Advice and Tips



Popular Questions - Interior


+Q. How can I achieve the best flow and appearance from a latex semigloss paint when applied by brush to trim and doors?

A. Getting the best flow from latex paint on trim and doors: 1. Be sure the trim is clean and free of all oily dirt (handprints, accumulated airborne cooking oil); consider washing all areas to be painted, using a detergent and warm water, then rinsing. Sand all areas that are at all glossy, to promote adhesion of the new paint; however, if the previous paint may contain lead, do not sand it (so as to not put paint particles into the air), and consult with the EPA (1-800-424-LEAD) for guidance. 2. Apply an interior stain blocking latex primer (not a PVA wall primer). Use a quality polyester or Nylon brush; apply it in heavy coats, and do not keep brushing each area... fewer strokes are better 3. Allow the primer to dry preferably over night. 4. Choose a top of the line interior latex satin, semigloss, or gloss paint, depending on the appearance you want. Be sure to have the paint sales person put the paint on the shaker even if you are not having it custom tinted... the shaking will improve the paint's flow properties, if you use it in the next day or so. 5. Use the highest quality 2" polyester or Nylon brush you can find. 6. Pre-dampen the brush with water when you first use it, then remove as much excess water as you can. Dip the brush into the paint, 2/3 up the bristles. Work the paint into the bristles on the inside surface of the container (this the first time using the brush on this job); re-dip the brush in the paint, jiggle the brush so excess paint runs and drips off, but do not wipe the brush on the container rim... keep the paint on the brush. 7. Apply the paint heavily, and with just a few strokes, then get more paint from the container and continue. First stroke is from the just painted area into the dry (unpainted) area, and the second stoke is back into the painted area. Go onto the next area. Putting the paint on heavier will help it flow out; but watch for runs and "sagging"... if you see this, put on a bit less paint. For doors, removing from the hinges and supporting horizontally for priming and painting is often worth the effort, to get a very smooth finish. 8. Adding a small amount of water to the paint (and stirring it well) will improve the flow, but should not be necessary. It may make the paint sag too much.


+Q. Can I paint over ceramic tile? It is on the face of the fireplace, beige, slight shine, 8" tiles around the opening, help!

A. First, clean the surface using detergent and hot water, and rinse the surface. Next, lightly sand the tiles with fine (#220 grit) aluminum oxide sand paper. Wipe down with a damp rag. Wear eye protection and a dust mask. Then apply a high adhesion alcohol-based (shellac-based) stain blocking primer. Use ample ventilation, with two windows open in the room. Preferably, wear a respirator designed to block solvent fumes. Wear eye protection. Keep any children, pets, out of the immediate area during and right after applying the primer.

Follow package directions for best method of application. Allow it to dry over night. (If you don't want to deal with an alcohol-based primer, then go with a general purpose latex stain blocking primer that is recommended for interior use, but the alcohol-based type will provide the best adhesion.) Then apply a top of the line interior latex eggshell or satin enamel. Use a quality polyester brush, or use a 3" foam brush to apply the paint. Apply a second coat if necessary.


+Q. Can a quality latex paint be hurt if it has been frozen and thawed?

A. Yes, latex paint can be hurt if it is frozen. Problems that can occur are reduced gloss, separation of ingredients, formation of "grit" or lumps. Often, though, a paint may survive one or a few freeze-thaw cycles. If a paint is frozen, it should be thawed slowly; then thoroughly stir the paint. If it appears to be smooth and of normal consistency and of the proper color, it probably is OK to use.

Color selection door edges

+Q. I am currently painting the trim work in the centerhall of my 1863 home a deep red. My question is if the room the door is leading into has a different color trim what door surfaces are what color? I believe with common sense that if the door is closed it should appear deep red from the hallway and the other color from the interior of the room. I guess the confusion comes in when the door is left open as they so often are. What edges are what colors?

A. Our suggestion is: paint the edges of the door in the color of the trim in the space in which the door opens. Thus, if the door opens into the centerhall and the door and trim of the centerhall are red, paint the door edges red. If the door opens into the room, paint the edges the same color as the trim and the door are, in the room.


+Q. What is the best method for removing a pigmented stain from redwood siding. We are trying to restore the redwood to it's natural state so we can preserve it with a clear preservative?

A. There is no easy way to do this, as you might imagine. Consider these possibilities: (but do not attempt to remove any of the stain if you suspect there might be lead in it) Chemical remover. Paint remover can be effective but tedious. Apply stripper in a heavy coat by natural bristle brush; protect skin, breathing and eyes with chemical resistant gloves, goggles, overalls, and an appropriate respirator. Do small areas at a time, sat 10 sq. ft. max. Allow to stay on for 20-30 minutes, then remove the softened stain with a 3" spackling blade, onto a disposable drop cloth. Protect plants, and keep children and pets away. Then move to another area. You'll probably have to sand the wood after it dries, to get the last of it off, and to get the color you want. Sanding. Sand the wood with the grain, using #100 - #120 grit garnet or aluminum oxide paper. A 3" or 4" belt sander will work well for bevel siding if you have the strength to hold the sander. Use care to sand the wood evenly and not dig into it. Wear goggles, gloves and a quality dusk mask. Power washing and sandblasting are other possibilities, but with redwood, these would have to be done by a pro who is very experienced with doing the procedure with redwood. Be aware that you will probably have to reapply the clear material every year or two to maintain appearance.

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