Professional Painting Contractor Serving Mission Viejo and Surrounding Areas Since 1997 | Custom Coatings and Finishes | Team CCF
Common Paint Questions
When purchasing paint, I've been asked if I want flat, high gloss, satin, and even an eggshell finish. What do these terms mean, and does it really make any difference what kind of finish I have?
Those terms refer to the sheen or gloss level of the paint, and, yes, it does make a difference which one you use. The sheen or gloss level simply means the degree of light reflectance of the paint. The terms you mention are ones that various manufacturers use to describe the shininess of their products.
The following chart explains what each term means, and where paint with that type of gloss should be used. Your local independent paint retailer also can recommend the type of gloss you need for your particular paint project.
High Gloss (70+ on a 60 degree gloss meter)
Where to use
For kitchen and bathroom walls, kitchen cabinets, banisters and railings, trim, furniture, door jambs and windowsills.
More durable, stain resistant and easier to wash. However, the higher the gloss, the more likely surface imperfections will be noticed.
Semigloss (35 to 70 on a 60 degree gloss meter)
Where to use
For kitchen and bathroom walls, hallways, children's rooms, playrooms, doors, woodwork and trim.
More stain-resistant and easier to clean than flat paints. Better than flat for high-traffic areas.
Satin or Silk (Range overlapping eggshell and semigloss)
Similar characteristics to Semigloss and Eggshell
Eggshell (20 to 30 on a 60 degree gloss meter)
Where to use
Can be used in place of flat paints on wall surfaces especially in halls, bathrooms and playrooms. Can be used in place of semigloss paints on trim for a less shiny appearance.
It resists stain better than flat paint and gives a more lustrous appearance.
Flat (less than 15 on a 60 degree gloss meter)
Where to use
For general use on walls and ceilings.
Hides surface imperfections. Stain removal can be difficult. Use for uniform, nonreflecting appearance. Best suited for low-traffic areas.
Same characteristics as Flat.
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I have vinyl siding that I thought was going to look
like new forever. Now it has started to fade and has weather-damaged areas.
Must I replace it or can I paint it and save some money?
Painting your old vinyl makes good sense, both economically
and aesthetically. Not only can you make it look like new again, you
can, if you wish, change the color and give a whole new look. Note that
you can do the same thing with aluminum siding. Surface preparation
and the use of quality paint are the keys to painting both vinyl and
I see prices ranging from less than $10 to $25 or more
for a gallon of paint. Is there really any difference between one paint
and another, or should I try to save some money?
As with almost any product, when you purchase paint
you usually get what you pay for. Purchasing paint strictly on the basis
of price will end up costing you more in the long run. Here's why. As
long as you're comparing two similar types of paint (i.e. interior wall
paint, exterior trim paint), price differences usually reflect a difference
in quality and/or the amount of the key ingredients. Since it's the
ingredients that affect such important qualities as durability, flow,
hide and leveling, the better the quality of the paint the easier it
will be to apply and the longer it will normally last. In fact, a top-quality
paint can last as much as twice as long as a low-end paint. This lowers
the cost per year of service which saves you not only money, but also
sweat if you do your own painting. If you use a professional painter,
you save even more by insisting on a top-quality paint. That's because
the paint represents only a fraction of the cost of repainting; most
of the expenses is for the contractor's labor.
By spending a little more up front on your paint, you
avoid frequent repainting. Naturally, if your budget is tight, watch
for a sale on a top quality paint. However, remember to purchase the
best paint you can afford. It will always be your best value in the
long run. Consult your local independent paint retailer for the proper
paint for your project.
When is the best time for exterior painting?
Paint when the temperature is above 60 and below 90
degrees F. Otherwise the drying time will be adversely affected. Avoid
not only rain but also wind. High winds not only can cause your paint
to dry too quickly, they can also blow dirt and other debris onto the
wet surface. You should also try to paint with the shade. In other words,
if you can avoid painting in direct sunlight, do so. Always check the
manufacturer's instructions on the paint can label and get advice from
your local independent paint retailer.
I want to have a professional paint my house. How do
I find a good house painter and what information should I require in the
Those are both good questions. To find a good painting
contractor, ask friends and neighbors for recommendations or see if
your local independent paint retailer has a list. Once you're ready
to talk to them, ask for and check references. When they give you a
quote, get a firm price and both a start and finish date,
find out who will actually do the work, check to see if the contractor
has liability insurance (and bonding if necessary), and never pay in
advance. A bid or contract also should include a list of the work that
is to be done, how many coats for each surface, the type of paint to
be used for each part of the job, the preparation work that will be
done, and who furnishes the paint and other materials.
The paint is coming off the exterior of my house even
though I used an expensive paint and applied two coats. Why is this happening,
how can I correct it, and what will it take to prevent it in the future?
Without taking a look at your specific situation, it's
very difficult to give a specific answer. There are simply too many
different types of problems that involve paint not adhering to exterior
surfaces. For example, there are terms such as alligatoring, blistering,
checking and cracking to describe different problems that can occur.
However, almost all paint failures are due to poor or improper surface
preparation. Another cause is improper application. The use of quality
paint also is important, but, as in your case, will not ensure against
adhesion problems if the surface is not properly prepared and the paint
is not applied correctly.
