Posts by Category : Feature

Dark Stain Colors on Maple

To achieve the darkest stain color on Maple you need to do one of the following.  1.  Add dye to the stain (use two coats and wipe each coat) or wet rag off the 2nd coat (this should only be done by someone who has done it before and should not be attempted by a first timer or even a paint store employee who has “heard of that” or “seen that once or twice”) or 2.  Shade lacquer.   Shading lacquer to get a very deep color on maple is normally a 4 coat process (perhaps more) and requires a lot of work.  It makes sense to find the correct painting contractor or cabinet finisher to do this work as opposed to trying to talk your painter, handyman, carpenter or novice how to do it for you.  It won’t work.  On this job in particular I was asked to do finish some doors for a contractor.  The previous painter was using an oil based stain but did not have a dye compatible stain.  We were hired to finish the job and are using a dye stain and 3 clean coats (one of the clear coats will be shaded a tad)  Cabinet staining in Stillwater, MN

Call Nick with Complete Custom Painting for a Free estimate:  651-336-0561

Durable Kitchen in White Bear Lake

Paint is largely and esthetic product that requires maintenance.  Of course certain products and application methods are superior to others, but certain areas or items don’t need the same level of prep/attention (although every item always needs the correct prep/attention).  An obvious example is an concrete floor vs a drywall ceiling.  For the concrete floor to receive a coating and perform it needs extensive prep and 4 coats of a 100 percent solids, 2 part epoxy.  For the drywall ceiling to perform it needs one coat of primer and one coat of flat paint.  The drywall ceiling should last for 50 years (depending on the conditions) after that process.  Even though the concrete floor receives far more prep, a more durable coating, more coats and is cleaned/washed more often, the drywall ceiling will likely last longer.  The answer to this is obvious… the floor gets far more wear.  To the point WEAR is an important thing to consider when considering your painting contractor.  If you are putting any amount of money into your woodwork, walls, cabinets or you have an active family, or you put a lot of use into your kitchen, or you have grandkids that visit.  It is worth it to talk to a professional, explain what you are trying to achieve and explain the amount of WEAR your particular project is going to receive.  A professional will take it from there.  Here is a Kitchen in White Bear Lake we did with the following process:  1 coat of oil based high build primer on the cabinets after sanding.  2 top coats of Benjamin Moore Satin Impervo Oil Finish.  We thin down one coat and use a flow additive in one of the coats to achieve a better finish.  We also painted the walls with Sherwin Williams Duration which is a durable, washable paint.  Finally we used a Sherwin Williams BAC wiping stain, 1 coat of sealer and 2 top coats of varnish on the alder cabinets.  The results were outstanding.  This homeowner uses her kitchen a lot (cooking a minimum of 2 meals a day) and has 3 kids (often times running through the kitchen, using the sink, opening the fridge.  She need a durable, professionally enameled kitchen.

Call Nick with Complete Custom Painting LLC for a free estimate: 651-336-0561

Brushed enamel work in Minneapolis

Brushing enamel can turn out great.  In high traffic areas there is no substitute for a gloss, oil finish.  There are no products on the market that are water based that are as durable as the oil finish.  It is also easier to brush than the water based products because they stay open longer (dry slower).  Generally speaking, the longer a product stays open, the fewer brush marks you will see.  To achieve a professional  finish there are a few additives that we use to reduce brush marks.  It is also a requirement that the applicator have experience.  We did this Trolley care in downtown Minneapolis for The Old Spaghetti Factory.  Hundreds of people go there daily to eat their delicious food and bang into, sit on, accidentally kick and spill on the booths in this trolley car.  I received a durable finish with a professional look.

Call Nick for a free estimate:  651-336-0561



Commercial Building Painting in Bloomington

Safety is a concern for property owners.  Especially near parking ramps and entrances/exits of buildings where thousands of people walk everyday.  The question for a commercial painter is:  Can you apply a durable coating that is washable and will last.  The answer is yes.  100 percent solids epoxy are available but they need to be mixed correctly, applied correctly and in the correct conditions.  Here is a picture of a job we did for an important customer in Bloomington.  Some epoxy’s dry as hard as concrete, but they shouldn’t be applied by a first timer.  We did the grey epoxy 5 years ago and its in nearly perfect condition to this day.  They had us come back to apply epoxy to the gradual drop off area in safety yellow color.  We added a sand aggregate for additional grip.

Call Nick for a free estimate for assessment: 651-336-0561

Perfect enamel work in Minneapolis

Often times I’ll hear from homeowners who want to change maple or oak (previously stained and sealed) to an enameled finish.   The correct process can produce fantastic, durable results that last for a very long time.  Every once and awhile I’ll see a site where a previous paint or homeowner tried to use a product that claimed to be “pro primer/pro prep.”  Those products are fine so certain scenarios (extremely rare) but painting previously stained woodwork is not one of them.  The correct process for achieving a completely quality finish is to 1.  Sand all woodwork to create a profile.  2.  Vacuum and De-Gloss the coating with a solvent (the correct solvent is important because if the previous coating was an oil you need to use the correct de-glosser like wil-bond but if the previous coating was water-based then you need to use something else) 3.  Use the correct adhesion primer for the first coat.  4.  Use the correct putty and caulk for all seems.  Believe it or not the top coat you use after this is over-rated.  Of course if you take the time to do it correctly then you won’t want to use the worst top coat and you’ll want to use an oil enamel or a alkyd hybrid enamel (I don’t love water-based enamel but the hybrid products are pretty good)

Attached are pictures of a job in Minneapolis where they went from Stained Maple to Enamel.  The results were great.

