Painting - Bob Vila

Category: Painting

What’s the Difference? Satin vs. Semi-Gloss Paint

Both satin and semi-gloss finishes can lend a beautiful sheen to any interior paint job. If you’re stuck between the two, read this guide to help you determine which coat to put on.

Satin vs Semi-Gloss: How to KnowWhich Paint Finish is Best For Your Project

Photo: via Bente Whyatt

When you’re choosing fresh paint for your walls or wooden furniture, after color, the next big decision to be made is that of sheen. Two middle-of-the-road options for paint finish—satin and semi-gloss—are quite popular for being neither too shiny nor too matte. In fact, telling them apart can get somewhat tricky. Both finishes are available in traditional oil-based paints and modern latex paints alike. Both are options for cans of paint as well as cans of paint-and-primer combos. The two types of finishes can be found in special latex paints with low- or no-VOC (volatile organic compound) versions. The subtle differences between the two can make one distinctly better fit for your project than another.

Read on to see these two popular paint finishes go head to head, satin vs semi-gloss. The following key comparisons can aid you in choosing the one that best suits your next paint project.

RELATED: All You Need to Know About Paint Types

First things first: Semi-gloss has more sheen than satin. The types of finishes you’ll likely find in most paint collections—ranging from most to least reflective—are glossy/high-gloss, semi-gloss, satin, eggshell, and flat/matte. Semi-gloss is slightly higher on the scale than satin and, thus, promises a little more reflectivity.

Satin vs Semi-Gloss: How to KnowWhich Paint Finish is Best For Your Project


Semi-gloss’s extra sheen may change how your paint color looks on the wall. While both finishes have a hint of sheen, more light from your lamps or the room’s uncovered windows will bounce off of semi-gloss surface than a satin surface (which actually absorbs some additional light instead). As a result of the way light reflects, the same paint color may appear slightly darker in a semi-gloss finish and slightly lighter in a satin one. So, factor that in when you’re making your final decision about which paint finish to use.

Semi-gloss is more durable and easier to clean. The higher the gloss, the easier the cleanup of messes like fingerprints and smudges. For objects and areas that get a lot of use and therefore require frequent wipe-downs—bathrooms, kitchens, playrooms, kids’ bedrooms, and any other area children may feel tempted to draw on walls with Crayola—semi-gloss is often the wiser option. Because the surface is slicker, it’s more resistant to moisture and easier to go over with a damp cloth or special sprays designed for minor household disasters. (Either semi-gloss or satin finish, though, beats out their eggshell and flat/matte finishes for durability.)

Semi-gloss better draws the eye to architectural elements. Generally speaking, cleaning needs aside, satin is the default choice for many do-it-yourselfers refreshing interior walls and furniture, while smaller doses of semi-gloss highlight home features: cabinetry, mantels, stair railing, window trim, door casings, and crown molding. Even if you apply the same color in two different sheens in a room—satin to the walls and semi-gloss to the trim—the reflection will make the craftsmanship of the molding pop.

Satin is more forgiving of pre-existing imperfections than semi-gloss. If you’ve got dings and dents in your walls, your cabinets, or your soon-to-be-painted dresser, the reflective nature of semi-gloss will only draw more attention to every flaw. A satin finish is more flattering over pocks, divots, and scrapes since it draws the light in and tricks the eye into seeing a more even surface. So, if you want to deflect attention away from faults and blemishes without spending hours sanding them away, satin is the way to go.

The cost between the two is negligible, but you may pay a few cents less on the dollar for satin. Generally speaking, the more gloss a paint offers, the more it will cost. Semi-gloss paint is manufactured with more binders (resins responsible for sheen) than satin paint in order to deliver the reflection and durability for which it’s known. So, if you’re looking to a little bit of money repainting walls throughout the whole home, satin is the most budget-worthy option of the two that still offers a hint of sheen.


All of the Expert Painting Advice from
Of all the options available to remodelers, paint provides the quickest, easiest, and most affordable way to achieve a transformation, inside or out. Ready to look at your home in a new way? Click now for the color ideas to make your project beautiful.

Solved! The Best Paint to Use on Wood

Prime your next painting project for success with our recommendations for the best paint to use on wooden surfaces throughout the home.

Best Paint to Use on Wood, Solved!


Q: A few wooden surfaces in my home interior could use painting. What’s the best type of paint to use on wood—water- or oil-based? And what’s the best sheen?

A: Wood is adaptable enough to receive either water- or oil-based paint, as long as you coat it with primer beforehand. But the myriad types of paint and sheen within these two categories can present you with a dizzying array of options at the paint store. Ultimately, the best type of paint and sheen to use depends on the wooden surface you’re painting. So, read on to learn which of the most common types of paints and sheens on the market are best suited for your wood painting project.

Get to know paint options and their sheens. Water-based paint is sold at paint stores and home centers in traditional latex ($15 to $40 per gallon), milk ($15 to $25 per quart), or chalk varieties ($15 to $35 per quart), while oil-based paints are either alkyd-based (made with synthetic resins called alkyds; $20 to $50 per gallon) or plant-oil-based (made with linseed or other plant oils; $30 to $50 per quart). Traditional latex, alkyd-based, and plant-oil-based paint also come in a number of sheens—flat (matte), eggshell, satin, semi-gloss, and high gloss, in order of lowest to highest luster. You can expect to pay one to two dollars more per gallon for every step up on the sheen spectrum. Milk and chalk paint, which you can buy or DIY with good results, are naturally matte, so commercial cans of these paints don’t usually indicate a sheen.

