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    Paint / Painting Tips


    There are four things you can do to help minimize brush marks and leave a smooth surface on your paint job:

    1. Set your loaded brush down on a dry section of the wall - or the trim, or siding, etc. - lift it from a previously coated, still wet section.
    2. Make sure your paint is the right consistency. Thicker paint holds marks more than thinner paint does. If you've left paint in a closed can overnight, it will dry out and thicken up a little. Thoroughly stir the paint and, if it seems too thick, add thinner sparingly - you don't want to get it too thin. Stir it thoroughly and try it again.
    3. Have the right brush and to make sure it is in the best condition. Oil-based paint, shellacs and varnishes should be applied with a china bristle brush.
    4. Latex paint and stains should be applied with a good quality nylon/polyester brush. These are often labeled "for use with all paints." Better synthetic filament brushes have more 'flags' - the splits at the end of each filament - and the filaments are round and solid, not flat or hollow – they resemble real bristles.

    Maintain your brushes clean!. If a brush has not been thoroughly cleaned, all the way back into the ferrule, and the bristles and filaments combed straight and wrapped in a cover to dry, they may start to bond together into small spikes that are likely to create and leave small furrows in the paint.


    Remember all paints have a shelf life; some shorter and some longer. Water based paints such as household (or house) latex paints have a shelf life of six months to two years, depending on ambient temperature conditions. Once you have opened the can of paint, the shelf life may be shorter. Even though the published shelf life of the paint you intend to use may have expired, that does not automatically mean that you should discard it. If the paint appears to mix properly and does not show signs of livering (rubbery or coagulating), separation or anything else unusual, you should still be able to use it.

    The key to long-term storage of paints is an airtight environment. Water-based paints contain ammonia. It is the ammonia vapor that attacks protective linings of paint cans. This leads to surface rust and damaged paint. If you transfer leftover paint to airtight plastic containers, the threat of rust is eliminated. Furthermore, you should place these containers upside down on storage shelves - this way the airtight seal is better because the air pocket in the container is fully insulated and not subject to failure of the lid seal. This also minimizes the thick, scum-like surface that forms over once-opened paint.

    If you are only storing paint for a short time and wish to keep it in its original container, there are other methods of ensuring a tight seal.

    Make sure and wipe as much excess paint from the rim as possible prior to closing. A piece of plastic wrap stretched over the rim prior to placing the lid back on will also improve the seal. Set the lid into place over the plastic and secure it with a light hammer, tapping on alternate sides of the lid.

    Another method of keeping leftover paint fresh is to transfer it into a resealable plastic bag. Squeeze the air out before you seal the bag; then put the bag into the original paint can and tap the lid closed. It's wise to transfer leftover paint into smaller containers if the original can is only half full. You are then dealing with a smaller amount of airspace that tends to dry up paint. However, this might be a little messy and difficult to transfer.

    Another preventive measure is to cut a circle of heavy wax paper that is the same diameter as the interior of the can and float it on the paint surface. The wax paper acts as a barrier, reducing the interaction of the oxygen and paint.

    If you are dealing with oil-based paint, spray a thin film of mineral spirits over the surface of the paint prior to resealing the can. Use only one teaspoon to a half-empty gallon of paint. This will provide the same type of barrier as the wax paper on latex paints. Keep the film intact as you seal and store the can. Take care not to shake or agitate it.

    Even if paints are correctly stored, paint separation can still occur, regardless of its quality. Color enhancers separate from the paint base, which can be corrected by simply stirring the paint. The ingredients easily combine.

    Biocides mixed into today's paint by the manufacturer will stop mildew / bacterial growth. This, combined with an airtight environment, should prevent problems. Paints can be stored in any standard well-ventilated room. Please note: They should never be used or stored around an open flame, such as a gas water heater.

    If you live in a colder climate, be sure your water-based paints are stored away from freezing temperatures.

    And, as far as quality of the newer water-based paints, manufacturers say that today's technology has advanced acrylic latex paints to the point that their durability and application parallels or even exceeds oil-based products.

    Please remember that each paint manufacturer have “how to” as well as “care” tips easily available in brochures available at stores or on their websites.  Refer to these as much as possible, especially now with not only new generation paints, but because there are specialized finishes now available to the consumer (river rock, suedes and other textured paints).