Five little-known products to make you better

As impressive as modern paints and painting supplies are, they’re not perfect. Some situations still require properties that simply don’t yet come packed in a can. That’s where specialty painting and finishing options can help. Knowing how and when to use them gives you advantages when it comes to the quality and speed of your work. Check out these five little-known painting products and see the problems they can solve for you.

1. Paint Extenders

Add these to paint and urethane and it slows drying time, increases flow out and makes it easier to maintain a wet edge. Thinning out paint with solvent or water does the same thing, but at the expense of paint body and solids content. Extenders deliver their results without compromising paint quality.

Never used extenders before? They’re available for latex and solvent-based coatings, and work just as well with paints, clear coats and urethanes. Useful when brushing, rolling or spraying, extenders deliver the following benefits:

  • increased open time
  • elimination of brush marks
  • increase coating coverage
  • elimination of “dry spray” pebbling

Worried that extenders might damaged your finished results? Try some on a test patch and you’ll find that there’s no yellowing, clouding or brittleness. The chemistry is mature and tested, and extenders don’t affect colour or sheen. You’ll even find extenders make it easier to apply paint because of lower friction. Depending on your situation, add 60 to 180ml of extender for every gallon of paint. You’ll know it’s there because paint brushes and rollers work so much more easily.

2. Eco-Friendly TSP Substitutes

Trisodium Phosphate (TSP for short) is one of the mainstay surface cleaners used before painting. It’s cheap, traditional and highly effective, but it’s also far from perfect. That’s why the popularity of TSP is on the decline. it persists in the environment, runoff must be kept from lakes and rivers, and you need to wear protective cloth- ing and gear before you can use TSP safely. Failure to remove all TSP residue from surfaces before it dries will also cause issues with the adhesion of new paint you apply. No wonder substitutes are on the rise. Besides being safer for the environment, they also work better. The biggest plus of all may just be that there’s no need to flush TSP substitutes off surfaces before painting. They won’t affect new coats of paint.

3. Chemical Surface Etchers

Every painter knows that surface prep is key, but proper prep isn’t always easy. Applying a new coating over a shiny, previously-finished surface is a case in point and this is where chemical etching products can help.

Mechanical sanding with sandpaper or steel wool is one option for creating tooth on the surface so new coatings will stick, but sanding is slow and prone to errors, especially on contoured surfaces. Chemical etching offers a faster and more complete prep job than can happen with sandpaper. No need to rinse surfaces after the etcher has dried, either. Etchers are especially useful for the growing trend of painting old stained, wooden cabinets.

4. High-Friction Additives

An aging population and rising legal liability risks mean that no-slip surfaces are getting more and more important for professional paint- ers. Better and more reliable traction is why you need to know about friction texture additives. Ideal for floor and stair tread surfaces, powdered friction additives are not added to coatings before they go on. Instead, they’re sprinkled onto wet surfaces after application but before the coating has dried.

Think of it like sprinkling seasoning on your food. Apply on an excess of the powder, wait for the coating to dry completely, then blow or vacuum off the excess powder.

You’ll be left with a consistent coverage, a high-friction surface, and a far lower risk of having someone blame you for a fall.

5. Rubbing Pads

In a world that’s being taken over by water-based coatings, steel wool substitutes have become more and more important. Even tiny bits of steel wool residue can cause large and ugly rust blossoms, and that’s one reason synthetics are in.

But synthetic abrasive pads offer other advantages, too. Used underneath a random orbit sander, they turn an ordinary painted or clear-coat surface into something that’s as smooth as glass. You can’t beat abrasive pads for knocking down the dust bumps between coats. They’re also perfect for cleaning drywall knives and other patching tools.

It doesn’t cost much to keep small, problem solving products on hand with your painting gear, yet small as they are, these items can make a difference out of all proportion to their size and cost. It’s all about being ready for anything this unpredictable painting world can throw your way.

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