Sanding Interior Walls Before Painting | How to Prepare Walls

Most People Hate to Sand Walls – It’s Messy

Sanding interior walls before painting can be a messy task.  Most homeowners I speak with say that they just can’t deal with the dust.  But is it really necessary every single time you paint?  Let’s talk about it in greater detail. Sometimes you don’t actually have to sand.  It is your choice.

Sanding Interior Walls Before Painting:  How to Prepare Walls

Not every time you time you paint should you need to do sanding walls before painting.  It really depends upon you. If the walls in your home are in pretty good shape, you might not even need to sand.  I generally recommend putting an 80-100 grit sandpaper on a sanding pole.  This just knocks down any sort of imperfection off the walls. Usually in a 12×12 room, with proper tools, this should only take you 5-10 minutes.

sanding interior walls before painting


Painting Over Trim Work

If you are going to be painting over trim work that has been previously painted or varnished, there are one of two ways to prepare the surface.  

  • Either sand the surface and then remove the dust with a tack cloth.
  • Use a chemical agent that softens up the existing surface

Note:  read the direction on the manufacturer’s can to achieve maximum results.

Ceiling Painting

I generally recommend spot sanding with a sanding pole, especially if there are a lot of imperfections from fibers from the previous paint job from the roller cover or chunks of dried paint that were not strained during last application.  Quick tip:  Make sure you purchase a dust mask from the local paint store before sanding – your lungs will appreciate it.

More Videos about Interior Painting or Sanding

No VOC Paint – Odorless Painting Products

Preparing a Room for Interior Painting

How to Paint a 2-Story Foyer

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Painting and Remodeling Tools of the Trade Professional

Secrets of Professional Painters & Remodelers

Ever wanted to learn just some of the secrets of the painting professionals?  Mark gives you a quick list of his favorite painting and remodeling tools and items to have in his toolbox.

Painting and Remodeling Tools in Toolbox

My ultimate favorite tool in his toolbox is the Purdy Premium 6-in-1 Tool.  This is probably the most widely used tool in your toolbox.  It has a stainless steel type of simple hammer to drive in and set nails.  You can use the tool also as a hammer to pound the lid of paint can lids down.  It also has a paint scraper that you can clean your paint roller off at the end of the day.  Use the flat side as a spackling tool too. It’s also great to clean out paint from the corners.  

How to Clean Algae, Mold and Lichen from Siding

My next favorite go-to products are two types:  Spray and Walk Away or Wet and Forget It.  You can put this in a garden sprayer and use a spray application.  Follow the directions on the side of the bottle.  Pretty much you spray it on and let Mother Nature take care of the rest.  If you have a stubborn stain, you might have to apply several applications.  It is a slow process, but an easy solution for a DIY homeowner.  After it dries on the siding, let say in a few days it rains – then it re-wets it and it starts to basically eat at the microorganisms again.  It basically starts the process over again.  It is a steady, slow process, but works really well.  Have patience, and before you know it, the algae are gone.

Painting a Straight Ceiling Line

For most homeowners, using tape along the ceiling might not be the best choice for you.  If you let the paint dry too long, when you remove the tape, it can actually rip off some of that ceiling paint.  You can also apply too much paint on the ceiling and paint can leech underneath the tape. This will cause a huge mess.  My painting and remodeling tools tip of the day is taking a very sharp pencil.  Apply pressure at a 45-degree angle where the ceiling meets the wall.  Run a thin pencil line (don’t apply too much pressure or you’ll either go through the drywall or make too dark a pencil line).  Paint up to the pencil line.  A second option if you’re not keen on using a pencil line is going grab that Purdy Premium 6-in-1 tool I mentioned above and make a slight indentation along the ceiling/wall edge.  Again, don’t press too hard or you’ll go through the drywall.  Paint up to the indentation.

painting and remodeling tools

Red Devil Silicone Caulk – Mark loves this to use around bathroom showers and tubs, and even in kitchens.

Picking out Interior Paint Colors:  Contrast?

One of the biggest mistakes I see homeowners make is when they pick out paint colors for the interior of their home.  This happens when they want to choose a contrasting color for the ceiling and walls.  They pick out one color in the color fan deck, and then pick the contrasting color right next to the first color.  There just isn’t that much of a difference in color, and when applied to the walls, you won’t even notice the difference.  My biggest painting and remodeling tools tip for choosing interior paint colors is to pick a paint on the paint deck that is 2-4 shades down from the first color you choose.  You’ll get a much greater contrast, and I think you’ll be happier in the end.  

