Friday, 23 February 2007 18:37

How To Strip Paint and Stain

The following information will tell you how to strip paint or stain off of most any surface.  There are many different types of stripping solutions on the market that will do the job.  In this article I will explain how to use Ready Strip and Tuff Job stripper.

Materials Needed 

Stripping product, brush, putty knife or scraper, cleaning solution


Ready Strip

Ready Strip is a biodegradable, environmentally safe stripper.  It has very low odor, applies easily and is strong enough to strip up to seven layers of paint, stain or varnish.  The product is a green paste when applied.  When the stripping is complete, Ready Strip will change to a white color.  



  1.  Brush on Ready Strip with an old brush that you can throw away after use.  The product should be applied like cake frosting.  If it is spread too thin it may require multiple coats in order to strip the finish.
  2. Wait for Ready Strip to turn white.
  3. If the surface is flat, you can use a putty knife to remove the stripper.  The Ready Strip that is removed can be thrown in the trash.  If the surface is not flat, you can remove Ready Strip with a damp sponge or cloth.
  4. Once the product has been removed, wash down the object that was being stripped with a cleaning solution, such as TSP (tri-sodium phosphate).


Pros of using Ready Strip 

  • Low Odor
  • Biodegradable
  • No need for eye or skin protection unless you have sensitive skin
  • No need for ventilation
  • Water clean up


Cons of using Ready Strip

  • Not as fast as most other strippers
  • Does not remove as many layers in one application as most other strippers
  • Can only be brushed on


Tuff Job

Tuff Job is a flammable, water-soluble, paint remover.  It is capable of removing tough epoxies, polyurethanes and synthetic varnishes.  Tuff Job can be applied by a nylon bristle brush, spray, heavy nap roller, or can be poured on.  




  1. Apply Tuff Job on the object to be stripped.
  2. Wait for the stripper to remove the finish.  This could take anywhere from a few minutes to a half hour.
  3. Test a small spot to see if the finish has been removed.
  4. Remove the stripper.
  5. Clean the surface with water or a solvent.


Pros of using Tuff Job 

  • Fast-acting
  • Water soluble
  • Removes many layers in one application
  • Paste formulation clings to vertical and overhead surfaces
  • Multiple application options


Cons of using Tuff Job 

  • Toxic
  • User must wear chemical resistant clothing, gloves, eye protection, and a respirator
  • Ventilation is required
Published in Painting
Tuesday, 27 March 2007 10:49

How To Fix a Water Stained Ceiling



There are several reasons why ceilings can become water stained.  Most commonly a roof leak is to blame, however, built up condensation or a leaking pipe may also cause a yellow stain to appear on your ceiling.  Your first step should be to figure out why the water stain appeared and stop the cause of the problem.  Then you can focus on the easier task of blocking out the ceiling stain.




Tape off walls so you will not get paint or primer on them.  Be sure to use low-tack tape so it will not pull the paint off of your walls.  Use a drop cloth or tarp to cover furniture and carpeting.


Materials Needed


Stain-killing primer, paint, drop cloth, low-tack tape, paint brush & roller, paint tray.




  1. Cut in your ceiling with a brush and roll on a coat of stain-killing primer.  Be sure to use the correct primer, there are many primers that claim they are an all-purpose primer, be sure that it will block out water stains.  Most of the time you will be using an oil-based primer.
  2. Let the primer dry according to the instructions.
  3. Roll on at least one coat of finish coat paint and let dry.


The primer will eliminate the water stain from bleeding through your finish coat.  If you do not use a primer you will notice the stain bleed through almost immediately.


Another Tip


If you use Zinsser's Bullseye Odorless primer you will not have to use a finish coat paint.  Bullseye Odorless dries to a flat finish and will look just like a regular ceiling white.  Simply roll on two coats of this primer and the job is complete.  The only time this would not work is if you wanted a ceiling paint in a washable flat finish or if you wanted a ceiling with more sheen than a flat finish.


Zinsser also makes a product called Covers Up.  It is a spray paint that contains a stain sealer.  It is designed so that the spray can sprays straight up in the air.  This is great if you have a water mark on your ceiling and you do not want to paint the whole ceiling.  The product comes in a regular ceiling white color which will work for most ceiling repairs, it also matches regular ceiling tiles. 