Best Paint for Wood Floors


Pick a stain-blocking primer for your wood, no matter the project. Whether you’re painting unfinished or painted wood, it’s essential to prime it before painting since tinted organic compounds in wood called tannins will otherwise bleed into any water-based paint applied on top—especially when painting over dark, tannin-rich woods like knotty pine. Primer creates a barrier between wood and paint that prevents this tannin bleed-through. While oil-based paint is less susceptible to tannin bleed-through, primer (which runs $16 to $25 per gallon) is still recommended under all paints to ensure an even foundation that will help you achieve a more uniform paint finish. So, choose one that matches the type of paint you’re using: stain-blocking latex primer for latex paint and stain-blocking oil-based primer for oil-based paints. How knotty your wood is may guide you in deciding which types of primer and paint you use, as oil-based primers (like the paints) do a better job penetrating and sealing the wood and block tannins more effectively than water-based primers.

Use traditional latex paint on seldom-used furnishings. This water-based paint is a top choice for infrequently-used furnishings (e.g. entryway tables or stair spindles) since it can be tinted to match any color you desire for the furniture and dries faster than oil-based paint. (For reference, latex paint coats normally dry to the touch in one to four hours as opposed to eight hours or more for oil-based paint coats.) Latex paints today are also cheaper, lower in volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and less likely to show pesky brush marks seen on alkyd-based oil paint coats. Within latex paints, those with a flat to satin sheen reflect less light than glossier sheens, meaning that completely smooth coat masks furniture flaws (knicks and scratches to be painted over) more effectively. They’re also the most inexpensive sheen options for furniture you don’t handle often.

Use chalk or milk paint for distressed furnishings. These decorative water-based paints are known for their elegant shabby-chic look and matte sheen, making them an attractive option for furnishings that would benefit from a distressed look. Milk paint cracks, flakes, and distresses easily, which gives it a more pronounced weathered look that’s ideal for focal point pieces like wooden hutches or headboards. Chalk paint less easily distresses on its own, giving you more control over the distressed effect and usually resulting in a softer, more subdued aged effect that’s perfect for items that complete a room such as end tables or wooden coat racks.

Best Paint for Wood Furniture


Consider alkyd-based oil paint on everyday furnishings. It dries into a rigid layer over wood and continues to harden on the wood surface over time, making wooden chairs, dining tables, and other frequently-used furnishings less susceptible to scuff marks or dents than the soft, more flexible surface of a water-based paint coat. Alkyd-based paint dries faster than plant-oil-based paint (some plant-oil-based paints take up to three days to dry)—meaning the furniture you use most won’t be out of commission drying for as long as it would be with a plant-oil-based paint. Opt for semi-gloss or high-gloss sheen; these are the smoothest to the touch and the easiest to wipe clean. These sheens also hold up better to harsh cleaners and scrubbers, which may tarnish a lower luster paint coat.

Select alkyd-based oil paint for kitchen and bathroom cabinets. These cabinets are exposed to considerable moisture from water or cooking fumes, which are absorbed over time to a greater degree by the average water-based paint, and can spur the growth of mildew or mold on the cabinet surface. Oil-based paint is water- and rot-repellent. Use an alkyd-based paint instead of a plant-oil-based paint on moisture-exposed cabinets since it’s less likely to turn yellow over time—a downside of plant-oil-based paint. Semi-gloss or high-gloss paint sheens are your best bets; their non-porous, smoother finish is easier to clean, and moisture beads on these surfaces rather than being absorbed, so the paint coat doesn’t weather or fade with time. The exception is shelves in the cabinet interior; if you opt to paint these, you want a flat to satin sheen because they’re better at withstanding the weight of dishes.

Cover cabinets in dry areas of the home with traditional latex paint. It’s the most inexpensive and fastest-drying option for cabinets that live in spaces where moisture isn’t a concern—say, in a home office or entertainment room. A flat to satin sheen is best for cabinet shelves, especially those that carry electronics or other heavy objects, but choose a semi-gloss to high-gloss sheen for the cabinet exterior to make lighter work of cleaning it.

Use alkyd-based oil paint on standard trim. Interior trim—whether baseboards, door casings, or window or ceiling trim—accumulates a fair amount of scuff marks and dents or dings over time. The rigid quality of an oil-based paint coat defends against these flaws more effectively than a softer and less durable water-based paint coat. Trim being a noticeable feature in the home interior (particularly when set against white walls), you’ll want to choose an alkyd paint over a plant-oil-based paint to avoid the risk of yellowing. As with cabinets, choosing paint in a semi-gloss or high-gloss sheen makes the job of cleaning dingy trim easier.

Use traditional latex paint on ornate trim. Decorative trim—for example, a crown molding with scrollwork (spiral-shaped pattern)—often contains grooves that oil-based paint has trouble reaching into and coating since it’s thicker and more viscous than water-based paint. The lower viscosity of water-based paint makes for a thinner paint that more readily reaches grooves and recesses in trim, getting you more uniform paint coverage. A flat to satin sheen is the most inexpensive option for ornate trim in low-traffic areas you don’t need to clean often.

For floors, use alkyd-based oil paint. It can handle daily abuse from boot heels, sopping shoes and umbrellas, and furniture relocations without becoming water-damaged or dented. (The softer, more flexible surface of a water-based paint coat doesn’t hold up as well on painted wood floors in high-traffic zones.) While plant-oil-based paint also offers these benefits, it’s too cost prohibitive for most homeowners to apply to the large surface area of a floor. Choose a semi-gloss or high-gloss paint finish; the surface area of a floor is more labor-intensive to mop up if you’re working with a coarser flat to satin sheen.

Pick plant-oil-based paint on small knickknacks. It’s gone out of favor for more affordable and readily available alkyd-based oil paints, but this type of paint is still used to augment the natural patina of small wooden objects—think wooden jewelry boxes, photo frames, and other surfaces where its steeper price isn’t cost-prohibitive. Since plant-oil-based paint dries into a slightly softer and suppler surface than alkyd-based oil paints, the wood surface can expand and contract with temperature changes with little risk of the paint coat turning brittle and cracking. Moreover, since the paints are usually comprised only of plant oil, oil drying agents, and natural pigments, they emit little to no VOCs into your household. A semi-gloss to high-gloss sheen reflects more light so makes small objects stand out better than a lower luster sheen would allow.


