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Santa Barbara radio stations feature our one minute painting and decorating tips. Here are a few favorites:

Custom Colored Spray Paint
Why is it you can have a gallon or quart of nearly any color custom mixed, but when it comes to spray paint you're stuck with "crayon colors:" red, yellow, blue, etc. Did you know you can buy custom colored spray paint? It's true. In fact, if you have a can of paint in a color you like, we can pump it into an aerosol can. If you've ever tried to paint small pieces of molding, shutters or louvered doors with a brush, you know how much easier it is to spray. And it's great for covering up graffiti, too

Airless Sprayers
Is it possible to paint the average house in one day? The answer is "yes" when you rent an airless paint sprayer. They're at least ten times faster than using a brush and roller. They work like a reverse vacuum cleaner, pulling paint directly from the can, then pushing it through a long hose to a gun. When you pull the trigger, the paint is sprayed onto the surface in a neat, clean pattern which is easy to control and leaves a minimum of overspray. One coat of paint is usually all that's needed and there's no thinning required. A few decades ago, paint sprayers mixed air with paint. The paint had to be thinned down and the spray pattern created a cloud of overspray. They were complicated and, because the paint had to be thinned, required more than one coat. So, if you're thinking about painting your house, inside or out, consider renting an airless paint sprayer. Call us for half day (4 hour), day (24 hours Mon-Friday), and weekly rates (7 days or more).

High Pressure Washer
Ever heard that old saying, "Painting a house is easy, it's the preparation that's hard"? Well, it's especially true if you have peeling paint, mildew, chalking, and dirt. So, before you paint, consider renting a high pressure washer from us. They're easy to use and hook up to your garden hose. They're great at blasting off loose paint chips, cobwebs, mildew, chalk, and dirt. They save you the backbreaking labor of scraping and scrubbing. I'd recommend starting on the roof. This is a great tool for cleaning out gutters and downspouts. And after your house is cleaned, you can blast the dirt out of your car's wheel wells and get those oil stains off your driveway. They even help remove graffiti.

The Best Brand of Paint

When we lecture in college interior design classes, one of the most frequently asked questions is, "Which brand of paint is the best?" That's a hard one to answer. Painters will tell you the brands they like best, but have they tried every brand? Probably not. Paint store employees will probably tell you it's the brand they sell, but they're hardly an objective source. Consumer Reports magazine tests paints periodically. I keep copies of issues comparing paints because one of my brands, Pratt & Lambert, is always at or near the top. So, naturally, I like Consumer Reports magazine. But they only test national brands. Many very good regional brands aren't included. That's not fair. So what's the answer? Who makes the best paint? There is no answer. Paints are constantly changing. Even in consumer testing magazines, the best brand varies from year to year. And the #1 interior brand is rarely the #1 exterior brand. And the #1 Flat isn't necessarily the #1 Semi-Gloss.

Best Price on Paint

Ever read one of those books which claims to have the "inside information" on various subjects? They have provocative claims like, "What meal you should NEVER order on an airline." I saw one that claimed they had a way you could buy the highest quality paint for a fraction of the retail price. What's the answer? To save you the price of the book, the answer is: Buy mistinted paint! All paint stores occasionally (more than we'd like to admit) shoot the wrong amount of tinting color into a can of paint, and if the right color cannot be made, that can is added to the "boneyard" of other mistinted cans and sold for a very low price. The only drawback to mistinted paint is your choice of colors. You might have to be creative and mix several cans together to get an good color. And "No, we don't have any mistinted white paint!" (Sorry, but it had to be said! ) Even off whites are rare but they occasionally are available. A generality: The lighter the color, the higher the price! Happy hunting!!

Fading Colors
The #1 factor in determining fade resistance is the color of the paint itself. Paints made with bright pigments of red, and yellow fade quickly. Earthtone pigments like black, brown, terra cotta, gold, and white are best at retaining their color. Blues and greens are somewhere in the middle.

Color Retention Scale (10 = best resistance to fading)
Lemon Yellow 3
Thalo Blue 7
Raw Umber 9
Lamp Black 9
Red Iron Oxide 9
Durable Red 6
Yellow Oxide 9
Brown Iron Oxide 9
Medium Yellow 4
T halo Green 8
Titanium White 9
Magenta 6

Yellow Oxide = Ochre, Thalo Green = Deep Teal, Thalo Blue = Deep Blue, Red Iron Oxide = Brick, Brown Iron Oxide = Reddish Brown, Raw Umber = Deep Br0own, Durable Red = Bright Red, Medium Yellow = School Bus Yellow

If you don't want your paint to fade but you want a yellow house, a golden yellow will last longer than a lemon yellow. If you'd like a red house, consider a redwood color shaded with a touch of brown or black.

