Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Ancient Greece: The Importance of Paint REVEALED!

If I say the words "Athens, Greece", what do you think of?

Chances are, you think about about white marble statues and temples--beautifully simplistic art and architecture. That's what comes to mind when I hear those words. But, apparently, my understanding of history and culture and Greek architecture and art are a little skewed. And I'm betting some of you have a warped perception as well.

See, apparently all those white marble structures and statues we think of are only white because time and the elements have worn off their original coatings. Yes, they were painted! Bold, bright, vivid colors. And all, apparently, without good prep work, since the paint all peeled off!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

8 Quick Tips Regarding Roller Covers

For those of us who paint everyday, there are little things we learn along the way--little things we do that makes the work go quicker, easier.  Here are a collection of 8 of those tips--check them out and make use of any of them that make sense to you!

  • ALWAYS START EVERY PROJECT with a NEW ROLLER COVER:  People often try to save money by re-using an old roller cover.  The problem is, those old, washed-out roller covers never work well.  The fibers get clumpy after a good washing and typically they never return to a condition that applies a finish paint well.  So don't compromise your paint job--the money you spent on paint and the time you spent working--only to end up with a poor finish.  Instead, spend the extra $4 or so and get a new cover for a new project!
  • ALWAYS PICK the RIGHT ROLLER for the JOB:   A 3/8" roller cover is ideal for most interior surfaces and most paint finishes.  3/8" covers work for standard textured ceilings and yet they're smooth enough for your walls.  These covers carry enough paint to be easy to use, but they typically don't carry so much that they spatter and drip everywhere.  However, bear in mind that there are shorter-napped and longer-napped covers that are specific for certain situations.  Before you buy any cover, we recommend that you explain your project to the expert in the paint store and let him or her steer you to the right cover.
  • DON'T FORGET there are SMALL ROLLERS for the LITTLE JOBS:  RepcoLite carries a wide assortment of small, specialty rollers.  These are perfect for painting everything from the panels in a paneled door, to reaching those tight areas behind your radiators or inside your cabinets.  When you find yourself in a tight spot, don't forget that these options are available!
  • DON'T MIX and MATCH ROLLER COVERS:  Building on the idea just mentioned, it's important to point out that the finishes left by those little roller covers can be different from the finish left behind by your standard roller cover.  This can potentially make a difference in the appearance of your overall project.  The difference can be minor--and it can be severe.  The best way around it is to remember that all of those little rollers--at least the ones we have at RepcoLite--match up in nap and finish with their larger counterparts.  If you used a 3/8" roller for your walls, make sure you pick up a 3/8" roller cover for your small roller. 
  • ROLLER FRAMES MATTER:  So far, we've only talked about roller covers, but a big part of the ease and functionality of a roller cover is the frame you put it on.  If you buy the best roller cover, but then mount it on the cheapest frame you can get your hands on, chances are the experience will be less than stellar!  Roller frames are not disposable--they last from job to job.  Add to that the fact that a good, high quality frame is typically about $4 - $6 more than a cheapo and it's really a no-brainer.  Drop the extra $4 once and you'll reap the rewards of your decision every single time you paint!
  • REMOVE LINT from the NEW COVER:  Folks don't always realize this, but brand new roller covers are typically covered with lint and cut-off fuzzies. It happens during the manufacturing process and, if you don't remove these fuzzies before you start painting, you'll typically find yourself removing them from your wall after you've rolled them on in a coat of paint.  To remove them, simply tape some painter's tape down on your counter--sticky side up--and roll your cover over the tape.  Do this several times to make sure all the lint and loose fibers have been removed.
  • USE WATER to PREPARE YOUR ROLLER COVER for PAINT:  Sometimes, filling a new roller cover up with paint can be a pain.  You roll it in the tray but the second it hits the paint, it stops rolling.  You end up with a bunch of paint on one half of the cover and nothing on the other.  Oh, you can get the whole thing covered, but it takes some work.  To avoid that hassle, try this:  moisten the roller cover with water (for latex paint) ahead of time.  Either run it quickly under a tap or mist it with a spray bottle of clean water.  Once it's wet, roll it out on a dry rag to remove the excess moisture before moving it to your paint. (Don't roll it out on newspaper as the newsprint could come off on the cover!)
  •  USE SARAN WRAP to STORE YOUR COVERS OVERNIGHT:  If you get done painting for a night, but plan to start again the next morning, don't waste time cleaning out your cover.  Simply pull it off your roller frame and then wrap it tightly in Saran Wrap.  Once it's wrapped, store it on your counter or in your refrigerator.  DON'T STORE IT IN YOUR FREEZER (unless it's oil-based paint).  This process should keep your roller ready for use for a day or so.  Be aware that if you leave it much longer, it runs the risk of drying out and--especially in humid situations--getting a little moldy. 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Paintable Wallcoverings

Special thanks to our new blogger, Shannon VandenBosch from our Plainfield store for submitting this article!

