& Answer Interior
Painting Over Stains:
I have a stain on the ceiling of my dining room that looks like it came
from as plumbing leak but there isn't any plumbing anywhere close to where
the stain is. How can I paint over the stain and be sure that it will
Your first step should be to find the source of the stain. The color of
the stain will give you a clue to what is causing the problem.
Dark brown or black stains are usually caused by a roof leak or a leaking
iron pipe. The water can flow along the studs and penetrate the ceiling
at a nail or low point. Check your attic for any stains if you have access
to the area.
Light brown stains on walls or ceilings are caused by excessive interior
humidity. Moisture vapor condenses on these surfaces and leaches stain
causing solids out of latex paint. Bathroom vent fans will cure this problem.
Bluish green stains are caused by leaky copper pipes or condensation.
A plumbing leak maybe caused by chemically aggressive water. Have your
water tested and consult a plumber.
To hide the stain; clean the ceiling with a household cleaner and apply
two coats of a shellac based primer and two coats of matching ceiling
I am using an oil based primer in my house. What can I do to prevent a
skin from forming on the paint after the can has been closed?
The first thing
to do is clean out all primer remaining in the groove or "chime"
of the container. Make sure that the rim of the lid is clean, too.
Then, do one
or the other:
Press the lid
on and make sure it is presses into place thoroughly. The smallest hole
will allow air to enter and leave with changes in the air pressure, and
thus foster skin formation. Then store the container upside down.
Or place a circular piece of clear plastic wrap carefully on the primer
in the container, then press the lid on tightly, and store the container
Painting Over Formica:
The previous owner put formica panels on the walls of our kitchen. Is
there a way to paint over formica so we do not have to remove it from
Yes, you should be able to paint the Formica successfully. First, clean
and rinse the surface. This is important because airborne cooking oils
collect on kitchen surfaces over time. Then sand it well, using fine (#220)
grit sandpaper; then clean off with a damp rag or sponge. Wear eye protection
and a dust mask.
apply a high adhesion alcohol-based (shellac-based) stain blocking primer.)
Use ample ventilation, with two windows open in the room. Follow package
directions for best method of application. Allow it to dry over night.
Apply a top of the line interior latex eggshell or satin enamel; or a
latex Kitchen & Bath paint in a satin or semigloss finish. Use a 3/8"
nap top quality synthetic roller cover, or use a 3" foam brush. A
second coat will probably be needed.
I do not recommend painting countertops. The demands of standing liquids,
food contact, cutting, cleaning, abrasion, hot pans, etc. are too great.
Painting a door:
How can I keep from getting brush marks when I apply a latex paint to
a paneled door?
The best way to paint a door is to remove it and set it up on a pair of
sawhorses. If you will be doing both sides of the door, you can support
it by driving two 3" drywall nails part way into the top and bottom
edges of the door, and then support the door on the nails, at least when
doing the second side. Remove hardware (including hinges from the door
if you have taken the door down; when doing this, mask the mortises to
keep paint out of them).
Lightly sand the door to scuff up the surface. If the door is new a coat
of primer should be applied.
paint the panels one at a time: do the beveled parts, then the flat parts;
use a rag to remove any paint that gets onto rails or stiles of the door.
Next, do the rails and stiles: With long even strokes, you can keep multiple
wet-edges: going from top to bottom of the door, do the top rail all the
way across, then immediately start all (2 or 3) stiles and paint down
the door doing all the stiles at one time; you must work quickly; when
you get to a rail, do it all the way across, then continue down the door,
keeping a wet edge on all the stiles; and so on. Then do the other side
if both sides are to be painted. Finally, paint the edges.
the first coat has dried lightly sand the surface and repeat the above
I'm having a very difficult time getting nice straight paint lines where
the walls meet the ceiling and where the trim meets the wall. Just can't
seem to get straight lines even with one of the 15" edging tools.
Are there any "inside tips" that would help?
You might want to try using masking tape or "painters tape"
to mask off one area while applying the paint to the neighboring area,
to get a straight line.
sure to apply the tape carefully, and press it down thoroughly. Masking
tape should be removed promptly once the paint has dried, or it may be
difficult to remove, and stick too much and pull up the paint underneath.
Painters tape is more forgiving in this regard, and can be left on longer,
at least for a day. Painter's tape is available at paint stores, home
centers and hardware stores.
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