Water Base Paint Over Oil Base Paint
You can't put water base paint over oil base paint. Right? Wrong! Of course you can. But most oil base paints have some degree of gloss and are harder than water base paints and have to be prepared first. Here are four ways to prepare oil base paint to prevent peeling. 1. Sand the surface. Removing the gloss makes it rough and allows new paint to get a foothold on the surface. 2. Deglossing liquids are easier. These are wiped on the surface, then painted over soon after. 3. Prime the oil base paint with an undercoater suitable for glossy surfaces. This is a good alternative when painting a light color over a dark color when you might need to "kill" the old color and make the top coat hide in one coat. 4. Apply a paint specifically made for adhering to a glossy surface. They DO exist! Our Break-Through is a cross-linked acrylic (water based!) and bonds to oil based paints as well as glass, most plastics, and other difficult surfaces without a primer. Hint: Don't dig your fingernail into a newly painted latex paint surfaces to test the adhesion until it's completely cured, which can take up to a month after it dries.

Is Oil Base Paint Illegal?
Oil base paints, stains, and primers are legal. Years ago, the air pollution police told the paint makers they had to reduce the solvent levels in their oil base paints as it was contributing to air pollution when it evaporated into the atmosphere. Many paint makers reformulated oil base paint with less solvent which actually left more paint on the surface. In Southern California, these paints have been sold for over ten years and some are still legal today. But some paint companies decided not to reformulate oil base paints and no longer offer them in Southern California, which might have contributed to the rumor that oil base paint was no longer made, period. Will oil base paints be legal in another few years? Probably not. With each passing year, the allowable amount of slovent in a can of paint becomes less and less. But new acrylic paints will replace these oil base coatings. In fact, some of them are already here!

Tester Quarts
If you'd like to change the color of a room or an entire house exterior and would like to test several different shades, here's a way to get many different colors out only a few quarts of paint. You won't have to buy new cans of paint for each new test color! First, buy one quart of your favorite shade but make sure it is your lightest possible choice. Apply it to a good sized test area, at least 4 ft. x 4 ft. If the color's too light your paint store can always tint it a bit darker by adding more colorant. Remember, it might be impossible to make it lighter without adding large quantities of white paint. That costs money! But tinting a bit darker is easy. Most pant stores do this for free.

Peeling Paint
A year ago you painted your house and now you notice a small patch of paint peeling on your exterior house trim. Here's a little test to check on the cause of the peeling paint. It might not be the fault of the paint you just applied. Peel off a chip of paint and turn it over. Is the color on the back the same as the color on the front? If the colors are different, you can tell more than one layer of paint is peeling off. In some cases, you'll see several layers. If that's the case, the coat of pant you applied a year ago is doing its job, holding onto the layer below it. But a coat of paint applied several paint jobs ago may be coming off. That still doesn't tell you why the layers of paint are peeling in the first place. Here's one test to determine the cause. If he paint is peeling down to bare wood, the problem is probably moisture, a common problem on eaves near a roof line. If the paint is peeling down to another coat of paint, check for chalky dust or gloss on the surface. Surface contamination and a glossy surface may prevent paint from adhering, causing it to peel off.

Staining wood
Before Staining Wood Test various stain colors on a scrap or backside of the furniture. If the color is right but appears uneven or blotchy, you might need to apply stain controller before staining. This pre-stain sealer evens out the color and is commonly used on soft woods like pine and fir. If you'd like an extremely smooth finish, but your wood has an open grain, like oak or mahogany, try paste wood filler. This doughy material must be mixed with either stain or paint thinner and then brushed on against the grain of the wood. Shortly after, the surface is wiped down with burlap or terry cloth first against the grain, then with the grain. After it's dry, the surface porosity will be totally filled and smooth as glass. One coat of finish will look like several coats. It's extra work, but the end results are really worth it.

