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September 2021
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My Affair With BEHR is Over

Until my latest project I was a fanboy of BEHR Premium Plus Interior Paint. Really.  I have used it on every project I have done in the past few years. Probably close to 200 gallons of the stuff. The biggest reason to use it was its thickness which translated into 1 coat coverage.  Since I roll and brush as opposed to spraying,  the body and coverage  saves me labor and produced a superior finish.

Not anymore. The latest batch I used  was  thinner and did  not provide the coverage I am used to, and made much  more work. Like two coats on cutting and rolling. After covering the off white walls with PVA Primer before painting.  I used to run a cut line and roll a room and be done. I was using the Ultra White in semi gloss and Flat.  Both were thin in 1 gal and 5 gallon sizes.

BEHR paint was a thick paint that once you got used to it, allowed you to lay on a single coat.  Using a 1/2” nap roller allowed me to roll a lot of paint without dripping or running. I had to down size to a 3/8” roller and still had drips. And needed two coats. Major pain in the ass when you budget your time on one coat and done.


I will be using Valspar from Lowes for a while. I recently used it on an exterior project both enamel and masonry paint, with great results.


Removing Painted Popcorn Ceilings 4

If you want to paint in Arizona near the outside, you need to start early. But it is done.

Here is where we started.

Here is a longer shot.

Here is the other side.

And here we are back at the Storage Project Wall.

Here is that start.

Removing Painted Popcorn Ceilings 3

Got a late start on Wednesday, so we got the sanding done, the second coat of speed set done and the dust control mud up.

The seams have been spread out, and the nails and gouges have been filled.

Started early Thursday, did a quick sand and rolled the primer. Love Gripper Primer.

Could not put the finish color as by 9 am the ceiling was too hot. Early start in the morning.

Taping Carpets for Paint

So you want to paint and have carpet. Here is a quick guide to taping carpets for paint.
You need some blue painters tape and a 2” putty knife. Blue painters tape adheres very well and does not leave residue like masking tape does.

First vacuum the carpet around the baseboard.

Start your tape on an angle like this photo, so you have a small trough, about the size of a pencil or ball point pen,(this depends on how high the pile of your carpet is) lightly smoothing down the center of the tape with your finger to start. Only work about 2-3 feet at a time.

Next use your finger to tuck the tape over the edge of the carpet. Your finger is acting as a wedge to tape the edge of your carpet and keep it away from your baseboard. If you find carpet fibers in your baseboard as you are taping, they did not use these directions.

Next take the putty knife to gently press the tape into the edge of the carpet.

Next use the flat of the putty knife to gently press the tape into the carpet fibers.

Use the putty knife as a cutter as you go along so not to rip your tape loose.

You can add another strip overlapping this one or use a drop cloth.
When your paint is dry, use the corner of the putty knife to separate the tape from your baseboard. Trash the tape, fluff the carpet and you are done.

Storage Project 5

Getting close to the end of the Storage Project. Here is an update. The base is in and the walls and baseboards are painted. The baseboards are 3” tall rather than the standard 2”, due to the walls being 97′ 1/2 ‘ tall rather than 96.  We had to rip a bunch of drywall down to an 1 1/4 ” to create a base for attaching the baseboard.  This also allows the wheels of the storage carts to hit the trim and not the walls. The lights are energy efficient fluorescent  giving a lot of light.

I am doing the doors separately, due to traffic issues.

Tech Tip: When painting raised panel doors like these, paint the panels and reveals first. This allows you to get in the corners and capture any drips along the way. After the paint dries, paint the flats. Touch up anything that may have gotten away, and you will have a beautiful door.

The new exterior door has a molded neoprene gasket. This should not be painted. If it can’t flex, It can’t seal. To paint around it, I use a drywall knife as a shield. On the one side(illustrated) the knife is held in place by friction. On the other side you will need to slip it undef the gasket and angle it up to paint underneath the gasket.

This allows you to paint right up to it without getting it painted. If you don’t have a big drywall knife any reasonably stiff thin cardboard can be used like the side of a cereal box. The longer the better, as you can paint more between moves.

On the other side the taping, filling and skim coating has made the patching almost invisible.

I also used some of the baseboard material to re frame the scuttle. Working overhead is a pita. But it can be made easier. After determining the scuttle is not square, (no surprise here) I took my measurement, so I have at least a 1/2” for the cover, and cut my pieces mitering the corners and placing the thin section to the outside.

