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Last Updated: , Created: Tuesday, December 16th, 2003

Painting tips with Jane Lockhart

Although I have learned a great deal about paint and painting over the years, it is not my best subject, especially when formulations and even the tools are constantly changing. So I had my good friend and host of HGTV's One House Two Looks, Jane Lockhart, come on the show to answer some of our viewer questions.

Can you paint Acoustical ceiling tiles?

Yes. You can even paint with dark paints stylish paints. Use latex paint, two coats and most of the acoustical holes will remain open.

What are the rules for painting latex over oil?

Clean the surface to remove dirt or grease. Sand lightly, apply a super adherent primer then paint with the latex. Without that preparation, the latex won't stick to the oil. Many people claim you can do this without sanding, but sanding after cleaning really gives you much better adherence because the new paint can mechanically 'grab' onto the old paint.

Why is ceiling paint different?

Ceiling paints are usually more heavily pigmented and lower gloss, to hide light reflection which show up any imperfections in the ceiling itself, like drywall joints. This also makes ceiling paints less washable.

How do you paint vinyl siding and metal doors?

Paint with exterior latex, like 100% acrylic or vinyl acrylic combinations. Don't use oil paints because they don't expand and contract at the same rate as the metal or vinyl you are painting, causing large patches to flake off.

What rollers should you use on stippled ceilings?

Use a deep pile roller or a 'split foam' roller that will work the paint into the low spots. The split foam, seen in the photo above looks cheaper but is actually a better roller for the job. Go easy to avoid splattering or use a roller pole equipped with a splatter tray.

How do you know if existing paint is latex or oil based?

Take a white cloth, soak it in Acetone and rub on the paint in question. If no colour comes off on the rag, it is oil paint since the acetone will not affect cured oil paint. If colour does come off on the rag, it is latex, because acetone can actually dissolve cured latex paint. This also means that it is acetone that can be used to clean up old cured spills of latex paint.

Tip of the day: The best paint can opener available is a Canadian $2 coin. I think that the guys at the Canadian Mint are weekend painters; they made it just the right size for opening paint cans. Maybe we should sell them in the US paint stores?

Keywords: Drywall, Vinyl, Finishes, Brushes, Primer, Siding, Colour, Doors, Tip, Acrylic, Paint, Techniques, Tools, Metal

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