Painting Tips by a Professional

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Ask a Painting Question

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109 thoughts on “Ask a Painting Question”

    • I’m going to be writing a full post this summer! For now, the key point is to work in a dust-free environment. If you can remove all doors and drawers to the garage and if you can enclose an area with plastic walls…a booth…that’s best. Please read my trim to paint post here. That covers primers and so on.
      Also, definitely remove all hardware and masking tape where the hinges were, so you don’t gunk it up with paint. I label each door etc that looks similar to others. No missing when they go back. they can all be somewhat different.
      Let me know how it goes or if you have a specific question.
      Good luck,
      b

      Reply
  1. Brad, I have ~ Dz. interior doors that need help. They are all the hollow composite wood with a textured look to resemble wood, white. My dry-run and my concern is that the paint is too thick. using BM Regal Semi Gloss/trim, and is timely. Wondering if i should remove them all from the hinge. TY

    Reply
    • Yes. You are right, these doors are made to look like wood but they have all kinds of non-wood materials and painting them can be a mistake. In most cases you will be ok with PrimeLock primer after a light sanding.
      A quart should do about 4-6 door SIDES.
      Then sand again after the primer then 1 or 2 coats of paint.
      Definitely remove and the hardware too. Put a mark for each door where the hinge goes and cover that with tape. Then re-hanging will be easy.

      Reply
  2. Brad,
    I live in a house built in the 1920’s with the majority of the walls being plaster. There is a room with plaster walls that has been previously painted using the crackle paint finish. I now want to paint over the crackle paint to brighten up the room. From what i can tell the walls are in good shape, there is some unevenness which I am fine with (gives the walls character). I am thinking prime and paint, but I am not sure this project would require any other prep. Please advise type of primer/paint best to cover the walls and other prep I should be aware of.

    Thank you,
    Debbie

    Reply
    • I doubt what we call crackle paint today is what you have, but maybe. In the old days they would add glue to make various cracked textures. People in the past were more conserviative with paint. Anyway while it is rare, if you have a real texture, like highs and lows as with weathered paint, you will see that come through many many coats of paint and primer. Paint cannot fill cracks.
      So to really remove it, and don’t shoot the messenger… you’ll need to do what’s called ‘skim coat’. A very thin coat of drywall compound. Applying is not so bad…it’s the sanding that is so hard especially on ceilings if you have that there.
      So since you are ok with some ‘character’ try just painting it with 2 coats (test spots) on different walls and look in various kinds of light.
      It sure would be easier than skim coating. In any case, you can do all this yourself. No pros needed. Start with this video if you skim coat.
      Good luck.

      Reply
      • Brad,
        Thank you for the advise. One clarification, the walls were painted with the crackle paint within the last 15 years. Not sure if that changes my options. I will probably do some test areas with primer and paint and see how it looks.
        Thanks again,
        Debbie

        Reply
  3. I need to paint or stain window and door trim, and the door itself. I’ve read the two posts you have on this (very helpful). All over the web, everyone says to use white paint. But that sounds to me like it would get grimy, even if I wipe them down occasionally. I really hesitate to paint doors white, especially. Is there something else you might recommend, something nice-looking and mainstream (not red, black, etc.)?

    Reply
    • I’d need to know if it’s a front door, basement …etc .. There are so many possibilities. If you get a quality white, you can wipe the hand marks with a wet cloth and the good paint won’t chip too easily. White is the thing, but if you just can’t do it, yes, stain and coat with a clear coat. Lots to choose from there too. You can even skip the stain if you like the natural wood look. No so much for the low grade SPF wood..spruce pine fir. They are soft and need something… don’t stain so well. but hard wood stains very well.
      If you send a pic, I could post here for others to see and we could do before and after….
      Good luck!
      b

      Reply
      • Thank you for the reply. The trim and the door are interior (a small bathroom). The door is wood, and not hollow, though I don’t know what kind of wood. Would I need to use high gloss paint to get something easily washable if I decide to go that route?

        Reply
        • Generally, yes, we put a gloss or semi-gloss on doors and window frames: anything we touch that gets grimey and needs cleaning. Eggshell today has some ability to be cleaned, but we don’t put it on doors etc.
          Good luck!
          Any pics would be nice for others (send to my email)

          Reply
  4. Hi. I couldn’t find any info herein about wood checking. I have an old painted deck. I was going to sand it down like a wood floor but may try your pressure wash/scrape method instead then convert over to a stain. But – a lot of the redwood is checked. No rot but not pretty. Will the stain work in this situation?

    Reply
    • Yes for sure wash well, but careful with the pressure…your wood may be soft. Use that rotating tip for sure.
      A stain with good preservation qualities will be the thing. I used this stuff … not flashy but it’s a natural rot preventative and now comes in colors.
      In any case, never use anything that promises ‘restore your deck’. These products are just thick paint and do nothing for you. THey are all being pulled off the market due to the hail of lawsuits.
      Good luck!
      b

      Reply
      • Brad,

        I want to use Eco-Safe Wood Treatment on my old deck. I’m excited about this product, as I have never stained it before. I have sealed it over the years, but none of those products remain. My question is, will Eco-Safe prevent the green algae that grows on the shadier parts of my deck on the north side of my house?

        Reply
        • It is not really designed for that. That you may need to pressure wash annually, but this stain will prevent rot and bugs. To be safe read all the website claims. I’m using it all the time for things I build outside.

