How to Apply Primer Properly

People often mistake the importance of applying primer before painting as they think it takes up too much time and is not really needed. However, it is vital since primer ensures a better finish for the top coat and makes it last longer than usual. How does it work? Simple – The primer makes it easy for the true color of the paint used for the top coat to come through. It has to be done using the correct technique.

Ensure the wall is ready

The wall has to be totally clean before the primer can be applied because any leftover residue will not let the primer coat well. Can you imagine a freshly painted surface showing protruding nails, screws or debris on the wall? Remove all furniture if possible or cover it up with cloth. Use appropriate tools to pound in nails or screws. Wipe the surfaces with soapy water and clear residue with a wet towel (lint-free). A layer of spackle over the nail or screw holes along with an adhesive tape for the seams should be used. Don’t forget to sand the spackle to make it flush with the wall. The areas you don’t want to paint should be protected with painters tape.

Selecting which primer to use

Consider how the paint job will look after it is finished. Your options are oil or latex primer. The latter has a lot of advantages such as – ease of application, flexibility, and resistance to peeling and cracking. Soap and water can be used to clean latex primer. If you are painting on milled lumber, it is best to use oil-based primer, as it can seep into wood easily and prevent tannin (from the wood) from rising to the surface.

Applying primer on surfaces

Primer needs to be stirred from the bottom of its can so that the sediment doesn’t cause issues. On a paint tray, pour some of the primer and apply it around the wall with a good quality paintbrush. The painters tape can mark the boundaries better. Apply the primer to the edges and switch to a paint roller. Wipe away the extra primer and start covering the remaining portion of the wall. Don’t forget to overlap what you just did using the brush.

At Southwest Professional Painting, we have lots of experience in this field and are happy to help out. Feel free to shoot us an email and our representative will get in touch with you.

Why is Caulking and Masking Needed?

Tape caulking is done after your interior surfaces have been cleaned and repaired. Before the paint is applied, you need to caulk and mask because caulk can cover a lot of imperfections and prevent problematic issues, while the latter protects surfaces you don’t want to paint.

  • After priming, cracks become more visible. Prime the wood before caulking as caulk sticks better after that. To avoid moisture seeping into walls, caulk all joints between trim and wall surfaces.
  • Take two tubes of caulk and cut the tips. In one of the tubes, cut a tiny opening so that you can use it for narrow cracks at nearly all joints between the woodwork and walls. It can be put to use between various trim members as well such as frame joints and window stops. A bigger opening needs to be cut at the tip of the second tube as it will be used to seal larger cracks.
  • Squeeze the trigger to apply the caulk, as you either push or pull the tip along the joint. Don’t use excessive caulk to fill up the crack (use only the amount needed), because it will spread out on the surface. Tiny holes can be filled and smoothed with wet fingertips. Allow sufficient time for the caulk to set.
  • Buy painter’s tape, available in various degrees of tackiness and width, to mask the areas. It also comes off much easier as opposed to regular masking tape.
  • Pre-taped masking paper or plastic works well, because the self-stick edges can hold on to surfaces like door trim or the top of a window. The width ranging from a couple of inches to several feet drapes the surface.
  • It is advisable not to opt for masking tape because it has way too much adhesive, thus making it tougher to remove. A rougher edge is created as paint tends to bleed under masking tape more easily.
  • To prevent paint bleeding under the tape, press the edge with a putty knife or any hard material.
  • Remove the tape after the paint is dry. Don’t wait more than 24 hours to take off the tape as it might get wet or the sun might bake the tape on. Peel it back at an angle slowly, away from the painted surface to ensure that the freshly applied paint doesn’t peel.

Get in touch with Southwest Professional Painting to get the best tips about caulking and any painting-related issues.


Types of Tools for Stripping Paint

It’s time to re-paint your home and give it a brand new look! The first and most difficult task is to remove old paint from those surfaces that are in dire need of fresh paint. Stripping paint is a difficult task but it is necessary, because old, peeling, or flaking paint will botch up the task completely.

These are a few paint-stripping tools you can use:

Heat Guns

These can range in temperature from 200 °F to 1400 °F. Keep the temperature between 500 – 800 °F while removing paint with a heat gun. You need to maintain this temperature, because if it goes above 1000 °F, it can cause the paint to vaporize releasing toxic fumes like in the case of lead paint. If you are using it on a siding, the gun can set it on fire if it crosses 1000 °F. Heat guns are quite effective on smaller intricate wood work such as trim and molding. A blow torch is sometimes used instead because it has great speed and mobility, but the risk factor is huge if used on highly combustible surfaces.

