Category: Painting


How To: Spackle Exterior Siding

Repainting your house? To ensure a smooth finish, spackle exterior siding wherever deep scratches and gouges appear in the wood.

When you’re repainting your house, here’s how to restore that smooth, original finish. After you’ve removed all loose paint and sealed the surface with a latex primer, use a water-based exterior-grade spackle to fill in the rough areas that remain. With a four-inch putty knife, spread an even layer of spackle and smooth it out. When it’s dry, lightly sand it and apply a second coat the same way, if necessary. When the surface is perfectly smooth, apply your finish coat.

For more on painting, consider:

Exterior Paint 101
Bob Vila Radio: Exterior Painting Prep
Exterior Painting Preparation (VIDEO)


How To: Splatter-Paint Your Floor

It's stupendously easy to splatter paint—anyone can do it, even little kids. But to achieve results that you can love for years to come, bear in mind these few simple pointers.

Here’s an inexpensive and creative way to decorate a floor. Roll on a coat of deck enamel (the color of your choice) and allow it to dry for a couple of days. Then choose three contrasting colors to splatter on top. Fill your brush liberally and move it from side to side, tapping it with a stick. Splatter all three colors at once, so you don’t have to wait for each one to dry. When it’s thoroughly dry, apply three coats of polyurethane to protect the finish.

For more on painting, consider:

How To: Paint a Wood Floor
9 Incredible Faux Finishes You Can Do Yourself
8 Ways to Age, Distress, Gild, and Add Shine to Your Next Project


How To: Make a Paint Pail

There are several good reasons not to paint directly out of a can. Instead, make a paint pail of your own within minutes.

Most professionals paint from a pail rather than a can. Painting out of a can is messy, causing rim buildup and dripping. Here’s an easy way to turn an empty paint can into a pail. Use the blade of a five-in-one putty knife to remove the can’s rim in one piece, and use the sides of the pail to remove excess paint from the brush.

For more on painting tools, consider:

Selecting the Right Painting Tools
9 Creative Uses for Old Paint Cans
Quick Tip: Avoiding Paint Spills and Spatters


Quick Tip: Exterior Painting Preparation

Planning to paint your house? Don't forget that results largely depend on whether or not you take exterior paint preparation seriously.

An exterior paint job is only as good as the prep you do first. Make sure to scrape and sand the surface to remove old peeling or flaking paint. Wash off the dirt and dust using a power washer if necessary. Patch small cracks and seams with caulk and apply primer over any bare wood before you paint.

For more on painting, consider:

How To: Paint a House
Painting the House: Should You Hire a Pro?
The Do’s and Don’ts of Choosing a New House Color


How To: Paint Over Stain

Though it's no problem to paint over stain and other wood finishes, the key to success lies in preparing the surface properly.

You can paint over existing interior wood finishes, if you take the proper steps first. Here’s how. To paint over a stain, lightly sand all glossy surfaces until the finish is dull, then wipe it down with a damp rag dipped in de-glosser. Allow time to dry. Then with even strokes, apply a quick-dry primer-sealer to prevent bleed-through. Allow the sealer to dry, and you’re ready for your finish coat.

For more on painting, consider:

How To: Paint EVERYTHING
Paint Makeovers: An Expert Tells All
The Perfect Paintbrush—and How to Choose It


Bob Vila Radio: Natural Paint

Thanks to manufacturing advancements, today's low- and no-VOC natural paints perform as well, and go on as easily, as their VOC-containing counterparts.

The harmful effects of VOCs on indoor air quality have received a lot of attention in recent years. In response, paint manufacturers have formulated a wealth of low- or no-VOC coatings. Here’s how to be a smart consumer and choose paints that are good for your health, your home, and the environment.

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Listen to BOB VILA ON NATURAL PAINT or read the text below:

Natural Paint

Photo: shutterstock.com

Start by reading the label on the paint can. Acceptable VOC concentrations vary from state to state, but one of the more stringent standards stipulates a VOC concentration in flat paint of no more than 50 grams per liter (g/L). But remember: A base paint may be low- or no-VOC, but added tints may contain VOCs. Before you ask for a custom mix, ask about the VOCs in the tint.

If you’re prepared to spend a little more, you can seek out one of the specialty producers that offer natural paint. These formulas draw on historic—in some cases, ancient—recipes that incorporate ingredients like milk, chalk, clay and natural pigments. These paints may require special handling or application, so read the manufacturer’s directions carefully.

The first paints with low or no VOCs got a bad rap for being difficult to apply or requiring extended drying times. Most of the better paint brands have solved these problems and now offer products that go on as easily and perform as well as their traditional VOC-containing counterparts.

Bob Vila Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 75 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening to—or reading—Bob’s 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day.


How To: Prevent Peeling Exterior Paint

With the right preparation and materials, you can prevent peeling paint on the exterior of your house, even if you live in a wet part of the country.

Here’s how to keep the exterior paint from peeling off your house, if you live in a damp climate. Using a breathable oil primer will allow moisture buildup from inside the house to escape. Cover the primer with two coats of 100% acrylic latex paint. All climates are prone to mildew, and latex paint is inherently resistant to mildew.

For more on exterior painting, consider:

Exterior Paint 101
Weatherproof with Paint
How To: Avoid Painting Problems


Bob Vila Radio: VOCs

Be wary of VOCs—toxic chemicals commonly found in paints and other household products.

VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, are chemicals that evaporate easily, releasing potentially harmful compounds into the air. They are commonly used in paints and other household products that contain solvents. VOCs are known to cause respiratory irritation and other health effects, but the long-term consequences of household exposure to these compounds are not yet clear. Some VOCs are known to cause cancer in animals and are suspected, in certain concentrations, of causing cancer in humans.

