How Many Coats of Paint Is Necessary For A Good Job?

How many coats of paint is necessary for a really good job?

Side note!  This is a question I received in my comments from a viewer. Please send me your questions so I can answer them.  I do not reveal your name and any question is a good question if you want an answer.

Now to the answer.  Let’s speak to outside of the house.   The frank answer is “Only what is necessary to cover the existing sub-straight and make the house look good”.  That may be only one complete coverage.

If there is a drastic color change you might need two coats.  The first paint coat possibly mixed half and half with an exterior primer.  The primer is constructed to cover better in most cases.

There might be a one coat application method often called “Spray and backroll”.  This is where the painter will mask everything off on the house and spray liberally with the paint and then another painter with a roller will then roll the wet surface out even.  This pushes the paint into the nooks and crannies of sometimes very heavy texture or a not so good surface.

This method is often used to make a very porous surface evener.

Especially exterior paint should not be applied in excess because of the buildup that will make paint eventually peel.

As for applying excessive coats on the interior is not quite as much a problem because there are not the extreme temperatures inside as there are outside.  I still do not believe in applying more than the project requires for good coverage.  The same coverage issues apply inside, if the paint doesn’t look like it has covered in the first coat, another coat will be necessary for a professional look.

There are times that “Spot Priming” is used.  This is where there are parts of the paint areas that needed sanding or patching and these areas just need spot priming to allow the one coat finish application.

I have worked in homes that were more than a hundred years old and I looked at a cut profile of the trim molding and discovered the many layers of paint over the years and I am always amazed the surface is still looking perfect.

PS:  I understand about the old enamel paint may have contained lead.  I will answer that in a later blog to you.

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Painting Contractor Post ! Seal Glaze on Lacquer Cabinets?

Painting Contractors question?  What do I seal cabinets doors with after applying my oil glaze?   The answer is simple however I would preface the question first.  These are the questions I would ask the contractor to give a thorough answer.

  • What kind of wood are the cabinets made with?
  • Are they stained or painted?
  • Is the glaze Oil or Water Glaze?
  • Are you going to use solvent lacquer or water lacquer?
  • Are you staining with a dark or light color and then glazing the accent detail?
  • Are you painting with a pigmented lacquer and then glazing the accent detail?

These are the basic questions to answer.  However, the more questions require more answers and explanations so at this time I will keep to this contractors question.

He was using white lacquer on birch wood.  This type of wood is smooth and without any deep grain that will telegraph through the finish and cause the glaze to get caught up in.

However if the contractor uses a clear sealer to top coat to seal the glaze in place, this sealer will probably turn yellow or amber over white lacquer.  The trick here is not to seal the whole surface but to put the sealer in the glaze.

The glaze formula could be, One cup of oil glaze and a quarter cup of oil based satin varnish or gloss varnish depending on what the sub straight base is.

The application of glaze could be done by taking cheesecloth dipped in kerosene and wiped over the entire surface of the detailed door.  Then take a brush of your glaze mixture and brush in the corners you want to accent.  Working on one door at a time, with a dry large handful of (NO LINT) cheesecloth and wipe off as much glaze to create the desired finish.

Results:  When the glaze mixture dries in twenty-four hours it will be hardened or solidified so the finished glaze will not rub off easily.

One caveat:  If water base glaze is used you would mix in a water-based interior satin or gloss varnish.  You will NOT use the kerosene to allow the flow of glaze, however, you can wipe over the entire door surface a clear thinned down water glaze to help seal the surface temporarily so the cheesecloth can wipe off the desired amount of glaze.

Glazing cabinets or detailed wood like moldings or crown moldings is not hard but it takes a keen eye for how much you are leaving on the surface or taking off the surface.  In this case, a lot of practice makes perfect.

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Can Painting Contractors SELL Their Business?

This answer may surprise you because the answer is NO!

However, with one caveat, the painting contractor must have at least three years of consistently established maintenance billing to the same customers.

Allow me to explain.  For years I have “Preached” to painting contractors that, if they would ever want to sell their painting business they MUST set up a consistent customer maintenance business besides the on-going main painting business.

The seriousness of this ‘Side Maintenance Business’ starts with having billed regularly for routine on-going maintenance of a specific address and customer, for at least three years, however, and billing maintenance business usually is taken seriously after five or six years.

So how does this all get started?  A painting contractor gets a call and is asked to estimate the paint on the outside of a residence or commercial building.  They give the customer the estimate and is granted the job.  After completion of that project, the contractor is paid and ‘That’s it’ until that customer calls next time for some more work.

