"Modern paints dry too quickly, and are difficult to brush out," says Dixon, who uses paint additives, such as Floetrol for latex paints and Penetrol for alkyds. "Adding a few ounces per gallon slows drying time and makes the paint more workable," he says. Another problem is bridging. "Latex paints form a skin," says Dixon. "Removing painted tape can tear the skin, resulting in a ragged rather than a sharp line." Lastly, taping takes time. "Learning how to cut in with a brush takes practice, but if you can do it, you'll leave most tapers in the dust," Dixon says. (Cutting in is painting just the surface you want, not the surface adjacent to it — for example, where a wall meets the ceiling.) Although there are mildewcide additives, our pros prefer using bathroom and kitchen paints that have built-in mildew fighters. "These paints will prevent mildew from forming, but they won't kill mildew that's already there," Dixon points out. Because leftover mold spores can live beneath the paint and eventually work their way through to the surface, you should also prep bath and kitchen surfaces. First, wash down the walls with a bleach solution (3/4 cup of bleach per gallon of water) then seal with a stain-blocking primer, such as Zinsser's Bulls Eye 1-2-3 or Kilz's Total One.
Our hypothetical, 2 storey 2,000 square foot home is 5 years old and located in the suburbs. The home is lightly furnished and the basement requires no painting. The scope of work includes two coats on the walls of 3 bedrooms, the bathroom & powder room, the stairway and hallways. The main floor has an open space kitchen & a living-dining room with an adjoining family room. The laundry room needs to be painted.

Homeowners painting their home, whether it's a new coat or a new house, should ask their contractor about low-emitting paints. As the paint is applied and dries, it can release high levels of VOC's, chemicals that may be toxic to the air your family breathes (not to mention, they stink!). On top of that, these off-gassing chemicals can be absorbed by soft materials already in your home (carpet, furniture, pillow, fabric) and act as a new source to continue releasing harmful chemicals (known as "the sink effect"). There are tons of third party certified low-emitting paints on the market now for more competitive pricing and selection. You can find them listed on my organization's website at greenguard.org (those that we certify) or you can find more info from your contractor :) Happy painting!
The article and comments were great information to have before deciding how to go about getting a painting job done. I think the important point is that there are several key choices (who to do the work; color, sheen, quality, of paint; how many coats; amount of prep/repairs to be done and by whom, how long the job will take, provisions for changes, how detailed the contract needs to be; advanced deposit/progress payments/final payment; final inspection, etc.) that need to be made and it requires advanced research and planning in order to become well enough informed to make the right choices. Then it requires spending sufficient time to check materials and inspect the quality of the work while it is on-going, raher than waiting to do it all at the end. President Reagan's philosophy of "Trust, but verify." applies.
Freshly painted walls often look blotchy. The color is uniform, but the sheen isn’t consistent. This usually occurs over the holes and cracks you patched with a filler or drywall compound. The porous fillers absorb the paint, dulling the surface (a problem called “flashing”). When light hits these dull spots, they stick out like a sore thumb. The smooth patch also stands out in contrast to the slightly bumpy texture of the rest of the wall. A quick coat of primer is all it takes to eliminate flashing and texture differences.
Here is where this affects you as a consumer. You select a painter with a contract that says 2 coats, $500 down. You give the company the deposit and pick your colors a couple of days before the project starts. The painter goes to the store with your colors and figures out they are deep base. He (or she) not only needs to charge you more for the paint, but he also needs to charge you for a dark gray primer coat. Ninety nine percent of the time that primer coat is going to be really, really expensive since you already gave a deposit.
Prime. Dark colors, stains (once sealed), and previously unpainted surfaces (drywall, spackle, etc.) will need a primer coat, usually white. NOTE: most paint stores & home improvement centers will now tint primer (at no charge) to match fairly close to the color of the finished coat, that way two coats of primer need not be applied. Although not all surfaces need a prime coat, skip this step at your peril! Dark colors will likely show through the first -- or even the first couple-- topcoats of paint. Sealants and unpainted surfaces like spackle patches will absorb or repel moisture in a topcoat at a different level than the areas surrounding them. Applying a good primer coat will help even out these differences. Primer equalizes a wall to a uniform surface. It's like erasing a canvas before drawing a new picture. Although some will argue the point, you generally don't need to spend a great deal on primer or buy special primer. A cheap, 5 gallon (18.9 L) bucket of plain, flat white paint will usually do the trick and cover a large area. Give your primer at least 24 hours to dry (follow its instructions) before applying a topcoat.
Back to the article. You can add water to all latex based paints / thinner to oil based paint. The tinting base has absolutely nothing to do with it. Say you are working outside and throughout the day you have to add a little water to keep the same consistency. If somebody really tried to add 20% to 50% water they no longer would be painting they'd be performing a whitewash or pickle finish.
I agree with you Richard, as a painting contractor for very many years, people are always looking to get more and more out of you. I had to give an estimate to a lady a few weeks ago who had more stuff around her home than a thrift store including heavy furniture, stuff all over the floor and junk everywhere. I knew if I accepted the job id be a furniture mover and cleaner. I also agree this article makes it seem like the contractor is out to rip off the customers. Fact is I always leave doing more work than agreed upon. It doesn't bother me since the customer is always satisfied. Just saying

