Jan 29, 2009

Benjamin Moore Aura Eggshell Paint

Benjamin Moore Aura

Benjamin Moore’s Aura is one of the many products currently under review. Subscribe to this blog so you will be notified when Reviews are published on the products you are interested in. We are using the eggshell finish over previously painted smooth drywall.

Our focus is to capture in full perspective the full limitations and capabilities of Aura in eggshell. To determine if justifying paying the additional higher cost for Benjamin Moore Aura is worth it and why and if the finish is worth the money and on which surfaces it’s most beneficial.

UPDATE March 25 2009: I was only able to get one gallon of this product to test. I do not feel ready to give any feedback on Aura at this time. Our local stores do not carry Aura due to the added cost in purchasing the equipment needed to mix it. It’s uncertain at this time when I will have the opportunity to try it again. I typically like to spread about 60-100 gallons before providing a detailed review.

How to Caulk 6 panel door bevels | Painting

I’m often asked if the door panel bevels on 6 panels doors should be caulked and my final answer is NO!

Here’s why... As you can see in the photo, the caulk separated and it looks pretty ugly. If you spray 6 panels doors, you have better control how these bevels will look over time without caulk but if you brush and roll like many people do, the bevel gaps can also look pretty ugly painted with no caulk. If you are insisting on caulking the door bevels here are a few tips to help (not guarantee) success.

1) If the door is new wood, prime it first then caulk. Caulk sticks better to a painted or primed surfaces vs. a porous bare wood surface. Use an acrylic primer high in solids above 40% by vol and acrylic caulk with silicone for the best chance of flexibility during expansion.

2) Lets say you have doors like the photo. You can scrape the separated caulk away using a 5-in-1 tool or 1” scraper, sand what you need to. Next apply a bonding primer to the bevels and allow to dry. Re-caulk using an acrylic caulk with silicone and repaint. 

Need help painting 6 panels doors?

When paint touchups go bad pt2 | Painting

Visible touchups The last time I wrote about paint touchups going bad was geared towards the way in which the touchup was made using various other means to touch up. For example, do not touch up eggshell paint with a brush when it was originally painted with a roller.

So what if all the precautions were made to ensure the paint touch up was made in the same manner in which it was originally painted and the touchup stands out like a sore-thumb?

Visible touchups

You have a few options to look at but unfortunately they require a repaint to fix them. Generally if the paint touchup stands out at this point it is likely to be paint related. It’s possible the paint was not mixed properly at the beginning of the job. I don't know how many times I opened a can of paint fresh from the paint store and colorant (tint) was dripping from the rim and/or colorant noticeably visible throughout the gallon.

Another situation can be no visible colorant but the gallon was not on the shaker long enough. The bottom portion of the gallon is thicker than the top portion so by the time you get to the bottom of the gallon the touchup was made with thicker paint then when it was rolled.

It’s important to box or mix all paint together prior to starting a job and be sure you have more than enough paint for touchups later. This means fully empty the gallon and remove and mix the paint from the bottom of the can. Generally the bottom inch of paint in the can is thicker. You can purchase a gallon of paint at 7am and return at lunch time for a 2nd gallon and the color can be off enough to show. I'd have to say from experience the odds you going to a paint store for more touchup paint after the job was painted and having it touch up nicely are slim to none.

One other thing worth mentioning, paint manufacturers change formulas on a colors believe it or not. Bone White isn't the same Bone White it was years ago for example. You might want to call and ask if there were any changes in formulas over the years if the touchup color is off enough to be questionable. Minwax Stains are another where formulas change. Yeah, I know... it’s stupid.

About the photos: The same area photographed from two angles.

Jan 27, 2009

How much does impatience cost?

stopwatch It’s likely we’ve all been a little impatient at times when it comes to painting. You know the saying, ‘it’s like watching paint dry’, but how much does being impatient really cost you? Here are a few common scenarios, maybe you can relate.