All of the Expert Painting Advice from
Of all the options available to remodelers, paint provides the quickest, easiest, and most affordable way to achieve a transformation, inside or out. Ready to look at your home in a new way? Click now for the color ideas to make your project beautiful.

Bob Vila Radio: One Key Painting Step You’re Overlooking

No need to watch paint dry—here's how long you can expect it to take to get a smooth, even finish.

If you’re taking on an interior painting project, you’ll want to ensure each coat is completely dry before adding another. This essential—and often overlooked—step is key to preventing uneven texture and visible smudges. The optimal drying time, though, depends on a lot of factors.


Paint Drying Time



Listen to BOB VILA ON PAINT DRYING or read below:

One is the type of paint you’re using. Latex tends to dry more quickly than oil-based paint. So, with latex, you can usually apply another coat within four hours, while with oil-based paint you’ll need at least 24 hours of drying time.

Your method of application is also important: Brushes usually create thicker coats of paint that increase the drying time, while rollers produce thinner, more uniform layers that dry more quickly.

Temperature, humidity, and ventilation also impact the magic number. Use air conditioning to maintain a consistent environment as well as safe air circulation. Latex paint is best applied when temperatures range from 50 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit, while the ideal range for oil-based paint is 40 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. (If you start painting when the forecast is outside either range, you can expect longer times between coats and/or poor-quality finish.) Check the label on your paint for drying times. If you’re still not sure the surface is ready, err on the side of caution and give it a bit more time.

Bob Vila Radio is a 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day carried on more than 186 stations in 75 markets around the country. Click here to subscribe, so you can automatically receive each new episode as it arrives—absolutely free!

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


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?


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 basic steps that make up the process—though there are a few differences, like protecting neighboring walls and trim or accounting for the grooves of paneling. Follow these key guidelines for how to paint wood paneling and you ought to achieve professional-level results.

MATERIALS AND TOOLS Available on Amazon
Trisodium phosphate (TSP)
Longsleeve shirt
Rubber gloves
Respiratory mask
220grit sandpaper
Tack cloth or rag
Drop cloths
Painter’s tape
2inch highquality angle sash brush
Paint roller with foam sponge cover
Stainblocking paint primer for interiors
Paint for interiors

How to Paint Wood Paneling - Roller


1. Wash the walls with diluted TSP.

Any dust, dirt, or oily fingerprints can prevent the paint from sticking well to the wood paneling, so start by thoroughly washing the wood-paneled walls with a solution of trisodium phosphate (TSP) and water. Before you even pick up a sponge to begin using this toxic cleaner, put on protective gear—full-sleeve clothing, rubber gloves, glasses, and a respiratory mask—and open windows in the room to adequately ventilate. Then, dilute TSP in a bucket of water and wipe down the wood paneling with a sponge dampened in the solution.

2. Lightly sand the wood paneling.

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. You’ll use a 220-grit sandpaper in even circular motions to do so.

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 tack cloth or damp rag as you go. (Now may also be the time to vacuum the floor so that you don’t track dust room to room.)

3. Protect the floor from paint splatter using drop cloths and painter’s tape.

Save yourself from having to scrub errant paint drips and splatter off the floor after the paint job is complete by laying down a bunch of old newspaper or a drop cloth. If there is molding or ceiling that you do not want the paint to inadvertently color,

4. Cut in and then coat the wood paneling with primer.

Having finished scuffing the full width and height of the wood paneling to be painted, give the surface its initial coat of primer to prevent any of the wood grain, imperfections, and the like from showing through the final coat of paint.

Choosing the right primer is key. For solid wood, use a water-based product; for veneer, use a shellac-based one. 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. One detail you absolutely should look out for? The words “stain-blocking” on the label. This trait helps hide any knots that appear throughout the wood paneling, or else you may see them bleed through your weekend paint job sometime in the future.

Start in with a 2-inch high-quality angle sash brush to cut in at corners, then keep it handy to dab away drips as you work.

Since you’ll be covering such a large surface, switch to a roller for the rest of the paint job—you’ll still be able to coat the grooves of paneled walls just fine. 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 (it’s inexpensive and easily purchased at your local paint supply store or home improvement center).

Two thin primer coats are normally sufficient. Check your can of primer for instructions on exactly how long to wait between coats.

5. Then, repeat with paint.

Top with your chosen paint applied in the same manner as described in Step 4. While you’re rolling on the paint in thin layers, pay close attention to how much collects in the panel grooves and wipe out any excess that might be too thick and become tacky once dry.

Lightly sand the surface between coats, and expect to do two or three in total (leaving adequate dry time between each). It’ll be a weekend project for sure, but, when you finish, you’ll certainly admire the difference painted wood paneling can make in a room! Whether you’ve chosen to paint wood paneling a lighter color to for a very airy farmhouse vibe or a matte black for something cozier and more dramatic, like a library, the fresh color will definitely deliver results.


All of the Expert Painting Advice from
Of all the options available to remodelers, paint provides the quickest, easiest, and most affordable way to achieve a transformation, inside or out. Ready to look at your home in a new way? Click now for the color ideas to make your project beautiful.

How To: Paint Chrome

Change up chrome fixtures at home without running to the store for replacements. All it takes is a little paint—and the know-how to make it stick!

How to Paint Chrome


Chrome is distinctive, modern, and cool—all reasons to love it, whether it’s as the bases of your ’50s-style bar stools, door hardware, light fixtures, or your bathroom faucet. But tastes change. One day, you might find yourself drawn to the idea of matte black metal instead. Whether your chrome fixtures feel dated or have rusted, you don’t need to immediately shell out for a replacement. Painting over chrome fixes either problem for a fraction of the cost if you’re equipped with the right tools and technique.

Yes, chrome’s trademark shiny surface and its tendency to oxidize make it critical to get the prep work done correctly. One wrong move and your paint could peel off or rust from beneath! Thankfully, we’ve got you covered with all the need-to-know on how to paint chrome.