I used quick clamps to hold my pieces in place while I positioned them. One at a time I took them down, Glued the back side and screwed them in place. Scuttles always get beat up. In Arizona construction is almost exclusively slab on grade, which puts all the utilities with the exception of water and gas in the attic.

Here is the scuttle finished.

After the alarm guy and the phone, TV and Internet guys are done, I will insulate this space including gluing insulation to the back of the scuttle cover.

Next up is the floor.In the foreground are the three craters left from the cut nails that were used to nail the stub wall to the floor.

Midway is a crack in the slab between a 1/16-1/18” in width. Too large to fill with paint. At the back in the corner is where somebody decided to put a hose bib outside after the walls were complete. This was complicated by this being the main water line to the building. They  hammered the crap out of the block and the floor, and just poured some concrete patch compound which was not floated to the surface, requiring repair. Half ass crap always bites somebody in the ass later.

We are using Quickcrete Epoxy Floor coating. We used it on the Artroom Expansion Project here.  This is a great product. It comes with floor cleaner, the coating in a lot of colors and chips to make it skid proof. After the floor sets, I will  silicone all the gaps between the baseboard and floor.  Scorpions are a problem in this neighborhood.

While this is going on, I will be working on the Closet Office, which was the original job.

Glidden Gripper Primer

Painting is the most common finishing technique for your home. It is either validation of all your efforts or your worst nightmare highlighting areas that were not done properly.

One of the most important steps in painting is using primer. Primer performs  important functions. It seals the surface,  blocks stains,  and it covers very small imperfections depending upon application. The larger ones can be caught and fixed before you start painting that expensive color paint you bought. Because it seals the surface, the coverage of that expensive paint will come close to what it says on the can, and you may need only one good coat.

The photo on the left is Glidden Interior/Exterior Gripper Primer Sealer. I was turned on to this by the paint guy at the orange store while buying BEHR Premium exterior paint. This is the only primer you will ever need. This is a full bodied, solid color primer with incredible gap filling and coverage.  This is one of those products that make me want to paint more stuff, and painting is not on the top of my list of things to do.

I experimented with primer/paint products and they just don’t get the job done. Most notable was the complete coverage of the inked  mill marks on the lumber for the Fascia and Outdoor  Table projects. Also the gap filling on weathered wood.

Here is your 411 heads up. Quality finishes require quality prep work. If you want stunning results in painting you will need to primer. Get over it. Painting is one of the things that you cannot get an ‘app’ for. So you might as well use the products that will give you the best results. Gripper is the primer I recommend. It is really that good.

P.S. Try not to get it on you. It sticks really well and is harder than hell to get  off your skin.

Outdoor Table Repairs

This is an end view of a popular outdoor table. Call it Table 1. Wood top and seats and metal legs. The boards have warped and ‘cupped’.  Notice the cracking on the end of the boards. More on that later.

Here is another table from the same yard. Call it Table 2.

The difference between these two tables is the paint. Not the brand, not the type, but the coverage. Table two’s wood was completely painted, (all 6 sides) and table 1 was not.
Table 1 was painted a few years ago, and here is one of the seats. Notice the cracks. The paint is only failing where there are cracks that have broken the ‘skin’. This is not a paint failure, this is an application failure.

This is why this table’s wood failed. Because the bottom was not painted or primered,  the weather in Arizona destroyed these boards. Because the wood was not sealed on all sides, the elements and especially heat, sucked the moisture out of the wood and accelerated the damage process.

There is no repair as the wood has dried past the point where any salvage is possible. If you are going to have wood furniture, protect it by sealing it completely. If  you are going to repaint or seal wood furniture, disassemble as far as practical, clean it, sand it , fill it, re prime and repaint. A little time now or a lot of money later.

Since I am replacing the wood, I am adding a bit of blocking to the end of each board. This will cover the end grain of the planks and minimize damage and end grain cracking like you saw in the first photo of table 1. These blocks were ripped from an 2x and were glued(powergrab) and screwed (3” deck screws with countersunk holes drilled beforehand).

This serves two purposes. Stop the current cracking and minimize future damage.

Since wood is an organic material, there is always defects that you can work around. Sometimes. Twisting, warping, cupping, excess moisture, pitch and mold are just a few things to look for when selecting wood.

Modern wood is shit. I don’t care what they brand it as, or how how carefully they grade it, the big box stores are there to move product. I started at the blue store, looking for 8′ material but thinking that I would need 10′ material and have to cut the ends off to get defect free material. We were out of there in 5 minutes, the selection was so bad.

