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Spray Painting---F. A. Q.

tip You should also read our Frequently Asked Questions and our Glossary for more help!

  • "PRIMING" is the most misunderstood thing about painting. Priming is usually only necessary under certain situations. If none of the following conditions exist then you DO NOT need any priming... Please refer to our section on Priming for details on this subject! :
    • Prime if the surface or if an area has not been painted previously
    • Prime if you're going from a very very dark color to a very light color
    • Prime if there is Nicotine, Grease or other Stains that cannot be removed any other way (SEE BELOW about Nicotine) or if you are Top Coating any Spackled Areas with a Sheen Finish
  • Do NOT be fooled into buying products that claim to do priming and finish coating in one application! These products are just GIMMICKS to steal your money... priming must always be done in a separate step using a high grade product... then follow up with your finish coat!
  • One HEAVY coat is always better than TWO thin coats. "Two Coats" are hardly ever required especially if you use a HIGH QUALITY PAINT such as Sherwin-Williams. (SEE above about "PRIMING")
  • Acrylic latex usually drys in 1-3hrs
  • Oil base takes 6-24hrs to dry
  • Contrary to common belief, Acrylic (Latex) paint can indeed be painted over an Oil Paint and also Visa Versa! Just be sure to properly prepare the surfaces for cracks, holes etc first... Priming is ONLY required if certain conditions exist, as stated elsewhere...
  • Only very high gloss finishes need a scuff sanding before painting
  • Use newspaper or paper towels to aid in shop keeping
  • Use cut-up old TOWELS for rags, instead of old sheets... and use professional Drop Cloths instead of blankets, tarps or other things for covering floors etc!
  • Use large plastic garbage bags for trash clean up
  • Don't thin paint with water. This is only done in certain situations like SPRAYING or making the paint "stretch" a little further
  • Choose colors carefully. Avoid using pure white (gives off a faint bluish cast in small rooms). Instead have it tinted with a drop of black and a drop of gold. This still looks white but covers better and gives a "rich" look... See COLORS for more help...
  • Always keep a rag in your back pocket, a putty knife in your side pocket and a piece of sand paper in another pocket
  • When you open a fresh can of paint, use your brush and wipe the paint off the inside of the LID
  • Always brush out of a bucket that's about one/third full, and stick your brush back into the bucket when taking a break
  • Before putting the Lid back on the Paint Can, use your brush to remove paint in the can edge rim... then put the Lid on, then cover all of it with a large rag, then tap the Lid down with a hammer... the rag will prevent splattering of any paint left in the can edge rim
  • toolsAlways set your paint bucket in a SAFE place
  • Whenever you can... position your FOUR-FOOT Step Ladder at a place to allow you to set your paint bucket on it so that you don't have to bend over each time you need paint...
  • Certain types of screw-anchors are very hard to remove. The secret is to pound them in with a hammer, slightly below the surface, then SPACKLE over them
  • Fresh Putty is sometimes "Messy to Work With"... you can add some Spackling Compound or Plaster of Paris to help stiffen it up
  • Don't tape woodwork (except base) to give a clean cut; it dosen't work and is a waste of time. Instead "cut" with a brush
  • Leave the very topmost edge of most baseboards untaped (baseboards that are painted a different color or are naturally finished) and caulk them and paint the caulk edge in with the wall... unless you have an old, wide baseboard
  • If you are going to paint the base (baseboard), then you ALWAYS need to tape the floor, either the carpet or floor itself, before painting the base... and you should check the base where it meets the wall surface and ALWAYS caulk if necessary
  • If you get a spot of paint where it doesn't belong, wipe it off immediately
  • Double check your work after each step (This is GOOD advice for Pros too)
  • Nicotine deposits are a serious problem. Take your finger, wet it and wipe it over the area in question. If this leaves an obvious streak you can try washing but the BEST thing to do is STAIN SEAL the whole area with "pigmented shellac". Another way to test is, if you test paint a spot and after a few minutes it turns light brownish, then NO amount of paint will seal it. You MUST STAIN SEAL. PLEASE USE THE "Ask A Question" LINK If You NEED HELP ABOUT STAIN SEALING... See Paints & Finishes for more info...
  • Always wear white Painters Pants when working... they will afford easy access to tools and since you "Look Professional" you might do more professional style work!
  • Always use a High Quality Paint... saving a few bucks by using inferior paint is a BIG mistake and you'll pay for it down the road!
  • Use FLAT EDGE Brushes... angle edge brushes are a waste of money if you really learn how to Brush properly!
  • The best all-around Step Ladder to use is a WOOD 4 Foot Single Stage Ladder See Glossary... aluminum is TOO light for this size and might tip over if "bumped"!
  • Professional Painting is best accomplished by doing things "systematically" in order... as we indicate in our lessons!
  • When you reach a good "break off" place, STOP working and "Square-up" ...don't leave a MESS... so that your job will be READY when you return to finish it!
  • Be careful when you Clean-up and fold your Drop Cloths in a manner so that the dust and chips don't fall out and then SHAKE them out somewhere where you can sweep them up properly!
  • Always have ALL the Tools, Equipment and Materials readily accessible BEFORE you start a job!
  • When Rolling ceilings... step BACKWARDS as you Roll from side to side... so that you don't get covered in paint spray!
  • Learn your own capabilities and PACE YOURSELF as you work... rushing along will only produce mistakes and an inferior job!
  • Exterior painting can be especially dangerous... be careful of climbing ladders, stepping into ditches or holes and look out for other hazards that don't occur when doing interior painting!
  • Use extreme care when working with sharp tools like Spackling Knives or other dangerous tools that could cause serious injury!
  • Exterior Housepaint is much more difficult to clean-up, so try using Alcohol (De-Natured Alcohol) should help quite a bit!
  • Always have a friend or helper hold the bottom of a long extension ladder when you are up on it using it for "High Work"!
  • During summer months it sometimes is TOO Hot for most Exterior Paint to "Work Properly", so plan on Painting as early in the morning as possible, before it gets too hot!
  • Exterior Painting can be ruined by a small wind... it could carry Paint mist for great distances if you are using a Spray Gun... stick to "Brush and Roll" techniques!
  • Protect Door and Window Exterior SCREENS carefully, otherwise a small speck of Paint on a Screen will stick out like a "Sore Thumb" and is very hard to remove (Hint: touch a speck with a bit of Black Paint to "hide" it)!
  • When Painting Exterior Window Trim, be sure to remove old PUTTY and replace it before Brushing the Window Panes!
  • Sometimes it's easier to Prime the whole outside of a badly peeled Garage wall, after scraping it, rather than trying to "Spot-In" every small area!
  • Porch Decks should always be swept clean before Painting or Staining, if you wash them you will need to let them dry overnight first!
  • Spray Painting Outside can be costly if the spray mist is inadvertantly carried by a light breeze and lands on someone else's property... BE Cautious!

Spray Painting---F. A. Q.

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tip Use FLAT EDGE Brushes... angle edge brushes are a waste of money if you really learn how to Brush properly! [read all the tips]