.

Pre-Primed Composites:
I could not get Duration to cover an off-white factory primer in one coat on our test materials. I expected better coverage over a pre-primed surface. In fact, the coverage on bare pine was better vs. over a primer coat. Regardless, two top coats should finalize the project without a problem.

Both our PVC and Fypon materials come from the factory in a fairly clean white color. Duration covered both PVC and Fypon nicely in one coat. I experienced a lot of drag when painting fypon materials (cast foam) but painting PVC went without a hitch.

Steel Doors:
Our test doors are ThermaTru six panel factory primed steel. We could not successfully paint a steel door with this product. Duration sets up much to fast to get through one side of a door. We immediately washed the mess off the door and fail this product for brush use on a steel door. Suggestions would be to spray Duration per Data Sheet specs but we will not be performing any spray work in this review.

Easy Application:
I found Duration to be one of the most difficult products to spread in all of my 20 years of painting. I understand the data sheet recommends not painting in direct sun but let’s face it, is that really reasonable to ask a consumer or painter? Easy application to me means this product will spread easy, flow nicely, have sufficient glide and will not have restrictions on when or where I can paint. I have to fail this portion of the review because it was not easy to apply, at all in indirect sunlight.

Superior Hiding:
The hiding aspects of Duration are only achieved with a heavy mil thickness. The Data Sheet states this product can be applied wet at 7 mil. I could not get Duration to cover an off-white primer nicely with 2-3 mil. Our average tested mil thickness was between 2-3 mil/w evenly. While we were able to achieve 7 mil on our vertical sample boards, we could not spread anywhere near 7 mil evenly. I am however confident Duration can with a bit of finesse cover a fairly dark color in two coats but I would not call that superior hiding as most paints on the market cover in two coats. I won’t fail Duration in this portion of the review but rather caution the consumer that your expectations may be too high for what Duration will hide.

Over Spray Paint:
We also tested Duration using readily available black and red Krylon spray paint applied as graffiti on both vinyl and wood siding. Two coats covered with an initial light sanding.

Sheen Level:
Our first coat on all our sample boards looked like a satin finish however the second coat I would call semi-gloss.

Low Temperature 35º Application
Does anyone really have the ambition to go outside on a nice sunny cold day with snow on the ground and crack open a can of Duration and paint their porch rail? May I suggest a movie instead? First off, I don’t care what low temperatures Duration can be applied because no matter what – the materials outside in the cold that you intend on painting are by no means in any condition to be painted. While a 35º temp paint sounds impressive, as a professional paint contractor – take it from me… do not paint in the cold. We took a gallon of Duration and placed it in the freezer bringing it to 35º temperature relative to what you might experience painting with this product outside in 35º weather. If you absolutely must apply this product in the cold – plan on using a putty knife instead of a brush.

Application Methods:

We used several different nylon/poly brushes during our review from Wooster and Purdy and found only one to work well with Duration.
When taking a dip out of the can, the paint does not release from the brush – instead it hangs from the brush. I am an extremely neat painter but I managed to get paint all over the floor from where the can set to the sample boards. Release is a very important factor to me when painting outside in the wind. If the paint does not release from the brush when you pull it out of the can - the wind will blow any hanging material all over things you don’t intend on painting. Another important factor to consider with the release of this product is the fact that Duration does not release from the brush onto the surface you are painting. The best way to describe it would be how snow moves from the two edges of a snow plow – pushing through the product creating ridges along side of the brush. I found painting exterior door casings very annoying because I would get the edge looking nice then face off the front of the casing then mess up the edge, over and over and because Duration dries so fast - I ended up making a complete mess.

We took the labels recommendations and used a 3/8” nap synthetic roller cover. I will never try that again.

As I mentioned earlier, Duration is heavily bodied. Sherwin Williams might consider suggesting on the label to use a (extra firm) nylon/polyester brush because without one you will be fighting with this product.

I found many uses for this product (inside) a home rather than outside however this product clearly states on the label, ‘For Exterior Use Only’.

