I was in need of a side table at the couch. The one we were using just wasn’t big enough for a lamp and the remotes and a drink to sit on, basically it didn’t work at all. My fix for this was to go to our local antique stores in town and scour for the perfect one. After digging through many stores, a metric ton of dust and some pretty stuff, I found the perfect one…only it looked like it belonged to 1972 and was in desperate need of a little DIY, so I deemed it perfect!
Pretty dated right? I loved the shape and the legs. The other table in the room also has 3 legs so this one was kinda perfect to go with it.
Now that I got it the decision had to be made what was I going to do with it. I decided to paint it a turquoise to go with the TV table, but I also decided I’d put an antique glaze on it to set it apart and not be so matchy (if that’s a word).
I cleaned it really good with a degreaser and made sure all the past yuck was gone. Then I used Valspars Bonding primer/sealer. I live by this stuff! This table had a slick finish on it and since I’m NOT fan of sanding I used the Valspar because that’s what it’s for.
I gave that time to dry, then went in with a coat of Sherwin Williams in the color Reflecting Pool in eggshell.
I could stop there and be done but I wanted to add a little something more to it, so I used Valspars antiquing glaze. I’ve used this stuff on so many things and just love it. I used an old T-shirt cut up and dampened. I dip the shirt in the glaze and rub it straight on the table. I tend to make up my own rules and not really follow the directions on everything so I give it a few minutes then rub off with a dry shirt. I was liking the results and wanted it to have a little more wear on it so I gave it a little sand in spots to really give it a worn look and now I have the perfect side table!
Cute right? The best advice I have if you want to try something like this is just go for it. I mess up all the time, or end up hating what I’ve created so I just start over. You really can’t mess up if your goal is to make something look old and/or worn. Just go with it and see what you end up with, as long as the finished product is something you like that’s all that matters! Let me know if you’ve done a project like this or leave me a comment if you have questions. Have fun with your projects!
Thank you, Shakespeare, for the inspiration. You greatly assisted me with getting the perfect title for this post. I frequently get asked questions like the ones below:
Quick answers are in green beside the questions.
Is there a paint that I can use that will not require me to sand or prime? No
Is it necessary to sand between each coat of paint product (paint, primers, sealers, etc.)? Yes
My paint already has a primer included, does that mean I don’t need to prime? There are a few exceptions, but yes you should prime even if the paint product you purchase has a primer in it. It does not technically have primer in it. See the detailed answer below.
Which sandpaper should I use when sanding in between layers? For sanding between layers, use 220 to 240 grit.
What does the grit of sandpaper mean? It is how you determine the coarseness of the sandpaper. The lower the number, the more coarse the sandpaper is. Low grit sandpaper is best used for surface areas that have a lot of surface roughness. The higher the number, the less coarse and the finer the sandpaper is. High grit sandpaper is used for areas that have minimal surface roughness. High grit is typically best for the finishing phase of a project.
When is my paint dry? Refer to the instructions on the product you purchased. Drying times differ by product and are impacted by weather conditions, as well as inside conditions like temperature and humidity.
What is the difference between dry and fully cured paint? Dry means the time it takes before the surface is dry to the touch. Cured means the time it takes for paint to reach its maximum hardness, and it applies to all paint products (paint, primers, sealers, etc.).
The answer to question 1, 2, and 3 are straightforward – only if the product is delivered by a herd of already pre-sanded and primed unicorns. Okay seriously, I have answers for these question and the why’s. But before we dive into this sanding and priming business, let’s take a moment to think about the long term durability and quality of your paint projects. The two biggest mistakes that I see all the time are disregarding drying times, and not taking the time to read the instructions provided on the paint product. Omitting any of the necessary steps described below creates a foundation that is forever compromised. Adding layers on top of compromised layers is like making a cake and skipping a step or not following the instructions.
Let’s say you don’t have eggs, which the recipe calls for so you add more water instead. Your cake crumbles, and you are completely perplexed. The instructions say to bake the cake at 375 degrees for 45-minutes, but you are in a hurry, so you pull the cake out of the oven after 15-minutes. The cake never fully baked. You cannot just throw the cake back in to cook longer once it has been removed from the oven. Not allowing your paint products to dry fully is the exact same thing as baking a cake 30-minutes less than it should have baked for it to be edible and ready for the icing to be applied. Paint products must fully dry and cure. Even when you touch the surface of a cake, it may feel and look done, but poke it with a toothpick, and it comes out wet. This means the outside of the cake is done, but the inside is not. It is not fully baked to the center. The properties of the cake and consistency have been compromised.