          Reply
  5. Hi, I’d like to paint our old upright piano black. It’s stained
    dark mohogany. I don’t want to spend a lot of time prepping it, in other words if I can skip sanding and priming that’d be great. I have Tremclad High heat flat black enamel paint in the house and am wondering if it’ll work to use without sanding and priming. Any advice would be appreciate.
    Thanks!
    Angela

    Reply
    • Hi Angela. I think any paint will work, but as a musician, just wanted to mention that every coat will affect the sound. Best to strip it all off then paint of course. I think the best pianos use lacquer…no? Anyway on your plan… No don’t just paint without prep.
      The easiest way to get there without sanding is Liquid Sandpaper, which is a very highly toxic liquid that flattens the surface and makes it ready for paint.
      See this page about ‘deglossers’.

      What I would do: Sand lightly, just scratching, but not deeply sanding. Then wipe with many clean damp rags, then prime with STIX, then paint. I wrote about STIX here.
      Good luck!

      Reply
  6. Hey Brad,
    I want to paint the inside of my enclosed trailer to seal and preserve the plywood. I was thinking of priming & painting the walls and doing the floor and ramp with a garage floor epoxy chip flake coating. I understand the non-slip paint is not as easy to sweep or clean up. What do you recommend?
    Thank you for your expertise and all the great tips on your site!
    Mark

    Reply
    • It’s true that floors with texture are naturally going to hold dirt etc. Still, if you can hose it off…is it a ramp that gets wet?… if yes I’d go texture of some sort. Wet ramps are very dangerous. I did it myself on my trailer and it lasted for years of use.
      Plus you can vacuum or sweep, it’s just harder.
      My opinion: Epoxy or any floor paint with a dusting of silica.
      Read about it here.
      Good luck.

      Reply
    • Hi. I’m not sure what you mean by orange peel. Do you mean textured walls? The kind where they spray the mud and flatten the tips of the drops to create a texture?If so we call that ‘knock down’ and you can use any roller. I would always use the 50-50 poly wool for reasons I explain here. If that did not answer your question, just write back again.
      Good luck,
      B

      Reply
  7. Hi Brad,

    Love your site with loads of info.

    I have a question. What nap size do you use for roller of smooth plaster walls. Was told to use 1/4 but only could find 3/16. The nap with 3/8 says for smooth or semi-smooth. Would 3/8 be ok?

    Reply
    • Generally, the smaller (shorter) nap leaves a more uniform texture. But this is something nobody ever really sees. 1/4 is fine. People make too much of this size for that surface. I like the long nap becuase it holds more paint: less dipping.
      Good luck

      Reply
  8. Brad: Since Covid-19, I have found that I LOVE to paint and have painted the mud room, small powder room and my master bath. I am now ready to tackle a huge living room/sitting room area going from a dark color to a very light white/tan. The trim was painted 16 years ago and is oil based. I read your articles on ADVANCE and wondering what type of brush I would use if I go with this product (it is an old house built in 1845 on cape cod) and whether I would need to sand all the trim before hand. I read about OIL BOND on another site but I love your site and recommendations/tutorials. Thanks for your help and I look forward to hearing back from you.

    Reply
    • Hi and thanks for the nice words.
      That oil-based trim paint must be de-glossed and that can be accomplished by sanding or by a toxic deglosser shown on this page.

      The brush is my standard #1 go-to brush, the Purdy Nylox. It sounds like you could handle the 3 inch. It’s heavy when loaded with paint. Most beginner painters start and go with the 2.5 for some time.

      BTW on that living room, you’ll want a primer before your 2 top coats. Two alone will show the dark haze coming through. I’d use a non-toxic drywall primer or whatever decent low-cost primer you can find. No need for stain-blockers.

      Good luck,
      b

      Reply
  9. Hi Brad – I’ve been spending quite a bit of time with you lately! Your website is very informative. I wish you were in my area (DC suburbs in Maryland). My husband and I are too old to clean, strip and seal our deck ourselves, and I’ve been having a hard time finding a company to use that is reasonably priced/willing to use my suggested (from your recommendations) products and do what I need.

    I was disappointed the last time our deck was cleaned a few years ago, because the contractor applied a very orange stain without asking first. Then, in trying to remove mildew/algae last fall, because the deck became very slippery, my husband accidentally removed the stain on part of the deck. Now, I would like the remaining orangey stain removed, if possible, and then sealed with a semi-transparent natural weathered gray stain. I am thinking that I would like to use the Defy product you reviewed. Would you say that we need to clean and strip first, then use a brightener and then stain? Whatever you recommend, I think I found someone who would do what I ask because he is vey short of work right now. And the other question is, would you trust someone to do this who doesn’t usually use this system? I think he usually only power washes and then uses Ready Seal (which doesn’t come in gray). Also, we need to replace a few boards — will the new boards ever match or blend with the old? Sorry for such a long question! Thanks so much.

    Reply
    • Hi and thanks for the nice words. Yes, just as you say, clean with water pressure, trying to strip off all you can, then a brightener which helps for stains as it neutralizes any acids on or in the wood.
      Brighteners are not essential though.
      I would not trust someone without much experience. I think it’s better to wait until you can find a good painter…look for an older guy/gal.

      No, the new boards won’t match, but in time the differences will fade. Make sure the new wood has time to age: you should not stain new wood.
      There are many good stains on the market. Ben Moore Arborcoat is great if you can find it locally. I have not used ReadySeal.

      Good luck.
      b
      ps, what’s up with a painter not asking and putting orange stain? You paid him? I would not have paid!

      Reply
      • Thanks so much for getting back to me. So, if I understand correctly, you are saying you don’t need to use a stain stripper product? The power washer alone will remove all of that orangey tone, even where it is still in good shape such as on the rails? (And to answer your question – I wasn’t home when the contractor put down that orange stain — and my husband didn’t realize it was wrong and paid him. Aargh.)

        Before I found you, I had looked at Consumer Reports which doesn’t give the Ben Moore semi-transparent Arborcoat very good reviews, so I guess I have that stuck in my head. Not sure how they test…

        Reply
        • I’ve read that too about Arborcoat, but I’ve always had sucess with it. I did hear they are re-formulating it which is why I like the ones on my site.
          For the stripping, you should test first. I cannot really tell from here obviously. I’d take my planning slowly if I were you until i found a method that works and is do-able.

