Amateur house painters never had as much help as today. Scores of new paints and equipment placed on the market in the last few years make it possible for the weekend handyman to paint his own house almost as easily as a professional. From one-coat paints to disposable blowtorches, everything has been designed to make the job go faster, look better and cost less.
With the new outside rollers, you can paint an average-size house in a couple of days. Add an extension handle and you can roll a terrace without stooping down, reach a roof without leaving the ground.
Painting Hard Spots
Specialized aids with built-in know, how tackle the hard spots for you.
Better still, you don’t have to spend hours getting ready and hours cleaning up afterward. Premixed paints, electric-drill attachments and self-dispensing calking guns make short work of preparation. Cleaning up is a soap-and-water job for the rubber paints, or a quick dip in special cleaners for the oils. Disposable dropcloths and paper paint pails are used once and thrown away.
In this section are some tips on techniques and tools that make it easier to paint your house than ever before – not the way the “pro” does, perhaps, but with much the same results.
The term paint is used to include paints, varnishes, enamels, shellacs, lacquers, and stains.
• Paints are composed of mineral pigments, organic vehicles, and a variety of thinners all combined.
• Varnishes are resins dissolved in organic thinners.
• Enamels are pigmented varnishes.
• Shellac is lac gum dissolved in alcohol.
• Lacquers may be both pigmented or clear – the liquid portion usually is treated nitrocellulose dissolve in thinners.
• Stains may be pigmented oil or a penetrating type.
Many of these materials, such as paints, varnishes, and lacquers, are formulated for specific purposes:
• Outside house paints and exterior varnishes are intended to give good service when exposed to weathering
• Interior wall paints are formulated to give excellent coverage and good wash-ability.
• Floor enamels are made to withstand abrasion.
• Lacquers are formulated for rapid drying.
• There are also formulas which provide extra self-cleaning, fume- resisting, waterproofing, hardening, flexibility, mildew-resisting, resistance to fading, and breathing qualities.
Interior paints are used to obtain pleasing decorative effects, improve sanitary conditions, and insure better lighting. These paints may be divided into four types: wall primers; one-coat flats; flat, semigloss, and gloss; and water paints.
Wall primers or primer-sealers are intended to be applied directly to bare plaster, wallboard, and similar porous surfaces to provide a uniform, sealed surface for subsequent coats of paint. A typical wall primer may be made from varnish or bodied-oil vehicle and hiding pigments. It is intended to penetrate only slightly into porous surfaces.
The primers are best applied with a wide wall brush.
One-coat flat paints are organic-solvent-thinned paints intended to accomplish priming, sealing, and finish coating in one operation. They are often sold in thin paste form so that additional inexpensive thinner may be added and mixed before application to increase the volume of paint by one-fourth or more.
Flat, semigloss, and gloss interior paints and enamels vary in degree of gloss, hiding power, and other properties. Paints giving the best hiding power are normally paints of lowest gloss, although some modern high-gloss enamels also have good hiding power.
Water-thinned interior paints are calcimine, casein, resin-emulsion, and gloss water paints. Calcimine consists of powdered whiting and clay mixed with an animal-glue binder and a preservative. It cannot be recoated, but can be easily washed off before redecorating.
It is not necessary to remove casein before recoating but, if de-sired, it can be softened by washing with hot solutions of trisodium phosphate. Resin-emulsion paints, marketed in paste form, are to be thinned with water and, when properly made and applied, adhere well to plaster and provide a good decorative medium. They need not be removed before redecorating, provided the film is in sound condition. This is also true of gloss water paints.
New Paints Give You Pro’s Skill
Painting your house will be easier than ever – if you get the right paint. But it’s going to be harder than ever to pick it.
Years ago, paint was paint. One kind looked, smelled, was applied and eventually dried much like another. Things are different now. Besides oil paints, you can choose from a new set of paints. It’ll pay you to know about them.
• There are water paints you can use outside. (You clean your brushes under the faucet and use the garden hose to get spatters off the shrubbery.)
• There are finishes so tough they withstand even attacks from the neighbors’ children.
• There are paints that dry so fast you start the second coat as soon as you finish putting on the first.
• There are colors in glittering confusion.
No single product can do all these things. There are several types, all available under a variety of trade names. The trade names are, to put it kindly, confusing. For example, two brands of the new paints use “rubber” in their trade names, yet neither is a rubber-latex paint and each is actually an entirely different type of paint from the other. To get the right paint you have to read the fine print on the label and find out what is actually inside the can.
Vinyl is a cousin to the tough plastic used for upholstery and floor tiles, but it comes thinned with water ready for you to brush, roll or spray on. The label on the can may say vinyl, vinyl emulsion, polyvinyl acetate or PVA.
You can use vinyl on almost any exterior except previously painted wood. It works fine on wood shingles and shakes, asbestos shingles, brick, stucco, concrete and masonry blocks. One manufacturer says you can even put it on wood clapboard if the clapboard is new and unprimed.
The major advantage of vinyl is the thinner – water. You get all the advantages of easy cleanup that have made interior water paints popular.
Suppose it rains while you’re working? Vinyl paint dries fast – as quickly as 10 to 30 minutes – and will withstand a shower after that time. It takes another 12 hours to “cure,” by then forming an exceptionally tough, long-lasting film that stands up well against weather, sun, salt air and factory smoke.