Infrared Heaters

These work on the principle of infrared heat, seeping through the top coat into the sub-coats, thereby making it simpler for stripping paint. The temperature needs to be between 350 – 600 °F.  As mentioned before, lead paint can be fatal but infrared heaters remove the paint in chunks and hold it in the paint chip. This technique is slow but one of the safest for removing paints. Electric heat plates are occasionally used to strip paint from big areas. They operate between 500 – 800 °F.

Chemical Sprays

A few years back, methylene strippers were used to remove paint, but it is extremely caustic and causes burns if it touches skin. Nowadays you can find a lot of environmentally friendly, biodegradable, non-flammable, and odor free products on the market. These don’t contain harmful chemicals and is non-toxic.

Dry Ice Blasters

This method works best for thinner layers. It will not be too effective on thicker layers as the bond between the paint and the surface is stronger. How does it operate? It freezes the paint quickly, thus making it shrink and is subsequently released from the substrate. There are no chemicals involved and it can remove paint up to 300 sq ft per hour.

Need advice about paint stripping tools? At Southwest Professional Painting, we have qualified and experienced technicians who can answer your questions and guide you in the right direction for your project needs.  Call today 602-490-0979!




Tips and Tricks to Paint Woodwork

Revamping furniture can lend an entirely new appeal to it – for example, you can touch up an old piece of wood furniture to give it a vintage look or you can buy an inexpensive piece of furniture and paint it. This way you add color and style to your home and save money too.

Here are a few painting tips:

  • You should work in well-ventilated area such as porches, covered decks, or basements with open windows etc. so that the fumes don’t affect you. There should also be no fume-producing object in the vicinity. Use a dust mask, gloves, and goggles to protect yourself.
  • Put an old sheet, a drop cloth or newspapers on the floor. All hardware from the furniture must be removed such as drawer pulls or hinges.
  • Use liquid sander or fine sandpaper to sand the furniture. Keep on sanding till it is smooth.
  • Check to see if any residual sawdust remains and use a hand vacuum to remove the particles. Otherwise, use a brush or barely damp rag to clean the wood.
  • Apply the primer and keep in mind that it should be either white brush-on or gray spray-on water-based paint. The size of the furniture will decide what type of paint you should buy.
  • Let the primer dry for a few hours. The time duration varies for different types, so read the label on the primer you are using to be sure. On a day with high humidity, it might take longer to dry.
  • After the first coat of primer is dry, check to see if another coat is required. If yes, apply the second coat and let it dry again.
  • No rough areas should remain; if there are any make sure you sand them till they are even.
  • Use water-based paint and begin with one coat, brushing it on with even strokes. Always paint in the direction of the wood grain. Spray painting needs to be done with extreme caution – go slowly while holding the can about 8-12 inches away from the surface.
  • As in the case of primer, the first coat of paint needs to thoroughly dry before you can apply another coat. When the painting is done, let it dry overnight.

Southwest Professional Painting can provide you with a lot of useful tips and expert advice as to how you can paint woodwork. So what are you waiting for? Call us today, 602-490-0979.


How to Avoid Paint Peeling

Paint peeling is an extremely common phenomenon on walls and ceilings. It might occur due to humidity or water leaks or if the surface has been painted over and the newer coat separates from the older one. It doesn’t matter how much effort we put into maintenance, this problem is bound to crop up sometime or an other, which is why you should be prepared to repair the damage, because peeling contributes largely to the growth of bacteria and mildew.

  • First and foremost, you need to remove the chipped spots with a paint scraper or putty knife. All peeling/flaking areas need to be worked upon till firmly adhered paint remains. Don’t forget to keep a bin nearby and line the floor with a cloth to catch paint chips and flakes.
  • After the chipped spots are done, you will notice various uneven surfaces since some areas have a coat or more of paint than others. Make use of a quick-setting patching compound to even out the surfaces so that it creates a smooth area for repainting. Use a broad knife to apply it in a thin, even layer. The second coat should be applied only if needed. Lastly, use a coat of all-purpose drywall compound and let it dry overnight.
  • Sand the patched areas (after they are dry), to make sure there are no uneven edges or ridges. Walls can be done manually with sandpaper, but you should use a shop vacuum equipped with a sanding attachment and dust collection bag. This way there is no mess afterwards.
  • Peeling often occurs due to the lack of proper priming. To ensure that it doesn’t happen in the long run, use an oil-based primer before painting (with stain-blocking properties). Even if there is humidity and moisture, the primer will not allow water marks to set and prevent the patching compound from getting wet. This is an important step, so don’t skip it. Mildew growth is also hindered if you prime well.
  • Repainting is the final stage after the primer dries, so make sure you choose good quality paint to prevent peeling in the future.

Need advice about paint peeling? Don’t fret it, let the professionals take over. Southwest Professional Painting is just a call away. We provide customized solutions for homeowners as well as business owners. To get a precise quote, call or email us today, 602-490-0979.