More Videos to Help You With DIY Projects

What is the Best Painters Tape to Use?

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Deck Cleaning without Power Washer

Do You Need a Power Washer to Clean a Deck?

Deck cleaning without power washer is totally possible.  The one point that needs to be made is that this is only possible in between stain coats.  The method described below is for gentle deck cleaning of minor dirt and stains. Here’s how I recommend to our customers and any homeowner how to keep your deck clean between professional stain coat applications.

Deck is Getting Dirty

Let’s just say you had your deck re-stained but it’s looking a little dirty after a couple of months. This can be from:

  • muddy dog paws;
  • tree sap;
  • grandchildren dropping greasy food on the floor boards; or
  • a recent cocktail party out on the deck.

Materials Needed for Gentle Deck Cleaning

I tell homeowners to expect to treat their deck very similar to the floor in their kitchen. So let’s keep it simple.
1. Get the contents of your deck off and put them in the yard.
2. Run over to your local paint hardware store and pick up a gallon or two of deck cleaner.
3. Purchase yourself a little pump sprayer and a deck brush
4. and the way you go.

deck cleaning without power washer

Deck Cleaning without Power Washer: Gentle Deck Cleaning Process

Read your directions on the cleaner, and apply the cleaner. Agitate the deck with a brush and rinse clean. My recommendation is that the average homeowner to not use a power washer.  In most cases, they’ve put on the wrong tip on their pressure washer or they’re too aggressive on their deck. I think you’ll be happier cleaning your deck in between professional stain coats the way I suggested. Just be prepared that it will require a little bit more elbow grease.

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Wood Entry Door or Wood Garage Door Refinishing


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How to Refinish Entry Door | Garage Door Restoration

Secrets of the Professional Stainers

How to Refinish Wood Entry Door:  Find out Mark’s secret weapon when it comes to wood entry doors and wooden garage doors.

Preparation of Area Around

Before starting any exterior staining of your wood entry doors or wooden garage doors, make sure you properly drop cloth the area.  The stain and varnish can get into your concrete outside, on your entryway tile or even grout areas.  Take the proper precautions.

How to Refinish Wood Entry Door:  Best Products

What are the best products to use on the exterior of your wooden entry doors or garage doors?  My advice is Sikkens.  Sikkens makes a great 3-part system:

  • Part 1:  Stain, Part 2:  Stain/Varnish Combo, Part 3:  Topcoat (you can choose from satin or gloss finish)(my favorite:  satin finish)

Best tip:  apply in thin coats, while keeping checking back every few hours.  Patience is your friend.

how to refinish wood entry door

Related Entry Door or Garage Door Videos

How Often Should I Stain my Front Door

Entry or Foyer Interior Painting

Staircase Makeover Ideas

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Should I Remodel or Just Sell My House?

Remodel or Sell House?

Remodel or sell house?  The ageless question.  I talk a lot with my customers and most of them have been in their homes 20 – 25 years and they’re considering thinking about moving.  But they are thinking about remodeling their home.  They don’t know which one is a better choice. Remodel and Stay or Remodel and Move?  

Mark’s Advice: Remodel and Stay

I’d like to point out a few things that give reasons to remodel instead of moving.

  • One of the main reasons to stay is that you like the area that you already live in, you’ve developed relationships and you know where everything is at like shopping, the movie theater, and your church.
  • Other things to think about are the cost of moving, the aggravation of the physical moving
  • De-cluttering your home, freshening up areas that got neglected over the years and then spending generally a couple of months trying to sell your existing home.

Your home is like a friend that you’ve known for 25 years. So why go through the hassle of moving & having to remodel the new home. Stay with your well-acquainted home, and remodel the rooms to fit your new lifestyle.

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Staircase Makeover Ideas | Staircase Staining & Remodeling

Change the Look of Your Home

Staircase makeover ideas is a great way to start to change up the overall look of your home.  Changing up the appearance of your staircase is an excellent way to liven up your foyer and home altogether.

Parts of a Staircase

In order to talk about how to do any sort of staircase makeover ideas, you need to know the terms or components of a staircase.  

  • Handrail & Bottom Rail
  • Balusters (or Spindles) – that skinny little piece of wood (or metal) that gives the decorative look of your staircase
  • Newel Post – Larger post at the end and placed every so many feet.  It stabilizes your staircase, so that is why it is larger.
  • Stair
    • Stringers – the two sides that run-up on staircase
    • Riser – the face that goes up (think of it as a ‘stair is rising’)
    • Tread – the surface that you step on

staircase makeover ideas

Staircase Makeover Ideas – Change up Staircase

Want to change the overall look of your staircase?  There are many staircase makeover ideas, some expensive and some cost-effective.