This article with comments was terrific - it was so informative. I found the advice useful. It addressed specifics like the condition of the dry wall surfaces, any additional repairs such. pin holes, chalking, smoothing of wall surfaces, absorption of paint and number of coats that may be needed. It should also include insurance coverage, and reflect the clean-up afterwards. Having a written contract with the company's letterhead is a must.


Oh, where to begin? Let me start with 'watered down paint'. 25-50% before the material gets to the site? Impossible. You would basically be painting with water at that point. It would be less of a hassle, and cost, to simply use proper material. You would be forced to apply three coats instead of two, as the coverage would be horrible. Whatever cost you think might be saved in materials would be lost in labor.
With that said, here's the reality of that particular scenario. Painters do put water in the paint, but not for reasons you would think. Some materials need to have their viscosity manipulated in order to slow drying time, allowing gravity to 'smooth' out the product for a better finish. It also prevents 'drags' and 'sausages'. I personally try not to do it too often, but from time to time I have to. I want my client to have a proper finish.
The article was well-intended, but it makes it sound like painters are the crooks and consumers are innocent victims. That is blatantly un-true. Maybe there should be a follow-up article that educates consumers how not to be shysters by expecting a ton more than they said at the start, or not paying the balance of the job unless something else is done that was not in the contract. Tradesmen have a rough road when dealing with consumers that have short arms but long lists of by-the-way items. No, I'm not a painter...
Hiring a local painter to tackle your interior painting project is the easiest way to get the job done quickly, neatly, and with the best possible results. A painting contractor will provide the right materials for the job and complete any necessary repair and prep work to ensure a beautiful and lasting finish. Whether you're painting the inside of your house to update a single room or to finish off a big remodel, an experienced painting pro will deliver excellent results in record time.

The Cutters. Someone with meticulous attention to detail and a steady hand should be assigned the job of "cutting in," or painting a straight edge where needed, such as along a wall where the ceiling does not get painted. Many products are available to assist, but none work as well as a person who's good at doing it freehand. Ensure this person is skilled (ask them to show you). A poor, jagged, wavy or splotched cutting-in job will jump out at you every time you walk by it. Why more than one cutter? This job is nerve-wracking and painful to hands and arms after a few days. You'll want to give this person a break after a few walls.

We hired Warline to refinish and paint all of our kitchen cabinets and bathroom cabinets. We found their service to be excellent -- professional, clean, unobtrusive, friendly, high-quality, and economical. We are very satisfied with the work they did, and would recommend them to anyone looking to refresh their kitchen. We are very happy with our "new" kitchen and bathrooms!


So, you’ve chosen your paint colors (hues & all) with the proper finish for each room of the house. But how do you ensure that moving through each, freshly painted, room won’t make it seem like you changed your mind a few too many times? The answer is easily answered with one word…. Well, two words… baseboards & molding. Though the dominant colors & their respective finishes may vary in each room, you should choose one color & finish for any accent pieces.

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