1) Paint not drying fast enough so you recoat too soon only to run into unexpected issues.
2) How about – not the right product for the job because you had it in your truck and wanted to use the product up.
3) The paint store is out of the regular product you prefer so you grab something else instead of waiting for the truck to come in or running across town for it.
4) Not straining the paint, you instead decide to pick tiny clumps of paint off the walls for hours as you roll.
5) Not boxing the paint. Perhaps one of the worse things a painter can do. You decide you would rather risk it and paint the entire place only to find your cut went south on you.
6) Making your own decisions instead of running them by the homeowner.
7) Not taking the time to run a shop-vac, instead you simply dust off the trim only to pull dust and dirty from every crack, corner or crevice.
8) The walls look fine, no need to pole sand.

The extra few minutes it takes to perform an extra step can cost you hundreds in the end if you skip it.

Jan 23, 2009

How to remove masking tape. | Painting

score dried paint

Even the best masking tape can be difficult to remove but scoring the dried paint between the tape and the wall will prevent tearing the paint off the wall. I use a small break-away razor blade to score the line.

Jan 22, 2009

Zinsser Oil Based Interior/Exterior Cover-Stain



The growing popularity of Zinsser’s Cover-Stain the past few years really says a lot about its purpose in the world of painting. Many paint contractors swear by it, myself included. Practically eliminating the need for other primers, Cover-Stain turns out is practically a cover-all primer that meets such a vast list of applicable requirements.

The people at Zinsser impress me with their outstanding commitment to the painting trade offering products that simply do what they say they will do and taking a honest approach with their products by rating them E= Excellent (best recommendation), G= Good (may be used on this surface), F= Fair (may work, but not as reliable), NR= Not Recommended. How impressive is that and based on my experience, it’s an accurate rating system. Take a look at Zinsser’s Primer Product Selector for confirming an appropriate product.

Zinsser Cover-Stain saves you time on the job providing excellent coverage, great stain blocking (no need to recoat) and sands easily.

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DAP® CrackSHOT® High Performance Spackling Paste


Professional Knife Grade Spackling Paste for easy application and unsurpassed paintability is precisely what I look for when patching drywall. Save time not only with application, it does not require a primer to prevent flashing. The creamy texture of CrackSHOT spreads smoothly, dries hard and sands effortlessly, delivering quality results every time. This professional formula will not shrink and will not 'flash' paint. Can be used Interior/exterior for dents on metal doors and trim, brick, stone, drywall and plaster. Will not crack crumble or flake.

Put it down once and be done with it. You will save time due to easy sanding and often less of a chance for recoating the patch in addition to not having to prime the patch. No more fooling with 2 part fillers for steel door dents either. I like products that simply work and DAP CrackSHOT is one of them.


Color Putty Oil-Based Nail Putty

Oil-Based Color Putty

Color Putty Co. nail putty is available in a wide assortment of inter-mixable colors as well as oil-based and latex versions.

Color Putty is very pliable and resists flake-off and crumbling common with other nail putty or fillers. Color Putty breaks-off in the hole cleanly where other putty requires a certain finesse to ensure a nice flush fill. I never experienced shrinkage when properly filling holes flush.

Color Putty allows you to move quickly over each hole with a 'two press' process. Press once for quick fill and press putty in the hole a second time to ensure full flush fill.

It’s really insane how fast I can fill holes with this putty vs. others I’ve tried. It makes that pain staking tedious task just a bit more enjoyable.

NOTES: Regular kneading of any putty is recommended throughout the filling process. Storing the putty in the jar inside a plastic baggie minimizes the putty from drying out.

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Zinsser GARDZ Problem Surface Sealer

Zinsser GARDZ

Gardz is a unique clear water-base sealer for porous and potential problem surfaces. It is formulated to deeply penetrate and dry to a hard, moisture resistant film that seals and binds down porous, chalky and crumbling surfaces, paints and texture finishes. GARDZ is recommended for: damaged drywall, new drywall, spackling and joint compound skim coats, plaster, calcimine, uncoated wallpaper, wallcovering adhesive residue, texture paint, popcorn ceilings and builder's flat paint.

Mainstream wall primers often fail to penetrate the surface of the drywall. GARDZ does an excellent job of locking down the surface to provide a foundation where adhesion and uniformity are critical components to a top coat of paint. What GARDZ lacks is pigment, the product is clear and serves its purpose in the world by solely securing the groundwork for professional finishes.

