Category: Painting


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

Photo: shutterstock.com

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

Photo: shutterstock.com

“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.”


Quick Tip: Avoiding Paint Spills and Splatters

Here's a no-mess painting tip to help you minimize accidents during the course of your next painting project.

Make neater work of your next touch-up project. Applying paint from a quart can will get messy, especially if you’re moving around a lot. Put the can in a larger bucket with a handle. Any spills or drips will fall into the bucket, and you’ll be able to set it down anywhere or take it up a ladder without worrying about the mess.

For more on paint, consider:

Bob Vila Radio: Painting Timesavers
5 Common Painting Mistakes—and How to Avoid Them
Bob Vila’s Top 12 Painting Tips


How To: Paint Wood Paneling

If your wood-paneled walls seem dark and dated, painting is a great way to brighten them up. Follow these simple steps to achieve a professional-looking, up-to-date finish.

How to Paint Paneling

Photo: ranchremodels.com

In a room with wood-paneled walls—particularly if that wood is a veneer—your instinct may be to start fresh, either by tearing out the paneling or by concealing it behind drywall. Both of these options, however, involve avoidable expenses that may be difficult to justify if you are trying to keep costs to a bare minimum. So long as your paneling has stayed in decent condition over the years, perhaps the least expensive way forward is to leave the paneling in place and paint over it.

That may be easier said than done, partly because solid-wood paneling so often has knots, the kind that appear invincible to paint coverage and leave the well-intentioned homeowner feeling a bit trigger-shy. Just as often, there’s a wax or varnish to deal with, and do-it-yourselfers know that sanding can be not only taxing, but really messy. And then there’s veneer wood paneling: Isn’t there something about its hard, almost plastic-like surface that looks like it simply wouldn’t take paint very well?

Related: How To—Paint EVERYTHING

How to Paint Wood Paneling - Roller

Photo: woodfurniturehub.com

The truth is that, regardless of whether yours is solid or veneer, it’s pretty easy to paint wood paneling. If you’ve ever painted a piece of wood furniture, then you’re probably already familiar with the few simple steps that make up the process. Follow these guidelines and you ought to achieve professional-level results.

Start by thoroughly washing the wood-paneled walls with a solution of TSP and water. Next, proceed to lightly sand the walls using a technique aptly known as “scuffing”; the goal here is to create a good mechanical bond between the paneled wall and the initial coat of primer that you will soon be applying.

Today’s primers are so good that you can probably skip the sanding, but I think it’s worth doing. Even though it takes only 20 or 30 minutes, scuffing gives you long-lasting insurance against chipping paint. Just be sure to wear a dust mask and, for health reasons as well as cleanliness, wipe away dust with a damp rag as you go.

Having finished scuffing the full width and height of the paneling to be painted, you can then move on to giving the surface its initial coat of primer. I prefer Zinsser’s (for solid wood, use a water-based product; for veneer, use a shellac-based one). Two primer coats are normally sufficient. Note that while it’s not strictly necessary to do so, you can have the primer tinted to match the shade you eventually plan to paint the wood paneling.

Finish by applying your chosen paint. Lightly sand the surface between coats; expect to do two or three. In order to avoid ending up with the orange peel–like texture that roller-applied paints sometimes produce, opt to use a foam sponge roller cover (inexpensive and easily purchased at your local paint supply store or home improvement center). Keep a paintbrush handy for cutting in at corners and dabbing away drips.

Once you are done, stand back to admire the difference painted wood paneling can make in a room!


How To: Paint Home Exteriors with a Sprayer

Use a paint sprayer on exteriors to make quicker work of a large and otherwise time-consuming project.

Next time you tackle a big exterior paint job, try using a power sprayer. Start at the bottom and work your way up, so you apply paint to the underside of clapboards or shingles. Use even, steady strokes that overlap. And apply a thin coat first as a primer. Allow to dry and apply a final coat the same way, from the bottom to the top. For trim paint, use a brush.

For more on paint, consider:

Choosing a Paint Sprayer
How To: Use a Paint Spray Gun
5 Common Painting Mistakes—and How to Avoid Them


How To: Use a Paintbrush Properly

Anyone can paint. But to achieve the best possible results, you must know how to use a paintbrush properly.

Any painter will tell you, good brush technique is key to a neat job. Hold the brush with your thumb on one side and your fingers on the other. Dip about a third of the brush in the paint, getting rid of the excess. Keep the brush perpendicular to the surface, using light strokes to avoid lap marks.