Psychological Color Response
I learned a little about the psychology of color from the late Carlton Wagner, director of the wagner Institute for Color research in Santa Barbara, California. He stressed the importance of making color work for us, to alter or enhance our moods as well a chang- ing the appearance of our living spaces, our products, and ourselves. You'd think a room painted "sunshine yellow" would make people happy. Right? Wrong! Tests show short-tempered people are more likely to explode and babies more likely to cry in a yellow room than any other color tested. If you'd like to lose weight, try eating from a blue plate on a blue table cloth. Better yet, put a blue light bulb in the refrigerator. Food looks less appetizing in the presence of blue. What if you own a restaurant and want customers to eat more, drink more, and lose track of time? Try the color red. Have you ever noticed a red checkered tablecloth or a red glass candle holder when dining out? Food tastes sweeter in the presence of the color pink. Think about that the next time you look at a bakery box or packet of sugar. Women - The number one color for attracting men is Yellow Based Primary Red (think: Marilyn Monroe's lipstick color)

The color-analyzing computer, or spectrophotomer, was one of the great inventions for paint stores because: 1. They made color matching much quicker and with greater accuracy. 2. New employees could match colors with a short training period. 3. They gave paint store personnel a great vocabulary word to drop at parties. 4. They print stickers with the formula which can be stuck on the can lid. 5. The customer's name and paint formula can be stored in the computer. 6. Many formulas are given for one color, allowing store personnel to choose fade- resistant, high-hiding formulas. (see first tip regarding fade-resistant colorants)

The feminine touch...

Women have a tough time talking to men about one color, especially if they want to use it in their home. You know the one I'm thinking about: PINK. Just mention pink to some men and they scream in protest, and run off leaving skid marks and a vapor trail. Whenever you want to use the dreaded "P" word near a man, use the word "salmon" instead.

After all, the salmon is a macho, vigorous fighting fish that swims upstream to spawn. This is a worthy pursuit. Men admire the salmon. The word pink, on the other hand, brings to a man's mind the ordeal of holding a purse while waiting for his beloved outside a department store dressing room. It challenges his masculinity. To paraphrase Rogers and Hammerstein, pink is not "one of his favorite things." If "salmon" works for you as a substitute for the "P" word, congratulations, and be sure to tell Colleen (it was her idea). She'll be so happy she'll be tickled "salmon."

Stain Killers
Don't paint over water stains on you ceiling. Don't paint over nicotine or smoke stains. Don't paint over lipstick , crayon, or ballpoint pen marks. There are special primers called stain-killing primers which seal back stains which bleed through regular paint. They are usually oil base, fast-drying, and are available in both aerosol and brush-on cans. For some weird reason, they almost always have the letter "Z" in their names, so look for Kilz, Z-Prime, and Zinsser's Cover-Stain before you start your next paint job.

Seven Additives

Here are seven things you can add to paint to make it apply easier, last longer, or look better. 1. On a hot day when paint dries too fast, add a modifier to slow down the dry time. (Floetrol) 2. If you want to speed up the dry time of an oil base paint or varnish, just add a small amount of Japan drier. 3. Got mildew? Next time you paint, have your paint store shake in some mildewcide. (M-1 Mildewcide) 4. Hate paint fumes? We add Odor-Zapp into your paint to make the fumes hit the ground and away from your nose! 5. If insects and spiders congregate around your porch light you can add insecticide to paint to keep them away. 6. If you have a slippery porch or steps, add non-skid additives to your paint to prevent accidents. 7. Add a decorative texture to paint to cover up imperfections and add some fashion to your walls.

Painting Doors
The fastest and best way to paint entry or cabinet doors is to:
1. Take off all the hardware.
2. Lay door horizontally in a shaded area.
3. Apply an even coat of paint with a thin-napped roller.
4. Immediately after rolling, lightly stroke over the entire wet surface with a good quality brush, following the direction of the grain of the wood.
5. Allow to dry. This is called "laying off" a coat of paint.
(This tip came from Bill Naumann of Santa Barbara)

Choosing Roller Covers
How can you tell which roller cover is right for you? They all look like fuzzy cylinders? What's the story? Rule of thumb: The rougher the surface to be painted, the thicker the nap length. A good way to compare roller covers of the same nap length is to squeeze them. The ones which feel dense and full, will hold more paint and last longer. Don't be tempted by so-called "throw-away rollers." You might save a few bucks, but you might have to apply extra coats of paint because they don't hold as much paint as quality roller covers. In some cases, the fabric might actually shed onto the painted surface, giving your walls a "mangy feline" look.

More tips will be added periodically. Stay tuned and bookmark this page now !