Paint clean ceiling/wall seam on knockout texture?


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Old 11-30-10, 03:25 AM
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Paint clean ceiling/wall seam on knockout texture?

My wife and I just moved into a house, and she gave me a room to do whatever I wish. The construction of this house offers me a lot of pitfalls: bullnose corners, poor trim and poor drywall, and worst of all: knockout texture everywhere.

I've already laid carpet in the room (I realize this was an unwise first step, but unfortunately, it was after I laid this carpet that inspiration struck). It is a mellow dark grey, very comfortable.

My goal is to paint the walls a pleasant greyish red, while the ceiling will be painted a light peach-white.

I understand that for a DIYer - especially a novice such as myself -this color scheme is no simple task, and is only complicated by poor construction (20 year old house) and most of all the dreaded knockout texture.

I decided to use my time spent priming the walls as practice, learning to cut in properly (-ish ), taping, and learning to deal with the texture. Fortunately, priming taught me that I was using an inappropriate roller nap (3/8")... I'm guessing I need 3/4", and I will make that purchase tomorrow.

However, the part I'm having the most trouble learning is proper cut-in of the ceiling-wall corner, and the taping of the floor trim.

I've spent a good deal of time on Google researching dealing with painting over knockout texture. I understand that it is a very difficult thing to deal with, but... hey, I'm ambitious and motivated

My problems so far:
1. Taping to the texture surface is letting paint bleed under. I'm not sure at all how to deal with this. As I'm inexperienced, having trouble minimizing the amount of paint that I put on the tape. (I'm using Frog tape.) I'm not being caseless. I'm taking as much time as I need to place tape. As I progress, I think I'm improving, but I believe some of my trouble has to do with taping up against textured surfaces.

2. Ceiling/wall seam. Using primer on old-finished wall, I've reading, watching tutorials, and practicing. I've tried taping. I've tried several methods of cutting in with 3" brush, 1" sash brush, etc. I've gotten better, but once again, I feel like I'm struggling with the texture. When I paint, there is some bleed. When I paint freehand, I end up missing spots on the wall due to the texture... and on the ceiling, my brush bristles seem to like to push into the ceiling's texture and give me an unclean edge.

The ceiling is the most frustrating. I'm trying to figure out how exactly I'm going to execute a clean edge. One idea I came up with was to sand approx. 1/8-1/4" in the corner, so that I can mask the corner cleanly and paint it. I'm not sure if that is something that is commonly done, however, or how I'd manage it.

Can anyone offer me any advice?

Thanks very much.

PS. Using Valspar paint and primer. SureLine and Purdy brushes.

EDIT: I read the sticky on using dark/red colors. Something I'm wondering about is the advice on cutting in (one stroke only) and using only one roll per load from floor to ceiling on the roller. I understand why this advice is sound, but I'm concerned that it may be very difficult on a knockdown texture. Any additional advice here would be greatly appreciated.
 

Last edited by Jaysu; 11-30-10 at 04:01 AM. Reason: additional question
  #2  
Old 11-30-10, 05:22 AM
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Rolling paint is basically the same whether it's a slick finish wall or a heavy knockdown texture. A roller full of paint just won't go as far although a bigger nap will help to solve that. I usually just slop the paint on the wall and then as the roller runs out of paint, back roll that stripe [or 2] to smooth out the paint. It's really pretty simple once you get the hang of it.

I suspect you'll be better off not using tape. Tape tends to give false confidence. When the edge where the ceiling/wall meet is rough, I'll often drag my putty knife along the edge to kind of score out a straight line, I'll then cut into that line. When you paint the ceiling, don't worry about the walls, in fact it's preferable to get the ceiling paint down onto the wall at least 1/4" More is ok, just be sure to wipe out any runs or drips.

Purdy makes some great brushes. Which one are you using? While I prefer a larger brush, a 2" sash [angle] brush works well for a novice. Take your time and try to do a neat job but it's ok if you get some wall paint on the ceiling - you can go back and touch that up with ceiling paint when it dries. It's usually easier to apply extra paint and let it flow into the low spots and then as it sets up [doesn't take long] brush off the excess as it flows out of the low spot.