          B

          Reply
  10. I am painting plaster walls with swirl design. Walls have been painted before. The last room I painted I used glidden paint with primer because I thought it would cover better. I used 3/8” roller. It was hard to get the whole swirl painted. Did 2 coats plus touch up trying to fill grooves. Should I have used a paint pad? Or different type
    roller which seems faster except for all the coats?

    Reply
    • I really have not done swirls, but I can tell you that the way to get what you want is to pick a wall or section of a wall and do lot’s of tests and make notes of what is what so you remember all your tests. Pros I know use a big sponge for marble effects etc.
      Sorry I cannot be of more help!
      Good luck,
      Brad

      Reply
  11. The swirls are already there, on 1970 plaster walls. I wanted to know the easiest way to get the paint to cover. Paint pad? Roller(what size)?

    Reply
  12. Hi Brad –
    I am in the process of making a decison on a semi transparent stain for my deck and fence. Both are made of pressure treated lumber and have never been stained before. I live in Northeast Florida close to the ocean. Looks like your top choices are #1 Deck Stain and Defy.
    Is that correct? Like everyone I want the stain to last and look good. What choice would you make? Appreciate your help!

    Reply
    • Well, since you have pressure treated wood, you are protected. I have a 20 year old deck and some footings have been wetted every rain and still are hard like new.
      So if you stain, it will be for looks only really. You will get some protection, but it’s overkill. For bonding, I suggest either stain, clean well and dry fully, then DO A TEST and wait and check the bonding. Often stain and pressure treated wood will not adhere.
      Good luck
      b

      Reply
  13. Hi Brad! I love that I found this site with great questions (and answers). I’m in the process of painting my basement which has fire engine red walls. I did not tint the primer (I used Kilz 2 All Purpose) because I didn’t read this site ahead of time. Anyway, the first coat is on and I’m wondering if I need a second coat of primer before painting. I am terrified the red will bleed through if I don’t! We are going with an Eagles gray color. I really don’t want to prime again if I don’t have to – the room is 30 x 30 so it took a while. How do I know if I need to prime twice? Will it affect how many coats of paint? Everything I’ve read, including here, says priming twice is rarely needed. Please help! 🙂

    Reply
    • Gray primer is key when you are APPLYING red. Would be nice for a gray top coat too, but not important.
      Just do a test in an area for your next coat.
      Since you primed, you should not need more than 2 gray coats.
      Test with the same roller you’ll use. You can wrap in plastic and keep in fridge to not let it dry out.
      No, you should not need more primer!
      b

      Reply
  14. Hi Brad

    We own a 1930 house that has horse hair plaster in the bedroom, years before we painted over the wallpaper that was on there and this time we decided to scrape off the wallpaper and just paint the plaster. We wiped the walls down with water to get dust and glue off and then let it dry for a day and then we primed with latex Kilz and and then let that dry for one day and then applied one coat of a colour and primer Behr Latex paint. This was one month ago and the room still smells very strongly of paint!!! We have had the windows opened for weeks and tried tricks like a cut onion or a cut lemon and even vinegar but to no avail. There was a tiny bit of spackling that was done on minor holes about 4 days before we carried out the priming. Any idea about how we can get rid of the smell or will it just be a case of time making it go away as we maybe did something in the wrong order or didn’t wait long enough to paint after priming?
    Thanks for any help with this, we have had to sleep in the spare room for weeks lol…..

    Reply
    • Hi. Hmm. Perplexing. Probably time, yes. No way someone spilled something and didn’t tell you?
      I doubt the old walls are to blame. Nor any old paint on the walls.
      Two ideas: one is a air purifyier with charcol…and or windows open as much as possible. Baking soda boxes can’t hurt too.
      The other is to re-prime with an oil-based primer that is designed to block odors.
      Still, I’m guessing someone spilled some paint thinner or …. gosh who knows what.
      Anyway, sorry I could not be of more help. Find a local painter to come by. Find an OLD one.
      Good luck,
      B

      Reply
  15. Hi Brad,

    I’m painting my living/dining area (plaster walls) and have repaired some cracks with mud, smaller holes with spackle. My question is whether I can just put primer on those mudded and spackled spots before painting, or do I have to prime the entire wall?

    I worry those areas will show through after painting if I don’t evenly prime the entire surface … but I’d rather not do the work if I don’t have to.

    I’m going from a medium beige colour to white.

    Thanks so much for all the help you offer people like me!

    Reply
    • No, just prime the spots. You say you used mud on big cracks… I hope you used tape. They’ll crack if very big without tape.\
      In any case, if you have doubts about priming, do a test with an area: prime some, the put 2 coats and use a light to see if you can see the difference.
      I am guessing that if you use good top coat paint, you’ll not see any diff.
      Good luck,
      B

      Reply
  16. Thanks, Brad.

    I definitely used tape on the cracks. I’m using Benjamin Moore Regal Select, so I expect top coat quality should not be an issue.

    I appreciate the help.

    Reply
  17. I have done something terrible, and don’t know how to fix it. Help !!
    For my daughters birthday, she requested I take her violin to the shop to restring and make some slight adjustments. Which I did. But upon looking at it I also realized she had bumped it too many times, and had a lot of dings around the edges. So thinking I’d make her violin look extra nice for her day …
    I took a Qtip and dipped it in Minwax stain, covered up the dings, well it looked so nice, I decided to go all around the edges so it would look even. It looks beautiful if you just stare at it. But if you touch it, it is sticky. Won’t dry. Two days. Her birthday was yesterday. She was unable to use it. I feel awful. but I can’t afford to take it to the shop twice. Should I try smoothing it out with mineral spirits?? It’s a delicate instrument, I’m stupid. I feel sick.

