Painting your home or office?
Latex paint is a good choice for most applications – it has lower off-gassing than other paints, it dries to the touch quickly (sometimes too quickly) and it’s the most widely used and available type of paint, meaning there are far more color options available.
You can even get paint and primer in one.
You may not be aware that even though latex paint dries to the touch quite quickly, especially in dry environments, it doesn’t cure as quickly.
Many experts advise that latex paint takes 14-30 days to cure!
What does this mean for you?
- The most important point is that you can’t scrub it. If you do, some of it will peal off.
- It may be more permeable for contaminants, meaning that they may penetrate into the paint.
- You need to be careful to avoid splatters onto your new paint.
- Applying another paint of a different color next to the first paint (as in wall and trim) may result in problems with wiping up spills or overages.
Under ideal conditions your paint should cure in about two weeks. In humid, cold, or poorly ventilated rooms it may take more than twice as long to cure.
As an aside, do not paint with latex when the painted surface or the surrounding air will be colder than 50 degrees fahrenheit. It’s also not advisable to paint when the temperature will be consistently dropping below 50 degrees before the paint has cured.
Don’t Use Flat Paint in the Kitchen
Kitchen walls tend to collect grease and splatters from food. That’s why it’s important to pick a paint that will allow you to wash those surfaces when they get dirty.
Semi-gloss paints are a good choice here, because they wipe easily and are less permeable, meaning that contaminants are more likely to stay on the surface.
Hi-gloss paints can be even more stain-resistant, but the shiny effect of hi-gloss may be too much for a medium-to-large surface.
Stay away from flat paint on kitchen walls as you cannot scrub the surface and even a light wiping can remove some of the paint.
Low VOC Paint – what is it?
VOC stands for Volatile Organic Compounds and are the gasses emitted from paint and materials. Commonly called off-gasses, VOC’s have short and long term adverse health effects. Since VOC’s can remain in the air long after the paint has dried it is important to use products with very low or zero VOC’s.
California has a zero tolerance when it comes to VOC’s and that is where they manufacture Behr paint. Behr regular paint has a very low VOC amount and Behr’s Ultra line has zero VOC’s.
Painting Moldy Bathroom Walls
If you have mold growing on your bathroom walls use a 10% bleach solution to clean them and let them thoroughly dry before painting.
When choosing paint use a base coat primer of mildew resistant paint that is oil based such as Kilz. For your top coat you’ll also want to use a mildew resistant paint in egg shell or satin finish for walls such as Behr Ultra.
Pick paint with minimum sheen because it is more durable and if you need to wash dirty fingerprints or smears it is more scrubbable, but do not use flat paint as it will soak up and hold moisture.
If you did not clean your paint brush properly the last time you used latex paint it may still have paint in it and it will be stiff. To fix a stiff paint brush pour vinegar into a glass container and put it into the microwave until it is hot but not boiling. DO NOT PUT THE BRUSH IN THE MICROWAVE!
Pour the vinegar into your cleaning bucket and thoroughly soak just the bristles for about an hour. Wash the paint brush thoroughly with soap and water and your brush should be in much better shape.
Another option, if you don’t mind the off-gassing, is to simply use brush cleaner and let your brush soak overnight.
Cleaning walls of spots and dirt the day before you start painting is a smart idea. When you spot clean a wall it is best to let it dry for one day before you paint.
Then when painting an entire room you’ll want to take logical steps. First remove all the furniture or pile it into the center of the room and protect it with a plastic tarp or sheet. Second you’ll want to use blue painters masking tape to protect any trim from spatters or stray brush strokes. Next you’ll want to protect the floor by taping down a tarp, sheet of plastic or trash bags taped together.
Start painting the ceiling first, then paint the trim, windows and doors, then the walls. Make sure you let the paint dry in between each step so you don’t mess up the work you just did. Check the cure time on the can of paint to allow plenty of time for the paint to dry before removing painters tape and starting the next step.
Starting in April 2010 contractors and remodelers are required to test paint for lead on any projects that they will be working on that are older than 1978 when lead paint was banned. Your contractor or remodeler will need to be licensed by the EPA. The EPA is scrambling to get applications processed and approved so delays of up to 90 days are not uncommon. If you have a project scheduled with a home remodeler and your project or home has not been updated since 1978 check with your remodeler to see if they have registered with the EPA. The Epa requires contractors to be certified in lead-safe work practices and training providers to be accredited by EPA. If they have not heard about the information you may want to pass this along: The application fee is $300 and the registration is good for 5 years. Contractors and remodelers can apply online www.epa.gov/oppt/lead/pubs/toolkits.htm This website contains tons of information about lead in paint for contractors and home remodelers.