Went to the orange store and spent 30 mins. digging through the stacks to find 4 2×12” for seats and 6 2×10” for the decks. Was able to find 8′ material so I wasn’t going to waste lumber by cutting down 10′ material.  The most surprising thing about this was the width of the boards. A 2×10”  board in theory is 1 1/2” x 9 1/2‘ 9 1/4′ nominal.  (hattip to Derek @ Kensington Bungalow ) There is a certain amount of variation but usually it is small. The material I picked up measured between 9 7/16” down to 9” even.  Modern wood is shit. But I will make it work.


In the closet behind the Flat Screen TV Install we built a couple of wide shelves out of a Bi-Fold Door. We needed to shelve the rest of the space. Because of the width of the space(41”) and the depth of the shelves (15”) we made them out of 3/4” plywood.

The client decided how much space she needed between the various shelves which determined the spacing. In small sizes plywood is a sound shelf. In larger sizes you need to stiffen it for use.

Having determined our locations, the first order was to install wall cleats to support the back and sides of our shelves.
These were made with 1×2 pine screwed to the studs with 2- 2” deck screws at each stud location. The right side pictured here has the cleat extending beyond the face of the shelf due to the location of the stud. Not elegant but sturdy.

Here is our closet with the cleats installed.  You can also see the outlet mounted for the TV toys, Dish receiver, DVD/VCR Player, surround sound, etc. Also are the holes for passing the cables between the boxes and the TV. I offset the holes between the front and back to that light was not an issue. Yes I know it is a picky detail.


Shelf Edge Detail

The fronts of the ply shelves are  reinforced with an aluminum channel. Here is a photo showing the edge detail at the front of the shelves. This is an aluminum channel cut to length and glued and screwed to the front edge of the shelf. I used a countersink bit to drill the holes to keep the top of the screw below the face of the channel.  We also sanded the channel and sprayed it with KILZ primer sealer as a base coat for the finish paint. Latex paints do not stick to metal very well.  We are using Shelving and BEHR Premium Plus Ultra   Semi Gloss in White.


Speaking of BEHR

We bought a can of BEHR Premium Plus Ultra to try out. I will not recommend or use it again. The theory is that having the primer and paint will save time and or steps. It doesn’t.  The cost of materials is basically the same within a buck, and your savings come from having to cover the area once.  It did not seal and cover the mill stamp(the black printing that is stamped on all lumber telling you where it was produced) and the two areas we used it in had an uneven finish. Part gloss part flat. We ended up second coating it. No net savings labor wise.

It is still better to use primer and paint as separate operations. Priming coats and seals your wall surfaces, as well as pointing out defects that get covered by sanding so you can fix them before putting down you final color.

I am still a Fanboy of BEHR Paint, just not the primer/sealer paint.

Here is our closet with the shelves installed and painted.


Painting Popcorn Ceilings

Painting ceilings is an unnatural act. Gravity is fighting you, unless you are on the extreme end of the height curve, your size is fighting you, and if you try to get by with cheap paint, it will fight you too. If those items are daunting, painting ‘popcorn’ ceilings is a whole  ‘nother level of nasty. However, there are times where it must be done.

Acoustic  Textured Ceilings aka Popcorn Ceilings were quite the thing for some time. They are still used because they are cheap to do. Basically popcorn texture is vermiculite, drywall mud and water based
white paint. Some folks never primed, but just sprayed it on extra

The drywall is primed and the texture is sprayed on.  It collects dust and gets dull and dingy. Here is an example.

It gets dull and dark over time. You can remove it, and skim coat it, which is almost as messy as
having a flood stop by, or you can paint it. This post is about painting it.

Your mission is to paint these ceilings. You will need a crap load of ‘ceiling’ paint. Flat is best. You will also need:

Painters Tape

Masking Tape

Wide Plastic sheeting

A 4” corner roller

A 9” ‘rough surface’ roller.(3/4” nap)

An extension pole

One gallon plastic Ziplock bags for keeping the roller moist in between episodes.

I am painting the ceilings with Behr Ultra White Interior Flat. I am
using it for two reasons. One, it is really, really White. Two. It is a
thick bodied paint allowing me to use a 3/4” nap roller to get it up
without painting the floor. Painting your ceiling white pays off in being able to use lower wattage lights for lighting your rooms.

Remove the furniture, because you need to bag the entire floor.  If you cannot remove the furniture, you will have to move it to cover the floor, move the stuff and cover the rest of the floor, and move it again to keep it out of your way while you are trying to get paint on the ceiling.  Trust me, you really want to remove the furniture.

