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Considerations for interior painting
ALWAYS READ THE LABEL!: Paints and surface and coverings are continually changing to improve their performance and durability. Because paints are always changing, manufacturers use the labels to give the very latest information on that specific can of paint. Even the professionals read the labels constantly because that is the manufacturer's way of giving instructions. Because every paint is different and different applications require formulations and so forth, a label will give the average coverage area per gallon, drying times, times between 1st and 2nd coat, surface preparation requirements, and possible problems with other coatings. They also give specific warning information which, of course, should be followed very carefully. Plain and simply, ALWAYS READ THE LABEL!!

Rough vs. Smooth
The surface will affect the type of paint you choose to cover it with and how much you use. Oil-based paints are easier flowing and can cover a rough surface better and faster that latex paints but oil-based paints can be more difficult to work with and are more expensive. Rough surfaces usually need more cleaning and preparation that smooth ones do. Rough surfaces usually require more paint to cover them than smooth ones do. A textured ceiling may require 3 or more coats of paint to make it look nice, whereas a smooth ceiling can be done in two coats. Consider your surface as you decide which paint to use. More paint and preparation usually means more time and money.

Oil vs. Latex
Oil-based paints are a tougher, longer lasting paint and are more resistant to wear and tear and fading. They also clean up very nicely, even under the toughest circumstances (like a child drawing on the wall) but often present a challenge to first-time or amateur painters because they require special brushes and chemicals such a paint thinner and turpentine for their use and preparation. Latex paints are not as durable and resistant to fading but are very easy to use and cleanup after painting is a breeze. Latex only requires soap and water for cleanup. Latex paints are usually much thicker that oil-based paints and under ideal situations can cover in one coat. A good oil-based paint can cost up to $40 a gallon for the paint alone while a good latex paint can often be obtained for around $20 a gallon.

A glossy surface is a smooth and shiny finish which can often brighten up the room. If you want your room to feel warm, glossy is not the right finish. As a finished paint surface, glossy cleans the easiest because of its ultra-smooth finish. Glossy is best for recreational, play rooms and rooms with a high-moisture level such as bathrooms and mud rooms. Gloss is also a good choice for the kitchen as water, steam and food splatters clean up well and resist stains.

Satin or Semi-Gloss: A satin finish is common in many rooms of most homes and offices. It adds a small amount of reflection and luster in any color from light to dark and gives good definition to walls and ceilings without adding glare. Satin finishes clean fairly nicely although care should be given to not rub out the small particles which give a satin finish its special luster. Often times walls with a satin finish that are highly scrubbed and cleaned can dull and look flat. This problem can only be corrected by repainting.

Eggshell or flat: An eggshell finish is just what is says, a finish with much the same look and feel as the surface of a white chicken egg. This paint type absorbs light without showing reflection of light sources. An excellent choice for a warm or subdued room. An eggshell finish has no luster whatsoever and has a very flat look in any color range. Eggshell finishes are perfect for a family room, work room or any room where you want a warm flat feel to the finish of your walls and ceiling.

Surface Preparation
If there is one single most important part of painting, this is it. Paint won't stick and wear properly if the surface is not clean and properly prepared for the specific kind of paint you choose. If you are using a latex paint, you must first sand and clean the surface with a type of solvent such as Wilbond(tm) that will help ensure the paint will adhere. Be sure to remove any dust by first vacuuming the wall, and then wiping it with a damp cloth. You must also use a shellac, acrylic or oil-based undercoat especially if your latex is going onto new drywall or previous oil-based paint. If you forget this step your new drywall will absorb the water form the latex paint and bubble. Your paint will also not stick properly and may peel in large sections with chunks of drywall attached. If you are painting over rough and porous materials such as brick or concrete, the surface must be sealed first. If you are not sure how to prepare the surface, look for a primer or base-rated paint and read the label on the paint can. Visit our manufacturer's list of web sites for additional information about priming and preparation products.

Special Considerations:
Many older paints had lead in them to stabilize color and durability. This can be a serious concern if you happen to be sanding or covering one of those older paints. Any paint manufactured before 1970 has the potential of high-lead concentrations and should be handled with great care. Proper masks and clothing should be worn if sanding is involved and the dust should be contained and disposed of safely. Because lead is a heavy metal, once it gets into your biological system either through ingestion or leaching through the skin, it does not come out quickly. Treat the threat of lead-based paints seriously and do your research before you undertake any painting project, especially one in an older home.

Asbestos: A naturally occurring micro fiber that gets into your lungs and stays, causing serious health risks even death. Many old homes used asbestos insulation and floor tiles in their construction. Any time you are removing plug covers or tiles or attic doors in older homes, be aware that asbestos may be present and take proper precautions in its handling and removal. Homes as young as the 1960s were still using tile that contained asbestos. Be extremely cautious when removing, sanding or painting any old 9" block tile floor. Considering a certified asbestos removal service may prevent serious potential health risks.

Ventilation: Proper ventilation is a must in any paint job. Paints and chemicals give off harmful vapors and can be very damaging to health long term. Consider your health and your ability to enjoy your good works of painting after the job is done. Open plenty of windows or doors. After painting, leave the premises while it dries to minimize exposure to the fumes. Paint will dry faster with dry, warm air.

Varnish vs. Polyurethane:
Hardwood floors or any bare wood surface such as doors or furniture require some kind of surface covering to protect the natural wood surface. This was traditionally accomplished with oil-based varnishes. Although these are still available, they must be applied with special brushes and chemicals.

Oil-based varnishes: Very tough and durable and will likely last the life of the surface they are applied to when properly taken care of, but are more expensive and require more coats and longer drying times.

Polyurethane: On the other hand, polyurethane as a coating has its place. On a hardwood floor, two coats of a very hard water-based polyurethane finish can be applied in two days and the floor is usable in a week. With a varnish, the same floor may require four or more coats and may not be usable for 1 or 2 months. Varnish is good for doors, however, because of it's resistance to water and the outdoor elements. Consider the finish and the use before deciding on the covering.

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