This contractor process of business is called a “One-Off”.  Because the contractor expects the customer to remember them when the next time there is some work to be done.  However, in most cases, this isn’t how it works.  The next time that customer wants some painting work done there is always a diversion to contacting them.  Like “I couldn’t find your number”, “My neighbor had a painter working on their house at the time, and it was really convenient just to ask them to come over and give me an estimate”, or “My family had a wonderful painter that needs the work”, etc.

Frankly, all of these reasons you have already heard, and then some.

Now, this is how it should work.  After completing a “One-Off” job, the painting contractor needs to explain to the customer that, by setting up an on-going maintenance program with nominal billing every six months or at least once a year … Your property will stay in “Tip-Top-Shape”.  That is how you approach the maintenance program.

You will need to be ready for the come-back comment!  “Are you telling me that your good quality paint job is not going to last more than six months or a year?”.  Your answer:  “No, I am interested in maintaining your property on a consistent basis so there will not be a big lump cost every six to ten years”.  This way, your home will always look good.  You know some sides of your residence have more ultraviolet light and that takes its toll on some trim or stucco and by maintaining these areas you will always have a newly painted residence!

Most customers will understand and agree to this professional on-going maintenance program.  So that is how it works.  For example, you paint six new homes every year and you created a maintenance business with five of them.  In five years, you will have twenty-five on-going consistent customers that you didn’t have to bid for and you are consistently in touch with them.  The customer doesn’t go to someone else.   That’s a big asset to your bottom line.

Furthermore, the maintenance of these properties, you will not have to be the one working them or managing them, you will be able to use your employees to do this work.

Personal note:  I have known a lot of painters that after thirty years of dedicated work to wonderful customers and also show that they have made a lot of money … Expect to sell this lucrative business, and then find out that it is worth NOTHING!  Even the equipment isn’t even worth ANYTHING!  That’s a rude fact because they cannot show a consistent billing to a consistent customer.  NOTHING!

On the other hand, I had a gardener that maintained a weekly cutting of my grass and trimmed my bushes, fertilized when necessary … Frankly, keeping my property in “Tip-Top” shape for thirty years.  And one day he knocked on my door and introduced himself to me again after thirty years because he had not been the person doing the work, it had always been his maintenance employees.  He explained that he was retiring, and with him was another man that will be going to be the NEW owner, still using my same employees to continue maintaining my property.  I replied, congratulations, and was pleased to meet the new owner and agreed to continue with the service, why not, they had always done a good job.

Later I met my former garden maintenance owner at a store, and he told me that he was able to sell this very lucrative gardening business and that allowed him and his wife to travel and not have to worry about retiring.


Almost all painting contractors only have time for today’s job and do not think about the future.  Gardeners, pest control, window washers, and so many other trades think about getting new jobs this month and maintaining existing customers.  They get it!  I just don’t understand why painting contractors “Don’t Get It”.

Purpose of this dissertation:   If you want to sell your business someday, START AN “ON-GOING PAINTING MAINTENANCE BUSINESS”.

As always … Thank you for your time.

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Interior & Exterior Finish … Most Durable of All Products

Interior and Exterior finish … Most durable paint (clear and with color) product on the market today!  SANSIN  Eos and Ardera.   These products are considered a “High-End” finish because of the cost.  However, you may take into consideration your time applying a paint finish and if the products outperform other products on the market by two or three times … Then the cost just may not be so ‘financially hurtful’.

Let’s start this way!  Paint coatings today have come a long way since I first started painting.  The water resins are superior to years ago, however, a lot of companies have been reluctant to use these expensive ingredients because they feel people won’t buy them.  To some degree, that is true.  However, when you have a ‘High-End’ product you have to explain why the cost of a gallon of paint is so much.

This company SANIN makes these two products I’m showing you and the products are worth the money you are paying for them if you are doing it yourself or you are paying a contractor to apply this product … It’s worth it!

My fifty years of painting experience gives me the perspective to know when a product is worth it or just a lot of hype.

I have monitored the performance of these two products for about five years now and I am still amazed how well these products are holding up.  You do need to maintain the products on the weathered sides and where there is heavy use however that would be something I would always recommend on any product so the finish doesn’t get away from you.

These products can be used inside or outside of your home with very little lingering smell if any because of air circulation.  Eos comes in very natural colors.  Ardera is a luster that can be used by itself or over the Eos color finish.  Each one can be used by themselves or together.  Extremely durable products.  I have links to the companies website for each product so you can get more information.  You can also look up where you can buy this product on their website.  It’s worth it!

SANSIN Eos  …   Beautiful water-borne wood finish.

