Archive for October 2015

Getting your old paint clean!

Super quick tip on getting and keeping your old paint clean

Crusty old paint can but pretty good paint inside…how can you get it out and back in without contaminating the paint?

You will need

  • A paint can opener
  • A ladies panty hose or a paint strainer bag from the home center or paint store
  • A clean bucket


  • Wipe off the top of the paint can and blow away all loose debris
  • Install the hose or strainer bag over your clean bucket
  • Pour your paint through the strainer then pull out strainer and throw out or rinse out.
  • When finished, pour unused paint back into paint can and put on lid
  • Cover the lid with a rag or paper towel before hammering in place to prevent splattering.

 More tips and tricksTip: using dirty bucket with clean paint

Top 4 Steps to Follow When Painting Interior Walls

Painting interior walls is, by far, the easiest way to freshen the look of your home. Here are some great tips to getting your painting project done more efficiently. Painting Interior Walls

#1Step: Start from the Top Corner:

It is the best  to start from the top corner of your home interior. Brush in at the ceiling (called cutting in)  a three-to-four inch wide area around the perimeter. I prefer a 3 1/2″ angled brush with Chinex bristles. The brush is worth the $25 cost as it will easily give you a sharp clean line. Brush it out so you have a soft edge where you transition to the unpainted area. In the old days you would roll the walls immediately, while the just completed brush work is was still wet BUT, with today’s paints it is better to let the brushed areas dry and then roll….otherwise the brushed (cut in) areas will show in what we painters call “Picture Framing”

#2Step: Never Forget to Prepare the Surface:

Virtually all  paint failures are due to improper surface preparation. The fact is that if you want a successful paint job, it has to start with properly preparing the surface area your need to paint.  Cleaning, masking, repairing and priming as needed will insure that the topcoats look beautiful.   Filling large holes in drywall     Trim Prep      Peeling paint


#3Step: Priming the Surface:

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3 Steps To Paint the Interior Trim of Your Room

Painting interior trim is a little more tricky than the walls or ceilings in your home.  Because your doors, frames, cabinets and windows are usually done with a higher gloss paint, it is important to be sure the surfaces are prepared and coated properly or your attention will be drawn to all the flaws (brush marks, hair/dirt in the dried film…or God forbid, bad adhesion and peeling!

With careful application of proper techniques, you can get a beautiful finish. The trim in your home can really make your walls pop!  I recommend that you buy the best trim paint you can afford….there is a big difference in how top quality paint applies , feels when dry and its performance over the long haul. Paint the Interior Trim of Your Room

What are the keys to painting your trim:

Choose Right Paint and Brushes:

Previously, alkyd (oil) based paints were popular among the homeowners for their high quality hard and smooth finish with great adhesion. Old oils tend to yellow quite a bit though, so any touch ups , even a few months later, will show.

However, modern acrylic (water based) paints are really a great choice for most projects.  With a top quality trim paint, you can achieve a smooth, rich and very durable finish. Acrylic paints are also easy to apply and clean up with soapy water. Furthermore, acrylic paints are environmentally friendly and hence, they pose a little health hazard since they have little, if any, odor. Plan on spending $40-$60 for a gallon of good acrylic trim paint. I also recommend a retarder like XIM Extender to “thin” the material if it is drying to quickly before flowing out. The extender retards dry time and allows the paint to flow out and brush marks disappear.

Just like the paint, you also need to choose the perfect brush for the paint job. I prefer premium grade “Chinex” bristles which are available from the major manufacturers like Wooster, Purdy or Corona. Pay for a good brush ($25-30), and maintain it/clean it. It will be an investment you will enjoy. For painting narrow trim a 2 1/2 ” angled sash brush is  good. I also keep a 3 1/2″ angle sah for brushing out larger projects like door faces. Here is an old painters trick: use a roller to get the paint onto the trim and then brush it out….a big time saver!

Maintain Proper Paint Order:

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Spackles, Bondo and Marine Filler

Be careful, some common fillers will fail! So what is the difference?

Here are some of my favorite fillers, an one to watch out for…it will fail if used outside.

  • MH or Synko Spackle: this is a very easy to use exterior spackle…it is a bit hard to sand but it really adheres and fills all those uneven surfaces on fascias, siding and exterior trim with ease. It holds up well for years. Be sure to prime raw wood before applying spackle and then prime the spackle when dry for the most durable patches.
  • Bondo is a catalyzed polyester filler (costs about $40/gallon)  that can be mixed to dry in minutes to really move a job along. This filler is often mistakenly used on exterior wood….a big mistake as Bondo in hydrophilic…it will absorb water and expand causing the patch to delaminate and pop off your paint. It can be used on interior wood repairs but never outside.
  • 3M Marine filler is also a catalyzed filler (costs about $190/gallon) that can also be mixed to dry quickly. This product is formulated for marine environments and so is unaffected by water. I have patches that last for years with this product….every wonder why one painter bids more to do a project….this is one reason to hire the more expensive guy as he is using materials almost 5 times more expensive and understands why it is worth it.
  • Most painters buy whatever is available at the paint store; a craftsman can go cross discipline and find products that will give a better more durable result (like sourcing patch materials at a marine store!)

More on cheap materials

Preparing Galvanized Metal

Without proper preparation, paint will peel from galvanized metal!