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Listen to BOB VILA ON VOCs or read the text below:

VOCs

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It’s wise to limit your family’s exposure to VOCs during your home renovation projects. When you’re painting, choose low-VOC paints and make sure that the area you’re working in is extremely well ventilated. VOCs are at their highest concentration during painting and while the paint is drying, so once a job is finished, try to stay out of newly painted rooms for a few days or arrange to sleep elsewhere.

Be careful with leftover paint. Make sure paint can lids are firmly closed to limit off-gassing during storage. Once the lids are secure, turn paint cans upside down to create an airtight seal.

Bob Vila Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 75 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening to—or reading—Bob’s 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day.


How To: Make Your Own Milk Paint

If you love the beauty of antique painted furniture, you can re-create that same pigment-rich, matte-finish look with milk paint—that you can make yourself.

Milk Paint Recipe - Furniture

Photo: nattybydesign.com

Everyone knows that milk does a body good. But were you aware that milk also works wonders for walls and furniture? Yes! It’s the main ingredient in a finish aptly known as milk paint. A viable and sometimes preferred alternative to water- or oil-based products, nontoxic milk paint delivers a matte look that mimics the appearance of a seasoned, decades-old paint job. It can be found online or in stores, but with the following milk paint recipe, you can easily make your own.

INGREDIENTS
- Skim milk
- Lime juice
- Cheesecloth
- Powdered pigments

STEP 1

Milk Paint Recipe - Curdling

Photo: foodfor7stagesoflife.com

Start by curdling the milk. You can do so in virtually any container; use whatever you have at ready disposal, be it a sauce pot or a frying pan. Pour in the liquids, using a half-cup of lime juice for every quart of skim milk, then wait. The curds must be allowed plenty of time to separate. Let the curdling milk sit overnight at room temperature.

STEP 2

Milk Paint Recipe - Collecting

Photo: foodiescoop.blogspot.com

Tie cheesecloth over a large mixing bowl or a sieve. Next, pour the curdled milk into your chosen receptacle. Watch as the cheesecloth separates the whey from the curds. Once they are strained, rinse the curds in water, then keep them moist. If the curds get too dry, your milk paint is liable to end up being gritty.

STEP 3

Milk Paint Recipe - Pigments

Photo: harpersuplies.storenvy.com

Having chosen the pigment you like best, add a sprinkle of the powder to the curds, then stir. Remember that the more pigment you use, the darker your milk paint is going to be. As a precaution, wear a dust mask when handling pigments; even the natural variety contains airborne particles that can irritate the lungs.

STEP 4

Milk Paint Recipe - Colors

Photo: theimaginationtree.com

Any porous surface (including wood) accepts milk paint. Because the stuff lightens a bit once it’s dry, a few coats may be necessary in order to get the color you want. Most important, waste little time before using the milk paint; it spoils within only a few days. And if you’re painting outdoors—or live somewhere with high humidity—it’s strongly recommended that you protect the paint job you’ve worked so hard to complete with a coat of water- or oil-based polyurethane sealer.


Pro Tips: What Type of Paint Is Best for Exteriors?

For an exterior paint job that really lasts, you need to start with the right paint. We've consulted with the pros to find out what's new and how to ensure the best results.

Oil vs. Latex Paint - Exterior

Photo: sherwin-williams.com

A fresh coat of exterior paint does wonders for the look of a home, revolutionizing its curb appeal while adding a valuable layer of protection against the elements. In recent years, paint technology has advanced by leaps and bounds, leaving today’s homeowners spoiled for choice when it comes to products that are not only durable, but also resistant to mold, mildew, and dirt—the trio of threats that most commonly undermine the longevity of an exterior paint job.

Related: Exterior Paint 101

If you are trying to decide whether to choose oil or latex paint—latex being the generic term for all non-oil-based paints—the question may no longer be a relevant one: The latest and greatest paint formulations are more often than not water based. “In the past, oil-based paints were the standard for exterior projects,” explains Karl Schmitt, of Sherwin-Williams. Times have changed, however. Superior performance characteristics are now to be found among water-based products.

Schmitt continues, “Some professional painters believe oil-based paints deliver a better finish.” But unless the surface to be painted is distressed (for example, weathered wood or rusty metal), Schmitt maintains that “a water-based paint is the best option for the average do-it-yourself homeowner.” Whereas “oil-based paints tend to yellow and become brittle over time,” high-quality water-based paints, such as Sherwin-Williams Emerald, retain a smooth and uniform appearance for years.

Oil vs. Latex Paint - Ladder

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“There are some real benefits to using water-based paint,” Schmitt says. These include “improved adhesion performance, mold and mildew resistance, and low VOC emissions.” Another important benefit of water-based paints: They more or less extend the exterior painting season. It used to be that “you couldn’t paint if the temperature was below 50 degrees.” Those days are gone. Improved formulations permit successful painting to be done even on days as cold as 35 degrees.

Noor Aweidah of Valspar cites further advantages of water-based paint: “shorter dry time, better coverage, and easier cleanup.” Duramax, the top-of-the-line exterior paint manufactured by Valspar, even features paint and primer in one application. What it all adds up to, she says, is a “just-painted look” that lasts for an impressively long period of time.

Before undertaking an exterior painting project, Aweidah recommends that you take several factors into account. “Weather is the first thing to consider.” Start by figuring out the right time to paint. “For best results,” she says, “an air temperature and surface temperature of 50 degrees is ideal. It’s also important to prepare for the project and use a high-quality paint.” Cover these bases, and “any exterior paint project [will be] doable for any DIYer.”

Sherwin-Williams’s Schmitt concludes, “Buy the highest-quality paint you can afford.” Chances are “the more expensive paint will last substantially longer, which means that in the long run, the pricier product “represents a much better value.”