Published in Painting
Wednesday, 30 May 2007 17:09

How To Remove Gum From Clothing



Removing gum from clothing or other fabrics may seem impossible, however there are several products that will help loosen and remove gum from almost anything.


Materials Needed


Peanut butter, warm vinegar, toothbrush, Dawn dishwashing liquid, ice cube




  • Use an ice cube to harden the gum, remove as much as you can by hand
  • Wet the area down with warm vinegar and agitate with a toothbrush


Peanut butter can also be used to remove gum from fabric.  However, the grease from peanut butter can cause grease stains.  To remove the grease stain use Dawn dishwashing liquid and agitate with a cloth or toothbrush. 


This should eliminate the gum.  Wash the clothing in your washing machine and the stain should be gone. 


Published in Clothing
Sunday, 28 September 2008 11:41

How To Remove Ink Stains From Your Dryer



Have you ever accidentally threw a shirt in the dryer and forgot to take the ink pen out of the pocket? You may think that the ink stains on the walls of the dryer will be there forever but there is one sure way to get them out.


Items Needed


  • Bleach
  • White Cotton Towels




  1. Dampen three towels with bleach
  2. Throw only those three towels in the dryer
  3. Dry them for about 30 minutes
  4. You may need to repeat until the ink stains disappear




Becareful when you open the dryer door as bleach odor will escape.  Keep your head away from the door as you open.

Published in Clothing
Wednesday, 04 February 2009 19:14

How To Apply Wood Stain



Wood stain can be applied many different ways, depending on what you are staining and how big or small the project is.  Below is a list of common types of staining jobs and how to tackle them.


How To Stain Trim 


Apply stain with a brush.  Trim is usually beveled, which means that staining with a pad or rag will not get into all of the crevices.  Allow the stain to set on the wood for a few minutes and wipe off with a rag.


How To Stain a Wood Floor 


Since floors are probably the biggest staining job you will do, you should use a larger applicator.  I recommend using a lambs wool applicator.  The applicator can be screwed onto any size extension pole to make the job even easier.  Applicators are typically made in different sizes, generally 8", 10" and 12".  The lambs wool pad can be discarded and replaced with a refill.  


How To Stain Furniture


Depending on what type of furniture you are staining, you can use either a brush or rag to apply the stain.  On flat surfaces, I like to use a rag to apply the stain.  I can achieve the look I want more quickly this way.  Generally when you use a brush first you must then use a rag to smooth out the bristle lines.  Using a rag or old t-shirt will create a smooth finish the first time.  If you furniture has nooks and crannies you should apply the stain with a brush, then use a rag to level the stain.


Wood Staining Tips 


Use a china bristle brush if you are applying oil based stains.


Use a nylon / polyester blend brush if you are applying water based stains.


If one coat of stain does not give the depth of color you desire, read the manufacturer's directions to see when you can reapply another coat.


If you notice little bumps in the wood after you have applied a stain you may have raised the wood grain by applying the stain (this usually happens with water based stains).  Simply sand the wood down with 220 grit sandpaper.

Published in Painting
Thursday, 26 March 2009 18:50

How To Prepare A Deck For Staining

You are here because you have a deck, new or old that needs to be stained or painted.  What steps do you take first?  How do you clean your deck?  Do you need to strip off an old coating before applying a new one?  All of these questions will be answered along with some helpful hints that will save you time and money.  I have separated the article into two sections, new decks and previously coated decks.  Scroll to whichever kind of deck you have to save time.


For New Decks


Pressure treated lumber needs to weather at least 6 months prior to staining.  The coating from the factory needs to wear off before a new stain can be applied.  A good test to see whether your stain will accept stain or not is to take a drop or two of water and put it on the deck.  If the water beads up, the previous coating is still protecting the wood and you should not stain the deck.  If the water soaks in immediately your deck needs to be coated.