The only place I'd use tape would be to tape off the carpet [2" tape works best] so I can paint the base board. This helps to keep carpet fibers out of the paint and paint off of the carpet. Try and cut into the tape neatly, that will reduce the likelihood of paint getting under the tape.

almost forgot welcome to the forums!
 
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Old 11-30-10, 12:16 PM
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Thanks for the advice... and the welcome!

I have a question about something you said:
When the edge where the ceiling/wall meet is rough, I'll often drag my putty knife along the edge to kind of score out a straight line, I'll then cut into that line.
Does this create a score line that the bristles get "stuck" in so you don't get as much paint on the ceiling?

The purdy brush I'm using is a 1.5" "CLEARCUT" sash. The textured walls are giving me fits when cutting in with the paintbrush though. Seems I just can't get enough paint on the wall!

Since the sticky says to avoid the M/W pattern with darker paint, I'm going to go get an extension... even for the primer. I figure any time spent "practicing" with the primer will save me headache later.

Thanks again!
 

Last edited by Jaysu; 11-30-10 at 12:22 PM. Reason: accuracy
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Old 11-30-10, 01:31 PM
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Ya, dragging the putty knife kind of scores and removes some of the excess texture. It helps to give you a better line to cut to.

I don't know if I've ever used a brush that small, especially for cut in but I don't see any reason it wouldn't work. It would be too slow for me but speed comes with practice How are you loading your brush with paint? The biggest mistake most diyers make is they dip the brush and then rake off most of the paint on the side of the bucket. If you dip your brush and then 'slap' it against the sides of the bucket, that will remove the excess that's likely to drip but still leave you with a brush full of paint.

You definitely want a roller extension handle! With the exception of a small closet or other confined area, I won't roll without one.

If you have your primer tinted to [or close to] the finish color it will make it a little easier for the top coat to cover.
 
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Old 11-30-10, 09:07 PM
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Thanks for all the help, Marksr!

Today I screwed up... kinda. I went to buy more primer to finish up, and since the back of my sample card said to use G2 tinted primer, that's what I ordered.

Upon arriving home and beginning to paint, it occurred to me that the other primer was MUCH darker... and indeed that label on it said G3.

So I used it. Didn't have much of an option. Hopefully that won't cause me trouble? (I really wish I could have obtained red tinted primer, but I guess they couldn't do it for me...)

I still have several points that are concerning me a lot though:
1. I'm having a LOT of trouble cutting in and blending my brush strokes with my roller strokes. Brushing on to knockout is going very badly for me, especially on the convex bullnose corners.

2. I'm not getting clean lines on the ceiling. Occasionally I'll get a couple feet going well, but then I drop too far down or get too much on the ceiling. The only thing I can think of is doing touchup work with an artists brush on the ceiling edges when I'm done with the walls. I hate to do it... but I'm a novice painting a dark wall and a light ceiling...

3. With the primer, so far, I've been doing the W technique. Given the sticky, I started practicing doing wall to ceiling straight up and down. This isn't going well for me. I can't get rid of roller lines. I try backrolling a bit when the roller dries. I'm clearing the edges of the roller every two "columns"... but still, having trouble making it look smooth.

4. Should I be doing two coats of primer? Or should I just be working with the existing coat and patching here and there with paintbrush? How dramatically will primer messiness show through to the final coat? (I don't mean drips or anything... just patchiness etc.)

I hope the paint I am getting won't dry as fast as this primer. A layer of this primer goes from wet to set in what seems like 20 or 30 minutes - so detail work around windows, closet trim, and door has been rough. Can't blend it because it dries so fast.
 

Last edited by Jaysu; 11-30-10 at 09:39 PM.
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Old 12-01-10, 05:15 AM
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Until you get full coverage, the cut in versus the rolling will show. Where the cut in meets the roller - it's getting 2 coats of paint/primer versus the 1 coat where you've only rolled or brushed. You might try using a wide drywall knife as a shield to help you cut in. I've never cut in that way but it might help you. Be sure to wipe the paint off of the knife often so you don't transfer paint from the knife unto the ceiling Again skill comes with practice and occasionally even us pros get paint on something we shouldn't and have to either wipe it off [hard surfaces only] or touch it up later.

