Frequently Asked Paint Questions

Wondering if you should use a primer or why your paint isn't covering as well as it should? Find answers to these and other commonly asked paint questions.

How do I tell if the paint on my walls is latex or alkyd (oil) based?

You may use a small amount of denatured alcohol or finger nail polish remover on a cloth and lightly rub it on an inconspicuous test area. If the paint softens and is easily removed, then it is a latex paint. If the paint does not really seem to be affected by the test, it is typically an alkyd coating.

Do paint products that are considered "Paint and Primer" in one product actually have primer mixed in?

No. These types of products do not actually have primer mixed into them. The "Paint and Primer" products use quality resins that allow for better adhesion than regular paints. This helps to eliminate the use of primers. Please note that primers may be needed in special circumstances. Contact your local store or Technical Service for more information in those instances. And check our website frequently for wall paint ideas!

Why does my flat or low sheen paint show handprints, marks or the areas where I have scrubbed?

In general, flat and low sheen paints do not have a high scrubbabilty. Areas that are of higher traffic or that are washed regularly should be painted with a higher sheen product. At minimum, an eggshell, satin or higher sheen is usually recommended in those areas for their overall durability.

Can I put a latex paint over a surface that was previously painted with alkyd (oil) product?

Due to the latex technology used today, in most cases this should not be an issue. The surface to be painted needs extra attention when preparing to paint. Make sure to clean the surface as well to remove any dirt, debris, etc. Then prime with an appropriate primer before applying the final coat.

How long does it take for paint to "cure"?

Depending on color choice, atmospheric conditions, and other variables, latex paint may take up to 30 days for a "full cure". Fresh latex paint should be allowed to cure for at least 14 days before attempting to wipe or wash the walls. It can be sensitive to water or chemicals during the curing process. Also note that lower sheens will be more susceptible to moisture and chemicals even after fully cured.

Do I need to prime every time I freshen my walls with another coat of latex paint?

No. Primers are not always needed when repainting. If you are repainting a similar color, you can lightly scuff-sand the walls to remove any gloss and then clean the surface. Once that is completed, you can simply repaint over the existing latex coating. More than one coat may be needed for uniformity. Please note that switching sheens or drastic color changes may require a primer to minimize the amount of topcoats used. To ensure complete coverage, consider using a paint and primer in one product.

Why does the paint on my freshly painted wall peel off when I remove the masking tape from the trimmed areas?

Masking tape or even "Painter's tape" may stick to fresh coatings if not removed shortly after painting or pulled improperly from the surface. When the paint is applied to the walls, it will inevitably cover over the tape as well. As the paint starts to dry, it will start to adhere to the wall as well as the tape. This "bridge" of paint from the walls to the tape will lift as the tape is removed. To help minimize this issue, you can lightly "score" the edge of the tape with a sharp razor or utility knife. This will help break the "bridge" or "film" between the painted wall and tape. Also, try pulling the tape by staying close to the wall but pulling away from the painted edge.

Why is my paint not covering after one coat has been applied?

There are several reasons why paint may not cover in one coat. Some of the reasons could include drastic color changes i.e. light colors to dark colors or even dark colors to light colors, thinning the product, stretching the product near or beyond its coverage rate, or using the improper roller cover. To ensure complete coverage, consider using a paint and primer in one product.

Why do the square footage rates on the container not match what I am actually getting on my surface?

The coverage rates on the container are based off of a theoretical calculation. This calculation does not account for any loss due to product left in the container, roller covers, brushes, or variations in the surface that it is applied to. Depending on these variables as well as overall surface porosity, you may see a lesser spread rate than what the "theoretical" coverage rate states on the container.

What causes lap marks in the dried paint?

Lap marks are created when a wet edge is not maintained while painting. It can also be caused when the paint is applied in a vertical motion only. Make sure to keep a wet edge as well as spread the paint in a "W" or "M" pattern on the wall. This will help spread the coating and create an even film on the surface. Once this is done, you can go right back over that area and roll from top to bottom to minimize a "shadowing" effect in the dried film.