    Reply
    • Yes, mineral spirits but try olive oil and other less intense oil based things first.
      I think you did not shake the can and mix the components enough. Or it’s an old can…
      At the most extreme, try citrus paint remover. Or just lemon at first, then move on in paint remover toxicity.
      you’ll get it off. you may damage the finsh, but that’s probably ok I’m guessing.
      Let me know?
      Good luck.

      Reply
  18. Hi Brad – thank you for this site!

    We live in an old bungalow built in 1919 with what we suspect as lead based paint on the trim in our dining room (crown molding & chair railing.) The trim has been painted over many times, and chunks have fallen off, color has turned, etc. We are trying to decide whether it‘s okay to encapsulate/paint over the trim or we need to get more serious & remove it all together.

    Do you have any pointers on criteria on what’s a good candidate for encapsulation vs. removing? Thank you.

    Reply
    • For removal, only if professionals do it.
      Encapsulating kicks the can down the road and someone will have to remove it sooner or later.
      But it does make you safe in the meantime.
      Hard to chose.
      Good luck.
      b

      Reply
  19. Hello Brad. I’m on your painting a driveway page. Do you have any suggestions for removing bad red mud stains? Our sprinklers pull from the pond behind the house and deposit red in large swaths on the driveway. Tried pressure washing with different cleaners but nothing has worked. At this point I want to paint with the epoxy you suggested but need to clean first and then I worry the red will stain the new paint. Any suggestions? Thank you.

    Reply
    • Hi. Well, I cannot see it so I can’t be sure, but it may just be stain and if you put epoxy over it, it may, it PROBABLY will not bleed thru.
      The way to know is to put some on a test spot. You would not use up your 2-part mix, but if you have one-part, do a test. If you have 2 part, maybe just go for it.
      No promises. Epoxy is not like interior latex or even exterior. It’s going to be much harder for a stain to bleed into it. Let it get very dry after your good washing.
      Good luck.
      Let me know!
      b

      Reply
  20. I stumbled across your site and I’m very thankful. I am putting in a basement bar room area and just rented the depot machine to scuff up the virgin concrete
    That’s 20 years old. I was thinking the Ben Moore solid stain in grey but was looking for a glossy finish. Do u recommend another product or this would be my best product to use. Thanks very much in advance.
    Marc

    Reply
  21. I have old wood paneling in my basement I’m interested in painting. It appears to be wood veneer but the top surface is not the natural wood grain. The woodgrain pattern is printed on the surface. What is the best way to proceed? Also the outside corner trim and baseboards are not wood but plastic or vinyl, which will also be painted.
    Thank you!

    Reply
  22. Hi Brad,

    Thank you for this site. I am getting ready to paint my living room. My daughter works at a candle making store and had been bringing home candles that she made. She burned them without leaving them to cure which caused allot of soot in the room. I found a web page that said to use laundry detergent to clean dirty walls before painting . I used Seventh Generation laundry detergent and it did a really good job. I’m wondering if I have to go back over the walls with a pail of water to rinse before I paint or will it be okay to just paint. Also tried to wipe the ceiling, but I’m getting older and don’t have the physical strength to do a great job so I have streaks. Am I better off using Benjamin Moore or Kilz on the ceiling? The house was built in 1959. I believe it’s really old sheet rock. On last thing, I do have some crazing on the walls where the wall meets the ceiling (like someone cut in with too much paint and it dried cracked) should I sand it or just paint over it?

    Reply
    • First, so sorry about the delay. We had a problem with the ask a painter page!
      I know it’s probably too late but…

      I’d use STIX from ben moore. Test in spots on walls and ceilings. See if it ‘sticks’. Then if yes, paint away and you’ll be fine. If no, wash much better with hot water until the primer sticks. Really test the bond.
      Try to sand the old paint, but latex is nearly impossible to sand. You could apply drywall compound, but then you sand, primer and paint.

      Good luck,
      Brad

      Reply
  23. Hello Brad,
    I have a stain question. I have a pressure treated deck. I have used Thompson’s water seal the past three years( Yes I know) so the deck is now what I would call bare except for dirt and green mildew.I would like to try the Eco product you talk about . My question is will water bead up on the deck or does it saturated into the wood ? How about the Defy product ? does any stain waterproof or do I want a sealer ? Or is there a stain/ sealer out there? As you can imagine the decision is difficult with so many products .
    Thank you
    Kathleen Man

    Reply
    • First, so sorry about the delay. We had a problem with the ask a painter page!
      I know it’s probably too late but…

      No water will not bead up. But it will aslo not rot and bugs hate it. Still, once per lifetime. It’s on my deck. Defy, sure, good for stain, but it’s not the same animal. Just never use Thompsons. Waste of money

      Good luck,
      Brad

      Reply
  24. Hi Brad! Please help. I just bought a house two years ago with the most beautiful deck. Huge deck, two levels, two sets of stairs, railing galore. When I bought the house, the deck had just been painted with Rustoleum Restore. It was gorgeous. Well that didn’t last long. I ended up painting it again last year…with more Restore same color. This year it is flaking off again. Everywhere!! I have tried everything to get it off. Boiling water, multiple brands of stripper, rented a hot water pressure washer, rented a drum sander with a grinder pad. This stuff ain’t coming off.
    I need to know what to do. At this point, I may just need to put some sort of primer/bonding on it and paint over it again. I’m just one little girl. No one is helping me. I’m not hiring it out. I can do this but I need to know what will work. Tired of spending money on things that aren’t working. I’m fine with spending the money on quality products. Just please tell me what to buy and in what order to apply. I’ve read all of your how-to guides. Don’t think I saw anything that specifically said how to cover this stuff up if it won’t come off.
    I live in Georgia, the deck has no shade.
    Thanks!