To briefly answer both your second and third questions,
yes, you can correct your problem and by properly doing so avoid the
same problem in the future. Remove all loose, flaking or peeling paint,
clean, spot prime where necessary, solve any moisture problems you may
have and repaint with a quality paint using correct application procedures.
How do I select a good color for the exterior of my
house? I want something to set my house off yet that is in good taste.
Your home's exterior is the first impression visitors
have of you. You should want it to look good. First, be sure to take
into account the fixed colors of your home – brick, stone work
and the roof color. You may want to consider choosing a paint color
that will pick up the color from one of these non-painted areas such
as, for example, a brown that appears in your brick. In addition, the
style of your home may play a role in the colors you select. If, for
example, you have an architecturally accurate reproduction of a colonial-style
home, you may want to use authentic exterior colors from that period.
Or, if you have a Victorian-era home, you may want to use a number of
colors to accentuate the architectural details (gingerbread) on your
home. Generally, you can't go wrong selecting a light color for the
body of the house and a darker, complimentary color for the trim. Another
way to set your home off is to create an interesting welcoming entrance
by painting your front door in a bold color scheme. Your local independent
paint retailer can help you select just the right color scheme for your
Is it always necessary to apply two coats of an exterior
Actually, if you are painting new siding or where all
of the previous coating has been removed, you should first apply a coat
of primer followed by two coats of paint. However, if the surface was
previously painted and that old paint is still sound, a single coat
of a quality paint will probably suffice. Your local independent paint
retailer can advise you as to whether two coats will be necessary for
your particular situation.
How do I tell one paint from the next? After all, they're
all basically the same, right?
"Hey... Paint is paint!" So often, in the paint industry,
we hear this mistaken declaration. We then spend considerable time explaining
why this is not true.
If you think all paint is the same, take a common, everyday
item, such as milk, as an example. When you approach your supermarket
dairy case and see the overwhelming assortment of MILK available,
a closer examination reveals some surprising differences. You've got
whole milk, butter milk, 2% reduced fat milk,1% low fat milk, or non-fat
skim milk! Nonetheless, they're all labeled MILK. But, we all
know there's a big difference in consistency, taste, and richness. But
still, it's all just MILK. Milk is milk, right?
These same differences in milk could be equated to the
differences in paint. It may be paint in the can, but, it's what's in
the paints raw materials and formulation that determines the quality,
performance, and durability.
To better understand these differences, let's break
down the three basic components that comprise paint:
PIGMENT, BINDERS, and SOLVENTS
is what gives paint its color
and opacity. Titanium dioxide (Tio2) is by far the best and most effective
of pigments used in quality paints. It exhibits the best hiding power
and binder supporting durability. Less effective substitutes called
extender pigments such as clay, silica, and calcium carbonate are
used to provide bulk. Lower quality paints contain more of these extender
pigments, often as a substitute for some of the costlier TiO2, to
reduce selling price. But, this is at the expense of reduced hide
A costlier, high quality paint will contain two to
three pounds of TiO2 per gallon, as its prime pigment, which produces
superior hide and spread rate, and when combined with high quality
binders, will provide the best durability.
, or resins, are the bonding
agents that hold the paint film together, and make it adhere to the
surface on which it is applied. This costly ingredient plays a critical
role in the performance of paint. The better the quality of the binder,
the better the color retention, adhesion, flexibility and durability
of the paint.
There are two basic types of paints, oil base, and
water base. Water base is also known as “latex”. In oil based paints,
the binders are drying oils such as linseed oil or modified oils such
as alkyds. In water based paints, there are several types of binding
resins, the most common are vinyl-acrylic ( co-polymer), and 100%
Paints using a vinyl-acrylic co-polymer as the binder
are generally lower priced due to the reduction in the costly acrylic
content, which is substituted in part with lower cost vinyl resins,
which don't have the superior characteristics of acrylics.
In general, 100% acrylic paints have been shown to
provide the most durability, adhesion, color retention and flexibility
to resist the rigors of the sun, moisture and temperature fluctuation.
However, like the milk in the dairy case, even 100% acrylics may not
all be the same. A label may claim to be 100% acrylic, but the actual
volume of acrylic or its quality may vary. Always insist on manufactures
written product information if in doubt.
Quality paint combines the best pigments and binders,
known collectively as solids. The solids are the part of the paint
the remains on the surface being painted, after the solvents evaporate.
So it's plain to see why the best type and quality pigments and binders
are so essential.
keep the pigments and binders
in a fluid suspension so they may flow on the surface being painted,
then evaporate, leaving behind a solid film of paint. In oil based
paints, the primary solvent is mineral spirits or paint thinner. In
water based paints, there is a combination of water, which keeps the
solids in suspension, and special solvents which soften the binders
and allow them to fuse onto a solid film, after which, both evaporate.
The optimum amount of solvent is usually added when the paint is manufactured,
so excessive additional thinning with water or thinner will adversely
effect the performance or durability.
So, as you can see, depending on the formulation,
paint can be as different as the MILK in the dairy case. It's really
a matter of the type, the quantity, and the quality of raw materials
that ultimately determines the best paint in the can.
How does this information help you?
give you the knowledge to make some basic comparisons about paint. It
also helps you to know what to look for in quality paints, such as titanium
dioxide content, and high quality 100% acrylic binders.
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