Which is Suitable for Your Home – A Sprayer or a Brush and Roll?

Sprayer vs. brush and roll – which of the two is most effective? This is one question which plagues homeowners whenever they consider redoing and revamping their house. The solution depends on how you wish to do the job and the amount you are willing to spend.

Sprayers can be grouped into two categories – airless and high-volume, low-pressure (HVLP) units that atomize the paint. The latter is used for thinner materials like stains, lacquers and urethanes while the HVLP works better for stains or paints that have lower viscosity. The advantage of using sprayers is that a 5-foot tall fence with 8 linear feet can be completed in 5 minutes, which takes longer when you have to brush and roll. But then again there is the problem of over-spraying; especially on windy days when you are unable to control the paint from settling on unwanted areas.

When should you use a sprayer?

  • In case of ceilings and trim where the carpet is being replaced or if a single color is being used.
  • Do you have large interiors with very little furniture to mask? If so, you can spray the trim and ceiling. The walls can be done with a brush and roll if there are many colors.
  • Painting gutters with the trim need to be done with a sprayer.
  • Staining fences and decks and areas that have no brick and all siding can be sprayed.

When should you use a brush and roll?

  • If the wind is above 10mph, it is advisable to use a brush even though the wind will be blocked by one side of the house.
  • Over-spraying looks terrible and is noticeable, which is why spraying is a no-no when you are working on the roof.
  • Is there too much furniture to mask? Don’t even think about spraying! Use a brush and roll religiously in such cases.
  • If there is a single coat, a brush is the most effective. However it works when there’s a couple of coats as well since the masking can be done for both layers in one go.
  • Spraying is prohibited when there is a natural stained trim or an area that can’t be ventilated well.

Southwest Professional Painting can advise you in this regard. We have experts on board with years of experience under our belt, which can help you figure out which option works best. Don’t make the mistake of DIY and botching it up. Ask for help so that you can get a customized solution for your home.

For exterior painting Southwest uses both the spraying and brush & roll technique for a full coverage and longer lasting paint finish.


Tips to Select and Use Spray Paint

Painting with a brush takes a lot of time, but you can seek a suitable alternative to that – spray paint. Nowadays, they have faster dry times; provide prevention from rust, and have great durability as well.

Choose the Right Spray Paint

  • For appliances, metal cabinets, and outdoor tables, use enamel it provides an extremely hard finish. Use it for recoating and touch-ups too.
  • Plastic should be used for items like planters, lawn chairs, and mailboxes. The job will take an hour or two and you can mix colors for decorative appeal.
  • High Heat is ideally used for grills, stoves or radiators but is strictly prohibited for interior surfaces exposed to flames, which means you can’t apply it to the inside of these appliances.
  • To get the look of etched glass on mirrors and doors, use the Frosted version, which can be paired with stencils for a customized decorative look.
  • For children’s rooms, Chalkboard is perfect. It can be used for coating poster board, metal or wood and other types of surfaces for a clean-erase finish.
  • To get a high luster finish, you should apply Lacquer in many coats. It can be applied on all kinds of items, especially furniture. Urethane coatings can be used over stains or as a protective finish (available in gloss, semi-gloss or satin).
  • Some types of finishes belong to the Specialty section which include metallic, reflective, antique or stone or patinas like verdigris, hammered or rust.

Using the Paint

  • Clean the item, rinse, and dry. If there is rust on it, lightly sand away and prime the affected areas.
  • Each type of spray paint has different instructions so ensure you know about recommended surface prep and dry times.
  • You can use a cardboard box with a top, bottom and three sides or build a frame surrounded by plastic stapled in place, as a booth in case of overspray. The best room for doing spray painting is the garage.
  • Use the paint in short bursts so that the drips and overspray is lessened. Apply lighter coats and let it dry thoroughly between coats.
  • Larger items should be worked upon in sections. Use plastic primer for plastic items and prepare surfaces using paint thinner.

Cabinet Refinishing and Painting – Do it Right

It is time to work on the cabinets and have them looking as good as new! We often tend to neglect painting the cabinets, instead choosing to focus on walls and ceilings, but refinishing and painting is necessary too.

Know what to do

Repainting wood, wood-laminate, and metal cabinets is not too difficult, but plastic laminate ones require specialized techniques as they resist over-painting. Woodwork with raised panels, routed profiles or other architectural detailing need longer to prep and paint. For repainting, there are various methods like rolling, spraying or brushing using a natural or synthetic bristle brush or a foam brush. Don’t forget to remove the doors and drawers of the cabinet along with the knobs, latches and other hardware from these parts.