    Reply
    • First, so sorry about the delay. We had a problem with the ask a painter page!
      I know it’s probably too late but…
      I’d strip it all with a low speed grinder. You’ll find it here.
      https://www.bradthepainter.com/best-deck-paint/
      Look for the heading Use electricity. Thank me later.

      The thing to do is go down to the wood, then prime and paint. Stain will not work because you will never get all the old stuff off.
      Don’t get a high speed grinder: it melts paint, what a mess.

      Good luck,
      Brad

      Reply
  25. Good morning Brad!
    My name is Bryan and I thought I prepped and was cautious enough as to not allow overspray to get on my painted stucco while painting my RV GATE. I’ve used goo be gone but have to wipe it off quickly because it takes of the original paint on the stucco. I’ve used a scrub brush, olive and peanut oil and mineral spirits in test areas with a scrub brush. Those methods seem to take the thick paint caught in the nooks and crevices but seems to sheer the remaining.
    It seems like you know your sh..t
    and I would appreciate any input you might have. I do have picture I could send once you respond back so that you might have a better understanding of what I’m dealing with. Unfortunately, I didn’t notice the overspray until today and its been a week since – backing in the hot AZ SUN. My goal is to not damage the original paint that’s on the stucco, but understand that is going to be difficult if at all possible.
    I don’t have a pressure washer but am looking to purchase on Amazon.
    Thank you for your time and future response !
    Bryan

    Reply
  26. Hi Brad,
    Part of my deck is about 25 years old and part is 10 years old. I have to replace several rotted boards and recently bought pressure treated pine for this. Three years ago, I used Armstrong -clark semi transparent stain which lasted about a year. I would like to use the ECO wood treatment. What products would you suggest to clean and prep the deck? Can I clean and treat the whole deck at the same time with the new and old boards? And then, can I use ECO on the whole deck with old/new deck boards?
    Thank you!
    Wanda

    Reply
    • Buy a small packet and test on your previously stained wood. It sounds as if it will absorb quickly which you want. Good stain will prevent this but it seems your stain has evaporated, at least mostly.
      TEST is the key. Test in various spots and check it well.
      If you go ahead with the ECO, let the new additions age for the required time. Check with the store, but it’s usually 90 days, but I don’t know what wood you bought.
      Pressure wash. I did not use any brightener etc, just wash, let dry well, and garden spray on the Eco. After the curing time is done for the new wood.
      Good luck,
      B

      Reply
  27. Hi Brad
    Can you mix rustoleum 2part tan semi gloss epoxy garage floor paint with same product but in gloss?
    Thanks for your time

    Reply
    • If you want to mix 2 cans that make up the semi, and 2 cans that make up the gloss, I think that would be fine.
      I’m not sure if you mean gallons or quarts or what, but if you mix 4 gallons, that would be a big mistake. I could not even spray that much paint in within the hardening window…the ‘pot life’.
      If you are putting 4 quarts, then sure. You’ll get a glossy-semi-gloss.
      You probably don’t care about the gloss right? You want to just use up the cans and not return them or you can’t return them.
      Yes, sure, go for it. Don’t think tho that you can mix 1/2 of each of 4-gallon containers. You cannot. The ratio will be off and either it will NEVER dry or worse…I have no idea how bad that could be. Then to scrape it all off? Just shoot me.
      Good luck,
      b

      Reply
  28. Have semi covered back wooden porch on which my 130lb mastiff puppy spends a lot of time going up and down the wooden steps tracking dirt, mud, and shedding tan hairs like crazy. Live in Virginia & get rain,snow, humidity, heat/cold. Needs to clean easily and be really durable. Needs to dry fairly fast too. Your suggestions? Thx Have used Behr deck over at my river cabin, but don’t know if that’s best. Would the BM product be good?

    Reply
  29. Hi Brad,
    What paint do you recommend for 4×4 deck posts ? There is moisture from grass/weeds around the bottom of the posts. Posts are already painted white to match railings but post paint is chipping off. Thanks, Lee

    Reply
    • If those were pressure treated, you might have a hard time getting anything to stick.
      The best choice is a high-bonding primer. I like Stix from Benjamin Moore.
      I’d pressure wash, scrape or grind the spot prime where paint came off with Stix then paint with exterior paint.
      Warning: it’s going to be an endless war. The elements never give up.
      You can read what I wrote about pressure washers and grinders and Stix…just use the search feature above.
      B

      Reply
  30. Brad..my house was built in about 1912. I have horsehair plaster walls and have figured out how to use the paints etc. My problem is…chimney got blocked with 5′ of condensed birds nest. Had a great chimney team, cleaned, installed a liner.. none..or at least none left.installed cap etc. My issue…upstairs on 2nd floor, I believe the chimney is up in the middle room. To the attic. When we had chimney issue, moisture heavily came thru the chimney. Is like to expose the brick in that room. But don’t know how to get the…I think it is some sort of board off. It’s all stained from leakage..not leaking anymore, so what’s on top of the supposed board peels. Any suggestion would help. I live in Delaware. Thanks sooo much. And can.i seal the brick?

    Reply
    • You can seal the brick if you have access, just use a good masonry primer.
      The board is not clear to me. Is this something blocking the flue? In any case if it is wood, you would scrape, primer and paint.
      Use a primer that says “stain blocking” other primers will not stop the water stains from bleeding through.
      I hope this helps.
      B

      Reply
      • This seems to be board that was placed OVER the brick of the chimney. It appears that they didn’t want the brick showing back then. It’s all stained and peeling. Comes off in little chunks, Some fell off when the wetness came thru the bricks when there was no liner…or no more liner from the original way things were. It’s actually what has made me want to take that board off and expose the brick. But I don’t know how to get the board off.