There is a bit of a trick to using Duration properly and that is to always work as fast as you possibly can in one direction and do not look back. The painted surface looks good from a distance, but looking at it up close; you can see that you really have a mess due to the quick set-up and no leveling. Duration as specified on the data sheet dries quickly and because it dries fast – there is no time for the paint to level. You will have brush marks in your finish that are unavoidable with this product. You can instantly take a brand new piece of wood and make it look like it was painted 50 times. While this product may exceed in the elements but was not tested over a period of time, I feel there are many other products available that provide professional long lasting finishes and are easy to use.

Here is another review/experience with Duration.

About MDF Trim

mdf trim Who cares how MDF is made - let’s just skip to how to paint it. Think of MDF trim as a super stiff smooth sponge. If you place a piece of MDF trim in water it will pucker up to the point you may not recognize it, no joke.

Let’s say you put MDF in your bathroom and the water from the shower drips onto the floor with a puddle near the baseboard. MDF — if not properly primed and painted will absorb that water and the baseboard will be destroyed. It’s really as simple as that.

Another scenario, let’s say your basement floods and your baseboard and trim gets wet, your MDF trim is ruined. It’s as simple as that.

So, if you know your MDF will come in contact with water (melting snow from boots) or (spill something in the kitchen), your MDF MUST have an oil based primer applied to ALL edges, front, back, top, bottom, the saw cuts, everything or you leave yourself open for damage to your investment. It’s as simple as that.

If your trim or molding is already installed, well then you learned a valuable lesson just now, if it’s not installed, take the time to dry cut your pieces and prime the pieces entirely with an oil-based primer. Do this for any area you feel might come in contact with water even 1 table spoon of water will destroy MDF. DO NOT think for a second putting oil-based primer on the face of your MDF will prevent any damage from water, it won’t.

The theory of MDF is to save the consumer or builders money but in fact, finishing MDF costs more than if you simply bought pine trim which is a hell of a lot more durable than MDF. Pine trim while still not the preferred trim of choice at least won’t chip apart when you whack it accidentally with the sweeper or pull the cord hard for that matter. Dogs love MDF too!

About the photo: Water damage on MDF from the carpet cleaner who dripped a little water on the floor. Sure he wiped up the spill but the water was underneath the baseboard and this is in an area where no water was expected.

See also: Painting MDF and issues with filling nail holes on MDF

Oct 20, 2007

Nail Putty Problems

There is growing number of reports of nail putty problems on pre-primed trim products.

I will touch briefly on one of the main causes for what you see in the photo. This ringing effect around the nail hole is caused by use of overly oily oil-based nail putty.

What happens is this, after the putty is pressed into the hole (usually within hours), the oils in the putty seep through the wood fibers and rise to the surface via the super absorbent factory primer coat leaving an oily ring.

Explaining in more detail: the quality of the primer coat on factory pre-primed trim is so poor that it can be dissolved with just water.

The primer coat is about the same as if you put cheap flat wall paint on bare wood. The oils in the putty soften the primer coat leaving an oily spot. When you paint over this oily spot, your finish coat absorbs into the soft spot. This occurs with oil-based paint or Acrylics.

The work around: 4 Options
1) Re-prime that crappy factory primer before you do any nail hole filling.
2) Use a latex putty vs. oil.
3) Use a product such as DAP CrackShot or DryDex (much more time consuming) best results.
4) Use Whiting Powder to dry out the putty a bit.

In new home construction it is far less expensive and labor intensive to simply spray a new coat of primer on the trim. The factory primer is applied to the wood with one goal in mind, to fill imperfections in the wood.


Oct 16, 2007

Caulk. The act of caulking

Undoubtedly caulk is a one of the painter’s best mediums. The saying goes, caulk and paint will fix what a trim carpenter aint. Trim carpenters who do nice work can save a painter countless hours of preparation. I am very fortunate to work behind an excellent trim carpenter on our jobs, in the past I worked behind some of the worst; in the trade we call them hacks.

For example: we might use 4 or 5 tubes of caulk on an entire house with our current carpenter. A house of the same size with a careless trim carpenter may require over a case of caulk and all of our caulk is hand-laid.

