Fix-It: Paint 101

When purchasing house paint, it would seem unusual to look for the latest technological product as one would with a TV, DVD or computer.

October 15, 2006 13:06
3 minute read.
paints 88

paints 88. (photo credit: )


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When purchasing house paint, it would seem unusual to look for the latest technological product as one would with a TV, DVD or computer. However, it is extremely important to look for the very best and latest if you want your painting project to last. When Murray Krinsky (of blessed memory, the founder of Walls R Us) began painting over 80 years ago, there were two types of paint: water-based lime wash and oil paint. If you wanted a washable surface, oil paint was your only choice. In the early 1960s the first generation of latex water based washable paint entered the market. By the late 1960s it was determined that the lead in the paint led to serious medical issues. Slowly these lead paints were phased out and in the 1980s legislation in various countries (including Israel, the US and Canada) banned the use of lead paints in homes due to health concerns. The new lead-free paints did not cover as well and were much more difficult to use. Additionally, Western countries started banning the use of oil-based paints on the inside of homes in the 1990s due to fire concerns. Even when oil paint is dry, it is still flammable and will make the fire spread quickly and also emit a very toxic gas. Now the very best exterior and interior paints are water-based acrylic paints. There are very few actual needs for oil-based paints in everyday use in painting one's home. The latest technological improvements have been in undercoat or primer paints. Until the last few years the best quality undercoat or primer paints (which are necessary for a quality painting) were always oil based. The newer water-based ones such as Bulls Eye, PermaWhite, Kilz (all available in better hardware stores), and Superbonderall (from Tambour), do an excellent job and do not pose the health risks associated with oil-based solvent predecessors. Personal preference of a professional plays a big part in which paint he or she will use. Despite the health risks, Israeli-based Walls R Us will usually use oil-based paint for doors, frames, and security metal bars. There are water based options available, but when looking for long-lasting finishes these oil-based paints seem to work best. The new high-quality exterior Behr, Benjamin Moore and Glidden water-based paints (not yet available in Israel) will soon make the use of oil-based paints obsolete. Not only is the newer generation of paints harsh solvent free, but they will not harm the environment, as its predecessors had. As of the present day there is no legislation in Israel for the disposal of old paints. The previous chairman of the Knesset Environment Lobby, MK Michael Melchior, has shown interest but alas there is no support in the Knesset. There is always a problem with disposing of old paints. The best method is to remove the lids and let them dry out, and then dispose of them with regular garbage. Oil-based paints are more difficult as they emit noxious fumes when left open, and best is to leave them to dry where nobody is present. Paint hardener can be ordered via the Internet. Simply add one small packet to a gallon of paint and it will harden within a half hour, and then it can be disposed of easily. With the phasing-out of oil-based paints, this will soon cease to be a problem. I purchased a new wooden succa for this year. It takes up more space then I anticipated and I will be unable to store it inside. I am thinking of wrapping the wooden panels in plastic and storing them on the balcony. Do you think this will protect the wood panels? - A.N. via e-mail Definitely do not wrap the wooden panels in plastic. Doing so will guarantee that the panels will be full of mold when you unwrap them next year. Wood must breathe. It would be advisable to protect the wood by applying a varnish. It is also recommended to place a few strips of wood on the floor and then rest the panels on them. This will keep the panels off the floor of the balcony and prevent them from sitting in rainwater that may collect. Obviously some kind of storage shed would be best to keep the wood out of the rain and sun. This weeks Do It Yourself Resource: The No. 2 retailer of do-it-yourself products has an excellent site with loads of help for the home repair enthusiast. The authors can be reached at

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