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DIY Paint Help - Services

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What is Sheen, and Gloss, and Satin oh my?

Sheen means shine. You've probably seen really shiny paints. Well these sheens are chosen by you. When you go to the paint store you'll be asked 2 basic questions- color and finish, or sheen. Color you'll likely decide intuitively, but sheen has certain applications. The higher the Gloss, or shine, the easier it is to wipe clean on a wall, trim or door. Most trim work is a higher gloss because of the handprints that come natural to it over the years and the need to clean it. Flat paints are great for walls and ceilings where little contact from soil is anticipated. Flat sheen paint choices also hide small imperfections in the wall much better than shiny gloss. Your choices, in order of ascending gloss content, will be- Flat, Matte (sometimes called velvet or suede), Eggshell, Satin, Semi-Gloss and High Gloss. The general rule of thumb is low to no gloss for walls and ceilings, medium gloss for window frames, baseboards, kitchen and bathroom walls and higher glosses for trim and doors (high-touch areas)

Do Different Colors Cost More?

No. When you buy paint there is a gallon price that is controlled by the quality of the paint (brand name), and the sheen you choose (higher gloss costs a little more, a few bucks per gallon). After this, your color choice has no bearing on the final price of a gallon. If you pick a Valspar Semi-Gloss for example, and it's let's say $37/gallon, it will be $37/gallon no matter which color tint you choose

Do I Need Painter's Tape?

Painter's tape, the masking tape rolls that are blue or sometimes green, can be both an asset for the DIY project, as well as problematic. Tape will keep you from painting on a surface that does not need paint, or at least the color you're using... sounds great right? But, it's a false sense of security. Well, it's only as good as the straight line you mark with the tape. And when you go to pull it off it is an unmerciful representation of your ability to run a straight line. Few pros use tape for straight lines but for the DIY it has it's place. Pull a length as long as you can work with and apply as straight as possible to your edge. It's normal to pull up sections and reapply until straight. Use a straight edge (flexible putty knife, ruler, or even a fingernail) to smooth the tape onto the surface you want to protect. If the tape is not evenly secured to the surface paint will seep under and create a fun project for the next day. Most tape can be left in place for up to 14 days (check the packaging) while you get back to a second coat, etc. But best practice is to remove the tape within an hour or two of the final coat. When removing painters tape try to avoid the desire to just pull it off- most paint will create a seamless little bond between the tape and the wall, and can remove paint when extracted. Best practice is to 'score' the angle where your tape and paint meet with a small razor knife as you pull the tape. Practice taping and painting an area that doesn't matter first- its a learning process and takes a little time. But it is the quickest way to a pro-edge!

What Supplies Do I Need?

Keep in mind that big-box and paint stores are there to sell you supplies- it's their job. Paint is the largest DIY sector in home improvement. And paint supply companies will mass produce time-saving devices with beautiful images of their perfect results centered on the package- that's their job. The truth is that most of these devices are gimmicks, and often end up creating more, or at the very least, unsatisfactory work. The chief among these being the edging tools. Try if you must, but in most cases your supply list will come back to three categories- rollers, brushes and masking


Rollers come in many different sizes and materials, so here's a basic breakdown: roller frame is the metal roller with a handle that holds roller covers. The frames are pretty standard, buy the best you can afford. Match those with the covers depending on the size of your project- walls and ceilings are usually standard 9" rollers and covers while smaller areas like trim can use a 3" or 4" roller and cover. After determining the size roller needed you'll be tasked with the 'thickness' decision, or nap heigth. No worries, its easy- a 3/8" roller cover is very standard for 75% of all home interior projects. If your wall or ceiling is textured then a 1/2" cover is best; very textured, go for the 3/4" nap cover. You see, the height of the nap is like the pile of your carpet. The higher the nap the more paint it will hold, but most importantly the more crevices in texture it will fill in a single stroke. On smooth walls a high nap cover, like the 3/4", is too much and will likely result in drips and runs as a flat wall has no where to put all of the paint a thick pile will deliver. And slow down. Work from top to bottom, rolling an area 2-3 times max, then move to the next line. resist the temptation to roll all of the walls then go back and trim. Do one wall at a time, roll and trim, to avoid differences in leveling, a fancy term for seeing brush and roller strokes when wet paint is applied to dry. If you can not complete your project in a consecutive timeframe, like a weekend, you will be better served to have 2 complete walls leaving 2 for next weekend, then to have all of the rolling done and leave the trim for next weekend


Brushes are your best friend. They allow you to fill those areas the roller can't reach. A little practice with a brush will go a long way. While a roller will deliver the best finish, a brush is crucial to a finished product. Choose the best you can afford- better brushes have fewer stray hairs that can deliver paint in unexpected areas (feel free to take your razor knife and remove these). And while most people say I'll just buy the cheap brushes since I'm probably gonna throw them away when I'm done, the actual value in a good brush is less the lifetime of it and much more the ease of use. The $5 you saved on a brush will be of no consequence when the Tell-Tale Heart of ugly brushstrokes follow you through the house for years to come. So, best brushes? Purdy, Wooster. I'm sure there are others but I've never found them. Read the packaging to make sure you get the right type for your paint, and don't be scared of a 2-3" brush. The 1" brush may appear more manageable, but you'd be surprised how small it seems compared to your project


Masking is the act, or art, of covering everything that does not need paint- this includes windows, areas that need to stay the same color, fast moving pets, ceiling fans, outlet covers, door hinges and much more. Canvas dropcloths are best as they absorb paint drips rather than transfer them to your shoes like plastic. However, plastic has a couple things going for it- price, flexibility and disposal. Use painters tape to hold up and/or wrap plastic as needed. The painters tape will keep from damaging surfaces while providing a strong hold. Also use painters tape to mask hinges (you'll have to form it but it's pretty intuitive, it's just tape), light switches and outlets, door knobs, and you get the idea. And keep in mind, a roller will throw small dots of paint every time it's used. Some you see, some you don't. So always mask the entire room or area before beginning

Oil (Alkyd) or Latex (Acrylic, Enamel, Water-Based)

Just the title is confusing enough, right? These are essentially different names for the same two categories- water-based or oil-based. So which one do I need? Today's homes are likely to be 90% latex, or water-based paint. It's simple to clean-up, goes on well, is low to no VOC (the stuff that stinks) and has made incredible strides in formulation over the last 30 years that has put it at the top of most concerns- longevity, affordability and ease of use.

But oil still has its place. Many fine millwork pieces like mantles and extensive crown mold are great candidates for oil as it 'levels' better than water-based. Oil is also preferable on metals and woods that will see extended exposure to moisture. But even with these applications Latex style paints are making strides. Oil cleans up with paint thinner or mineral spirits (no water!), and trust me, those two are the best smells you'll experience with oil projects. Be prepared for intrusive, often dangerous fumes associated with oil paints- masks, good air circulation etc are conditions of use. Where possible, stick with standard latex paints

Lead

And no advice would be complete without the mention of lead. If your home was built before 1978 you are likely to encounter lead-based paint. Please do not sand anything until you've done a lead test. The kits are affordable and readily available in hardware stores and online, and are very easy to use. Any painter you hire should perform this test for you. For more information on the hazards of lead paint check out the EPA page here



If you have a specific question not covered above, just drop us a line below. Its that simple. We're not here to charge for advice. Paint projects as a DIY can be great family time, allowing you to put a personal touch on your home. We get it. Go for it! Let us know if you need us...

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