MATERIALS AND TOOLS Available on Amazon
 Degreasing liquid dish soap
 Toothbrush (optional)
 Protective goggles
Dust mask
 Sandpaper (120, 240, and 320grit)
 Dust mask (optional)
 Liquid metal filler (optional)
 Disposable gloves (optional)
 Small disposable spatula (optional)
 Painter’s tape (optional)
 Newspaper (optional)
 Paintbrushes or foam paint brushes
 Rustinhibiting paint primer for metals
Automotive metal primer (optional, for faucets)
 Metalsuited paint, such as latex metal or acrylic paint
Automotive enamel (optional, for faucets)
 Utility knife
 Garbage bag(s)

Mix liquid dish soap and, for extra grease-cutting oomph, warm water in a bucket, and wash the chrome with that soapy water and a clean cloth. You may want to use a toothbrush to scour into nooks, crannies, and crevices. Rinse well with clean water, then dry with a separate rag.

You want to get any and all grease and dirt off, so repeat this step if it’s not glisteningly clean.

Put protective goggles on and, if not in a well-ventilated area, definitely a dust mask to minimize lung damage from accidentally ingesting airborne chrome dust. Starting with heavy-grit sandpaper, like a 120-grit, begin scouring chrome.

The heavy grit will scratch the slick surface up so that paint can more easily adhere rather than flake. If it’s easier to work in a side-to-side motion when sanding, do so for now. Ultimately, though, the finishing technique (using 320-grit) will require circular motions to produce a smooth, scratchless surface.

Once you’ve scoured all the chrome thoroughly, you have the option to do a second pass with 240-grit to reduce any noticeable grooves and ensure that you’ve dulled the chrome’s sheen.

Use a clean rag to wipe away the dust to inspect whether the chrome has been adequately buffed down. Pay particular attention if there were rust spots when you started (or cracks, if your object is chrome-plated), look them over—you should see the bare metal now and that cracks have softened.

Has all the chrome been scratched up and dulled so the surface can bond with a primer? If not, keep sanding with the 240-grit.

Switch to 320-grit sandpaper for the smoothest finish, and use a circular motion going from one side to the other or top to bottom of your chrome fixture. Remove all the scratches and gouging created with the rougher sandpaper in Steps 2 and 3.

Periodically wipe away the dust with a clean rag and run your fingers over the metal. Is it smooth? If so, you can move on to Step 5. If not, keep going until it is.

STEP 5 (optional)
After sanding, it’s best practice to fill any gouges or cracks in your chrome-plated fixtures or furniture before attempting to paint the metal so that these imperfections don’t show through your paint job or hamper its success. For this, you’ll use a liquid metal filler like that from Permatex, which you should be able to find at brick and mortar automotive centers or online priced around $6.50 for 3.5 ounces.

Wipe down the chrome with a wet rag to make sure all the dust from sanding has been removed, then thoroughly dry the spots to be filled. Apply the metal filler per manufacturer instructions. Typically, this involves wearing work gloves or latex gloves for protection, simply squeezing some filler into the spot that needs it, and spreading the filler out either with your latex-gloved fingers or a disposable spatula.

Dry time can be as little as an hour for some brands or overnight for others, so follow the manufacturer’s specifications carefully.

Once dry, if it hasn’t smoothed out well, you may need to sand it with the 320-grit sandpaper to get a consistent surface.

Using a clean rag and a bucket of fresh water, wipe down all of the chrome to remove remaining dust. Rinse out the rag often to ensure you’re getting a clean surface. If the bucket of water gets too dirty, replace with clean water and give your project a final pass with a clean rag.

Dry it thoroughly with fresh rags.


How to Paint Chrome


If any parts of the chrome will connect to other surfaces (like wood, glass, or marble) and therefore don’t need to be painted, go ahead and cover them. Smaller sections can be masked with painter’s tape while larger surfaces might be covered with newspaper.

Protect the floor of your work area from overspray or errant paint drips by laying out some old newspaper.

Go ahead and apply a coat of primer to the metal. Choose a rust-inhibiting primer, such as Rust-oleum, from your paint store or home improvement center—unless you plan to paint a faucet. Because bathroom and kitchen fixtures are meant to come into contact with water, you’ll need to use an automotive metal primer (and finish with automotive enamel in Steps 10 and 11), which is designed to withstand exterior conditions.

• If using a spray-primer, shake the container frequently, spray from about a foot away, and work in sweeping side-to-side coats that extend past the edges of the chrome object. Read more about spray painting metal here.

• If using a brush or foam applicator, brush paint on in light coats lengthwise, up and down, and keep an eye out for any drips. It’s better to apply a light coat, allow it to dry for up to a day, and then apply another coat than to apply too thickly and risk having drips and runs down the product. (Those would require sanding before final painting.)

Allow the primer to dry thoroughly. This will vary depending on the season, the temperature, and the humidity where you are—and that’s on top of the manufacturer’s recommendations—but it should take less than a day. Overnight should suffice.

How to Paint Chrome a New Color


Once the primer is dry, apply an acrylic or latex metal paint in your color of choice, or automotive enamel if you’re coloring a faucet. Here, too, either spray-paint or painting with a bristled or foam brush work.

• When spray-painting chrome, remember to apply in a steady sweeping motion side to side or up and down. Watch out for drips or runs!

• If brushing, you’ll still have to watch for excess paint and dripping. Paint in up-down or side-to-side strokes using light coverage. When painting in the nooks and crannies, check back after a minute or two, because these often create dribbles and runs, so mop up any excess with your brush. (It’s easier to catch the excess paint and smooth out these drips after you’ve already applied all the paint that’s on your brush or applicator.)

Allow the paint to dry. If it needs an extra coat for complete coverage, use the same techniques in Steps 4 through 10.

Again, depending on temperature and humidity where you are, dry time for a coat could take just a couple hours up to a full day. Consult your paint’s package for recommendations, and let the final coat cure for a full day before doing anything with it.

Remove any masking tape without taking off your paint job by first scoring along the paint-facing edge. Then, pull it off slowly to make sure your cuts have allowed for a clean removal. Discard along with any used newspaper in garbage bags.

