A Primer That's Easy to Sand
If your goal is an ultra-smooth topcoat on a bare wood with visible pores, like pine, your best bet is to prime the wood first. A good primer will fill in the pores, and a good sanding will smooth out all the brushstrokes. Trouble is, many primers gum up sandpaper like nobody's business. Here's one that doesn't.
Benjamin Moore's Fresh Start Enamel Underbody Primer is specifically made to sand easily. It's an alkyd (oil-based) paint, so it flows and levels extremely well. It's ideal for doors, cabinets and trim that will be painted with a gloss or semigloss enamel. You'll have to wait overnight before sanding and recoating, however.
Flat Finish But Easy to Clean
Flat paint used to be a bad choice for bathroom and kitchen walls. If you needed to be able to scrub fingerprints, grime or grease off a wall, you had to use a paint with some sheen. That's no longer true. Now there are paints, including Emerald Interior Acrylic Latex and Duration Home from Sherwin-Williams, that are both flat and washable.
These two choices also contain antimicrobial agents to inhibit growth of mold and mildew. According to Sherwin-Williams, Emerald offers better washability than Duration Home. Both are available in satin and semigloss as well.
Write on White
Rust-Oleum's Dry Erase is another way to turn your wall into a whiteboard. This two-part epoxy creates a white surface instead of clear, and it's perfect for dry-erase markers. You can apply it to any interior surface made from drywall, Masonite, wood, concrete or metal.
If the surface is unpainted, you'll have to prime it first with a latex paint. Dry Erase comes in two containers; once mixed, you'll have only one hour to apply the recommended two coats. Then you'll have to persuade your kids to wait three days (the time it takes the coating to cure) to try it out! A 1-qt. kit covers about 50 sq. ft.
New Recipe for Super-Smooth Painted Wood
A generation ago, an experienced painter's first choice for achieving a super-smooth surface on cabinets and trim would have been an oil-based alkyd paint, not a water-based acrylic latex. Alkyd paints flowed out better and leveled better. End of story.
Not quite. Alkyd paints come with a big downside: strong odor and slow, messy cleanup using mineral spirits. Acrylic paints, by contrast, have much less odor, and cleanup is quick and easy with soap and water. Benjamin Moore has now combined the convenience of acrylic with the performance of alkyd in ADVANCE, the first interior 'waterborne alkyd.' It flows and levels extremely well, has low odor and cleans up with soapy water.
ADVANCE also dries slowly, like an alkyd, which allows brushstrokes to blend together to create a uniform surface. Compared with an acrylic, ADVANCE takes an extra long time to dry to the touch (four to six hours). You'll have to wait 16 hours to recoat.
No-Miss Ceiling Paint
When you're repainting a ceiling—putting white on white—it's easy to miss a few spots. The new white and the old white usually look the same, especially if the light is bad. Wouldn't it be cool if a ceiling paint actually changed color as it dried, so you could be sure that you've covered an entire area?
Well, there really is paint like that. Glidden's EZ Track Ceiling Paint goes on pink and dries white. The color change takes about 30 minutes—plenty of time to touch up any spots you've skipped. This paint is also formulated to resist drips and minimize splatter, so you won't turn from pink to white as well.
This may sound like science fiction, but chemists have developed a paint that reduces bad smells and formaldehyde fumes in your house. And when it's applied, it has virtually no odor. If you need to repaint a room just before holiday guests arrive, hate the smell of burnt toast or are concerned about formaldehyde emissions from new carpets or cabinets, check out Harmony Interior Acrylic Latex Paint from Sherwin-Williams.
Harmony paint helps reduce odors from organic sources, such as cooking, smoke and pets, according to the manufacturer. It also reduces the concentration of formaldehyde, a pungent and irritating gas emitted by some types of newly installed insulation, carpet, cabinets and other building materials.
Same Can, More Coverage
Every can of spray paint contains solvents, which evaporate, and solids, which form the coating. More solids means you get more coverage out of the can. And that's the idea behind Painter's Touch Ultra Cover 2X paints. According to Rust-Oleum, you get twice the coverage. The 2X line includes a wide range of colors, plus primer and a clear coating.
Lock Down Peeling Paint
If you have peeling paint to deal with, Zinsser's Peel Stop Triple Thick Primer can save you days of tedious scraping. It penetrates the old paint and bonds it to the surface below, preventing peeling and cracking. You still have to remove loose paint, but you can skip the hard, thorough scraping job that's usually required. And because it forms a super-thick film, this primer also hides minor surface cracks and evens out the irregularities of a weathered or scraped surface. If repainting isn't in the plan but you need to prevent a weathered surface from getting any worse, take a look at Peel Stop Clear Binding Sealer. It works just like the primer, but it's thinner and dries clear. Both Peel Stop products can be applied to interior and exterior surfaces. They're recommended for use on wood, metal, stucco, concrete and brick. You can topcoat with any latex or alkyd paint.
Photo courtesy of Zinsser (2)