So when, what, where and how?

We believe that any and all trim should be caulked where two pieces of wood meet or where the trim meets the wall. Even though a trim carpenter can install the casing tight to the door jamb, we believe that area should be caulked.

Here’s why, if we were to paint a casing without caulk that was installed properly with a tight fit (no gaps), that casing will generally be fine for the time being. All houses expand and contract, so while it might be tight today, it might not be in other months of the year. The other reason and it’s the main reason is shrinkage. In new home construction or any project that requires new wood materials, you will have shrinkage of the wood.

What caulk should I use? As far as painting goes, there is only one type of caulk, paintable acrylic with silicone and typically a 35 year caulk. NOT silicone caulk! We DO NOT use caulk to fill nail holes or imperfections in the wood.

When to apply caulk? On pre-primed trim we caulk between the two coats of finish. We simply do this because all our caulk is hand-laid and the first coat of paint allows our fingers to glide better over the surface, this method is best. On bare wood, we caulk after the primer coat is sanded and swept clean.

See also: Caulking TIPS

Oct 11, 2007

Behr Premium Flat

This is a video of a Home Depot Employee demonstrating how well Behr Flat paint can be scrubbed. Here is what they don't tell you.

There is no mention as to how the newspaper was treated prior to painting. We don't know if this is glossy stock newspaper print ads or just plain thin newspaper. It looks like glossy color print ads which are thicker in weight. The white paint will not show how badly scrubbing affected the paint finish. Sherwin Williams did that little trick with Duration Home. We dont know what primer was used or how many coats of primer the newspaper has (that is the most important thing on this particular test). We dont know how many coats of Behr Premium Flat is on there either or what he used to write with.

If this was done on a dark green or red paint, I would be impresssed. Besides, Behr Premium Flat isnt flat anyways neither is Duration Home Matte.

Putty & Fillers

DAP CRACKSHOT mixed with blue food coloring provides easy-to-see patches when it comes time to sand. This allows smooth feathering of edges while at the same time helps prevent missing areas that need sanded. This TIP may or may not require a primer to lock in the food coloring. Test a sample area first.

With countless methods and products available to prepare new trim for paint who’s to know which method produces the best finishes. We take a close look into various products for filling nail holes and repairing imperfections on the surface of trim to achieve a nice smooth finish. Painters all have their preference when in comes to filling nail holes on new trim. A few popular methods for filling nail holes are, nail putty, window glazing, wood filler, drywall mud, shrink-free spackling, sawdust and glue, whiting powder and oil based paint, even caulk to name a few.

The method of attack is solely based on the type of finish you desire. For every method mentioned previously, there are countless products available. For example nail putty in our area is sold by MinWax, DAP, Sherwin Williams, Color Putty brand, Crawfords to name a few but all perform differently. Nail putty is sold in oil-based and water-based formulas. It’s important to know which to use under various finish paint products. For example, you might think using a oil-based putty for oil-based paints is best, not true.

In fact, it’s the opposite. When an oil-based putty is used under oil-based paints, the nail putty leaves a shiny wet spot in the surface of the paint and takes months to dry out.

Paint contractors can not afford to wait the recommended drying period of up to 21 days for oil-based nail putty to cure prior to painting so we turn to other methods that allow us to produce quick turn around on finishes without much delay. There are many work-around methods to use oil-based putty under oil finishes. Some include using whiting powder or drywall dust to dry-out the oils in the putty with the idea of making the putty as dry as possible and still workable to fill holes with. While this method can work the putty still needs to skin over and overnight is best before applying the finish paint. Another method used in the field is filling with an oil-based putty and priming with an acrylic primer prior to applying an oil finish.

See also: Stainable Wood Fillers

Racking Trim

racking trim One of the areas we can save a substantial amount of time is preparing trim prior to installation. Although today we do very few stained houses, in the past every house we did for years had stained trim. Applying stain and a coat of sanding sealer to the trim before installation saved days of work. We are typically able to stain and seal a trim package for a house approximately 2300 sqft. before noon.