Here are some tips and tricks to get the job done properly so paint adheres for the long term

Tools and supplies you will need:

  • Sponge; safety glasses; rubber gloves
  • A deep sink to rinse the metal
  • Five gallon bucket; 2 gallon bucket
  • Krud Kutter Clean and Etch
  • Rustoleum Cold Galvanizing Primer: a zinc rich primer for the cut edges of the galvanized metal


  1. Wipe down the metal generously with the Clean and Etch and put in 5 gallon bucket without rinsing (you want the chemical action to work on the metal for 5-10 minutes).
  2. After 5-10 minutes, rinse the metal in clean water; wiping with a clean sponge
  3. Stack metal pieces so they can thoroughly dry
  4. Spray prime the un-galvanized, cut edges of the metal
  5. Full prime the metal before installation with an acrylic primer or an oil based primer specifically designed for galvanized

More on sheet metalMore on rot prevention with sheet metal
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How to Patch Exterior Stucco?

Stucco is a creative design element for the exterior of many homes in Southern California. Stucco is a long lasting siding material, and it offers protection and durability. Stucco is similar to cement and it is made of sandaggregate, a a cement binding agent, and water. Stucco is applied in a wet condition, and it Patch Exterior Stuccobecomes very hard as it dries by the process of hydration. If installed properly and allowed to hydrate properly (not allowed to dry too quickly)  stucco can look great on your home.

Due to water infiltration, foundation settlement, wood framing shrinkage, earthquake or improper curing, stucco can crack and spall thus losing some of its aesthetic appeal and protection of the underlying building wrap.  It is possible to fix the aesthetic problem with proper patching. Following is a brief instruction how to patch your exterior stucco.

Take a Look of the Crack:

If the crack is just a hairline (see caulking below). If it is larger then: using a strong putty knife; open the crack into a V shape. This gets rid of any loose material on the edges and provides a “key'” for the patch material to bond.

Patch the Small Cracks First:

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Painting Techniques…Dirty Bucket

Your only paint bucket is dirty….what to do!

Here are some tips and tricks to get the job done and paint back in the can when done

Tools and supplies you will need:
• A dirty bucket….or a clean one will do!
• A common plastic grocery bag
• A Throw away latex medical glove (always great to have around for messy projects)Color TrasistionsCrisp paint lines
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Top 5 Ways to Patch Large Holes in Drywall

If you ever find a hole marring an otherwise perfectly good wall, you shouldn’t worry anymore. The simple solution is to patch your drywall. Patching drywall is really easier than it appears – you just need to use the right tools and a fewPatch Large Holes in Drywall basic principles.

There are so many products as well as “easy fixes” that you can use for patching drywall damage. There are two main steps involved in patching drywall – securing a new piece of wallboard in place, and taping and finishing the wall.

Step #1: Cut a Patch from a Piece of Scrap:

In order to secure a new piece of wallboard in place, you basically need to cut an even larger hole in the wall you’re patching. You can cut out a square or rectangular patch from the wall, even though the hole is of different shape. This would save your time and trouble. Once you are done, you need to place the patch over the hole-area and trace around it with a pencil.

Step #2: Cut Out the Drywall along the Traced Line:

Use a knife and cut out the drywall along the traced line. If the patch is large, you can use a drywall saw to cut the wall. Drywall saws are available at your home center for about $4. Be careful and use a light touch to avoid wiring and pipes that are often hidden in the wall

Step #3: Trim Away All Loose pieces on the wall and install an anchor backer.

You can also use a sharp utility knife to trim away any loose paper facing or pieces of drywall around the hole.  Insert a small piece of wood like a paint stir stick that is 2-3 ” longer than the hole is wide and screw into it on either side of the hole…this is the “backer” at the backside of the wall that you can screw the replacement piece of drywall to. You can also purchase “drywall clips” at the home center that will also work quite well.

Step #4: Tape and Texture

Once the patch is screwed onto the backer wood or held in place with clips, apply fiberglass mesh tape over the seams and apply drywall compound. This might take a few thin coats (do not try to do it all at once!) After it is fare and smooth rub over the area with a wet sponge to make all transitions even. Depending on your exiting texture you can either apply a light “skip trowel” finish with your putty knife and fresh compound or you can purchase a spray can of texture and spray on and “orange peel finish”

Step #5: Paint over the Patch:

Once the patch is dried, apply prime over the patch with a good primer and you are ready to paint!

Fixing holes in walls

Some holes are just too big to fill with spackle…here’s how to do it

Fixing holes in your wall requires a few specialized tools

Tools and supplies you will need:
• A drywall “mud-pan”
• A 4″ and 6-12″ drywall “knives”…these are the wide metal tools with a handle for spreading the “mud”.
• A household sponge
• A squirt bottle
• Patching compound mud: this can be bought dry in a bag with several different types available that dry quickly. They are sold as 5 minute dry time on up to 45 minute dry time. If you have no time constraints then you can purchase a bucket of premixed “All Purpose” mud…just keep it covered!
• Clean your mud pan after each use or mud will dry in your pan and be very difficult to remove. Also do not put remainder fast dry mud (mixed from a bag) into the sink or toilet….it even dries under water and will clog your drains!
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