One precaution: You can’t paint with it in cold weather. The chemical reaction that transforms the water solution into a durable finish will not take place if the temperature is below 50°. (Conventional oil paints don’t stick well in cold weather, either.)
Some manufacturers recommend their vinyl paints for interior as well as exterior use; others say no, not so good. There are vinyls made specifically for interiors.
Definitely good inside the house is a new vinyl primer-sealer to be used as a base coat under any paint. It dries in as little as 30 minutes.
You can put it around a room and probably follow immediately with the finish coat. It can be applied with brush or roller.
Acrylic is the second new name for magic in paints. This is also a plastic-in-water. Solid acrylic you know as the beautiful, glasslike Plexiglas and Lucite.
Inside the house is where acrylic shines. It dries faster than other types, and it keeps its color better, without yellowing. One disadvantage: It costs more.
Some acrylics are also recommended for exteriors (over the same kinds of materials as vinyl paints). Here it has a big advantage – you don’t have to pick your painting weather so carefully. It can be applied on humid days and in cold seasons, so long as the temperature is a few degrees above freezing.
Alkyd is an old interior paint made newly popular by a change in solvent – a super-refined petroleum chemical that has almost no odor. It is not a water paint. You thin it and clean brushes with mineral spirits or turpentine, or, if you want to retain the odorless feature, with the new odorless solvent. (Ask the paint-store man for just that, odorless solvent).
Alkyd has solid advantages overriding the slight cleanup in-convenience. It is exceptionally tough and very resistant to scrubbing. It stands up well in the trouble spots – trim, bathroom, kitchen. And it is easy to apply, producing a smooth, even finish free of streaks and brush marks.
The alkyds have little odor, but don’t forget that the solvent is a petroleum product and its vapor is there even if you can’t smell it. It can make you sick and it burns very easily, like the vapor of older paint solvents. So play safe: Keep windows open and keep flames away.
The old reliable are not to be overlooked either. Conventional oil paints can now be had in deodorized version, made with the same odorless solvent used in the alkyds. And oil paint has much in its favor. It is sold everywhere; its virtues and faults are well established through centuries of use; it makes a tough film on almost any surface; it offers the greatest color range; and it is often cheaper.
Water-thinned rubber-latex paint is already an old reliable, though it is only about 10 years old. It accounts for a big percentage of all paint sold and is still the most widely available of the easy-to-use finishes. One new type is a combination vinyl-rubber paint that is said to do a better job on interiors than either vinyl or rubber alone because it dries faster, lasts longer and has less sheen.
Most paints are purchased ready-mixed but, in their selection, consideration should be given to the fact that surfaces vary in their adaptability to paint and atmospheric or other conditions having an adverse effect on paint performance. In addition to the normal weathering action of sun and rain, outside house paints are sometimes exposed to other attacking elements, such as corrosive fumes from factories or excessive amounts of wind-driven dust.
For localities where such conditions exist, self-cleaning paints should be selected. These paints are usually so designated on the label. Concrete, plaster, and metal surfaces each present special problems in painting. For instance, paint for use on masonry or new plaster must be resistant to dampness and alkalies, and paints used on steel must have rust-inhibitive properties.
Color – The paint makers are out to sell the lady of the house and color is their come-on. They are tempting her with a kaleidoscope’s variety; one firm offers more than 6,000 different shades.
Practically every manufacturer has a “color system,” a fat book of color chips with instructions for duplicating each chip. This is accomplished by intermixing cans of colored paint, by adding a concentrated color to a can of white or colored paint, or by adding concentrated color or colors to a can of neutral “base” paint. And for those who don’t want any guesswork there’s the Color Carousel that mixes the paints right in the store. Whatever the method, the result is a range of colors such as no amateur painter has seen.
Paste paints, such as aluminum, resin-emulsion, and lead-in-oil, should be stirred with a stiff paddle and reduced to painting consistency with the liquids recommended on the manufacturer’s labels.
Paints in powdered form require the addition of a liquid to prepare them for use. The manufacturer’s directions as to the amount of oil, varnish, water, or other vehicle required should be followed.
“Boxing” is a good method of mixing paints. Since paint is a mixture of solids and liquids, it is important that it be mixed thoroughly before using. To do this, the greater portion of the liquid contents of the can should be poured in a clean bucket somewhat larger than the paint can. Then, with a stiff paddle, the settled pigment in the original container should be loosened and any lumps broken up. After this, mix the material in the container thoroughly, using a figure 8 motion, and follow with a lifting and beating motion. Continue stirring the mixture vigorously while slowly adding the liquid that was previously poured off the top. Complete the mixing by pouring the paint back and forth from one container to the other several times until the entire amount is of uniform consistency.
Paste and powder paints should be mixed in quantities sufficient for immediate use only, as these materials often become unfit for application if allowed to stand for three or more hours.
If paints have been allowed to stand and hard lumps or skin have formed, the skin or scum should be removed, after which the paint can be stirred and strained through screen wire or through one or two thicknesses of cheesecloth.
If a desired shade is not obtainable in custom-or ready-mixed paints, white paints may be tinted with colors-in-oil. To do this, mix the color-in-oil with a small amount of turpentine or mineral spirits and stir this into the white paint, a little at a time. If a blended color is desired, more than one color may be added, such as a chrome green and chrome yellow pigments to produce a lettuce green shade.