        Reply
  31. I’m trying to paint a cottage ceiling which is 50+ years old plywood and crossbeams (subfloor exposed downstairs,) and dark wood veneered paneling. I want to avoid oil primer wherever possible. Would Zinsser 123 be an appropriate cover for starters with oil base touch up for areas that come through, or would you say to go for oil based for the whole job so as not to have to come back? Thanks!

    Reply
    • I would do the latex stain killing primer which will stop most stains. Then I’d wait a while and see what bleeds through. A good light will help. Look closely. Time for stains to migrate can vary, so it may be a year or more.
      Do a test with that latex. If all areas bleed, yes go oil-based stain killer.
      Sometimes that kind of thing is just necessary.
      Good luck.

      Reply
  32. Hi Brad!
    Thank you for the website. It’s amazing!!! I foolishly put a popular water seal on my pressure treated deck without doing enough research first. I’ve waited 3 years to allow it to wear off. My question is, can I paint over it now?

    Many thanks,
    John B.

    Reply
    • Probably, but let me talk you out of it. Go with stain that you never have to scrap, sand, and have crack and peel for ever and ever.
      It’s more work than the nice look gives you when you paint a deck.
      But if you insist, do some testing this year and paint next year if you get good bonding. Use the best bonding primer you can buy.
      Good luck.
      B

      Reply
  33. Hello,

    Looking to stain or otherwise alter the color of the brick on our home in MN. It’s not structural, is just a decorative brick at the front of the home similar to this:
    https://imgur.com/gallery/GWF5qNM

    The body of the house is getting painted SW Alabaster windows, soffits, gutters, etc all in SW Urbane Bronze. Need to tone down the orange/ red in the brick and am hoping for a more charcoal appearance.
    What do you recommend for product and process to do this?

    Reply
    • Do a test for sure. Do a lot of testing. I don’t know if I’d do this personally. Is it clay? real brick material?
      I’d ask in a paint store and use what they recommend. SW or Ben Moore are my choices always.
      Good luck

      Reply
  34. We are buying a home built 1911. Plaster horsehair walls . Entire house is wallpapered. We are going to remove this and it seems like the plaster underneath was “raw” I guess & never painted ever? Like dining room has several layers of wallpaper etc. question then is obviously we will
    Have to repair cracks and damage but can this plaster that looks so rough and raw be painted like anything else ? I know we would have to prime it and deal with any stains but it seems so primitive? We had an old house before with plaster but o think it had been painted before so we just re painted. I’ve never dealt with walls that seem to literally have went from being plastered to being wallpapered lol.

    Reply
    • No doubt you’ll have a lot of repairs. Consider hiring a team to ‘skim coat’. You’ll have perfect walls. But maybe you don’t want that… old walls have charm.
      To get that paper off, definitely rent or buy a steamer. The speed is amazing. Good to do it in winter as it’s really hot, but really fast.
      If you just repair the cracks, use a quality interior spackle and sand and prime in spots. Actually, you will prime the entire wall so just sand and roll the wall with drywall primer. Then check dry primer and see if any stains came thru. Then after a year or so, check paint job to see if any slow stains came through.
      Good luck. Keep me posted. If you send before/during/after pics, other folks here will gain your experience. I’ll post your notes too if you like.
      Brad
      ps, I’m thinking I could turn your project into a new post on wallpaper removal and wall repair. Want to help? I’ll make you a star!

      Reply
      • Ok once we get started removing paper I’ll take some pics etc. curious but afraid to see underneath! The steamer I did read about & seems like a good idea since so many rooms are involved .

        Reply
  35. So I was hesitant but was still considering painting my deck with one of the “restorer” products out there. Thank you for your honest, down to earth remarks. I saw some of the customer complains, photos and lawsuits but assumed that most just didn’t follow directions or were chronic complainers.

    Moving on, I don’t have the funds to replace my deck. It was stained by former owners but not maintained. The only damage it has is cracks and/or splintering where the ice has gotten into the grain over the years and one semi-curled board. There is no rot and some less sunny areas build up with algae. I did power wash it once (no chemicals, didn’t want to harm sensitive plants) and that took off a lot more of the old stain from the decking surface. Could I sand it down, fill the cracks with an epoxy, polymer, etc and re-stain it with one of the semi-translucent stains you recommend? I do not mind the hard work once, but I won’t battle peeling, flaking mess of paint each year. I have no objection to reapplying some stain after a few years but never all that scrapping, sanding, reworking it every year or two. YUCK!

    Living in Mid-Atlantic region of USA, most of deck exposed to hot sun, with minor shaded areas that gather algae if left unattended.

    Thanks,
    Danyelle

    Reply
    • I would not layer on thick paint which is what that stuff is.
      I’d spend as little as possible and start saving for Trex or some new deck. As you know, pressure treated wood is now very expensive, but not if you budget well.
      Epoxy etc? No, not for me, but if you want that is up to you. I’d say take off all the peeling old paint, maybe get a very powerful waser …gas powered which you can rent..just use a rotating tip… Then I’d scrape what wants to come off and leave what is tight. Then I’d take the same color as existing and just touch up what needs it this year and every year… all the spots that peel until my new deck arrives. just my opinion!!

