If there is any peeling — and there usually is somewhere — it's essential to scrape off any loose paint. This doesn't just mean the parts that are already separated from the wood and ready to fall off on their own. Each spot where paint has peeled loose needs to be scraped thoroughly until you can no longer get the sharp corner of a putty knife under any of the surrounding edges of paint. Then, the bare spot needs to be sanded until the paint edges are smooth.
The perfect roller would hold a roomful of paint, leave the right amount of texture, wouldn't spray or fuzz, and would be easy to clean. Until somebody invents the ideal one, follow these tips to choose the right roller. "The longer the nap, the more paint the roller will hold, but it will also create more texture." says Dixon. "A 1/2-inch nap lamb's-wool roller holds plenty of paint without too much texture," says Dixon. "Less expensive rollers can work," says Span. "Just wash them first in dishwashing liquid to remove any stray fibers." Most of the pros we spoke with prefer 9-inch rollers over 18-inch models -- they are lighter, cheaper, and easier to use. Despite these shortcomings, Maceyunas swears by the wider roller. "The roller can do a whole wall in a few up and down strokes instead of in several dozen W and M strokes," he says.
Even an old lamp with a bare bulb held close to a wall will make minor cracks, bumps or nail pops jump out. Carmen Toto, owner of C. Toto & Sons in Madison, New Jersey, uses painter's putty or a lightweight spackle for minor cracks and dents; he uses plaster of Paris for dents deeper than 1/8 inch. Instead of the standard tape-and-spackle method for bridging over recurring stress cracks, Maceyunas uses a rubberized spray-on primer called Good-Bye Crack. Damaged wood requires a slightly different approach. "Don't use spackle on wood," says Toto, "because it just won't stick." For damaged trim, he uses painter's putty or a two-part wood filler, such as Minwax's High Performance Filler. Smooth any repairs, bumps, and nibs with a drywall pole sander. For smoother walls and better adhesion, some of our pros sand all previously painted walls regardless of the shape they're in.
"Cutting in is an acquired skill, but it's something you can't do at all with a ratty brush," says Doherty. When cutting in on a wall, he loads his brush and spreads out the excess paint, then works the brush up to the line between wall and ceiling. A brush stroke that's too wide creates a hatband, or smooth brushed band, on the very top of the wall where it meets the ceiling. To avoid this, Dixon recommends rolling first and then cutting in with a brush. "A good roller can get within 1/2 inch of the ceiling," he says. "You'll save time by not brushing more then you have to." When painting baseboards, "a wide taping knife makes a good paint guard," says Span. "Just keep the blade clean to prevent drips from working around the edge of the knife."
If your home was built before 1978, there is a good chance that lead paint was used in its construction. Scraping, sanding, or removing old paint can release toxic lead dust which can cause serious illness in children and pregnant women. Special handling is required when working with lead-based paints. If lead paint is present in your home, you will need to hire a lead-certified painting contractor or lead abatement contractor. Before getting started with your exterior painting project, consult your local building authority or visit www.epa.gov for more information.
However, David, who works in Excel's office, really left a bad taste in our mouth for the whole project. We didn't love the color our house ended up being - a color match that Excel performed for us - and expressed as such. David was a nightmare to work with once we mentioned we had a problem. He had terribe customer service skills and repeatedly made us feel like it was our fault and that we were stupid. Painting our house was a big commitment and investment in our eyes, and he was not the least bit helpful in trying to get us to an end product we would be happy with. In fact, he succeeded in making us even more unhappy to the point that we gave up on even having Excel repaint to get us to a color we'd be happy with. A very disappointing experience.
Only a dummy gets involved with so-called "contractors." Hire a qualified actual worker yourself. Check out their resume/background, etc. RULE #1..NO ADVANCE DEPOSITS! Pay daily or weekly or upon satisfied completion according your standard, not workers. Contractors are merely employment agents. If that's the way you get work done, then go ahead and waste your money and wind up with the myriad of problems enumerated upon in the news clip above. RULE#2.. NO SMOKERS. They are lighting up on your money. RULE#3: No cell phones while working. Talk on their own time after work