The hardest thing about painting can be not knowing the right questions to ask. On these pages we will address some of your most frequently asked questions. If you would like to send us a paint question, please select the Contact Us option at the top of the page.

Can I paint a floor or a porch?

Absolutely! Wood and concrete floors, porches, and even decks can be painted — as long as the job is done properly.

For painting a wood or concrete floor or porch, you’ll want to use a special type of paint called, not surprisingly, porch and floor paint. That’s because porch and floor surfaces come with a unique set of problems that ordinary paints may not handle properly — a high moisture content, for example. And the alkali in concrete surfaces might react with an oil-based paint to form a sort of soapy compound that will not adhere well to the surface.

If you want to paint an old concrete floor that’s been exposed to products like oil, transmission fluid, or gasoline, you’ll probably need to hire a professional painter for the job. The paint will not adhere well to surfaces that have been exposed to those contaminants unless prepared properly, and the chemicals and equipment needed to remove the contaminants are usually available only to professional painters.

Porch and floor enamels
Porch and floor enamels are formulated to withstand the normal wear and tear of foot traffic and weather on both wood and concrete surfaces. These enamels are available in both oil-based and latex formulas. Just remember, when painting floors, surface prep is absolutely critical; insufficient surface prep will result in poor adhesion.

Prior to painting a previously unpainted concrete floor, a commercial acid-etch solution must be used to assure proper adhesion. Before painting wooden floors, they must be clean and free of wax. Sand the floor enough to remove the sheen from the wood.

Do not apply a primer when painting floors. Instead, thin some of the paint you are using to apply as a first coat. The thinner paint will do better at penetrating into the surface. Subsequent coats should be applied at normal consistency.

If you have questions about the process, please consult an associate at any of our stores. And, as always, follow label directions for your protection and for achieving the best results.

Acid stains
In recent years, acid stains have become a popular alternative to painting concrete surfaces. These stains are available in a wide array of beautiful colors, and pre-application prep requires no more than a thorough cleaning of the concrete surface.

A beautiful, distinctive scumbled or multi-toned effect can be achieved by mixing multiple colors on the concrete surface using mops. And the natural porosity of concrete can enhance the rugged durability of acid staining.

Maintenance of acid-stained surfaces is sheer simplicity, requiring no more than an occasional waxing and polishing with a commercial-grade floor wax. The occasional waxing will help to lengthen the life of the stain. And when scratches occur, they can easily be touched-up and re-waxed.

Garage guard
Garage floors present a unique challenge requiring a unique product. When you pull your car into your garage after a long drive, the tires will often be hot to the touch. The heat causes normal floor paints to stick to the tires, and to be lifted away when you back the car out. For that reason you should use an epoxy floor enamel such as Insl-x Coatings’ Garage Guard for painting your garage floor.

Important safety tips 
Be aware that many gloss floor paints become slippery when wet. Consider applying a non-skid additive to reduce the risk of slips and falls.
Read and follow all label instructions for preparation and application procedures and for safety precautions.
Be sure to extinguish all flames — including pilot lights — before beginning painting.

Click the links below for additional product information:
Benjamin Moore Porch & Floor Enamel
Chem-Coat Acid Stains

What is faux finishing?

Do-it-yourselfers love faux finishing because it’s an easy way to enhance the look of a room with a variety of simple applications.

Most types of decorative faux interior painting involve applying one or more colors in broken layers over a different colored background. This process creates a mottled or textured effect. Most of these techniques begin with a base coat of solid-colored semi-gloss or satin paint, followed by a thinner coat of paint called a glaze.

A versatile glaze can be created by combining one part interior latex paint, one part water and four parts acrylic latex glaze. This basic glaze will work well for the most popular broken color techniques: sponging, rag-rolling, and ragging.

Sponging is a simple technique that begins with the application of a solid base color of paint. Once the base coat has dried, a glaze consisting of a different color is dabbed on using a slightly dampened sea sponge, creating a mottled look. Multiple glaze colors may be used, but each glaze layer must be allowed to dry before applying the next. Using quick-drying latex paint for the glazes can help to speed the process.

Ragging and rag-rolling can be used to achieve effects similar to crushed velvet, parchment, chamois leather, watered silk or brocade. As with sponging, ragging begins with the application of a solid-colored coat of paint, fully dried. A crumpled cloth is then used to apply a glaze of a different color. Rag-rolling involves rolling a cloth into a sausage-like shape of varying tightness, dipping the cloth lightly into a glaze, and rolling it gently over the base coat.

The finished effect of ragging and rag-rolling will vary according to the types of cloth used. Linen, lace and burlap are popular choices, but nearly any type of material will be effective as long as it is clean and free of lint.

A slightly different effect can be achieved by using a “negative method” variation of these faux-finishing techniques. This involves applying a glaze coat over a base coat using one of the techniques described above. But before the glaze coat has fully dried, a sponge is used to remove a portion of the glaze layer, exposing some of the underlying base color.

Faux-finishing techniques are fun because you can juggle colors and application techniques to achieve an infinite variety of finishes. And that means that your finish can be uniquely yours.

So put your mad-hat on and let the experimenting begin!

Why do I need to use a primer?

Primers/sealers are very important to achieving a professional-looking finish. They are used to cover stains — such as water and fire damage — and prevent them from showing through the finished surface. Primers can help to hide imperfections in a wooden surface and cover wallpaper designs. They also work to evenly seal the painting surface, which helps to achieve a uniform gloss with the topcoat.