For more on paint, consider:

How To: Clean Paintbrushes
The Perfect Paintbrush—and How to Choose It
Paint Guide: 10 Essentials for Successful House Painting


Paint Your Home the Colors of Downton Abbey

Followers of "Downton Abbey," which began its fourth season yesterday on PBS's "Masterpiece," are as captivated by the historic interiors depicted in the series as they are by the story lines of the characters.

Downton Abbey Paint Colors - Drawing Room

The drawing room from "Downton Abbey" inspired one of the colors in a new Kelly-Moore Paints line. Photo: WGBH

Inspired by Downton Abbey, a new collection from Kelly-Moore Paints will now enable fans to live among the dusty grays and muted pastels they have loved seeing in the hit series. “We were getting inquiries from people trying to locate particular paint colors they’d seen on Downton Abbey,” says Mary Lawlor, manager of color marketing for Kelly-Moore Paints. “That gave us the idea to develop colors inspired by the amazing settings portrayed on the show.”

With a great deal of historical research and some help from Downton devotees on the Kelly-Moore staff, the company has created 19 hues, each one capturing an element of the glamour and grandeur of the show’s backdrop, an enormous and opulent estate in the English countryside. Some colors take their cue from the drawing room, where the aqua-green walls are softened by details of rose, ivory, and gold. Meanwhile, other colors reference the masculine, sophisticated oxblood and carnelian reds of the library. Several of the characters’ bedrooms, not to mention the servants’ kitchen, sparked additional shades.

Related: 12 Must-See Home Improvement Flicks

Downton Abbey Paint Colors - Bedroom

Jitterbug (HLS4211) recalls the ethereal blue of Lady Grantham's bedroom. Photo: WGBH

In the eyes of today’s viewer, the colors in Downton Abbey evoke a bygone era. But in their time, these hues were in fact quite modern. “By the early 1900s, the dark, opulent look of the Victorian interior that had prevailed for decades was beginning to feel oppressive,” says Allison Kyle Leopold, a journalism professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City and the author of numerous books on historic design. “The new century would be all about lightening up and simplifying, and a cleaner palette of bright colors and pale hues was a big part of that.”

For Mary Lawlor and others responsible for the Kelly-Moore Paints product line, it was no mean feat to develop new colors based on historical examples. The challenge was to come up with solutions that, even as they remained true to the Edwardian Era, also managed to fit seamlessly into 21st-century homes. Well, it may not have been easy, but Kelly-Moore did it.

Take, for instance, Jitterbug (HLS4211). This ethereal blue would look as welcoming in a contemporary bedroom as it does in Lady Grantham’s. Likewise, Rapier Silver (KMW65) calls to mind the utilitarian kitchen on the show, but it echoes the grays that are currently so popular in interior design. “Although these colors are rooted in the past,” Lawlor points out, “they are thoroughly usable in today’s homes.”

On January 5, the fourth season premiers on PBS’s “Masterpiece.” If you haven’t yet watched the show, consider this: The fans of Downton Abbey are so devoted that many are apparently seeking to re-create the look of its interiors in their own homes. So there must be something to this early-20th-century period drama, right?

For more, visit Kelly-Moore Paints, here.


Quick Tip: Low-VOC Paints

In the form of low-VOC paints, manufacturers provide a healthy and eco-friendly alternative to their traditional paint formulas.

Low-VOC paints are a safe and efficient option for your next project. Paints with low VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, have very low levels of toxicity and are odorless and non-flammable. They’re a great choice for indoor projects, especially where ventilation is limited. Best of all, they clean up easily with water.

For more on painting, consider:

Bob Vila Radio: Low-VOC Paints
Fresh Coat: 10 All-Natural House Paints
A New Line of No-VOC Paints for Nurseries


Quick Tip: Painting Masonry

Though brick, stone, and concrete require special considerations, even a beginning do-it-yourselfer can paint masonry with ease.

Here are some things to keep in mind when you’re painting masonry. Like any other surface, masonry needs to be prepared thoroughly before painting. Make sure any loose and flaking paint is removed, then coat with masonry conditioner. After 24 hours, a coat of primer is important before the finish coat to ensure even coverage and a beautiful end result.

For more on painting, consider:

How To: Paint Brick
Quick Tip: Cold Weather Painting
Bob Vila Radio: Painting Masonry