GARDZ is an absolute MUST for new bare drywall when applying a non-flat paint where sheen level and adhesion is important such as an eggshell or semi-gloss finish. GARDZ is also beneficial at penetrating contractor grade flat paints that were applied directly over bare drywall and providing additional adhesion to the drywall.

NOTES on APPLICATION: There is a slight learning curve to rolling GARDZ and I recommend roller placement to be just under center of the wall with the first stroke in an upward motion using light pressure. The next time you have drywall patches to prime, use GARDZ as it will give you the best results with non-flat top coat paints preventing you from having to recoat wall patches twice ultimately saving you time. I enjoyed

Be sure to read Drywall primers… again! for an overview of how beneficial GARDZ is.


Jan 21, 2009

How to determine quality paint

Join in discussing current paint related topics at the House Painter Forum.

www.painterforum.com Current TOPICS include

How to determine quality paint

Painting ceilings with only primer

Best HVLP for water-based paints

Registration is required to post messages on House Painter Forum but anyone can Read Threads.

Come join us! See you there!

Jan 20, 2009

HVLP Non-bleeder to Bleeder Conversion

HVLP_conversion You can improve HVLP atomization spraying heavy materials such as acrylics if you have an HVLP spray gun that supports non-bleeder to bleeder conversion. The spray gun shown is a Maxum I gun, Maxum II also supports conversion. The Maxum II often sold with the CAPspray HVLP units such as the CS9100 4 stage turbine. 

To convert a non-bleeder to bleeder simply remove the air control knob and replace it with the air inlet fitting from the bottom of the handle. Close off the air inlet fitting with the supplied plug. Attach the hose. The bleeder set up is particularly useful for spraying inside refinishing cabinets.

Non-bleeder vs bleeder

Non-bleeder means when you release the trigger of the gun, the air flow stops. If you have a gun with a two-stage trigger, you will first feel air coming from the air cap; trigger further and material will begin to flow.

With a bleeder gun, air flows continuously; the trigger only starts and stops the flow of paint or materials. Air is directly channeled to the air cap bypassing the air valve.

Jan 19, 2009

Builder does not want to prime the walls

priming drywall Maybe wall primer is not for you. Believe it or not, the majority of builders do not offer primer on new drywall as part of their standard package. The reason for this is cost savings for you and not everyone requires the added level of finish a drywall primer or drywall sealer can provide for some top coats. If they do offer primed walls, be sure to ask how many coats of finish.

It is widely known that many painters on new construction housing will apply one coat of primer and one coat of finish. While combined this is two coats, it is not the best option, it’s simply the least amount of protection for bare drywall.

For the record, there are finish coats of paint that perform better than if you used one coat of primer and one or even two coats of finish.

Be sure to check the Bare Drywall Category on the right for more information on priming bare drywall. If nothing else, read Drywall primers… again!

Be sure to read Best primer for new drywall - TOH Discussions for various reason you may want to apply a wall primer or drywall sealer.

“my builder does not want to prime the walls before painting our new construction”

Applying Primer and Wall Paint

Load Balancing

superfab What is Load Balancing?

Years ago I conducted a study on how far various roller covers carry a load of paint. The test were designed to determine how much more distance can I get out of all the 1/2" nap roller covers available to me and find the best one. In addition, I wanted to compare the 1/2" roller covers against 3/4" covers of the same brand to see how much more distance I can get using a 3/4" cover assuming a desired roller texture.

The same study was conducted on brushes.

Load balancing is gauged on the overall capacity of a brush or roller and the amount of paint you load them with for optimum results. Each load (amount of paint) is predetermined before taking the load based on for example where it will be placed on the wall or trim.

Load Balancing is one of the more important aspects with efficient painting. It’s a combination between the right paint brush or roller and the amount of paint in which you load them and how it impacts performance more than anything else.

Load Balancing allows me to paint ridiculously fast because each (next move) or next load of paint is thought out. What this does is eliminates unnecessary brushwork and/or more effective results with each load of paint.

paint can brush_001 In the video where the side of the casing is painted in about 8 seconds, Load Balancing plays a huge role in allowing me to do that. 1) The brush needs to be capable of holding a load of paint to go the distance of 7’. 2) How much paint is needed to travel 7’ and put that amount of paint on the brush.

Look for more on this topic soon along with video demonstrations. For now you can see more on this topic here.