Using saw horses and a wool applicator pad, I apply the stain and another person racks it. CAUTION: use this racking system by loading from the TOP and working down. Then unload the rack from the bottom up. See also: Racking 5 1/2" base boards.

Basic Specs:
We used 2x4's 8' in length and cut them to 93" to allow for using these racks in a room with 8' ceilings placed on an angle leaning on the wall. (see photo). Use 3" nails and starting at one end measure your first nail to be 1 1/2" from the edge and space all nails 1 1/2" apart. This spacing allows for your first trim piece to be placed face down on the nails and your second trim piece in the same nail slot face up. This allows you to maximize the racks holding capacity. One rack 93" accommodates 120 pieces of trim, 2 on each nail.

Painting & Racking 5 ½" Baseboard

Racking Baseboard Here is a simple yet effective way of racking baseboard of various sizes. Ceramic tile and hardwood flooring is very common in the houses we paint and lots of it. A huge time saver is to get one coat of paint on the baseboard prior to the carpenter installing it.

We set the baseboard on saw horses and shoot them with an airless sprayer then rack them to dry.

The racking system is also used to paint standard 3 ½” base boards. In this scenario, we stand the rack up against the wall. A WORD OF CAUTION when standing this rack against the wall, be sure to load your boards from the top down otherwise loading from the bottom up may cause the rack to fall over into the room. When you are ready to remove the boards, remove them from the bottom up.

See also: Racking Trim

Painting Cedar Shakes

Unlike other ONLINE REVIEW SITES for PAINTS based solely on someone's written experiences, we show you what to expect with photos and videos of the wet paint applied and dry appearance of the paints so you have a better idea of what to expect rather than someone's “word” on it. We are the ONLY SITE of this kind.

painting cedar 

This week a reader wrote in with questions on how long he should wait after power (pressure) washing his house of cedar shake siding.

I know of many paint contractors who will wash a wood cedar house on Monday and shoot paint on the house Tuesday.

If you think for a second the house had enough time to dry, you are sadly mistaken and just asking for troubles.

painting cedar

Take a look at the photo above. In just a short time the cedar soaked up enough water to where its wet two inches up the cedar board. The most common place on cedar shakes that paint or solid stains fail is the bottom edge of the lap. This wicking effect absorbs water and draws the water up the board and also under any paint left on the laps. Moisture under a paint film needs more than over night to dry. The top photo shows the cedar cut with a saw to show how much and how far into the cedar the water goes.

Oct 10, 2007

Cover Keeper

Time is money, unfortunately in this business there is no way around that. This little tip is just one of many things that reduce operating costs but also reduce time, the wasted kind.

Cleaning an 18” roller cover takes time. It’s not financially feasible to pay someone to clean roller covers, so the option is to clean them yourself or toss them. I minimize the number of times I clean them.

In new construction, we first coat on a scheduled day and then we typically will not be back to that house for about a month sometimes less. It’s a waste of my time to clean roller covers when I know they will be needed later for second coat and even touchups after that.

This cover keeper made from PVC will keep roller covers wet until I need them for second coat. I simply put a piece of masking tape on the tube and mark the color and job name. The roller covers will stay in the tubes until the job is closed out and the homeowner’s house closes with the builder.

I used two 18” covers a total of seven times on the house I completed today but started 2 months ago. Think of all the time saved. I would have had to clean those covers 14 times.

See also: Roller Cover Care and Select Roller Covers

Oct 9, 2007

Clean-n-Dip Review

Just a short product review on Back to Nature's Clean-n-Dip. I primarily use Clean-n-Dip for cleaning sprayer parts. It has no odor, contains no methylene-cloride, caustic or other harsh chemicals, easily cleans up with water and will not burn the skin.

The product starts to work immediately but works best if you place the parts in a can and let the sprayer parts soak about 15 minutes or so. I use a stiff toothbrush to periodically loosen heavy paint buildup. Clean-n-Dip can be reused.

The product removed oils, sanding sealer and acrylics fairly easy. I had a few stubborn areas that required M.E.K. to soften the fully cured varnish. I recommend this product. Be sure to shake and mix well and stir occasionally while you use it. You can use a paint strainer to removed the crud and pour the cleaner back into a container or coffee can.

