If you ever have questions about paint...I'm your guy!

136 Replies

I spent many years as an industrial/architectural paint sales rep. I feel like I could answer and have probably dealt with most issues you encounter so please feel free to shoot me a message if I can ever help you out! 

hi Dan with just lowes and home depot at my avail (that i know of) what paint should i get to repaint stucco that is already painted but dirty?

@Dan Ward   thanks for the offer.   Let me run this by you:  It looks like someone has previously painted over walls that had cracked paint on them.   Their prep seems to have been 'hasty' and now the underlying cracks are starting to come through.   I am trying to get a sense of the problem I have on my hands.   The house was build in the 50's so I am assuming that there will be lead in there.   What would you do with this?

@Steve B. 

If there is lead in the house....most will advise you that its a huge issue and can purchase a lead test kit for a few bucks at your local paint store to find out. Normally in older homes that have somewhat of an "alligator" texture to the walls its because of multiple coats of paint and multiple crappy prep jobs. Your best best for both time and money would be to primer the walls....I would recommend you clean the walls with a bleach mixture (simple wipe down prep)....then skim coat the walls in areas where it is uneven. You can youtube how to skim coat a wall...its pretty simple, just apply a small amount of mud....then scrap it off to fill in any voids. Then you would be able to sand....prime...and have smooth walls. A skim coat can realllllllly save some time and money, it fills nail holes and really allows the walls a fresh start. Another option would be to add knockdown texture to the walls...prime...and then paint. 

Neil G. 

What kind of temperature and environment are you dealing with for most part of the year? You will definitely have to wash the surface to remove and dirt or debris...its a guarantee you will have issues if you don't for an exterior stucco paint job. Normally with stucco contractors will use "Dryvit" (http://www.dryvit.com/home/default.asp)...its really just stucco material with color. Its super heavy duty! But if you wanted to paint stucco, you could use a high quality exterior latex paint. It would need to have mildew and UV prevention, that could cost you $50+ bucks per gallon at Lowes and Home Depot so I recommend finding a PPG in a near by town. Normally you can get a good quality from them for around $20-$30 per gallon.....well worth the drive. 

Hey @Dan Ward , I have a pretty bad paint problem.  I bought a house that had steel siding on it.  The paint is coming off in big flakes anywhere it gets a lot of sun.  The steel siding underneath is very shiny almost like galvanized metal but maybe even more reflection.  I talked to the son of the previous owner and he said they tried to paint once before and it peeled off then also.  I suspect the contracting of the metal is playing a role.  

   I was thinking perhaps use a light acid wash before painting or perhaps using a brillo pad to scratch the surface.  I also thought perhaps an acrylic paint might be slightly better for this but I am actually guessing.  Any pointers would be greatly appreciated.  I also hear there is a self etching primer out.  Should I look into that?

Jerry W.

This is actually very common but also somewhat tricky. You really have to make sure you clean the surface very well first things first. I would lightly pressure wash it to blow off any remaining flakes of paint. I would caution you against using any mild acidic cleaning agent, a strong degreaser (Krud Kutter) would do just as good, just make sure you don't use a super cheap one because it might leave an oily residue. You will then want to use an exterior, DTM (direct to metal) primer. This will somewhat "dig in" to the metal, you can use latex and you will probably end up paying $35+ per gallon. You have the option of grey, red oxide, or white and it really doesn't matter which you decide to use. If you can find a "high build" that will be even better because it will help bridge the gap where the paint flaked off. If you use a high quality DTM primer you can then use either a regular exterior paint or a DTM paint finish for your topcoat. You will want to use latex base, it will hold up much better with the metal believe it or not, after one good summer of baking the paint on it will last for many years.

@Dan Ward , thanks for the tip.  I appreciate you taking the time to answer questions and help out with your knowledge base.  Let me know if I can return the favor sometime.

@Dan Ward  to reference someone in a post, type the @ key then the first few letters of their name and then below the reply box will appear their name. You then select it there and it they will get the "mention" notice in their inbox.

Is there a website somewhere that gives rankings on paint brands in terms of quality and features?  I started out using cheap paint, as I didn't know any better, and found out why it's cheap (it's a little thicker than water).  Then I went to Pittsburgh Ultra, and found it to be really good.  Dutch Boy seems to be good too, but more expensive.  I've also used Menard's Conco brand, and the 3000 series seems to be in line with the Ultra, but costs less.  So how do you gauge a "quality factor" on paint?