Painting a room can be an inexpensive way to redecorate, but it is sooooo plain!  There is no texture, no dimension, or pattern.  Almost everyone has plain, painted walls. BORING!!!

So let's talk about wallcovering, specifically paintable wallcoverings. Take a look at the pictures showing 4 different patterns painted in the same color, Benjamin Moore's 2029-50, potpourri green.  Because these patterns are dimensional, they create visual interest and can express one's style, if you will.  Plus, this product we sell from one of our suppliers is environmentally friendly and breathable.  Because it is made from non-woven material, it is as easy to install as it is to remove.  Each pattern can be used alone or paired with other prints to create a paneled effect or as a wide border between patterns.

  • To begin this project, the walls need to be clean, dry, and primed.  
  • Use a light-weight, pre-mixed adhesive for non-woven wallcoverings.  
  • Cut wallcovering according to size needed, paste the wall, press each strip into place, and smooth out air bubbles.  
  • Trim excess and remove any paste on the front of the pattern with  clear water and a sponge. 
  • Wait 24 hours for the paper to dry and then paint with a latex paint in any sheen.
Now you have created a space that not only has personality, but it is out of the ordinary!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Wax Rings and Latex Gloves: Keeping Your Caulk From Drying Out

I've got a number of tubes of caulk in my basement, on my shelves, that are dried out. And that number is 10. Yes. Ten 1/2 full or 3/4 full tubes of caulks of assorted colors and types that have all dried out.

I discovered this the other day when I, of course, needed to do some caulking. And, of course, I didn't buy any caulk because I knew I had at least $40 worth of caulk on my basement shelves. However, when I went down there to get it, I quickly realized that all of those tubes were no good.

I had used them earlier and had never sealed them correctly to prevent them from drying out. And, as a result, they dried out.

Well, I know that I can at times be pretty dumb when it comes to home improvement stuff, but I also know that I'm not the only one. So, I thought I'd share with you two great ways I discovered after that experience that will help you keep your caulk ready to use.

METHOD 1:  The Wax Ring Method
The first way is my favorite and I owe credit to a wood working blogger I discovered here.  This method is very simple, very cost effective, a little gross (when you think about it), and very cool.  Here it is:
  • Buy a wax ring for a toilet from a hardware store.  (Should be under $4 in price.)
  • Take the wax ring and put it in a small container that you can seal.  (you could use a tape cannister, possibly film cannisters, or anything along those lines.  The goal is to put the wax in a container that you can seal so it stays pliable, but also so it doesn't get all over the place and make a mess).
  • When you're done caulking for a day or for a month or whatever, simply open up this cannister with the wax and press the tip of the caulk into the wax (preferably a couple inches).
  • The wax will fill the nozzle perfectly and will create a perfect seal.  When you're ready to caulk again, simply pop the tube into your gun and squeeze the trigger.  The wax seal will be expelled just ahead of the caulk--which will still be perfectly good!
METHOD 2:  Latex Gloves
Another method I've read about for sealing up a tube of caulk in-between jobs is this:
  • Start by taking one of those little latex "doctor's" gloves and then cutting the finger off. 
  • Drape this "cut-off finger" over the nozzle of the tube of caulk and then wrap some tape around the base to seal it.
  • When you're ready to use it again, simply pull the seal off and your caulk should still be usable.
Now, while both of these methods are inexpensive and should work well, I still like the simplicity of the wax  ring idea.  I don't have to mess with tape, I don't have to worry if I got the little finger thingy taped down tightly enough, etc.  And, best of all, when I want to use the caulk again, I just pop it in the gun and pull the trigger.  I don't have to mess with pulling tape off after it's been sitting on a tube for 4-5 months.

If you do any amount of caulking, give one of these methods a try--either one is way better than the old "put a nail in it" method and will produce much better results!