Primer/Paint: “The whole industry is shifting to combination primer and paint,” says Mauro. “That’s a good thing, since a lot of people skip the primer, and the combination is better than nothing.” Still, for an unfinished or problem surface, he always uses a stand-alone primer. And if he’ll be using a dark paint, he tints the primer with about 80% of the paint color to ensure that two topcoats will do the job.

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Inspect the surface area for holes, cracks or other problems and apply acrylic caulk to fill them in. Use a putty knife to smooth out the caulk and remove any excess to prevent bumps. For particularly thin or narrow crevices, you may have to use your finger to smooth out the caulk. Caulk contracts and shrinks, so apply a second layer once it's dried.

Keep an eye on the new cans as they're being brought in. Make sure they look new and don't have paint in the rim of the can. If it's a five-gallon bucket, check to see whether the lid is still sealed on with the plastic strip. The only time it's acceptable to mix water in the paint is when you're using a deep or ultra deep base paint to reduce its stickiness, which is rare with new paint technology. Dark primary colors are composed almost entirely of tint that makes it very hard to work with without adding water.

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When calculating total cost of your project, one of the most important factors to consider is the paint itself. Paint costs will be determined by the quantity of paint and primer required to complete your project, as well as the quality of the paint you choose. You can use this paint calculator to estimate how much paint you will need.. Once you have an idea what you're working with, go to your local home improvement store and compare the costs of a gallon in person. Painting professionals can also quote average prices from their years of experience working with different paint qualities.
A good contractor doesn’t just do quality work, of course. Workers should be courteous, pleasant, and capable of clear communication. Ideally, the people altering your home’s look will be enthusiastic about the task rather than jaded and burnt out. Find out from your references what kind of attitude the company’s workers displayed, and whether they behaved professionally. Also ask whether the crew stayed on schedule, and whether they arrived early each day, did their work, and got out of there.

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