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Flashback Friday: What the Pros Know About Paint

May 10, 2013

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(from The 1997 Old Farmer's Almanac Homeowner's Companion)

As the Sun begins to make more than a passing appearance, you might be thinking about freshening up your home with a new coat of paint. Before you head out to the hardware store, check out these tips from the 1997 Old Farmer’s Almanac Homeowner’s Companion on how to select the right paint for the job!

What the Pros Know About Paint: Paint Selection

  • Gloss paint is famous for its ability to make color dance on a wall and enrich moldings. It’s also famous for its exaggeration of surface imperfections and reflection of artificial light in “hot spots.” If you want the payoff of gloss, you have to invest in the prep and priming to create a smooth surface. Eliminate hot spots by locating or angling the lighting away from the wall.
  • A new (Editor’s note: remember, this was printed in 1997!) production trick uses acrylic gloss clear protector, easily applied with a brush or roller, to convert a surface painted in flat/matte or satin/low-luster into gloss. Gloss clear protector eliminates the need to match the paint color, which remains true since acrylic latex is nonyellowing. Also available in satin/low-luster, clear protector is being used to revivify wallpaper and make it more scrubbable. In the rarefied realm of haute shabby genteel, white or varying amounts of raw umber colorant is added to create an “unclear” protector that makes new wallpaper look sun-faded, tea-stained, fireplace-browned, or tobacco-smoky.
  • Outdoor porches and areas where there is the likelihood of standing water should be painted with a top-grade alkyd floor enamel. On new wood, it’s self-priming when thinned with mineral spirits, up to 1 pint per gallon of enamel.
  • Concrete floors that have been painted with alkyd should be recoated with alkyd. Select an alkyd industrial-maintenance paint for maximum hardness on surfaces subjected to unusual wear.
  • Never put an ordinary alkyd on unprimed galvanized metal. A chemical reaction, called saponification, makes soap. The paint peels off in sheets. 

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Ginger Vaughan has worked for The Old Farmer's Almanac for over a decade and, every spring, thinks about starting a garden. When she isn't enjoying the outdoors (and pondering just where to plant that garden), she can often be found in the kitchen testing out new recipes. She lives in a Pacific Northwest forest on the Puget Sound with Thor and Olive, two English bulldogs who would like to taste test her cooking creations far more often than they are allowed. 


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