Baking a different brand of cake and making it correctly, then placing it on top of the oops cake does not fix the steps you failed to follow with the first cake. Nor does buying a beautiful cake made by a professional and putting it on top of the two cakes you already made will fix the crumbled up mess you left as your foundation. Putting another layer of paint on top of a layer that has not fully dried changes the properties of the original layer and now the new layer. Even when the paint is dry to the touch, it can take months for it to cure fully. For a paint to be considered dry, enough solvents must evaporate, so it feels dry to the touch. Paint doesn’t cure, or reach maximum hardness, until days after the paint is dry. Oil-based paints cure faster (in about 7 days) than latex paints (in about 30 days).
I understand why so many people ask this question. I also understand why this step is skipped. Sanding and priming take so much time and fails to compare to the joy you get from carnival rides and cotton candy. It hinders our need for instant gratification. So here is the thing, I love to paint. Specifically, the actual painting part. I am not a fan of prepping the surface or cleaning up my mess. These tasks go to war with my perfectionist personality. Add being impatient and things get loco sometimes. With that being said, I do not skip these steps, and for a good reason. Below is a link to a story I posted where I skipped the steps that I am about to tell you fo never skip. Let’s just say I learned the hard way and fixing my haste to finish, cost me a lot of time, money, and sanity.
To keep this post from turning into a series of novels, I am going to narrow the scope. I am going to speak specifically about painting old wood trim that is in good condition, is dark in color and we are painting it to a neutral cream/white color. The details described below, although not explicitly stated, are the same regardless of the surface you are painting with a few exceptions. What changes is the effort of sanding, drying times, grit of the sandpaper, progression of low grit to high grit sandpaper, number of primer and paint coats necessary. I also do not address in detail, repairing surfaces that have nail holes, cracks, old or caulk that has been misapplied, etc.
Before you even think about sanding or painting, it is imperative that your work surface is 100% dry. For a new coat of product to adhere to existing surfaces, it is critical to rough up the surface first. Roughing up means taking a surface that cannot absorb anything, and breaking it down so that it becomes porous again. Think of trying to paint glass. The surface is solid and impenetrable. The paint will run all over the place. Once it dries, you can peel it right off. That’s because it has nothing to adhere to. Contrastly if you paint sandpaper, the paint will fill in the crevices and adhere to the rough spots.
So the first order of business is to ensure our surface is porous so that when we paint it, the paint will not peel right off or chip. We commonly apply products like high gloss paint, sealers, polyethylene, or polyacrylic to protect the surface integrity of the work surface. The reason we do that is to prevent cleaning products, water, heat, dirty hands, crayons, grease, and other outside variables from seeping through painted surfaces and causing damage.
Sanding knocks off any dust, bumps or imperfections so that you are painting a smooth surface. Even to the naked eye, it may look like your work surface is free of debris, trust me, it is not. And you never want to use any type of household cleaner on your work surface as means to clean before painting, other than the one that I will speak about later in this post. Household cleaners can have oils, strippers, degreasers, fragrances, just to name a few agents in them. Paint and oil do not mix. If you are unsure about this, pour some vegetable oil in some paint, and you will see that the oil will float to the top. The exact same thing happens if you try to paint over a surface that has residual cleaner on it. It is nearly impossible to ensure all the cleaning agent is removed from your work surface, unless you resand it throughly.
If you have significant dents or holes, it is crucial to take care of them before you do anything. For example, if you have to use wood putty, caulk, or sheetrock mud, you want to prime them as well since the finish is different. When you paint over them, they will bleed through. That is because they do not have the same porous traits as the rest of the surface you are painting. Primer ensures that the entire surface has a consistent base and adhesion properties.
