Tuesday, December 2, 2008

How to paint . . . new concrete?

Unlike in the US where DIY or "do it yourslef" is the regular norm, folks in our lovely island nation are fortunate enough according to most people, to enjoy hiring other more knowledgeable people to perform certain tasks for us at fairly reasonable prices. But nowadays, due to the popularity of numerous home improvement tv shows & the increase in local labor costs, more and more people are getting into the DIY frame of mind. So for the next few entries on my blog I have decided to give a step-by-step guide on the proper priming & painting procedures done on common surfaces in and around your home. First to be discussed in this series is the painting of new concrete surfaces. For some reason, and I am guilty of this as well, it is common for locals to refer to concrete surfaces as cemento, " Ano po ang ipipintura nyo, kahoy o cemento?". Technically cement is the main ingredient in making concrete, so my analysis of this behavior is because let's face it, cemento is much easier to say than concreto right?

step 1 - Priming - from the key word "prime" you might quickly assume that this step is all about brushing on a paint primer or as some would describe as the first coat. But priming for me is the act of preparing the concrete so that it will be compatible with your paint. A practical example would be taking a shower before getting dressed, the taking a shower would be our "priming". After your concrete has dried completely, wipe down the new wall with a semi damp cloth, after this has dried, use bristle brush or roller brush to apply on a layer of diluted masonry neutralizer (some brands like Nation paint sell diluted forms of neutralizer which are ready to use). The reason we need to apply neutralizer is because we want to neutralize the acid that is present on the concrete, this will ensure that your wall will be alkaline which is the ideal condition you are looking for, para siguradong maganda ang kapit ng pintura sa pader. Let the wall dry overnight then wipe with semi damp cloth any residue that has formed. You are now ready to apply the wall putty.

Monday, October 20, 2008

To Latex or to Enamel? That is the question.

Never a week goes by where I don't get the question, "Para saan ba yung latex or enamel?" or another version would be "Ano ba yung pintura sa cemento/bakal/kahoy?" Well here in the lovely island of Pinas, we are generally used to Latex or water-based paints for the painting of masonry or concrete surfaces & Enamel or oil-based paints for the painting of wood or metal surfaces. Lacquer based paints will be another topic - sa ibang entry na po. When I first started in the hardware business many years back, someone buying latex paint would get only one question, "Anong gusto nyo, flat, gloss or semi-gloss?", such a simple question would sometimes produce a blank stare from the customer since wala talaga silang alam sa pintura. Nowadays latex based paints have evolved into a wide variety of products ranging from Odor-less, Anti-Bacterial, Teflon coated, Faux finish/decorative etc. Kaya mas mahaba na ang pag explain ng mga sales cleerk ngayon, pati na din ang blank stare ng customer humahaba na rin. Enamel on the other hand has not evolved too much from what it was 15 years back, it's still the same trusty product that can handle most painting jobs for wood & metal

Ang Pag-Masilya (the act of puttying)

PROBLEM: In recent years there has been a new trend that I have observed being done by some painters & that is using Polituff body filler as a putty to putty down masonry (cemento) walls. The act of "minamasilya or mamasilya" is done to smoothen out minor wall imperfections so that your walls come out perfectly even & smooth. Actually I wasn't just an observer but I experienced this first hand. When I was repainting my daughters room, I hired this supposedly very experienced painter recommended to me by one of my contractor customers. When he gave me the list of items he needed, kasama doon yung Polituff Body Filler which is a putty used for automobiles. So I asked him, "Manong bat may Polituff dito sa order mo, eh di naman kotse yung papapintura ko ah?" And he answered "Yan na ang ginagamit namin ngayon, mabilis matuyo at matibay pa". Hearing this, I don't know why but it actually made sense since Polituff Body Filler is a 2 component system that comes with a hardener which when combined with the main mixture forms a tough putty, I didn't question him anymore and accepted his recommendation since I was rushing the whole repainting project. At sino ba naman ang aangal pag narinig ang mga salitang mabilis at matibay diba? So off he went, he finished everything in record time. Maganda naman yung wall, wala naman naging problema. Fast forward 6 months later, huge blotches now covered my daughters walls, all in the shape & color (dark pink) of the putty the painters used, puro mapa (maps) ang nakikita namin. Ang pangit talaga. In the end I had to hire another painter to fix this rush job, it was really a waste of time & money.
ANSWER: After what happened, I realized that Polituff was really meant to be used only for metal surfaces and was not suitable at all for masonry walls. Add to the fact that water based paints (latex) are normally used when painting these cemented walls, it's no wonder that the Polituff acted as if it leaked through since the chemical makeup of Polituff was probably too "matapang" for these water based paints to handle. Since this happened a few years back, I should note that at the time when I did my repainting project, the way our local painters do their masilya is by using Patching compound (a white powder like substance made from volcanic sand) mixed with enough paint to form a thick putty, in other words mano-mano sila. Polituff was probably used because it was already pre-mixed & dried fast - so in essence "tinamad si manong mag timpla ng masilya". But nowadays painters are veering away from this HUGE mistake in improper priming procedure with the introduction of products like Boysen Masonry Putty which is already pre-mixed & dries fully in 2 hours plus the cost is almost half that of Polituff, you basically use it straight out of the container. So now you can bet that I always warn homeowners whose painters order latex paint & Polituff at the same time. Don't make the same mistake I did.

My mission to this earth . . .

I set up this site as my public service to share, teach, enlighten the world on the success & horror stories encountered by many homeowners in dealing with painting projects. Having been in the hardware business for over 15 years, eto na siguro ang pinaka bagay at pinaka alam kong topic na pag-usapan. Please feel free to write any comments or questions regarding any topic about painting or fixing your house, hopefully I will be able to help you or at least sympathize with you or better yet celebrate with you.