With just one or two coats, Sansin Eos provides tough, effective protection for sidings, logs, decks, and fences. Specially formulated oils and resins protect the wood, providing outstanding weather and UV protection that won’t crack, peel or blister. Due to its high solids and unique water-borne alkyd technology Eos is exceptionally easy to apply and maintain, ensuring a perfect finish every time. Crisp, clear color means that Sansin Eos dramatically enhances the natural beauty of any wood project. For additional luster and protection, apply a final coat of SANSIN Ardera.

SANSIN Ardera  …  Beautiful high-luster finish for any project, new or old.

Sansin Ardera is a durable two-coat water-borne finish that can be applied to virtually any surface – including millwork, siding, decks and even to improve the performance of other coatings. That’s because Ardera is self-priming and offers exceptional adhesion to almost any surface, resulting in a medium- or high-luster finish of exceptional beauty. Ardera is highly resistant to wear, doesn’t discolor over time, and provides some of the toughest UV protection available. Whatever your project, the exceptional characteristics of Ardera – in either natural, translucent or saturated finishes – will raise it to a new standard of beauty and durability.

Not all areas in this country carry this product.

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Want to Fix Your Rotting Wood Windows?

This is a product I have used for years and always with incredible success!  Woodepox repair SYSTEM is a lightweight repair product, that is two equal parts.  You mix together with your gloved hands.  Because it is very lightweight, almost like a foam, it is very easy to thoroughly mix.  One part is white and the other part is tan, so it is easy to see that you have the mixture evenly mixed.  More information later, for right now watch the part one and part two videos to ‘See’ the complete process and then we can go into more detail.

This is a gallon kit (It containes 2 gallons total) Part A & Part B

This is a 2 quart kit (It containes 2 qrarts total)  Part A & Part B

This is a 12 oz kit (It contains 2 12 oz total)  Part A & Part B

This is a 6 oz Liquid Wood kit (It contains 2-6oz total)  Part A & Part B

How to Video Part One

How to Video Part Two

More Information:

Now let’s get started.

First, if you have any wood rot on your house and it would be difficult to replace because the rotten wood is connected to other parts of the structure or worse yet, a beam or rafters that is anchored deep into the house structure.   This deteriorated wood condition will be appropriate to fix with an excellent wood repair product ‘Woodepox’.  This two-part lightweight epoxy will be a fast repair and permanent.

Personal Note:  I use to own a paint store that sold this product to thousands of satisfied customers.  When looking at this product you might consider at first that the product is expensive, however when the customers would return to let me know that the price was marginal compared to the cost of replacement of the damaged wood.  Let alone, most of my customers did there own repair.  This product is very easy to use.  All you need to do is follow the repair steps in order.

Unfortunately, not many people know about this wood repair product.


Shrink-free adhesive putty wood replacement compound that can be used in any thickness in structural and decorative applications to replace, repair, extend or fill wood and other materials.

Uses: WoodEpox is ideal for repairing, replacing, or adding to wood and most rigid surfaces, as well as to dried out, rotted or spongy wood consolidated with LiquidWood. Use on window sills, thresholds, window and door frames, columns, stair steps, balustrades, floors, capitals, moldings, doors, shutters, indoor and outdoor furniture, statues, archaeological and art restoration.

Features & Benefits: WoodEpox bonds permanently with high strength to most surfaces. It fills cracks, holes, and voids of any size without the shrinking and crumbling of common wood fillers. It can replace or add missing or new sections in window frames and sills, furniture, sculptures, structural and decorative components, indoors and outdoors. Because of its strength and durability, it is as different from wood fillers as a permanent solution from temporary remedies.

WoodEpox succeeds because it can be painted, stained, wood-grained, sawed, nailed, planed, sanded, carved, and machined like wood. Can be cast into shapes and sculpted by hand before hardening. Bonds equally well to ceramics, concrete, metal, glass, fiberglass, and most rigid surfaces. Contains no VOC’s or noxious odors. It has a light, neutral color that can be changed, by mixing with stains, dyes, or pigments. Has a no slump paste consistency that allows it to be applied like a putty to fill gaps, holes, or to build-up virtually any thickness and shape.

Technical Characteristics: Contents: WoodEpox is a light-weight epoxy adhesive system consisting of 2 components: resin paste (A) and hardener paste (B). When A and B are mixed in equal volumes, the blend hardens within 1-2 hours into a light-weight, non-shrinking, tough adhesive mass with high dimensional stability, chemical, water, heat and weather resistance. 100% solids. 1/1 ratio. 20-minute pot life.

My Northern Arizona painting company specializes in wood restoration.  Sometimes it is just easier to let my company professionals do the work.