Call for a free estimate NICK D  651-336-0561

Commercial Painting in Plymouth

Exterior Metal Items rust quickly in Minnesota.  To maintain them it requires regular inspection and maintenance.  On certain items that are required to carry a load (like a swing stage anchor, railing supports in high areas or stairwell headers) a professional engineer should assess them.  On other items (anything aesthetic or any item that if it failed would not be a hazard) a professional painting company should be able to give you an assessment of the most pressing items in need of maintenance and painting.  Items on commercial properties that often times require maintenance painting are:  Light poles, light pole bases, railings, metal door frames, metal entry doors, garage doors, swing stage support brackets and anything made of steel that you want to maintain its professional appearance) A few great tools that we used on this project were: Angle sanders with vacuum attachments, professional scrapers, dispensers and the correct brushes and rollers.  The products were Industrial rust inhibitive primers and enamels.  Complete Custom Painting LLC Painted the Teal Railing at this High Profile Building in Plymouth.

Nick D with -Complete Custom Painting LLC


Pine or Maple can look like Cherry

To stain Pine or Maple to look like Cherry, you can use 2 coats of Conditioner and use a heavier bodied stain (some water based stains or a stain like Zar) can dry brush it until the color is uniform.  There will be almost no unevenness (as opposed to when you wipe off the stain) and the brush marks will disappear eventually.  Here is some trim we stained for a window job in White Bear Township.  It is actually pine but looks very similar to Cherry.

Painting with Deep Base Colors

Q: What kind of paint should I use when painting deep base colors?

A:  The most expensive you can find…..with a caveat

There are scenarios (even in extremely low profile job scenarios) where it pays to go with the most expensive paint available.  It will ultimately save you money.  One of these scenarios is using deep base colors on accent walls.

Bright Reds, Dark Green, Royal Blues and other deep base colors will not cover in two coats (even if you tint a quality primer) if you get cheap paint.  You’ll end up spending a lot more time with 3, 4 or 5 coats then you otherwise would if you simply would have got one of the two products.  1.  Benjamin Moore’s Aura or 2. Sherwin Williams’ Emerald.  Both Products are selling around $70.00 retail.  A good painting contractor can do considerably better on that price but these products will generally cover in two coats (with primer and sometimes without) in any color and they are largely burnish resistant to boot.

Here is a job where a homeowner picked up the paint for an accent wall for us.   Generally I always buy products but on this particular job the homeowner was insistent on purchasing the paint.  We primed the walls with a dark grey and ended up applying 4 top coats:  I didn’t charge the customer any extra money because there was other work to be done as we allowed this paint to dry but had the homeowner wanted an entire room painted with such a poor product it could have cost him a lot more.

You can see from the pic that after a patch, primer and two top coats its not even close to a finished product.  Stick with the top of the line products for any deep base color…

Multiple colors for enamel work looks good

Question: Should your doors be the same color as the door frames if you are going to paint them?

Answer:  In most cases they are, but they don’t have to be.

Most of the enamel work we do involves painting the door trim the same color as the door.  It is appropriate at times to split it however.  Depending on the color and room decor you can paint the doors a different color and it looks fantastic.  If you choose to do this it is very important to speak with a designer.  You can do this for free and your only cost will be having the painting done professionally.  I’d also strongly recommend you have a professional do the painting work.  There is a difference in quality and knowledge.

Also, I don’t recommend splitting windows.  It’s too busy and defeats one of the purposes of having a window there.

Interior wall and ceiling painting (keeping it clean and perfect)

Q:What happens if I find an error after the first coat of paint on the walls, but I’ve already done the mud work?

A:  No problem, mud the area, but make sure to prime/paint that mud area and let it dry prior to re-top coating everything or you’ll get a flashing spot in the walls.

If you put a first coat on (even with some higher end paints) and the color is a deep base color (like a red or dark green etc) the paint will not cover in one coat (actually paint never really covers in one coat if you ask me).  A second coat is needed but if you notice a few small holes you missed when you went around the first time and hit everything with the 5 minute mud (or 20 minute or joint compound or top coat etc whatever the situation calls for)  All you need to do is hit that area with the mud, let it dry, prime it and then proceed to top coat everything.

More errors can show up after the first coat, because the reflective nature of the paint you are using as well as the color you are using may reveal more (or less for that matter)  Generally, I’ve found that the marbling look you get after a first coat will reveal one or two holes (very minor ones) that may have been missed.  Simple to fix and a perfect wall is the end result.

A couple of quick tips on sanding the spot.

1. Use a vacuum underneath every spot you apply mud.

2.  Prime in a circular pattern a little further out from the actual mud spot.

From there just proceed with expertise and excellence.