      Good luck,
      B

      Reply
  36. Hello Brad. I have a 6-7 year old 2×6 PT deck that has been clear stained twice. Living in the southeast the sun and weather have gotten ahead of me and now the boards are cracked and splintering. Trex type is not an option because of budget and joists are on 24″ centers. However, I noticed that when I remove a board to replace, the underside is still in good shape. It has some run off stain marks and grunge from being on the bottom side. My thoughts are to flip the boards, saving the good condition ones, re-apply, fill old screw holes and any cracks, lightly sand then use a solid color coating so I won’t have to sand down to bare wood. I know it’s a lot of work, but I’m retired and have the time. Concerned about the coating. I would like to use acrylic so the wood breathes. Is that correct? Will a solid stain work or do I need to paint? I apologize if you have answered these questions before, but I just found your web site. Thanks for your time

    Reply
    • Well, if you paint, you know you will have to scrape etc in future years. I still like stains that only require a wash and recoat. So put on what you want, it’s a choice I will only drag you down with!
      But as for flipping them? Well, the bottom will then take the beating. Will it lengthen the lifetime of the wood? I doubt it.
      Here is what i would do. Get a floor sander or the variable speed grinder I have with lots of pads. Then take down the wood maybe 1/8 to 1/4 inch and then apply your product.
      Decks are very impermanent aren’t they?

      Reply
  37. Hi Brad,
    I loved the example driveway you showed with the brick trim. I am wondering if the brick is a stencil or if it is realy brick. Thanks so much and also thank you for having such an informational website. Peggy

    Reply
  38. Brad,
    I desperately need your help. Just bought a house in Florida and slipped on the driveway and broke my ankle in three places. I’ve been told they used the wrong kind of paint. We needed to do something as soon as possible. We ended up hiring a family owned concrete and painting service. Now we’re in the middle of a nightmare. We paid $6900 to have our driveway and our lanai painted. All the work he did was power wash the driveway, fill in the cracks, and painted it the same day. I read through everything you have posted about how to paint a driveway and so many steps were skipped. That same day before he left there were bubbles already that formed on the driveway. Wasn’t too long before they all cracked and not only was the gray paint underneath showing but the red paint under that. The worker came back and put some type of Spackle on that and re-painted just those areas. Of course it peeled again. He came for the third time to fix it. The heat index was over 100°. He did not wash the areas or anything. He just covered the peeling parts with spackle and painted over them. The bubbles that did not pop he just painted over them.
    Since we signed the contract in April the owner of the company will not answer our phone calls or messages. After the first painting of the driveway,realizing there were bubbles, I tried to contact the owner. The worker told the owner that we were refusing to pay the last $1000. I wanted to speak to the owner to tell him about the bubbles and to also tell him that there was no sanding done on the driveway to prep it. The contract specifically said that all the loose paint would be sanded. The owner called me then and said he was going to sue me and nullify the contract if I didn’t pay the last $1000. The worker added to the contract that the bubbles would be fixed. Worker came back three different times and the driveway has bubbles and is peeling He tried using a paint scraper to scrape up some of the bubbles with three different coats of paint. All that did was make the three coats of paint white up in a pile. That really made him mad!He then paint over that.
    We’re going to have to take the company to small claims court. I just want your help. I need an expert painter’s opinion. Can you tell me the incorrect things the worker did. Is there anyway this driveway can be fixed? Do we have a case against them?
    My and I are retired teachers and living off a fixed teacher retirement income. We’ve never sued anybody ever! We just don’t know what to do! There is so much to the story,but I tried to really condense it. There are things like the worker when he was painting the lanai he dripped paint into our pool (over 20 drops of paint). We were told how we could fix that! As an added note, the lanai was power washed and painted same day and no cleaning was done. The worker ended up repainting it because I insisted (several areas of paint was scratched off). The company is not cooperating at all. I can just see them doing the same thing by painting over problems until the year warranty is up!
    Any help or suggestions you can give us would be greatly appreciated! Thank you so much! I really learned a lot reading from your website. I know things weren’t done correctly. So much preparation was left out and now they’re just trying to paint over mistakes.

    Reply
    • I’ll do my best, but I must state that you may not use my words here in a court of law. I wish you the best, I think you will win for sure if it comes down to that. Here we go: non-legal, non-binding advice:
      In my experience, I have found bubbles come from moist surfaces..
      You should never paint when it is very hot..it says so on the can!
      Spackle? What kind? Some special floor mud may be ok, but most others not. Was it for exteriors?
      Take many, many photos and see if you can get him on the phone. Check if it is legal to record as long as you are one of the parties. Various states differ.
      Get him to acknowledge that it was painted the same day it was washed. There would be moisture in the concrete for a long time, even if hot.
      Check with a concrete pro for verification. Many factors like the type of slab, etc. So you just need generalizations the judge will accept.
      A lawyer will give you one free meeting. Ask if small claims court lets you bring a lawyer.
      If this ever happened to me, and I know I am in the right, I would hire a law student to come with me as my friend and give me advice. They are sharp and will find logical flaws you will miss.
      You say prep was left out, but I think the moisture is your main problem.
      To fix it, rent a floor sander grinder and take it all off and then do it right.

      Hire another painter for his / her advice and pay for them to come to court if you get there. Get someone over 50 in the biz a long time. Never kids. Painting is not easy but fools call themselves pros. They never did their homework and it’s the parent’s fault!! … as you know.
      Good luck, feel for you.
      Brad

      Reply
  39. Quick question, I want to use plywood as a work table top in my new art studio. I don’t want to baby it, it needs to be able take a beating but I’d like it to look as nice as possible-which of your great recommendations/choices on ur how to paint plywood article would u choose? Tysm

    Reply
  40. I’m just starting to paint my new home(first time painting walls) and the trim and fireplace are white in my great room. Is there any reason not to use primer as “white paint” rather than follow it up with two coats of another white paint? Even if you used two coats of primer that would be faster than 1 coat of primer + 2 coats of another white paint.