After you take out the trash, move your formerly-shiny item to its new home and enjoy the satisfaction of another great project completed with a pro’s finesse.


All of the Expert Painting Advice from
Of all the options available to remodelers, paint provides the quickest, easiest, and most affordable way to achieve a transformation, inside or out. Ready to look at your home in a new way? Click now for the color ideas to make your project beautiful.

How To: Thin Latex Paint

Don’t throw away that thickened can of latex paint! With this simple tutorial, you can thin it out and get back your painting project in under 10 minutes.

How to Thin Latex Paint


Thanks to its easy clean-up and short drying time, latex paint has a leg up over oil-based paint for easy weekend projects. But the water-based product also has a downside: It tends to thicken when stored without an airtight seal, at below-freezing temperatures, or for an extended period of time. The consistently change–which occurs because heavy paint particles settle at the bottom of the can while the solvent rises to the top–is problematic for two reasons. First, gooey paint won’t readily work with rollers, brushes, and sprayers. Second, it looks uneven and bumpy when applied to a surface. Although commercial paint thinners can help loosen up your latex paint, there’s a quick and easy way to salvage the can yourself with a few household products. Keep reading for how to thin latex paint to the perfect consistency for your next paint job.

MATERIALS AND TOOLS Available on Amazon
3in1 painter’s tool
Flathead screwdriver (optional)
 Dust mask
 Paint stir sticks
 Paint trays or paper plates
 Fivegallon bucket
 Empty gallonsized paint can

Ventilation is a must when handling paint due to the potency of the fumes, so carry your latex paint can and supplies into a well-ventilated room or outdoor space.

Pop open the can on a sturdy work surface. Take care not to bend and distort the lid so much that it won’t reseal completely—this will affect the quality of your paint if you intend to save the excess. The best way to do so is to open using a 3-in-1 painter’s tool. If you don’t have one, though, position the flathead end of the screwdriver between the lip of the lid and the rim of the can. Lever the handle down gently and, rather than pry the whole lid off in one go, turn the can so that the screwdriver can break the seal on all sides and slowly drive the lid open. Remove the lid and set aside.

First determine if the paint needs to be thinned. Donning a dust mask and protective gloves, dip a stir stick into the paint for a few seconds, then remove it and hold it over a paint tray or paper plate.

• If the paint drizzles off of the stir stick in an even flow with the consistency of heavy cream, it’s ready for application. Thinning it further will lead to messy application and inadequate coverage of the surface.

• If, on the other hand, the paint sticks to the stir stick, or if it comes off of the stick in uneven globs, you should thin it before use. Continue onto the next step.

How to Thin Latex Paint


Pour all of the paint from the can into a clean five-gallon bucket, and add a half-cup of room temperature water for every one gallon of paint. Then thoroughly combine the paint and water with a stir stick, using a combination of upward and downward spiral motions.

Remove the stir stick from the paint can and hold it over a paint tray or paper plate. If the paint readily drizzles off of the stir stick, it’s ready for application. If the paint still comes off in globs, proceed to the next step.

Add one ounce of room temperature water to the bucket, and mix the paint again with the stir stick. Keep adding water, one ounce at a time, until the paint reaches the consistency of heavy cream. Perform the stir stick test to check for the desired consistency.

Pour the paint from the bucket into a clean empty paint can, then proceed with your painting project as usual.

Before resealing the lid of the can at the end of your do-it-yourself project, add an ounce of water over the top of the paint to keep it from drying out or forming a skin.

To preserve your latex paint’s consistency, store the can at above-freezing temperatures in a dry place without wild temperature fluctuations, and make sure it’s protected with an airtight seal. Remember that the useful lifespan of an opened can of latex paint is two years.


All of the Expert Painting Advice from
Of all the options available to remodelers, paint provides the quickest, easiest, and most affordable way to achieve a transformation, inside or out. Ready to look at your home in a new way? Click now for the color ideas to make your project beautiful.

How To: Paint Leather

A fresh coat of paint can bring new life to worn or outdated leather furnishings fast! Just be sure to use proper products and the right technique.

How to Paint Leather


If a leather sofa, armchair, ottoman, or other hide-covered furniture appears to be on its last legs, don’t kick it to the curb just yet! That’s right, you can learn how to paint leather and restore its original luster. In fact, acrylic paints specially formulated to seep into and tint the supple surface of leather (such as those made by Angelus) have been around for more than a century. They are readily available online and in craft stores and allow you to restore the original shade or try a whole new hue to, say, a leather loveseat for less than $150—and well under the cost of replacement.

But leather requires careful surface preparation and application techniques to produce a picture-perfect finish. You’ll also need to distinguish whether your piece is made of aniline (i.e., unfinished) or protected (finished) leather—painting protected leather requires you to remove its shiny, clear coating first. So, before you begin your next furniture makeover, get all of the guidance you need for how to paint leather below.

MATERIALS AND TOOLS Available on Amazon
Tarp or drop cloth
Liquid dish soap
Distilled warm water
Soft cloth
Dust mask
Rubbing alcohol
Finegrid sandpaper (200grit or higher)
Microfiber cloth
Painter’s tape
Acrylic paint formulated for leather
Plastic bucket
Stir stick
Paint trays (2)
Foam paintbrushes (3)
Clear acrylic sealant (such as Angelus Acrylic Finisher)

Place the leather furniture over a tarp or drop cloth on the floor of a well-ventilated room or open garage.

In a bucket, combine one teaspoon of liquid dish soap with four cups of distilled warm water. After donning gloves, wet a soft cloth in the soap solution, wring it out until damp but not dripping, and then wipe down the entire leather surface to remove dirt and debris. Make a second pass with clean cloths dampened with only distilled warm water to remove the soap solution. Let the leather air-dry completely for about half an hour.

Splash a few drops of water anywhere on the leather to determine if it’s aniline or protected.

• If the water soaks into the leather quickly, it’s aniline—and you can skip to Step 6.

