Monday, February 18, 2013

To Tape or Not to Tape - That is the Question

In what order should I paint a room to minimize taping?

Always start with the ceiling, intentionally overlapping onto the walls.

When and where should I use tape?

The answer depends on your skill as a painter.  Ideally you combine a high quality brush with good painting skills and would not need to tape the top of the walls.  If your painting skills are rusty or somewhat challenged then of course you'll want to tape the ceiling carefully.  Do no attempt to place tape on any area that has not not fully cured/dried - at least 24 hours.

What about taping along the top edge of the baseboards?

This should always be done, by novice or professional to achieve top notch results.

Is the green tape (a/k/a Frog tape) really better?

Yes, it is.  Masking tape is the least costly, but paint routinely bleeds through it and it frequently tears or sticks too well to the surface (which can create a new set of problems).  Blue painters tape is better, but has the same issues.  The green tape creates a seal that prevents bleed through.  The key is to apply the tape carefully and precisely, making certain to press hard along the edge to create a tight fitting bond.  The tape that you use should never be left until "some other time" to be removed.  Once the paint is dry you risk pulling up the fresh paint with the tape.

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Saturday, February 2, 2013

Choosing the Right Color(s) - A Q & A Guide to Color Selection

Color Selection Discussion

What trends are you seeing in color preference?

Neutral colors still top the charts. On our website I have a Top 10 listing of the most popular interior paint colors sold by Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams - check it out at   You'll find that beige and tan still dominate the list, however; a trend being led by the under 45 year old set has placed several light greys in the Top 10 for the last few years.
Is there a particular color that is best when listing a home for sale?
When your home is being listed for sale you'll likely find that many realtors recommend a light tan, otherwise known in our area as "Naperville neutral".   While this is not an absolute it is true that bold colors are often considered too "taste specific" to have mass appeal.  Buyers want to move in with a minimal to do list meaning that a fresh, neutral paint job can be a wise investment of time and money. 
Keep in mind the likely demographic of a buyer in your neighborhood.  If you're selling a home with 4 bedrooms and are expecting a young family to move in then you may want to consider the information in the question above - light grey is very popular with younger parents.  On the other hand if you're going to be selling a 2 bedroom condo that appeals to empty nesters you may find that beige/tan better suits your target market.
What should I do if I don't have a good eye for color?
A color consultant can be a great resource if you're lost in a sea of color or if you'd just like an expert to help guide your preferences.  In general the more time a color expert spends with you learning your taste or your goal (perhaps the sale of your home), the more likely you will be happy with the results. 
Paint stores (Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams) have in-house color consultants that can come to your home and create a plan for a single room or your entire home.  These consultations tend toward the cookie cutter variety meaning that they are relatively quick and follow a preset track.  Of course they recommend their own brands in the process which can be somewhat "shoe horning".
An independent color consultant can provide unbiased recommendations.  Look for a consultant with training and education in either or both interior design and fine arts.  Pricing can vary, but typically you can arrange for a flat fee consultation or an hourly rate.  Information on a consultant that I have worked with many times can be found at

Monday, January 7, 2013

Tips on Painting

Hello and welcome.  This blog is intended to help homeowners learn how to achieve professional painting results in an easy to scan format.  As a professional Naperville painting contractor I would love to have everyone hire us to do all household painting, but I realize that's unlikely.  In the meantime, I can be a handy guide for do-it-yourself painters.  If you ever have questions about something you're doing feel free to contract me at and I'll be happy to give you free advice.  You'll also find more useful information on our main site -

Let's start with some basic Q & A on interior painting.

Seriously, is it ever the husband's idea to paint?

No, never.

Should I first use a primer?

As is so often the answer - it depends.  A primer should always be used over new drywall, on any area that has been patched, over a stain (water or ink), when you can't remember the last time a room was painted, or over any walls where you are drastically changing the color. 

Just like paint, primer can be tinted.  As an example - if you are painting over a red wall with tan paint then you should first apply a coat of primer tinted to a gray color with the same depth of color as the tan you have chosen.  This eliminates the need for endless coats of the finishing color.

If you're priming over a small patched area it will be much more cost effective to buy a spray can of primer available at any paint store or home improvement store for about $5.

If you're priming due to a stain (a water mark is a fairly common ceiling stain) then be sure to use an oil-based primer which will do a better job of preventing the stain from reappearing.  Again you'll likely find that a spray can of primer is most cost effective.

Will applying one coat be enough?

Not unless you are matching the existing color.  For that reason one coat is usually ok on a ceiling, but not on the walls.
How long will my leftover paint last?

Wait for it........wait for depends.  If properly sealed you should be ok for 2 to 3 years.  Proper sealing includes using clear plastic wrap that is allowed to completely cover the surface of the remaining paint.  Allow the the plastic to extend around the outer edge of the can and then carefully hammer the lid back on.  Another trick prior to sealing excess latex paint is to add a small amount of water - just enough to float on top of the paint and provide an extra layer of protection.  If your stored paint has a cottage cheese-like consistency or has a rotten smell you should not use it.

Can I wash all types of paint?

No.  Flat paint is not washable (not even with the Mr. Clean eraser).  Moving up in sheen (shininess) will increase the washability of your paint while moving up in quality of the paint will increase the durability.  The shinier it is the more easily washed it is.  If you buy inexpensive paint it will show signs of wear much more quickly after being washed than a higher grade of paint.

Why am I seeing roller marks even after the paint dries?

The most common reason is that there was not enough paint on your roller.  Never try to stretch the paint by pressing harder.  You want to apply paint smoothly, liberally, and consistently.  If you get tired of putting more paint on your roller it will definitely show on your walls.