Oct 8, 2007

Modify your Pole Sander

Pole Sander This great pole sander modification will increase contact with the wall and allow you to sand lighter and using less energy. Until you pole sand deep intense paint colors - chances are you probably never knew how poor pole sanders perform.

I use three different brand pole sanders and they all perform poorly. The sandpaper does not make full contact with the wall even though each of them have a pad on the bottom. Instead, the outer edges only make contact with the wall. If you apply more pressure towards the wall, you get a heavily sanded spot in the center as seen below on the left side. 

Use a piece of foam 1/4" thick (JoAnn Fabrics) cut precisely the same size as the pad on the sander then mount the sandpaper. You will be amazed how well this works and how much easier and less effort it is to sand out a house. Very little pressure is required. Here is another pole sander option from the guys at Full Circle International.

Sanded walls Sanded walls Click to view larger image. Notice the full width of contact with the modified pole sander. I made one single light pass with and without the modification.

HVLP Sprayer Maintenance

This small article will cover some basics on HVLP sprayer maintenance. I'm bad about cleaning up my HVLP until it's a problem and this unit is overdue. The HVLP sprayer is a huge benefit on the job but if its not cleaned thoroughly after each use, you will most likely run into problems the next time you use it.
I start by removing the check valve assembly and tubing then separate the two pieces and remove the check valve and clean all parts real good. A good sprayer cleaning kit is a must. The kits designed for cleaning sprayer parts will help speed up the process of a full teardown.
This is the check valve removed and covered in paint. When spraying, try to keep the cup in an upward position and you will minimize the amount of paint that gets through to the check valve. If the check valve becomes covered in paint like the photo, the sprayer will not work properly.
Don't forget to clean the fittings both on the gun housing and the cup housing where the tubes attach.
Next I remove the air cap, nozzle and tip assembly and clean all the parts good.
Using a socket wrench I remove the fluid nozzle and clean it.
Obviously this needle is in bad shape. CAUTION: if you have dried paint visible on the needle, try to remove it here before you pull the needle out of the housing. If you were to pull this needle out like you see it in the photo, it will pull the packing out with it and then you will need to repack.
Unscrew the fluid or material flow knob and remove the spring and pull the needle carefully out to clean it.
Here is the needle. The needle should be clean spotless. Once clean, run the needle through your fingers to see if you can feel anything you may have missed.

Freehand 2 Wall Colors

Here is a tip when you have 2 wall colors that join either in a corner or anywhere else.

Always cut the light colors first and be sure to cut about 1/4" onto the 2nd color or joining area, in this case - the corner. Obviously dry time is required, then come back and freehand the darker color about 1/16" of an inch onto the 1st color (tan).

By overlapping the tan color in this photo with the dark redish brown, we will achieve a dominant break. If we were to not cut 1/16" into the joining color, the tan color may appear to be more dominant despite its lighter color.

Colors Used
Walls: Behr Dessert Sand and Sherwin Williams SW 6068 Brevity Brown
Trim: New Dirty White
Ceiling: Proform Match

Painting Spraying Split Spindle System

split rail_001 Here is a helpful painting tip for preparing a split color handrail stair system after installation. The spindles and handrail are usually done on a rack system before installation but in this case the homeowner changed their mind after it was installed. Oh joy!

This stair system will have stained newels, handrail and bottom plate with painted spindles (balusters). Obviously prep time is the biggest factor with this job. We will have approximately 40 hours in this rail when it’s complete. The poplar spindles were primed with Zinsser Odorless Oil Primer using an HVLP. When sanded, the spindles will be as smooth as a babies ass. You can't get that from an acrylic primer on poplar trim.

split rail_002Stained areas masked off. All stained components are completed at this stage.
split rail_003 This photo shows how we will minimize the masking procedure. Using a dime, we traced around the dime and made a cut-out in the piece of tape. Two pieces should be all you need between and under the handrail for the pintop.

See also: HVLP Transfer Efficiency