Now, lets say your deck is ready to be coated or your wood is brand new and not pressure treated.  Do you need to clean the deck?  Absolutely.   Capital Construction Contracting Inc states that if you install a brand new deck and leave it uncoated for 1 week, you will lose 50% of adhesion when you do apply a deck stain.  In just one week the suns UV rays have damaged the wood enough that you will not achieve the penetration needed for a deck stain to last for more than six months.  The sun's UV rays damage the wood and leave a dead layer of wood on the top of the surface.  In order to get the penetration needed you must clean the surface.


Since your deck is uncoated, you "should" sand and pressure wash the deck.  Most people prefer not to sand their deck because of the work involved.  If you want your deck to last longer than a year I recommend that you sand the deck using 50 to 80 grit sandpaper on a pole sander.  Most people think that you should sand the deck first then wash the surface so you can remove the sanding dust.  This method is absolutely wrong.  You want to clean the wood first so you don't sand mildew, mold, dirt and dead wood fiber into the wood. 


Cleaning your new deck


Use a solution of 4oz TSP (tri sodium phosphate), 1 quart of household bleach and 3 quarts of water.


This cleaning solution is by far the best cleaner you can use on your deck.  Unlike a store-bought deck cleaner, your cleaning solution is mixed and ready to use right before you clean your deck.  Products that have sat on a shelf for a year or two have lost their ability to clean the surface properly.


Use a garden-type pump up sprayer to apply the solution.  Use a push broom to agitate the solution and loosen wood fibers that have decayed.  Rinse the solution off of the deck with a power washer at 500 PSI with the nozzle 8 to 12 inches from the surface.  This amount of pressure is sufficient to clean the surface without damaging the wood.


After the deck has dried you are now ready to sand the deck.  Use a pole sander so you can sand the deck standing up.  Use 50 to 80 grit sandpaper.  Sand in the direction of the wood grain.  You do not need to sand railings, as they are a vertical surface and do not wear as fast.  When the sanding is done you can use a leaf blower, wet dry vac or broom to remove the sanding dust.  Your deck is now ready for stain.  You should stain it as quickly as possible after you have sanded the surface.  The longer you wait, the more the wood will decay and the stain will not penetrate the wood properly.


Since you are ready to stain your deck, head on over to our article: How To Stain A Deck


For Previously Coated Decks


I'll get this out of the way quick, if your deck is stained with a semi-transparent stain that has faded you should continue on with the same type of stain when you do your maintenance coat.  If you are going to switch brands you need to completely remove the previous coating before starting your staining job.  This is because not all stains are compatible with everything else on the market.  We cannot expect manufacturers to produce their products so they can be applied over other coatings. 


Deck strippers are not nearly as hard to use as you might think.  They are typically applied using a paint roller.  Wait the recommended time that the manufacturer suggests and pressure wash the solution off.  Then you need to allow the deck to thoroughly dry before coating the deck.


Should your deck be washed and sanded before you apply the stain?  Absolutely.  Even though your deck has been coated, the wood fibers still need to be cleaned. 


Since you are ready to stain your deck, head on over to our article: How To Stain A Deck

Published in Painting
Tuesday, 13 October 2009 19:47

How To Stain A Fiberglass Door



Fiberglass doors are an innovative alternative to a standard entry door.  They can be stained to almost any color to match your decor.  Fiberglass offers many advantages over standard metal and wood doors.  They are rust-proof, rot-proof, environmentally friendly, durable and versatile.  They are available in different colors, wood grained varieties and also in carved or distressed looks.


Staining fiberglass doors is very easy.  There are two standard ways of staining the doors, one that I recommend and one I don't.


The standard way of staining a fiberglass door is to use a gel stain to achieve the desired color, then protecting the door with a spar varnish.  This method is ok, however, the spar varnish will break down with age.  The UV rays of the sun will eventually cause the spar varnish to peel. 


I recommend using a product from Sikkens called "Cetol Door & Window".  This product is not a gel stain, instead it is a high solids alkyd stain/polyurethane mix.  There is no need for two different products.  Simply apply two coats of the color you have picked.  Every few years you can do a maintenance coat of the same color product or switch to one of the clear finishes in the Door & Window line.  Using a clear finish will not darken the door.

Published in Painting