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What’s In Milk Paint?

What is in Milk Paint?  Milk!  I know this may come as a surprise to you, however before the invention of paint, the only liquid readily available was milk.  There just had to be somebody that spilled some milk one day and it dried and then they tried to clean it up and found that this dried milk had great adhesion.  The paint was born.

Well, not so fast.  That was just the liquid (vehicle) to carry a pigment and the combination of milk as the base and some dried pigment completes this product of ‘Milk Paint’.

The use of milk paint has been used for thousands of years before our modern day paint.

Milk paint today can have some more ingredients in it however you won’t believe it … Just today’s powdered milk, water, and some dry pigment will make ‘Milk Paint’ you can put on your walls.

This is certainly natural.  Non-toxic and no smell.

I am trying to just answer the question directly without lot’s of detail however if in the future you want more details on the makeup and use and application just let me know.  Frankly, I could write a five thousand word blog on this subject and still have more information to write.  As a licensed contractor, I used my own milk paint formulation for customers that were allergic to the smell of modern-day paint.

Let me know if you want more about ‘Milk Paint’ by using the ‘Contact Me‘ page.

My Northern Arizona paint company will use milk paint for those discerning customers that want complete natural paint.

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What is in water base paint that makes it stick?

What is in the water-based paint that makes it stick?  White glue!  In paint manufacturing terms the product is PVA (Poly Vinyl Acetate).  This is the same white glue you have used in school to make paper and wood stick together.

It is not an instant stick, PVA takes time to cure but when it does cure … You have an excellent bond to almost any sub straight.  Gluing glass or plastic may be a challenge for PVA, however, I have done so with some success.  I am not recommending PVA (White Glue) for ‘Non Porous surfaces’.

PVA (White Glue) looks white and when it completely dries it turns clear or in exact terms ‘Translucent’.  That is why it works in the paint because PVA can be put in the paint with other ingredients and not have an effect on the color outcome of the desired product.

This is the simple answer to your question.  However, in more technically advanced products the manufacturer may use more sophisticated resins.  Sometimes this is a mix of PVA and a sophisticated resin combination to accomplish adhesion.  Usually, these paints are fifty percent more in cost.

A wonderful trim paint that sticks and works well is Benjamin Moore, Advance Water/Oil Enamel.  It is water cleanup and is a very hard finish.  This paint does need at least sixteen hours to apply the second coat however it is worth it.  The easiest and most smooth finishing is by spraying.

I use it in my painting business and the customers love how it looks and feels.


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Why is my new enamel paint not sticking?

Why is my new enamel paint not sticking?

Even the best water base enamels today may not stick … “Right Away”.  Because there is a big difference between the condition of drying and curing.

Water base enamels may dry within an hour however it may take thirty days to fully cure.

Let’s take an example:  Painting kitchen cabinets.  You may clean, sand and prime the cabinets and then apply the water-based enamel to the shelves and cupboard doors and in six to eight hours the paint may scratch off.

Here is what is going on!  First, in kitchens and bathrooms, there is very little air circulation.  What makes things worse is sometimes you have taped off windows and doors with plastic for their protection.  This adds to the poor air circulation.

Second, you may have just applied the water base enamel without doing any prep even as little as washing with TSP and rinsing.

Answers:  Water base enamel needs to be prepped efficiently enough to STICK.  That means cleaning the surface, sanding if necessary for an uneven substrate, and possibly priming with a GOOD undercoating paint, appropriate for water base enamel.  With all that accomplished, paint with your water base enamel and after the paint has dried, about one hour, use a circulating fan in the room to accelerate the curing time for proper adhesion.

If you must close the cupboard doors before twenty-four hours use a little ‘Vaseline’ on the door stops.  This will dissipate later without removing it.

PS:  Heating a room to accelerate the drying of water-based enamel doesn’t help and sometimes will create humidity that will slow the curing time.  Proper circulation with a fan will work the best.

Hope this will help you understand water base enamel.  Many times a company selling a good quality water based enamel will get a ‘Bad Rap” for poor paint performance when it is a poor understanding of the proper preparation techniques and curing times.  I sometimes fault the paint companies for not properly explaining this potential adhesion problem to their customers.

Please let me know if you have any paint questions or paint related questions.  Just use the ‘Contact Me’ page to send direct questions to be answered.


How long does it take for paint to dry and cure?

Water-based paint:  Dry time one to two hours and Cure time thirty days.

Oil base paint:  Dry time four to eight hours and Cure time twenty days.

Milk paint and Chalk paint (calcium carbonate):  Dry time thirty minutes and Cure time thirty days.

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