• If water pools on the surface, the leather is protected; follow the next two steps to remove the coating before continuing the process for how to paint leather.

Wearing a dust mask, pour a scant amount of rubbing alcohol onto a soft cloth and gently scrub the leather area of the furniture to remove the protective coating along with any grease stains. Let the furniture air-dry completely for about half an hour.

How to Paint Leather


Perform the water droplet test from Step 3 again. If the water soaks into the leather within a matter of seconds, you have successfully stripped the protective coating. If the water still pools on the surface, wipe it with a dry cloth and then sand the leather with one gentle pass of fine-grit sandpaper. Perform the water droplet test on the leather to verify that the protective coating has been stripped. Then, wipe down the leather with a dry microfiber cloth to remove any sanding dust.

Protect non-leather areas (such as wood or metal feet) by covering with painter’s tape. If the piece has large non-leather areas (such as a wooden base) and the leather component can easily be detached, take it apart. Remove the fasteners that connect the leather component (use pliers to remove plastic snaps, a screwdriver for screws, or a wrench for bolts), then pull the leather component off with your hands. Put only the leather components on the tarp, and set the other pieces safely aside.

To help the paint adhere well to the leather, mix up a primer of equal parts acrylic paint (one that’s formulated for leather) and plain water in a plastic bucket. Blend with a stir stick, then pour into a paint tray. Wet one side of a foam paintbrush with primer and apply a single, thin coat to the leather using long, even strokes. Cover the entire surface, including any seams. Let the primer coat air-dry for one to two hours.

Pour undiluted acrylic paint into a clean paint tray. Wet one side of a clean foam brush and then paint leather with long, even strokes. Make sure to cover the entire surface, including seams, in a thin coat.

In order to prevent acrylic paint from cracking as it dries over the natural folds of the leather surface, use both your hands to pull the painted surface taut a few times during the drying phase and keep it smooth. Let the first coat air-dry for one to two hours, then follow with one or more additional coats of undiluted acrylic paint until desired opacity is achieved, making sure to pull as it dries to prevent cracking. Let the leather air-dry for six hours after applying the final coat of paint.

Maintain the flawless finish of the painted leather by sealing it with one thin coat of matte or glossy acrylic finisher, applied in long, even strokes to the entire surface using a foam paintbrush. Let the leather dry for at least 24 hours before removing the painter’s tape and re-attaching the leather components to the furniture if you’d taken it apart. Sit and enjoy!


All of the Expert Painting Advice from
Of all the options available to remodelers, paint provides the quickest, easiest, and most affordable way to achieve a transformation, inside or out. Ready to look at your home in a new way? Click now for the color ideas to make your project beautiful.

So, You Want to… Paint Your Home’s Exterior

Simplify a major exterior paint project without taking any shortcuts that could affect the quality of the finished job. All it takes is a smarter set of tools.

HYDE Airless Spray System with RVT Technology - Painting Brick


Painting the exterior of your house is a big project that can quickly turn into a huge headache if you’re not adequately prepared. Just picture yourself atop a ladder, brushing on coats of paint in the sweltering heat as wasps circle your head. While the image may seem cartoonish, some variation of it is an all-too-common tale—but it doesn’t have to be. The right materials, tools, and techniques can help you minimize disaster and maximize your time. The key to it all is a new technology that’s taking the painting world by storm: Hyde Tools’ Airless Spray System with Rapid Valve Transfer® (RVT) Technology.

The RVT system takes airless paint spraying to a new level—both literally and figuratively—by allowing the user to paint areas that are higher up just as easily as lower ones via a quick-switch valve that attaches to both a spray gun and a special telescoping pole. Homeowners and professional painters alike can now paint the entire exterior of a home while keeping their feet firmly on the ground, eliminating the need to erect scaffolding or the danger of climbing up and down a ladder.

While the following tried-and-true painting techniques will also work if you want to brush on or roll on exterior paint, you’ll save time and reduce the risk of falls when you use Hyde Tools’ new RVT system, which works with any standard airless spray pump rated up to 3600 PSI.

MATERIALS AND TOOLS Available on Amazon
Hyde Tools’ Airless Spray System with RVT® Technology
Exterior paint appropriate for your type of siding
Exterior primer appropriate for your type of siding (optional)
Pressure washer
Hyde Tools’ 5in1 Painter’s Tool
Cleanser with mildewcide
Paintable exterior caulking
Masking tape
Plastic tarp

Plan Accordingly
Check the weather forecast before you start painting. The best temperature for painting the exterior of your house is between 50 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit; in temperatures higher than that, the moisture in the paint can evaporate too quickly and weaken its bond to the siding. Choose a calm day when no rain or wind is expected. The siding should be bone-dry when you paint, and the last thing you want is for high winds to blow dust onto your new paint job.

Choose the Right Paint
Choose a high-quality exterior paint that’s advertised as formulated for your type of siding, whether that’s wood, vinyl, or steel. (See below for more about painting specific types of siding.) Once you’ve found a paint that’s right for the exterior of your house, you should keep a few other points in mind:

• Exterior paint that contains 100 percent acrylic resins will hold up best to the elements.

• A low-sheen or flat paint works well on the siding itself, while a satin or semi-gloss paint is best saved for doors and trim.

While priming before painting is a good rule of thumb in almost any situation, it’s not imperative. If, however, you’re painting the first coat on bare siding, primer is a must; it adheres tightly to the siding and provides an optimal surface for the paint to cling to. (Make sure to check the label carefully to pick a primer that’s suitable for use with both your type of siding and the paint you are applying.) If you’re just repainting, though, you can skip the stand-alone coat of primer. Note that some newer products offer a combination of paint and primer in a single product, which can be a real time-saver for both do-it-yourselfers and pro painters.

Get Specific to Your Siding
Most types of siding can be painted, although some require additional preparation or a specific type of paint. To make sure you’re on track with your plans for your exterior paint project, check out these basic tips for different types of siding.