I rarely ever use the W or M pattern when rolling. I normally apply a full roller full per stripe and then reroll the previous stripe with that roller that has now used up most of that roller's load of paint. Have you started using the larger nap roller cover yet? I rarely use a 3/8" cover on drywall, it doesn't hold enough paint. For most slick finish or orange peel texture walls I'll use 1/2". 3/4" works better for heavier textures. I've been known to use a 1" nap on coarse ceilings

Generally full coverage isn't necessary with primer as long as everything has been coated with the primer. Reds can be problematic with coverage. Gray primer tends to make red cover better than when it's painted over other colors. You said you're using a greyish red so I'm not sure where you are in the red family. Usually discrepancies in the primer won't affect the top coat too much, when they do, another coat of finish will usually fix it.

I normally buy paint from a real paint store, not a paint dept so I'm not real familiar with the valspar coating lines but it isn't uncommon for primers to dry quicker than finish paint.
 
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Old 12-01-10, 12:18 PM
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Oh wow... 3/4 on texture? I grabbed a pack of 1/2" nap rollers for my knockdown wall yesterday. I'm considering getting a little 4" roller to help with cut in... sash brush is great, but my normal wall brushes just don't hold enough paint to get a clean 3" in a timely fashion.

As I went around this room with primer, I feel like I'm getting better at painting. Unfortunately, there's just no more room to practice. The room is primed. I'm going to do some sanding and touch ups today on some gnarly spots (I've got some drips and missed spots due to nasty repair work by the previous owners, and the arched window and bullnose sill, and strange door/closet design is giving me trouble ). I really wish I could practice more, I can see where I have a lot of room for improvement, and I have an eye for perfection, so I'm somewhat frustrated with myself. There's a lot of techniques I'd like to play with and see what works for me... but I'm out of space.

You know, it's funny: I come from a mechanically adept family, so I'm handy around a home usually by force of will, "doing things the right way" (ie. some studying beforehand ) and a heaping helping of geometry. Painting is a different beast altogether. I've never painted an interior. I've gained a tremendous amount of respect for the pros. This isn't just home repair, this is an art, science, and hand skills all wrapped into one.

Thanks again for the advice, you've been a tremendous help!
 

Last edited by Jaysu; 12-01-10 at 12:52 PM.
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Old 12-01-10, 02:06 PM
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One of those little rollers might help you. Many with poor brush skills use them to cut in the walls at the corner and since your using a 1.5" sash brush to cut in with, the roller should allow you to bring the 'cut in' out further quickly and help speed up your painting

Ain't being a homeowner fun own one long enough and you'll learn all sorts of things
 
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Old 12-01-10, 04:38 PM
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Jaysu:

Here's the proper way to hold (and use) a sash brush.



A lot of people presume that the bristles are cut at an angle on a sash brush so that the longest bristles will reach into the corner, and that's not correct. The bristles are cut at an angle so they flare out the same amount when the brush is used properly.

What you might want to do is do your cutting in with a sash brush as shown above, and then use a 3 inch roller and a piece of sheet metal to spread paint up to your cut in line. That is, don't start with your 3 inch roller full of paint right at the sheet metal because then liquid paint will get squeezed under the edge of the sheet metal and end up on the ceiling. Start about a foot or so away from the wall/ceiling corner and spread the paint up to the corner using the 3 inch roller. As long as the roller isn't full of paint, then it won't squeeze paint under the edge of the sheet metal.

What I started with was just a 2 foot square piece of sheet metal, which you can buy at any sheet metal shop. Plastic laminate also works well. Just use painter's masking tape to cover the 3 inches of metal or laminate that go into the corner to prevent them from marking the ceiling or walls. Also, that way when the tape gets all mucked up with partially dried paint, you can replace the tape and you're good to go again. The way you use the sheet metal or laminate is to just bend it with light pressure so that it's edge is in the corner and it's laying flat against the surface you want to prevent getting paint on. Then just spread the paint up to the sheet metal, thereby covering any brush strokes left by the sash brush and leaving a painted surface similar to that which will be left by the 10 inch roller you fill in the walls with.