Do I roll the walls first or last?

cutting-in last Rolling the walls before you cut-in or trim has advantages in some cases, however, it’s a good rule-of-thumb to always cut-in before you roll.

Consider rolling the walls first when applying a primer coat, first coat of paint or in a situation where you know a certain color will need three coats of paint. Often bare drywall will get rolled first for various advantages outweighing any disadvantages. Looking at the photo, because this room was rolled first over bare drywall – it will allow you to cut-in faster, use less paint and be less fatigued.

The closer you can roll to ceilings, baseboard, trim and moldings – the less width you need to cut-in. This is particularly useful when painting intense deep paint colors with poor coverage. Cutting-in the ceiling line after you roll the walls becomes easier on areas with bare drywall because the rolled portion of the wall allows the brush to glide easier over the drywall mud.

Best primer for new drywall - TOH Discussions

In response to:

“what peoples thoughts were on the best primer for new drywall?”

Best primer for new drywall - TOH Discussions

CHarv, the best primer for bare drywall depends on what expectations you have from  the paint you will apply over it. You have a few options, the short answer is – primer is not the best option for new drywall, a drywall sealer such as Zinsser Gardz is or Zinsser Drywall Primer sealer. However, keep in mind like any product, there are many differences in quality and features.

It’s best to decide what you expect out of the paint you will be putting over the bare drywall. Some people paint to simply freshen up a room with no other expectations such as 1) hanging wallpaper at a later date or 2) having the option to wipe, 3) wash, 4) scrub the walls or 5) in kids rooms being able to remove crayon and permanent marker, 6) ability to repeatedly remove taped-up posters and pictures and 7) to apply and remove masking tape for a wild color scheme of stripes and stars, 8) applying finish paint such as eggshell or semi-gloss, 9) high traffic areas, 10) in rooms or areas with large amounts of window glare and 11) a specific Perm Rating vapor barrier.

Whatever your expectations are for finish paints - washability and scrubabilty features and the items listed above are dependant on the basecoat beneath the top coat.

It’s important to understand the different capabilities of wall primers. You may want to google me and read up on bare drywall for a more in depth look at the limitations of wall primer.


Jan 18, 2009

Should I use a primer on bare drywall?

bare drywallThat’s a great question.

Applying a drywall primer or drywall sealer to bare drywall will be the foundation to all subsequent coats of paint.

Altogether we’ve reviewed and tested 15 wall primers (and growing) over bare drywall in comparison to applying a drywall sealer vs. applying straight paint on bare drywall and we’ve come to one conclusion.

Wall primers are not as effective as drywall sealers, in fact, many wall primers have little effectiveness at all. Which wall primer or drywall sealer you choose is entirely up to what the expectations of your wall paint will be.

Using a wall primer can lead to various issues which can possibly be too late to fix or substantially cost you to fix should they initially fail. All of the wall primers we tested responded similar over bare drywall and the joint compound.

I encourage you to spend some time reading up on the various articles here on priming bare drywall. You can review all related articles on priming bare drywall on a single page.

How to Avoid and Remove Paint Fuzzies

Wooster pro doo-z Your excitement painting the living room is short lived when you realize your walls are full of little fuzzies from the roller cover. Let’s take a look at how to prevent this in the future and how to remove the fuzzies in the paint.

You may be surprised to know that out of all the roller covers there are available – only a (few) do not shed.

For general painting of smooth or semi-smooth walls you want to use a white woven roller cover (seen above) as your best chance to minimize fuzzies in the paint. You can do a little test at time-of-purchase by removing the cover from the bag and running your hand quickly down the cover to see if any fibers shed. Move your hand across the cover a few times, often fibers are loose in the bag from shipping. If the cover continues to shed with each pass of your hand – then chances are this cover is no good. Even the best covers will shed a bit, but very little on this test or on the wall.

Some may argue that after you wash a cover once or twice the fuzzies go away. This is true only on fairly good covers. Poor quality covers will shed continuously.

If you currently have these fuzzies all over the walls and want to fix them then you will need to repaint unfortunately. You will need to sand the walls using 150 grit sand paper. This can be achieve using a pole sander or hand held sander. You may find with some paints the fuzzies are more difficult to remove.