• Wood Siding: This common material is easy to paint, so long as it’s completely clean, dry, and free from flaking paint.

• Masonite Siding: Masonite is also easy to paint, but be sure to caulk gaps between siding planks carefully to keep water from penetrating beneath the painted surface.

• Vinyl Siding: Choose paint manufactured specifically for vinyl siding. Appropriate paints contain a high percentage of acrylic, which adheres well to vinyl.

• T1-11 Siding: Pronounced “tee-one-eleven,” this type of wood or wood-based siding does not hold paint well. Its surface tends to flake off, taking off bits of paint with it. A better choice for T1-11 is to spray it with a penetrating acrylic-based stain—but don’t worry, this can be accomplished just as easily with the Airless Spray System with RVT Technology. It’s rated up to 3600 PSI and works with a variety of paints and coatings.

• Masonry or Stucco: Both can be painted successfully if you remove mold or mildew stains prior to the job. If the siding has been painted previously, you can use virtually any high-quality exterior paint, but bare masonry or stucco needs a coat of exterior masonry primer, which will protect the paint from the strong alkali content in the masonry.

• Steel Siding: Choose an exterior paint specifically designed for steel siding. Before you go to town, though, clear all rust or corrosion spots and seal those areas with a rust-remediation product to ensure that they do not bleed through the new paint.

Prep the Surface
In order for paint to adhere, siding should be spotlessly clean and damage-free. First, power-wash the outside of your home, but be careful not to use so much pressure that you dig chunks out of softer exteriors, such as wood siding. Once the siding is dry:

• Scrape away any loose paint using a 5-in-1 Painter’s Tool, and sand down rough patches, if necessary.

• Caulk gaps around windows and doors with paintable exterior caulking.

• Remove all traces of mold and mildew using a cleanser that contains mildewcide.

• Replace or repair loose, broken, or rotted siding planks, as paint will not adhere to these damaged surfaces.

• Remove shutters before painting, and if you’re going to spray the paint on—as we recommend—cover windows, doors, and any nearby objects with plastic sheeting to prevent overspray from affecting these features.

How to Paint Your Home Exterior


Apply Primer and Paint
When updating the color of your home’s exterior, you’ll use the same techniques for both priming (if necessary) and painting, so the following guidelines apply to both processes. If this is the first time you’ve operated an airless spray gun, practice on a sheet of plywood before aiming it at the house! Concentrate on smooth, even strokes while holding the tip of the spray gun approximately 12 inches from the surface.

Ready to try it out on the house? Tape up trim and cover windows—and any other feature you cannot unscrew—with a plastic tarp before you get started. To paint the lower portion of the house, attach the RVT valve to the spray gun that comes with the Hyde Tools’ Airless Spray System. (Also included in the system are a spray tip, a tip guard, an inline filter, and a pole that telescopes from five to eight feet in length.) As you paint, guide the spray gun in careful strokes, just as you did while practicing, and keep its tip approximately one foot away from the siding; this distance is close enough for the primer or paint to lightly coat the siding, but not so close that drips develop. The trick to accurate paint spraying is to keep the gun an even distance from the surface at all times. If your strokes arc and flare out at the start or stop of your strokes, you won’t get uniform coverage. To keep from leaving start and stop marks, which can show through later even after multiple coats of paint, the movement of your stroke should begin before you squeeze the paint gun trigger and should continue after you release it.

Coat the entire lower half of the exterior, working back and forth uniformly. Then, when it’s time to start painting above chest level, there’s no need to drop everything to assemble scaffolding or haul out a ladder. Here’s where the unique telescoping pole comes into play. In just seconds, you can remove the live RVT valve from the handheld spray gun and snap it into place on top of the telescoping pole. Because you don’t have to fuss with depressurizing the gun or changing hoses—and you’re not climbing up and down scaffolding or a ladder—this quick and simple switch won’t slow down the job one bit. With the RVT valve locked in place, extend the lightweight pole and continue spraying the upper part of the siding by squeezing the trigger, conveniently located at the base of the pole. And, since you’re using the same valve, you won’t spot any difference in your paint spray pattern from top to bottom. You’ll get all the convenience of a shortcut without any of the consequences!

Continue working up and down the side of the house, focusing on keeping your transitions seamless. For the best coverage, spray on multiple (three or more) light coats of paint, always waiting until the previous coat has dried completely. Check the paint can for recommended dry times.

Finish the Job
After you’ve completely refreshed the siding, you won’t want the old, failing paint jobs on the trim, doors, and decorative molding to detract from your smart new facade. To tackle these areas, you’ll need to apply paint by hand with a roller or brush. Fortunately, you’ve saved so much time using the RVT airless spray system that you can afford to lavish attention on these last details, giving them a flawless finish.


This content has been brought to you by Hyde Tools. Its facts and opinions are those of

Video: How to Paint Wood Furniture

Give your wood furniture a face lift with a fast, easy, and affordable DIY paint job. Here's how!


The time comes when we could all use a little change—in our decor. The fastest way to alter the look of a room is to swap out the furniture, but that’s not an economical option for the average homeowner. If you’re refreshing your space on a budget, your best bet is to shop your home, rearranging things you already own or giving outdated accents a fresh new look. That old dark-stained dresser? Or that blah-blonde wood bookcase? No problem. Simply take a brush, paint, sandpaper, and the tips from this video and you can reinvent your furniture and, as a result, your whole living space.

For more painting advice, consider:

10 Unusual Tricks for Your Easiest-Ever Paint Job

9 Ways to Crank Up Curb Appeal with Nothing But Paint

10 Things You Should Never Paint

How To: Prep and Paint a Wall with Only 4 Tools

Transform your walls from snooze-worthy to stunning using this simple guide and a hardworking multi-tool from HYDE.

How to Paint a Wall with Just 4 Tools


Paint offers one of the lowest cost and least time-intensive ways to perk up a living space. However, all of the time, effort, and money typically spent preparing and applying that fresh face can make the job more of a pain than a pleasure. Whether you’re stripping old paint from the wall with a paint scraper, removing stubborn nails with a drill or nail extractor, or patching up holes with a putty knife, buying—and then mastering the use of—each of these individual tools can drain your energy and wallet long before you even apply the first stroke of paint.