    Reply
  41. hello brad, i was interested in buying a paint sprayer. i am a beginner but wanted to redo my kitchen cabinets. i received help prepping and have everything stripped sanded and primed. taped off and kitchen is bare except the cabinets. i wanted an easy to use sprayer but something i can use in the future for redoing furniture and doors. with the potential for larger projects so i don’t know if i should buy a more powerful machine or a handheld one. need advice.
    thanks

    Reply
    • You are in that gray area between handheld airless and airless. One option is to buy a Magnum and sell it after your projects. You’d have to demo it to your buyer, but you’d get half your money back. The handhelds are more of a pain as you have to refill, but … 2 doors and a refill. etc.
      I’d spend good money then sell. Key point is to clean very well and let dry quickly. Graco is the only brand I would go with unless you want a disposable.
      Some of the budget machines are good for a few jobs, if you clean them very well.
      I’d go magnum and sell…that’s me. You’d keep the handheld for years with good maintenance.
      The big ones are here
      and
      the handhelds.

      Reply
  42. I contacted you recently about prepping my painted garage floor for new paint. I’ve decided to remove the paint with a paint remover/stripper product. I’d like one that has least amount of floor cleaning once paint is removed.😉 Also you recommended using Oil Eater Cleaner Degreaser full strength on the floor. That is a pretty sudsy product. I used it on the floor using the 10:1 ratio to clean the complete garage floor and I think I still need to continue rinsing it. I’m thinking rinsing after using full strength would take for ever. Did you find it difficult to rinse until no suds we’re visible?

    Reply
    • For the stripper, I’d want to know what paint is on the floor. Was it an epoxy or oil or just a latex? I’d start with a non toxic paint stripper and move up to the toxic stuff if that did not work. I suspect the citrus based safe one is no match for oil or epoxy…Not sure.
      I wrote 10:1 as you used. I wrote to increase that for tough stains. Can you point me to where I wrote to use full strength? I’ll change that…it’s an error.
      For rinsing, I just use a pressure washer over and over. I’m creating a new post on how to use warm water in a pressure washer (sink if it has a threaded faucet, or leave the hose in the sun and spray until cold water comes out, then repeat). Warm water helps.
      But cold will eventually get all the soap off.
      After the cleaner, you’re going to have to wash…and it’s time consuming…I don’t know of any way around that.
      Let me knw about any mistake I made?
      Thanks,
      b

      Reply
  43. Hi Brad—I have a concrete parking area that doubles as the suspended ceiling for my shop. My two issues with it are 1) it leaks and 2) it gets extremely hot—soaks up heat and then transmits that heat into the shop all evening long. For the leaking, I figured I’d start with the Sikadur stuff you linked to (none of the cracks are huge, seems like the perfect product for that)—but I wondered if you had a recommendation for trying to reflect at least some of the energy that thing soaks up. I’ve read about coatings used for pool-side walking areas and how they keep it cool enough for bare feet, but the ones I’ve looked at were pretty expensive. Maybe just the lighter shades of AdCoat or KILZ (although AdCoat looks like they’re out of stock, completely)?

    Reply
    • Many products are out of stock this year.
      I think the only advice I have is to coat it with white. If it’s paint or even white roofing…
      I have not seen it so I cannot tell. But I’d get something to last a long time instead of having to re-do it over and over.
      Hope that helps!
      b

      Reply
  44. Hi Brad after reading your deck painting article many times I have a question.
    I want to take your suggestion and prime my old weathered deck before re-painting, my questions are below. Thank you in advance for your time and assistance.

    The link in your article says to use Zinsser Cover-stain oil based primer, the link takes me to a alkyd based Zinsser cover-stain are either acceptable?

    Also I will be painting my deck a gray, the cover stain primer is white, can i prime the entire deck white and cover it with gray paint or should I have the cover-stain tinted gray? AKA as the deck weathers and peels will the white primer be visible years later under the paint?

    What wood filler should i use for problem areas on old deck boards?

    My deck is pressure treated wood, 20 years old, in a 4 season climate, its been painted before, some boards have been replaced and are dry and raw wood. I was going to clean the deck with deck cleaner, sand the entire deck, wood filler to fix problem areas, prime the entire deck, then 2 coats of InsulX. Sound good? Thank you!

    Reply
    • Alkyd and oil-based are (almost) the same, so yes on that. Chemically, it’s different but we often say, ‘paint that with alkyd’, which means oil.
      Alkyds are a synthetic resin that binds the ingredients.
      Time was all alkyd was oil-based. now there is a water-based alkyd… from Ben Moore, but just for interiors as far as I know right now.
      You could ask a paint store to tint it or buy tints yourself: but you don’t know the maximum that you can put without altering the good properties. So maybe buy it at a store and ask for gray tint…as much as they can without harming the properties
      But white is fine. Gray may just save you a coat, or not, but it will cover better.
      Mine is 20 also…I’m thinking of a new deck…ug.
      Your agenda works for me, but I cannot see it in person. A pro could give you advice that would be for sure, mine is not.
      Still, it sounds good.
      Here is the wood filler I use indoors and out

      Reply
  45. Hi Brad, thanks offering such great repair tips. We have 4- 5 small chips in our acid stained concrete floor. They’re small (largest maybe 3/4 “ by 1/2”, 1/16” deep. The chips of course, show up very white ..
    I’ve seen a lot of articles about using paint stain pens etc. but I’m not sure which is going to actually work . We don’t need to fill it necessarily, just touch up cosmetically.
    Any advice greatly appreciated.

    Best,

    Chris Bennett Austin, Texas

    Reply
    • I wish I could see it, but here goes. I’ll assume it’s not a garage as you probably would not care as much, but no matter where it is…Do you hve any original stain left?
      Would you be willing to buy more? I think even just creating some stain that’s brown or whatever color is close to your stain would remove the eyesore.
      A pen? Sure if you could get the ink in there. A sharpie may be the thing if it has a big flet tip. The concrete would certainly absorb it.
      I think that’s all you need. You will forget it’s there by next year!
      Good luck

      Reply

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