It is not necessary to break out the orbital sander. In fact, I do not use sandpaper at all. I use a sanding hand pad when roughing up a surface and removing minor debris for several reasons. A sanding pad has a very low grit and is gentle. You will not have to worry about sanding off too much unless you press hard when sanding. All it takes is very light pressure to remove what is necessary before applying another coat. It is also flexible so you can easily glide it along the surface. Sanding pads look like the green Scotch scrubbing pads that are used to clean pots and pans. No matter what condition/color of the surface, you cannot get around sanding. And sanding does not have to take half of a lifetime; you are lightly sanding the surface to break up any sealers, creating a surface for the paint to adhere to and removing any debris, so that you have a good foundation that will yield excellent, durable results for a long time.
One last thing with regard to sanding, wood is fibrous. When applying paint, stain or a sealer, it adheres to the wood fibers and causes them to stand up. This creates debris that impacts the ability for the next coat to adhere properly and leaves a rough surface. You sand between each layer to knock off those fibers, rough up the surface ever so slightly so the next coat penetrates evenly, and maintains a smooth and clean work surface.
The Grit of Sandpaper
The lowest grit sandpaper sizes range from 40 to 60. This ultra-coarse paper is ideal for big, deep sanding projects with a lot of surface roughness.
The medium grit sandpaper ranges from 80 to 120 abrasives per square inch. This paper is perfect for shaping or removing a lot of material at a quick pace.
The fine-grit sandpaper begins at 150 grit and ends at 180 grit. This paper starts the finishing process by beginning to buff out the deep swirls and sanding marks left by the coarser papers.
The very fine grit sandpaper, 220 to 240 grit, and extra-fine, 280 to 320 grit, are the finishing pros. With these papers in hand, it is easy to get the smooth, silky finish you desire.
The information above was obtained through the link below. For a greater understanding, I highly recommend checking out the link below.
I use TSP-PF to prep all surfaces that I paint. It is very inexpensive – less than $5. Follow the instructions on the product. TSP-PF comes in the form of a powder, and you add warm water to make a solution. TSP-PF is a heavy-duty cleaner designed to clean and prepare your home, decks, and siding for painting. The cleaner removes dirt, grease, grime, soot and chalked paint. It is compatible with washable walls, floors, and woodwork including decks and siding. It is specially formulated to control lead paint dust.
TSP-PF is a degreaser. When the kitchen is being repainted, TSP is absolutely necessary, particularly around the stove. Failure to remove the grease from the walls and cabinets creates a barrier
and paint will not adhere properly.
TSP is also a cleaner. Even though you may not think your walls are dirty, chances are there is more there than you realize. By using TSP-PF to clean walls before painting, you can be positive your work surface is free of dust and dirt and feel confident that your paint will adhere the first time properly.
There is a product referred to as painters tack cloth. A tack cloth is a loosely woven cheesecloth that has beeswax engrained into it. It flawlessly cleans the smallest dust particles from wood surfaces to prepare them for painting, staining, or finishing. A tack cloth does not replace the need to clean your work surface with TSP-PF. The tack cloth does not remove dirt, grease, grime, soot or chalked paint. A tack cloth is best used between sanding layers to remove the particles knocked off when sanding. For more detailed information, click on the link below.
Do you skip priming? DON’T DO IT! DON’T! DO! IT! I know what you are thinking – there is primer already in the paint I purchased. Hear me clearly, PRIME first!!
Some paints claim that you don’t need to prime when using their product; because a primer is included in the product. That is a little misleading because there is not actually primer in the paint. What that means is the paint is thicker and can be built upon. The idea is that a thicker build-up of the product creates a sturdier accumulative coat of paint. And the sheer thickness covers up stains and creates a strong barrier that is harder to penetrate. It is essential to understand what primer does.
Primer creates a surface that ensures better adhesion by prepping and sealing. This goes for walls, wood, trim, plastic, etc. Primer seals in stains and old colors and creates a smoother even finish. It also creates a more durable finish from topcoat to base coat. This means the curing process will be flawless.
Primer covers up the existing color painted on your work surface. Paint cannot remove hues from bleeding through. Only primer can. If you have ever tried to pick a true grey, you will completely understand what I am about to explain. Grey is one of my favorite colors to use, but it gives me anxiety making sure I have grey and not grey/green, grey/blue or grey/yellow.
Say you have a blue wall and you want to paint it yellow. Yellow and blue make green. Your yellow paint will have hues of green. Okay, so your color may look slightly green. No big deal for some. The more critical aspect that you get from the primer is that it prepares the wall so that the new paint adheres and curing takes place. For oil based paint products, follow the link below because painting over enamel is an entirely different animal.
Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 primer is what I use, and my second choice is Kilz. Both are great products. And honestly, I don’t care which brand you pick, just prime before you paint. For dark finishes, I use two to three coats of primer. Sand between each coats and make sure you allow for ample drying time. This may seem like a waste of time, but paint that feels dry to touch is not dried or fully cured. So resist the urge to proceed until it is dry. Remember the cake that got ruined.
There are many great products available on the market for painting trim. My preference is Sherwin Williams ProClassic. I highly recommend using a semi-gloss or high-gloss finish. Trim work needs to be durable. We hit it with vacuum cleaners, touch it when we go in and out of doors. We try to squeeze large pieces of furniture through doorways that sometimes require extraordinary acrobatics. Our furniture hits it. ProClassic will not yellow and goes on very smoothly. I use a minimum of two coats. I sand between each layer of product lightly using a sanding pad, or 220 to 240 grit sanding paper.
This is a step that gets skipped very often. For complete transparency, I am not good at applying a straight caulk line. But, using painters tape can make anyone a professional. For trim, apply a line of painters tape on the wall about 1/8 inch above the trim. Apply a thin line of caulk and run your damp finger along it to smooth it out. There are tools available that smooth out the caulk, but I have found that a wet finger works best.
Caulking is like walking across a tight rope two miles in length. Each end attached to a high rise building. The difference between too much and not enough caulk is a slippery slope. When applied correctly, caulk makes your painting project look clean and professionally done.
Make sure you select the correct type of caulk for your project. Why am I telling you this, becuase I have picked the wrong one and it was by far the worst mess I have ever had to clean up. For interior surfaces an All Purpose Caulk is what you need. For interior surfaces use an All-Purpose Acrylic Latex. For bathrooms and kitchens get an All-Purpose Acrylic Latex that is waterproof and mold and mildew resistant. Choose a product labeled with those traits. Whatever you do, make sure that you do not get interior and exterior caulks mixed up. Yes there is a difference. A giant difference.
Painting takes time. If you dedicate, the hours needed the first go around you will not waste time having to repaint and repair in the future. Here is a link to a post where I got thrown every curve ball you can imagine. But wait until you see the finished product and you will understand why taking your time and doing the job right pays off in the end. There is always a one-off case that will throw unexpected curveballs. Do your homework and ask a lot of questions. Painting can be cheap. However, the cost of painting can increase drastically if you don’t take your time, follow the steps above, or fail to use the proper products for your project.
Disclosure: I am not a licensed professional. The information included in this post is based solely on my personal experiences as a DIYer and knowledge obtained through extensive work within the trade. The data is based on my opinions, experience with many work products, and through trial and error. Not all painting projects apply to the information above. It is imperative to follow the manufacturers’ instructions.
Have you ever got paint on the carpet and didn’t realize it until it was dried completely? I have plenty of times. I forget that I am not a professional and putting down drop cloths is such a pain. What I have decided is that cleaning paint off the carpet is a more significant pain, so moving forward I will continue to use painters tape and put down drop cloths.
Ideally, it is easier to clean up paint if you catch it immediately. If the paint is still wet, use a dry rag and blot it until you get as much of the paint up as possible. Do not rub it. Then, use warm soapy water – still only blotting the area to remove the rest of the paint out of the carpet. Clean the area thoroughly with plain water to make sure all the soap is up. Repeat until the paint is gone and then let the carpet dry thoroughly before walking on it. You can use Isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) as I describe in the paragraph below after you have followed the steps above if you are still having trouble getting the paint up completely.
Now for the dry paint on the carpet. There is an easy way to get it up. Here is what you will need:
Stiff bristled brush or razor blade.
Isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol)
Pour the undiluted rubbing alcohol directly on the dried paint and let it sit for a few minutes. The rubbing alcohol will begin to loosen the paint from the carpet fibers. Then take your stiff bristled brush or razor blade and brush across the spot until the paint comes off. You will have to put some muscle into it. Rubbing alcohol is excellent for removing paint off of lament flooring, sinks, painting tools, windows where paint has dripped.
Do not use rubbing alcohol on painted surfaces because it will remove all the paint; or make it very sticky. Do not use rubbing alcohol on any wood finishes.