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Friday, November 30, 2012

How do I get different species of wood to look the same after staining them

Q:  How do you get different species of wood to look the same after staining
A:  Read Below and then call Complete Custom Painting: 651-336-0561

Recently we had a job in a very nice house where in a french door was made of Red Oak and the jamb and casing were white oak.  This all butted up to white oak baseboard which had already been finished (more than 10 years ago).  So the question was, how to get the white oak to match the existing white oak, and then make the read oak match also.  Below are some pictures and an explanation of how it turned out:
 Here is a white oak jamb and casing but the door is read oak.  I had two samples made and was carrying two types of stain.  You can see that the read oak appears darker (more red of course) so I thinned it and it matched much better.

In this picture I used the the same two stains but put them on different items.  You can see that the red oak is now extremely red compared to the white and the white oak, is a little too light.  I scrapped this match but added a little of it to the other stain when I applied it to the white oak.  I didn't use any of it on the red (it would have been way too red)

Here is the Read Oak French Door next to an existing door that was White Oak but was in the house for 15 years or better.  Extremely close match and the varnish isn't on it yet. (after the varnish it should be spot on )

  Here is the casing, jamb and french door.  2 types of stains were applied and it was thinned down dramatically when applied to the red oak to make sure it wasn't too dark. This is before the Sealer and Varnish were applied so the amber effect will make it match exactly. While red oak will not ever be exactly the same as white oak (because the idea of stain is to see through to the wood and allow the woods natural color to come through the transparent color of the stain you are going to have different looks from species to species and board to board.  Depending on how opaque the stain is you can make it match.  The more transparent, the more likely you are to see the difference.  However by using 2 types of stains and knowing which colors will mute out certain tones you can get even different species of wood to match pretty well.
Call Complete Custom Painting 651-336-0561  

Friday, November 16, 2012

Can you shade varnish with stain?

Question: Can you add stain to varnish to shade it?
Answer:  Yes, but be careful...

Shading has become popular in lacquers.  Lacquers can only be used in a sprayer (or at least the catalyzed lacquers that builders seem to be in love with).  You can do something similar with varnish but the amount of stain you can add to varnish is very limited in comparison to lacquer.  Adding stain to varnish to shade it slightly can cause a real problem if you add too much.  It can separate while drying and destroy your finish.  In addition, it is advised to avoid it entirely if you have universal colorants at your disposal and you can get the same finish by adding those to the varnish.  Since universal colorants are n longer universally carried by professional painters you can add a very small amount of stain to shade your varnish to achieve a darkened look.  This occurs in several scenarios:  Old casing with new inserts on windows, new doors with old jambs, where a shoe meets a new wood floor etc etc etc.  The scenarios are really endless but the important thing to know is that if you do it with a varnish, it can be brushed or sprayed where as with lacquers you are more limited.  Below is a pic of some doors that were replaced in a home with a fire.  Most of the doors were OK and kept in the house but the owner wanted to speed up (slightly) the new doors with a shaded varnish so we did this in a sprayed finish.  They looked great.
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Friday, November 9, 2012

An easy way to save your customer money

Q:  Can you mix paints?
A:  Depends, see below

Generally speaking if you are using interior water-borne paints with the same sheen you can mix them.  I don't recommend it in the event a customer has signed an agreement where you are charging them for one product but then mixing it with another.  But their are a few scenarios where it works pretty well.  For homeowners not working with a professional painting contractor and they want to throw some paint on an old shed (just to clean it up) the general rules are as follows:  You can mix water based interior paints with any other water-based interior paint of the same sheen (and the sheen really doesn't matter if you mix it with a paddle drill and continually stir it through the application process).  You can also mix oil based paints (interior with interior and exterior with exterior).  Just make sure the paint is not lumpy, you've filtered it, and you mix it with a drill and paddle.  I don't recommend this for a painting contractor working with a homeowner.  In the event a homeowner has purchased a job with new quality products, it is wrong to cut the product they've purchased.  In one rare case however, I had the following example and it did work to save the customer money.
Example:  We were painting a house for re-sale (a foreclosure house for a bank), and there are multiple colors in the home, and the agent wants everything painted one color, it may be hard to cover everything in one coat.
My recommendation is to purchase the darkest color in the beige family that will cover in one coat.  (or match it to the darkest beige on site that is acceptable to the seller) and then mix in white on the job site to lighten the color as needed.  That way the painter is saving time (because they don't have to paint multiple colors in multiple rooms) and the customer is saving money (because in at least some rooms you can cover in one coat).  Of course you'll need to put 2 coats on some walls and areas.  I would not recommend this for a homeowner looking to stay in their house.  I would also not recommend it on any area where durability is a concern.  There is no one coat product substitute for the quality process of:  one coat primer, 2 top coats of a quality acrylic paint.  With that said, a lot of people are only looking to clean up the look of their home for staging purposes and are looking to save money.  This is a simple way to save them a few dollars on the job site.

As promised, here are a few pictures I've added after the fact that show the walls.  These smart phone images are as clear as I can make them but I hope the point is clear that after one matching coat (after all mud was primed of course) the finish is prefect for staging.
Call Complete Custom Painting for any of your painting needs:  651-336-0561 cellular