Seeing Red – Red Paint That Is!

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I’ll admit that red paint in a room is like a dream come true, but painting with red – well that’s a nightmare!

A friend of mine asked if I would paint a wall in her home and of course I gladly accepted the invite.  When I asked her what color she wanted to paint the wall she told me “red”.   Well, I immediately got a migraine; thought of another job I had to do, and told her I was washing my hair that day!  It wasn’t that I didn’t want to help I just hate painting anything red.

Red in my book, is by far the hardest paint color to paint, it just doesn’t cover.  It is usually tinted with a ton of colorant (pigment) and not a lot of anything else; it almost feels like adding pure color.  But never fear, I did help her, it was a challenge, but it did turn out great, but….not without a lot of trial and error.  Below you can follow the process.

Of course the first thing to do in any paint job is the prep.  I have always used the term, any one can paint, but it takes a pro to prep.  But with these steps you will be a pro as well.

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After placing the furniture in the middle of the room and covering with plastic tarps, mask off all the baseboards and the mantle. If you have trim, this is a great place to use masking tape as well, and the tape manufactures have developed tape where the edge is left straight and sharp when the taped is pulled – the tape I used here is called Frog Tape.

Tip:
I always do all the caulking and spackling first when starting my prep, so it has time to dry.

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1. When the trim or in this case a mantel has a gap, it needs to be caulked.  When working with an item like a mantel where you want a really clean caulk line, first mask off a straight line using the masking tape.

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2. Run a bead of caulk along the tape and run your finger along the bead of caulk making it smooth.  Pull the tape immediately after caulking.  Let the caulk dry then re-apply the tape for painting.

Tip:
I use a new caulk that is a quick dry, it is made by Dap, but I’m sure that most caulk manufactures have their own version.   When using a caulk gun, secure the caulk tube in the caulking gun with a piece of tape, it keeps the tube from spinning while you work, keeping the tip in line the entire time. This is really great when you are up on a ladder and don’t have a free hand to spin the tube to realign it.

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3. Fill all holes with spackling paste; use a flush spackle for small holes, such as picture hanging holes.  Flush spackle goes on smooth, and doesn’t need sanding.

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4. After all the caulk and spackle dries, sand the walls.  The walls I was working on had a slight gloss so the sanding knocked down the spackle and also removed any imperfections in the wall surface.

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5. The next step is critical for painting walls with dark colors.  Prime the walls with a latex wall primer that is tinted gray.  This gives a perfect background for darker colors and can eliminate the need for multiple coats.

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Make sure to prime the entire surface to be painted.

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6. Allow the primer to dry – about 2 hours and then apply the first coat of red.  Use a ½ nap roller cover and apply in 4 foot by 4 foot sections, back rolling after rolling on the initial coat. (back rolling is just taking the roller and laying off the paint to eliminate roller lines)

Always keep a wet edge, you don’t want to take any breaks when apply paint.

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As you can see from the photo, even with the gray primer, the first coat did not cover very well.  In fact; (this is when I pull out my hair) it took me 4 coats to cover the wall until I felt it was completely covered.

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These photos show coat 2 and 3.

Even after covering the walls with 4 coats of paint, the homeowner and I were not satisfied with the coverage or the color.  So, we did and little research and I found a paint manufacturer that had a new paint line out that we decided to try. We also went to a softer shade of red.  The new red was from Benjamin Moore’s Aura line of paint.

Since we were starting with a new shade, two coats were required but the paint was terrific and covered quite well.  We were both pleased with the results.

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Just a side note, a normal wall usually takes me about  45 minutes to cut in and roll (not including prep time)  This one wall took a better part of a day (including drying time).  So if you are considering hiring someone to paint a darker color you may want to consider your color choice.  And I have to admit, changing to a different brand of paint made a huge difference.  Hopefully if you choose a darker paint color, you won’t be seeing red!

Matt

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