Red paint generally doesn't have very good hide. The grey in the paint will help in that regard, but you may have to put on several coats in order to completely hide the underlying colour. The way you tell if you're hiding the underlying colour completely or not is to look for a "picture frame" effect around the perimeter of the walls where the coat of paint applied with the 10 inch roller overlaps the coat of paint applied with the sash brush or 3 inch roller. If you see an increase in colour density where the two coats overlap, then you're not getting complete hide in one coat. Once you do get complete hide of the substrate colour, you won't be able to tell the difference between n and n+1 coats. So, as long as each coat seems to result in increase colour density, then you still need to put on more coats.

You said you were having trouble painting the baseboards because you couldn't mask off the wall above because of the texture on it. I'd suggest painting the baseboard without any masking tape on the walls. Allow the paint on the baseboards to dry completely. Then, apply PAINTER'S masking tape to the baseboards, and paint over any baseboard paint you got on the walls. Don't use ordinary masking tape when painting with house paint. Often people have painted over high gloss oil based paint on walls with latex paint, and the latex paint doesn't stick well to it. The result is that sticking ordinary masking tape to the latex paint will result in the tape pulling the latex paint off the wall when you pull off the tape. Painter's masking tape has a very weak adhesive that allows the tape to be pulled off without pulling the paint off the wall.

You say you were having trouble with the primer drying too quickly. Can you let us know which primer you are using?
 
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Old 12-01-10, 06:12 PM
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Thanks very much Nestor! Fortunately, I saw your picture on another thread, so it's exactly how I've been using my sash brush. Great tip about sheet metal! I have a 10" taping knife I could use in much the same way.

Unfortunately I'm still getting a messy ceiling line with my sash brush (without taping ceiling). Is there anything that should keep me from trying the meta/taping knife trick with the sash brush as well as the small roller?

Regarding using painter's tape on the baseboards: after early failure with normal masking tape, I picked up some Frog Tape. My results have been much better. I also started taking care to not slop tape on the tape - instead, I'm being careful, using the Frog Tape only to catch slip ups and drops, and even then, i wipe them up promptly. Unfortunately I didn't discover this until I had screwed up two baseboards. I will be repainting those. My next two walls were much better.

The primer I'm using is Valspar's tintable color primer, tinted to G2. (Well, the first can that I bought was G3. When I went to buy more primer, I accidentally ordered G2. So half my room is G3, half the room is G2, and some of the G2 walls are cut-in with G3. Embarassing, but nothing a +1 coat of finish won't cover
 

Last edited by Jaysu; 12-01-10 at 08:13 PM.
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Old 12-01-10, 08:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Jaysu View Post
Unfortunately I'm still getting a messy ceiling line with my sash brush (without taping ceiling). Is there anything that should keep me from trying the meta/taping knife trick with the sash brush as well as the small roller?
Yes there is.

There are two products, both made by the Flood Company. One is for oil based paints, and it's called "Penetrol". The other is for latex paints, and it's called "Floetrol". Basically, both are nothing more than high viscosity paint thinners. By thinning the paint, you slow down the rate at which it self-thickens due to evaporation of the solvent in it (mineral spirits or water). That allows more time for the paint to self level on it's own, thereby greatly eliminating brush strokes.

Both of these "thinners" are also of higher viscosity than mineral spirits or water, so that as you add the products, they don't lower the viscosity of the paint, thereby causing it to run (or "sag") on vertical surface like walls (during that extended drying time).

If part of the problem at the wall/ceiling corner is due to brush strokes detracting from the appearance of the work, I'd thin my latex paint with Floetrol (if you're using latex) which you can buy at any paint store or paint department. I wouldn't thin the whole gallon. I'd see if I could pour some paint into a large tin can, and thin the contents of the can to see if you like the effect it has on the paint or not, and whether it helps solve the problem or not.
 
 

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