Fortunately, there’s an easier way. With minimal tools—a HYDE 17-in-1 Painter’s Tool, paintbrush, roller, and tray—you can complete the job in record time. The secret? Your pocket-size multi-tool performs the role of a nail remover, paint scraper, putty knife, paint can opener, hammer, roller cleaner, and 11 other individual tools, which drastically cuts down on the energy and time you spend rummaging for the right tool for the task. Read on to get the lowdown on how to downsize your toolbox and revitalize your walls with this painting essential from HYDE.

MATERIALS AND TOOLS Available on Amazon
HYDE 17in1 Painter’s Tool
2 to 4inch angled paintbrush
Drop cloths
Spackling compound
Mild detergent soap
Lintfree cloth
Painter’s tape
Latex or waterbased primer
Latex or waterbased paint
Spray gun (optional)


Scrape Away Lumps of Dried Paint with the HYDE 17-in-1 Painter's Tool


STEP 1: Prepare the work zone and wall.
Don’t want your prized possessions to get splashed with paint? Remove lightweight furniture and window dressings from the room before cracking open the paint can. Where possible, push heavier furnishings to the center of the room, and cover them with a tarp. Cover the rest of the exposed floor with drop cloths.

While you’re clearing out the room, take down wall-mounted shelves, artwork, and any other decor that’s mounted on the walls. You’ll find that it’s a cinch to extract nails from the walls with the nail and brad remover conveniently built into the center of the rustproof steel blade on the HYDE 17-in-1 Painter’s Tool. You can use one of the four screw bits hidden inside the tool’s handle to remove light switch or outlet covers.

Don’t sweat wall imperfections like old paint build-up, small holes, or shallow dents in the drywall. The beveled side of the angled blade of the 17-in-1 Painter’s Tool makes it a snap to scrape off old paint, while the smooth blade on its flip side spreads spackling compound smoothly over unsightly holes. Because the molded handle of the Painter’s Tool has a thumb stop for added safety, you can maintain a steady hand and avoid accidents while you’re prepping your painting surface.

Mix mild detergent soap and water in a bucket, then wash the prepped walls using a lint-free cloth to remove dirt and debris and diminish grease stains or discoloration. Once the walls have completely dried, apply painter’s tape along the edges where the walls meet the trimwork and ceiling (as well as around any window trim).


Remove Nails with the HYDE 17-in-1 Painter's Tool


STEP 2: Apply primer.
Technically, you can skip the primer if you’re on a budget, but this base coat goes a long way toward improving paint absorption and reducing the number of top coats required. Consider primer a priority, however, if you’re dramatically changing the wall color (for example, from dark to light) or painting over high-gloss paint, new drywall, or a repaired wall.

Using the sharp tip of the HYDE 17-in-1 Painter’s Tool blade, pop open the primer and tip some into a paint tray. First, use an angled paintbrush to carefully paint around the edges of the wall. If you’re dealing with just the odd patch or stain on the wall, you can opt to spot-prime—or cover only the offending areas in primer—to conserve your supply and save time. Otherwise, load your roller with primer to apply a single coat to the wall. Let the primer dry according to the manufacturer’s recommendations before moving on.


Easily Open Cans with the HYDE 17-in-1 Painter's Tool


STEP 3: Layer on paint.
A professional-quality DIY paint job begins with “cutting in,” or painting the edges of the wall to protect abutting surfaces such as ceilings and trimwork from errant paint strokes. Enlist a two- to four-inch-wide angled brush to paint a band that extends three inches in from the edges of the wall.

Here again, with the HYDE 17-in-1 Painter’s Tool in your pocket, opening a can of paint is as simple as jimmying off the lid with the sharp tip of the tool. Opt for either a latex- or water-based paint in your choice of sheen (flat, satin, eggshell, semi-gloss, or high-gloss); avoid applying an oil-based paint directly over a latex-based primer.

Pour some paint into a paint tray, then load the roller with paint. Starting near a bottom corner of the wall, push the roller upward for a full, comfortable stroke. Then, tilt your hand so that you pull the roller back down the wall without losing contact or compromising your even coverage. Repeat this process until the wall is coated in color, using a ladder to reach the highest points. Then, without reloading the roller, gently back roll over the entire wall to catch uncovered or dimpled areas while the paint is still fresh. Let the coat dry completely according to the paint manufacturer’s instructions. If desired, apply a second coat to achieve more uniform coverage and allow it the same amount of time to dry.

Do you prefer to use a spray gun instead of a roller? Use the two built-in wrenches (the four-sided notches) of the Painter’s Tool to connect a whip hose to your spray gun in a jiffy for a fatigue-free spray job.


Wash Roller Covers with the HYDE 17-in-1 Painter's Tool


STEP 4: Clean up shop.
Your newly painted wall isn’t ready for its big reveal until you tidy up the work space. Remove the painter’s tape from the wall, discard used drop cloths, seal paint cans (just tap the lids on with the hammerhead end of your multi-tool), and wash your paintbrush and tray. As for that extra-absorbent roller cover, the quickest way to get it squeaky clean is to first squeeze out the excess paint over a paint can: Just hold the cover in one hand and use the other to run the large oblong groove of the HYDE 17-in-1 Painter’s Tool along its edge. Then, go ahead and toss it into the sink to wash it with everything else!

Last but not least, put the finishing touches on your wall by replacing the furnishings and reinstalling removed wall decor. Open up the multi-tool’s handle for access to whichever screw bits you need to reattach shelving, switch plates, and outlet covers. Then, cap the hammerhead end once more so you can drive in nails lightning fast as you rehang all your artwork. Finally, sit yourself down in a comfy chair and admire your completely refreshed room.


This content has been brought to you by Hyde Tools. Its facts and opinions are those of