@Dawn Anastasi

I'm not really sure of an exact website to reference but I'm sure there is one out there. The problem is, PPG owns a huge majority of the paints you will find in the USA. The make the paint for Menards, Walmart, Olympic (Lowes and Home Depot) while Sherwin Williams also owns quite a few of the private labels that are available. I've seen some really cheap paints that worked great for their cause such at "Multi Pro" from PPG which is like $5.00 a gallon but is great for ceilings and garages. Dutch Boy, Farrell Calhoon, Benjamin Moore and some other smaller companies offer a great product and can generally be a fair market price....it just seems that they tend to be a little more inconsistent than the major brands. Ben Moore Aura is an awesome interior paint but it will set you back a few extra pennies. 

Also....thanks @Bill S. ! I was wondering why I couldn't get my mentions to work on previous posts. (@Account Closed & @Steve B. .....just so you will both get the notifications that I replied to their question earlier)

@Dan Ward  

I don't have a question- but have already learned a bunch from your previous answers...

thanks for making your expertise available!!!



@Dan Ward  I replaced some rotted wood on my bay window with cement board siding, and replaced the trim around the cement board panels with PVC trim.  The issue I am having is paint won't stick to the PVC trim.  I primed it, and painted,  but it began peeling in a year.  Any advice?

@Tim Lindstrom I know of a product that you will love and it will work perfectly for you. Its call BreakThrough (link will be listed below)...this product is considered a water borne acrylic, simply meaning that it will go on similar to how a latex would yet it dries like an oil. It seems odd but water borne acrylics can adhere to just about anything! I have seen them used on concrete floors, cabinets, doors, trim, metal, and the list goes on! It will run you about $45 for a gallon but it is well worth it! You can simply clean the surface and apply the BreakThrough. No need to prime BUT priming never hurts. Another great option would be to use a 100% acrylic exterior latex paint....something like Sherwin Williams "Duration" or PPG "Manor Hall". They will adhere great to the PVC but you will need to scuff, clean, prime and then paint the surface. I'm a huge fan of BreakThrough and other WB acrylic options just because they are extremely durable, so that would be your best bet in my option. 


@Dan Ward   Thanks for sharing your expertise. What, if anything, can be done with latex paint that seems to have gone through a freeze cycle? We have two nearly full 5 Gallon buckets that have 'globbed up'. The only thing we can figure is that they froze when we had a recent cold spell. 

@Chris Martin   Oddly enough you should be able to still use the thawed out latex paint and it will work just fine. What you will want to do is get a paint stir paddle that attaches to a drill....because you are going to need to mix the heck out of the paint! The colorants usually separate from the latex mixing base so you will want to stir it on high speed for roughly 5 to 10 minutes. After mixing I would strain the paint into a new bucket, you can use a paint strainer or even a pair of panty hose. This will get any clumps of dried latex out of the finished product and you will be ready to roll!

Whats the difference between interior and exterior paint

@Matthew Paul   The simplest answer would be that exterior paints have products such as mildewcides and UV protective elements to help prevent the suns damaging UV rays over time. Have I seen someone put semi-gloss interior paint on an exterior door? Yes. Will it work for a year or two....yes, maybe even longer. Interior and exterior paints use the exact same colorants, are handled the same way, its just that some exterior paints harden and cure faster than interior paints to prevent any water damage. Exterior paints generally also have more Ti02 in the base to allow for better coverage and a more scrub-able/durable surface. Can you use an exterior paint inside? Heck yes! People do it quite often.

Cool thats pretty much what I heard . 

thanks Dan i'm in Signal Hill, CA but not any especially high latitude but whose exact coastal semi-arid (moist mild winters, bone-dry and warm rest of year) climate is lumped together with San Diego which is practically a baja california or coastal 'mexican' climate.

This thread is another reason to visit BP daily.  

Thank you @Dan Ward  

@Dan Ward  You're awesome!  Thanks for sharing.  I'm following this thread so I can refer back to it later.

I have read about using ZERO VOC paints for the interior of the house. I am not talking for investing but personal residence.

How much more expensive is ZERO VOC paint on average per gallon??

@Dan Ward   Thanks for offering your expertise!

we recently purchased a house where the previous owners were heavy smokers and the house wreaked of smoke. The walls which were originally white (could tell by where they took their pictures down) were yellow. We had all the walls scrubbed with ammonia and citrus but that only took some of the yellow of the walls, not the odor. Ended up spraying the whole house with oil based primer and that finally got rid of the smell. The house is just about ready except that now we've discovered that the nicotine stains in the shower grout will not come out. we've tried just plain grout cleaner (haha) and white vinager mixed with baking soda to no avail. Unfortunately, trying to just remove the grout will be quite the chore since whoever did the job really didn't leave much of a gap for the grout. i have contractors coming to look at just replacing the tiles around the showers but was wondering what you might think about painted tile? I've heard of it and found some info on youtube but really don't want to waste my time if it's not process that will look right or last. your opinion?

sorry for the long way around to my question.

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