  • Complete Tear Outs – When you want to completely change the look of your home.  Great, but costly.  Can run $5,000-$30,000 (or more, depending on what you want to be done).
  • Change out Old Wood for New Wood – Keep in Current Staircase, but take out the outdated wood spindles with something more trendy like maple or cherry or go to metal spindles
  • Change out Handrail & Newel Posts – while changing out spindles, change handrail and newel posts too
  • Paint or Stain a New Color – Keep old staircase (all the components) and change the overall color.  This can be done by stripping the staircase completely and painting or staining a new color.  This is your most cost effective method of doing a staircase makeover ideas

Related Staircase Blog Posts or Videos 

Complete Staircase Tear-Out & Build

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Best Painters Tape Reviews

What is best painters tape to use?

Endless Choices of Painters Tape

You’ve stopped by your local paint store and come across the many painters tape and you have no clue which one you should use. Let’s keep it simple and try not to complicate it. Let’s use our hypothetical bedroom.

3M – Scotch Blue Tape:  Best Painters Tape Reviews

The painter’s tape I generally use is the 3M, 2-inch ScotchBlue tape. I have found you can leave on for up to 14 days before the mastic on the tape starts to dry out. This is great for larger projects.

best painters tape reviews

White Masking Tape

You could use your standard white masking tape but the mastic dries out much quicker. So I would highly recommend pulling the tape the same day or the next morning after your project is completed.

Locations to Use Painter’s Tape

I generally like to mask off the top of door frames and window frames, baseboards, and electrical outlets. Since I have applied thousands upon thousands of gallons of paint over the 30 years in business, I generally don’t mask off the side of trim work unless the trim work is painted and I want a really crisp cut line, then I will do so.

Ceiling Painting – Don’t Use Painter’s Tape

I also don’t recommend, even to the do-it-yourselfer, to mask off the ceiling. I find that most people, when they use painters tape on the ceiling, end up getting paint on the ceiling and leave the tape on too long which can start to dry out and pull even some of the paint off the ceiling. Here is a painter tip for you. First, if you want to cut in a really nice line to your ceiling, I recommend getting a really fine tip pencil and running it in the corner all the way around the perimeter of the room. Then, paint to up to that line. You will find you will get a better-looking line even though it may take you a bit more time. You won’t have the hassle of dealing with the tape on the ceiling.

Related Video Links

Preparing a Room for Interior Painting

Painting a Ceiling

LED Recessed Lighting | Installation of LED Can Lights

Lighting Up Your Ceilings & Rooms

LED Recessed Lighting:  This is just one type of can lights that are available.  But eelectrical lighting is a vast sea of information and types of lighting available.  We are going to focus on just LED recessed lighting today.

Why Choose LED Lights?

Before talking about can lights, let’s address why you should consider LED lights.  You currently probably have light bulbs in a room that ranges from compact fluorescent lights or incandescent lights.  LED is probably a better bet and the latest technology.  What are the benefits of LED lights?

  • Cuts down cost of electricity
  • Doesn’t require as much energy as the older version of lights

LED Recessed Lighting – Great for Tight Spaces

What tight spaces am I talking about?  Such as basements with drop ceilings.  This is a great place to install LED recessed lighting because an electrician has to workaround duct work – so these go in tight spaces.  Another tight space is hallways where you just need to install one or two lights.  The biggest downside to LED recessed lighting is that they need to be installed by a professional.  It entails both electrical installation, drywall repair, and painting.  It’s a multi-step process.  Another downside is the cost.  It can be pretty costly to have all of the previously mentioned work done.  You have to way your options.

LED recessed lighting

Benefits of LED Recessed Lighting

So what are the benefits of LED recessed lighting and why would you go through this process?  

  • No dusting of lights – they are installed up, in the ceiling
  • Gives a nice even, warm path in your room
  • Most have a dimmer switch available, giving you lighting options in the room

Mark’s Favorite LED Recessed Lighting

If Mark could recommend one type of LED Recessed Lighting, his recommendation would be Juno brand.

Epoxy Garage Floor Coatings | Benefits of Garage Floor Coatings

Garage Floor Coatings

Epoxy Garage Floor Coatings. What can I do to make my garage floor look better?  I get asked very often what can I do to my garage floor it looks horrible.  Usually, when I’m asked this, the husband is asking for a better solution in his garage.