Primer/sealers generally fall into one of three categories:

Alkyd-Based: Effective as stain-killers and general-purpose primers on both interior and exterior surfaces.

Water-Based: Also effective as stain-killers and general-purpose primers on both interior and exterior surfaces. Acrylic or vinyl-acrylic latex primers are the most frequently sold water-based primers, but vinyl-based primers are also available. Use acrylic block fillers to prime the surfaces of concrete blocks. (The term “water-based” includes vinyl, acrylic and vinyl-acrylic copolymer primers.)

Shellac-Based: Can be used to block out a wide variety of stains, including knots and sap streaks in new wood. Shellac-based primers adhere effectively to slick surfaces such as glass and tile, and are recommended for general-purpose priming on all interior surfaces. Use only for spot priming on exterior surfaces.

What do I do with leftover paint?

Great question. That’s a problem that almost everyone has faced at one time or another. Leftover paint is more than just a personal problem; it’s an environmental problem as well, since the improper disposal of paint can be harmful to the environment.

As with most problems, the very best solution is avoidance. When you’re in the planning stages of your project, precise calculations about the amount of paint that will be required for the project can cut leftovers to a minimum. Buying just the right amount of paint will reduce project costs as well.

Just visit any of our stores and ask an associate to help you calculate the amount of paint you’ll need for your project. If you’ll give us the correct measurements and project specifications, we can calculate a very accurate estimate for you.

Don’t Lose It, Use It
If you do end up with leftovers, the best way to dispose of that extra paint is to use it. Go ahead and use the excess by applying extra coats to your project. The extra paint will provide better protection, and using the paint in that manner is certainly a better option than disposing of the paint.

And if you don’t want to use the paint yourself, maybe someone else can use it. Perhaps a neighbor has a small area needing painting that your leftovers will cover. Or maybe there’s a local charity that can use it; a group that helps the elderly or disabled with home maintenance, for example, or a group that operates a community beautification program.

If you give the paint away, just be sure to leave it in the original container so that the label instructions are available to anyone that happens to use the paint.

If You Must Dispose of the Paint… 
If you’re left with no choice but to dispose of the paint, your options will vary depending upon the type of paint:

Latex Paints. You can allow latex paint to dry simply by removing the lid and allowing the moisture in the paint to evaporate. Be sure to do this in an open and well-ventilated area, and make certain that children and animals have no access to the paint containers. Once the paint has dried, most states permit you to dispose of it along with common household trash. (It’s a good idea to leave the lid off the can so that the garbage disposal crew will know that the paint is dry.)

Solvent-Based Paints (also known as alkyd or oil-based paints). Solvent-based paints pose a significant fire hazard and must be handled accordingly. Leftover solvent-based paints should also be considered to be hazardous waste because of some of the chemical components they contain. So it’s best to dispose of the paint under the terms of your community’s hazardous waste program. Many communities have a designated “hazardous waste collection day,” for example. If your community does not have a hazardous waste program, contact your state or local government environmental control agency for proper disposal guidance.

Paint Thinners, Turpentine, Mineral Spirits, Solvents. No need to dispose of leftovers of these products, because you can easily reuse them. Simply allow the used portion of any of these products to rest undisturbed in a closed container until all of the paint residue settles to the bottom of the container. Then pour off the clear liquid and reuse it. Add an absorbent like cat litter to the remaining residue and allow to dry completely. Contact your state or local government environmental control agency for proper disposal guidance.

Never Just Dump the Paint!
No matter the type of paint or painting product that you’re discarding, never just pour it down any type of drain. That includes household sinks, toilets, and storm sewers. Paint disposed of in that manner will do the most environmental harm.

Also avoid disposing of evaporable products such as thinners and solvents by just pouring them on the ground. Doing so can contaminate both soil and groundwater reservoirs.

For further information on waste disposal, contact your state government environmental control agency or local health department for assistance in finding waste disposal programs in your area. You might also be able to find additional resources by checking the Yellow Pages for “waste disposal services.”

How do I know what brush and roller cover to buy?

That’s a very important question, because using the correct brush or roller cover can make your painting project easier, and yield more professional-looking results.

Use the reference below to select the best tools for your project.

BRUSHES:

Angle Sash: Use for painting trim work, around windows, and for cutting in edges.

Thin Angle Sash: Use for detail work where precise brush control is important.

Flat Sash: Use for general painting on broad surfaces where quantity is important.

Varnish: Use for applying stains, varnishes, and other thin coatings.

Wall: Use for general painting tasks. Particularly useful for painting exterior siding and trim.

Note: Paintbrush sizes normally range from 1 inch to 5 inches.

ROLLER COVERS:

3/16” nap: Use with gloss and semi-gloss paints applied to smooth surfaces such as: doors, walls of un-textured plaster, smooth wood, wallboard, drywall, smooth metal.

3/8” to 1/2” nap: Use with flat paints applied to medium surfaces such as: sand finishes, lightly textured plastic or wood, paneling, acoustical tile. Use with flat paints applied to smooth surfaces such as drywall or tile.

3/4” to 1” nap: Use with flat paints applied to rough surfaces such as: brick, concrete, stucco, textured ceilings or walls, Spanish plaster, corrugated metal, rough wood.

Note: The ‘nap’ of a roller cover refers to the thickness of the fabric that absorbs the paint and applies it to the surface being painted. Roller covers are available ranging in widths from 4 inches to more than 9 inches.