You will need to get a roll of wide plastic sheeting for ‘bagging’ the floor and or the walls if you are leaving the walls alone. (If you are not doing the walls at the same time you are doing the
ceilings, you will need to bag the walls as well. You will need a
couple of friends to help you do the walls)The orange and blue stores sell it in big boxes. You will need blue painters tape and regular masking tape. 1 1/2 or 2” wide.

The first thing that you will need to do is to ‘bag’ the floor. Vacuum the floor, especially the corners so that the painters tape will stick well. Wall to Wall, cover it with Plastic. I recommend .7 to 1 mil thick plastic. It is thick enough to walk on and catch the crap that will fall.

First, tape the perimeter of the room with the painters tape, tucking it on the edge of the carpet. Painters tape is more expensive, but sticks to carpet very well and doesn’t leave glue residue like regular masking tape. Next, roll out your plastic and with the regular masking tape, tape the edges of the plastic to the painters tape you have laid down. The edges of your room should look like this. If you do not do the entire floor, paint and popcorn will find its way into the exposed areas, and cause to you to re-arrange your furniture strangely or add new carpeting to your list of things to buy.

The rest of the room will look like this. These photos show you the stuff that will fall down while you are painting. Use masking tape for the seams because it is cheaper than painters tape.

Wear a long sleeve shirt that you are not fond of when doing this or your arms will look like this.

You will need two rollers and an extension pole. The pole will allow you to paint from the floor.  A regular 9” with a ‘rough surface’ roller, and a 4” ‘corner’ roller. The corner roller will give you a nice line for the big one later.

Here is your corner. See dull and dingy. You probably the top photo was just a bad photo.

Painting popcorn uses a lot of paint. This project was 1100 sq.ft. of ceiling and I used 18 gallons. Around 60 sq.ft. a gallon. Figure 50-60 sq. ft. per gallon. Buy it in 5 gal. buckets. You will need to load your roller and work carefully to cover the ceiling. You need enough pressure to get the paint on, covering and sealing the texture, yet not so hard that you pull the texture down, causing you more problems.

At the end however, it will look nice.

Lightyear Sunken Bath Episode 9 – Water Heater and Tub Prep 1

In our last episode I discussed blocking prior to drywalling. Since we are installing a water heater  to provide water for the Jacuzzi, and fixtures on this side of the house, which included tying in the hall bathroom (an in progress change that made sense and did not add significantly to the cost), next is getting ready for installing the water heater and setting the tub.

Coordination is important for running these projects especially when acting as your own contractor in terms of getting the professionals like the plumber and electrician to work with you. For example on this project we have an electric water heater and an electric bathtub (i.e. Jacuzzi) I choose to have both on site during this phase as if there is a problem it can be solved without everybody having to make extra trips. When the electrician installed the panel and was testing it, he discovered that one of the new breakers was bad.(It happens)

We had already partitioned the space outside of the bathroom proper to provide a space for the heater and some storage.
By Monday I had the door between the bathroom and the new water heater and storage area removed and relocated in its new location, and had three of the walls drywalled and first tape coat on.

Over the weekend I tracked down a light fixture for this area as well as some other materials. Monday I framed out the opening into the storage area, drywalled the ceiling and archway, as well as the tub area.


The tub area was drywalled with M/R waterboard(green board) and screwed off. The majority of the new construction is steel stud which can’t be nailed. The f;at seams are covered with mesh tape, the inside corners are paper tape and the outside corners are covered with metal corner bead.


This is the long wall with our glass blocks in place, and the soffit in the foreground at the top of the photo. These openings will be wrapped with solid surface. What you can’t see in this photo is the plastic wrap that I covered the face of the blocks with. This is to make clean up easier after the soldi surface is done.


Here is the back tub wall drywalled. Notice the archway for the pocket door has some narrow drywall at the top and along the right side. Because this is getting a bifold door, the rough opening dimensions are narrower that a standard framed door opening.


On the left side of the new archway are two electical boxes. We are
installing a Jeeves Heated Towel Bar. The bottom box is the power for
the towel bar, the upper is for the timer. They are sold separately, but if you go this route it is a good idea as it takes time to warm up and you don’t want it running all the time.

One last detail is the width of the soffit. It is 36” finished. This will provide a straight vertical line for the solid surface between the ceiling and edge of the tub when it is installed. The soffit was originally designed to carry the electricity and water lines for the tub. In discussing this with the plumber we eliminated the waterlines, which saved time and money. The electric lines are up there as it was shorter than alternatives.