Cleaning and sanding the surfaces

All surfaces should be cleaned with a solution of one part tri-sodium phosphate and four parts water. While rinsing, ensure that the cabinets are not soaked with clean water. Allow them to dry completely. Sand the doors on all sides and faces. It is not necessary to remove all the old paint if it has adhered well. Simply make the surface rough to provide the new paint with a firm, clean base for better adhesion. Sand over glossy areas to get rid of the glaze from the previous finish. Use denatured alcohol and fine steel wool if required. Pay attention to old and flaking paint; sand well to expose bare wood and spot-prime with a stain-killing primer/sealer.

Apply the primer-sealer and paint

Primer-sealer should be applied evenly to all surfaces for a well-bonded finish coat. As mentioned above, it works well for deglazing old finishes. It provides a great base for semi-gloss, water-based paint. Water-based finishes are in demand nowadays because of their durability and ease of usage.

Begin from the inside edges and openings of the face frames, moving on to the outer cabinet sides, and then paint the face frame fronts. Work on the cabinet doors and drawer fronts next. The coats applied should be thin and light, and need to cover all areas. Thin coats leave fewer visible brushstrokes and dry more quickly. The dry time between coats is at least 4 hours. After drying, re-sand surfaces before the next coat.

Tips to Remove Paint and Varnish

Getting rid of paint and varnish stains from furniture is a headache but it needs to be done. You wouldn’t want your beautiful furniture pieces stained with blobs of paint because it will completely mar its appearance. Needless to say, paint and varnish stains will affect the overall look of the room too.

Protect yourself

Removing paint or varnish involves the usage of chemicals that have noxious fumes. Protecting yourself is a priority, so ensure that you put on heavy rubber gloves, a long-sleeved shirt and protective eyewear. If you are working inside, the area should have proper ventilation and fans. It is advisable to work outside because of the fumes. In case you are sensitive to fumes, don a charcoal-filter respirator.

Applying the chemicals

To remove paint from the surface, use methylene chloride. Read the safety precautions on the can carefully. It is slightly thick in composition, since wax is added to give it mass and delay evaporation. Pour it on the surface and use a paintbrush to smooth the liquid over it. Leave it like that; cover with waxed paper to reduce evaporation. Don’t poke or prod the chemical as it breaks the wax barrier, allowing it to evaporate faster. For stained or shellacked antiques, you can use a product labeled furniture refinisher. Pour in a metal pan, dip a pad of steel wool in it, and rub onto the surface with the wet steel wool. Use a dry rag to wipe it off. After it has dried, sand it a bit, and put on a coat of tung oil. Use synthetic pads if you are scraping varnish off baseboards as steel wool pads fall apart in this case.

Scrape the paint

After taking the waxed paper off the methylene chloride, scrape up the sludge (paint and goo) with a plastic spatula. This exposes the original surface beneath. Wipe the surface with a rag dipped in mineral spirits. Don’t leave the sludge lying around – put it in an empty can along with the rags and steel wool before disposing. Sludge disposal rules and regulations vary according to city, so ensure that you know how to throw it away using the correct procedure. If you notice specks of paint in the cracks of wood after stripping use a brass brittle brush to scrub it out of the pores.

A Guide to Painting Ceramic Tiles

Painting ceramic tiles is not too difficult but it takes time and effort. With a little guidance, it is possible to paint ceramic tiles in such a way that they get a totally different look. Moreover, you can also make old ones look like new.

Cleaning before painting

Firstly, you need to ensure that each of the tiles is completely clean and dry before you begin. There shouldn’t be any grease or waxy residue on them. A mild abrasive soap can be used to clean the tiles, in order to remove the build-up. Cleaning the grout might take some time – you can use a scrub brush and an oxygen bleach cleaner solution. Apply it to the grout, let it soak for about 10 minutes, and scrub it till it is clean. Allow the grout to dry for 48 hours before painting.


All repair work to the tiles and grout, like cracks or crumbling grout should be dealt with beforehand or else it can ruin the painted tiles. All the gloss and shine needs to be removed from the ceramic tiles so that the paint will adhere to the surface. This can be done with a hand held orbital sander with 220 grit sandpaper. Clean the tile and grout once more so that there is no dirt and dust.

Selecting the Paint and Primer

An acrylic paint primer is needed for the first layer of paint. The paint (it needs to stick) used for ceramic tiles is oil based paint or water based paint with a urethane resin.

Painting the Tiles

Coat the tile with the first layer of primer, let it dry for a few hours, and then apply another coat. The second coat should be left for 24 hours to dry. After that, you should sand areas that are not completely smooth and wipe off the dust. Tiles can be painted by spraying or with a roller. If you choose the latter, it should have low nap, as that it will go on smoother than a high nap roller and will give less bubbles. Tape the grout lines so that the paint doesn’t seep through. The newly painted tiles need 48 hours to dry before the finishing coat can be applied. Water–based urethanes work best on painted ceramic and will not yellow.