Store Bought Epoxy Coatings

You have many options and prices available. You can start at the lower end of the quality scale.  For example, Just walk into any home improvement store yourself.  You can buy a concrete porch and floor enamel coating system.  It’s going to do a nice job for you.  Look great.  But eventually, it will start to fail within the first couple years.

Paint Store 2-Part Epoxy Systems

Then you can move up to the two-part epoxy that you can buy at your local paint store.  This requires a little bit more work prepping, cleaning, and painting.  And it requires a lot more labor.  The material cost is more expensive, 3 – 4 times the cost of your basic floor enamel.  This definitely holds up longer, especially if the prep work done to the floor is been done properly.

Professional Epoxy or Polyaspartic Coatings

The third application would be the multiple application.  This coating is applied by a professional contractor.  Generally, you have two choices here:  epoxy or a polyaspartic coating. This is a much more expensive coating than your basic epoxies.  Honestly, I highly recommend having the garage floor applied by a professional.  A professional brings the experience and the absolute finest equipment to do this type of project.

epoxy garage floor coatings

Epoxy Garage Floor Coatings:  Mark’s Advice

I would not consider doing this on your own.  I’ve recommended this to many of my clients who are looking to have a showroom finish floor in their garage. I find that most men like to spend their time out in the garage.  A good way to freshen up your garage floor look is by having a garage floor coating sprayed by a professional.  This is definitely for the guys that like to knock around in their garage.

Related Video Links

Controlling Dust When Remodeling

Foyer Painting & Entry Painting

How to Paint 2-Story Foyer | Painting a Foyer with Stairs

Secrets of the Professional Painters

How to paint 2-story foyer:  It actually is more complicated than it seems.  Mark gives you the tools you’ll need and from there, you can make a decision to DIY or hire a professional.



Preparing Foyer Before Painting

In order to not have a total mess on your hands and control dust when painting or remodeling, getting your hardwood flooring, carpeting, stairs, and surrounding furniture and lighting covered properly is a must so you know how to paint 2-story foyer properly:

  • Gets your Floors covered and Stairs covered
    • Use a Tarp with Rubber Beads on the Back
    • or try Rosin Paper to cover the floors
  • Cover carpeting with a roll of Plastic that has tackiness on one side.  Sticks to carpeting easily and removes easily
  • Cover handrails with 9-mil plastic
  • Drape off all furniture and chandeliers with a light plastic tarp

how to paint 2-story foyer

Preparing the Surfaces to be Painted in Foyer

Ultimately, preparing the surface is critical in order to have an excellent paint job and know how to paint 2-story foyer.  Without proper preparing of the surface, as shown below, your walls and ceiling can look horrible.  When hiring a contractor, you truly should do your due diligence and check out a contractor based on his knowledge and skills so the job is done right, and not make your hiring decisions on price.

  • Mask off trim work
  • Get walls sanded
  • Repair cracks and nail pops;  sand between coats;  make sure to prime these patches so it doesn’t flash

Ladder Talk

Let’s start with ladders.  There are a few ladders you might need for the project, depending upon how high your 2-story foyer is or how large the foyer is.  Most foyers are 18-24 feet up high.  Check out your supply of ladders you might need to rent:

  • 20-24 Foot Extension Ladder, with Stabilizer
  • Scaffold
  • Articulated Ladder – I use a product called Little Giant

How to Paint 2-Story Foyer:  Many Paint Choices

When it comes to painting the 2-story foyer, you have many choices as far as finishes as well as paint colors.  Let’s break it down to make it a bit manageable.

Paint Finishes:

  • Ceilings:  use a low to medium grade flat – you won’t be washing it that often, so you don’t need to break the bank here on a high-grade paint.  Get a really “dead flat” paint, so it doesn’t show many imperfections, especially if you have a lot of lighting up there.
  • Walls:  Two Choices:
    • High-End Matte Finish – My favorite finish for the walls in my home is to use Benjamin Moore Regal Select matte or Sherwin Williams Emerald
    • Eggshell Finish

Paint Colors:  What are the Paint Color Trends for 2017?

Painters Tip for the Day

While you have the ladders or scaffolding plus all the tarps down, get your picture window up there in the foyer cleaned and maybe even a fresh coat of stain to the trim work (or if it’s painted, a fresh coat of paint).  You don’t know when you’ll get another ladder up there.  Also, it is a great time to dust your chandelier and change out any light bulbs.

Other Blog Posts Relating to 2-Story Painting

Six Ways to Update Your Foyer Area

Foyer Painting Projects



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