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New and unusual paints: Unique painting products you should know about--and probably don't.

All paints are the same; all paints are different. They're all the same because their primary job is to coat and protect surfaces. They're all different because chemists tweak each component to balance performance for hundreds of different situations.

All that tweaking has produced lots of extraordinary paint. Here's a sampling of products to help you get great results throughout your house.


If your goal is an ultra-smooth topcoat on a bare wood with visible pores, like pine, your best bet is to prime the wood first. A good primer will fill in the pores, and a good sanding will smooth out all the brushstrokes. Trouble is, many primers gum up sandpaper like nobody's business. Here's one that doesn't.

Benjamin Moore's Fresh Start Enamel Underbody Primer is specifically made to sand easily. It's an alkyd (oil-based) paint, so it flows and levels extremely well. It's ideal for doors, cabinets and trim that will be painted with a gloss or semigloss enamel. You'll have to wait overnight before sanding and recoating, however. A gallon costs about $45.

Dry-erase walls

Sherwin-Williams' Sketch Pad turns any painted wall into a giant dry-erase board. It's a two-part gloss epoxy that dries clear, allowing the wall color to show through. It's easy to roll onto any smooth surface, but you'll have to wait one week for the epoxy to fully cure. A 1-qt. kit, containing a roller, tray and gloves, covers about 50 sq. ft. and costs $50.

Fortunately, the coating isn't permanent. When you want to repaint the wall, just scuff-sand, then prime and paint.

Flat finish but easy to clean

Flat paint used to be a bad choice for bathroom and kitchen walls. If you needed to be able to scrub fingerprints, grime or grease off a wall, you had to use a paint with some sheen. That's no longer true. Now there are paints, including Emerald Interior Acrylic Latex and Duration Home from Sherwin-Williams, that are both flat and washable.

These two choices also contain antimicrobial agents to inhibit growth of mold and mildew. According to Sherwin-Williams, Emerald ($63 per gallon) offers better washability than Duration Home ($59). Both are available in satin and semigloss as well.

No-miss ceiling paint

When you're repainting a ceiling--putting white on white--it's easy to miss a few spots. The new white and the old white usually look the same, especially if the light is bad. Wouldn't it be cool if a ceiling paint actually changed color as it dried, so you could be sure that you've covered an entire area?

Well, there really is paint like that. Glidden's EZ Track Ceiling Paint ($21 per gallon) goes on pink and dries white. The color change takes about 30 minutes--plenty of time to touch up any spots you've skipped.

This paint is also formulated to resist drips and minimize splatter, so you won't turn from pink to white as well.


A generation ago, an experienced painter's first choice for achieving a super-smooth surface on cabinets and trim would have been an oil-based alkyd paint, not a water-based acrylic latex. Alkyd paints flowed out better and leveled better. End of story.

Not quite. Alkyd paints come with a big downside: strong odor and slow, messy cleanup using mineral spirits. Acrylic paints, by contrast, have much less odor, and cleanup is quick and easy with soap and water. Benjamin Moore has now combined the convenience of acrylic with the performance of alkyd in ADVANCE, the first interior "waterborne alkyd" ($50 per gallon). It flows and levels extremely well, has low odor and cleans up with soapy water.

ADVANCE also dries slowly, like an alkyd, which allows brushstrokes to blend together to create a uniform surface. Compared with an acrylic, ADVANCE takes an extra long time to dry to the touch (four to six hours). You'll have to wait 16 hours to recoat.


This may sound like science fiction, but chemists have developed a paint that reduces bad smells and formaldehyde fumes in your house. And when it's applied, it has virtually no odor. If you need to repaint a room just before holiday guests arrive, hate the smell of burnt toast or are concerned about formaldehyde emissions from new carpets or cabinets, check out Harmony Interior Acrylic Latex Paint from Sherwin-Williams ($51 per gallon).

Harmony paint helps reduce odors from organic sources, such as cooking, smoke and pets, according to the manufacturer. It also reduces the concentration of formaldehyde, a pungent and irritating gas emitted by some types of newly installed insulation, carpet, cabinets and other building materials.


If you were ever caught writing on a wall when you were young, you may have wished your parents had a paint like Rust-Oleum's Dry Erase. This two-part epoxy creates a white surface that's perfect for dry-erase markers. You can apply it to any interior surface made from drywall, Masonite, wood, concrete or metal.

If the surface is unpainted, you'll have to prime it first with a latex paint. Dry Erase comes in two containers; once mixed, you'll have only one hour to apply the recommended two coats. Then you'll have to persuade your kids to wait three days (the time it takes the coating to cure) to try it out! A 1-qt. kit, which covers about 50 sq. ft., costs $20.


If you have peeling paint, Zinsser's Peel Stop Triple Thick Primer ($35 per gallon) can save you days of tedious scraping. It penetrates the old paint and bonds it to the surface below, preventing peeling and cracking. You still have to remove loose paint, but you can skip the hard, thorough scraping job that's usually required. And because it forms a super-thick film, this primer also hides minor surface cracks and evens out the irregularities of a weathered or scraped surface.

If you're not ready for repainting but you want to prevent a weathered surface from getting any worse, take a look at Peel Stop Clear Binding Sealer ($22 per gallon). It works just like the primer, but it's thinner and dries clear.

Both Peel Stop products can be applied to interior and exterior surfaces. They're recommended for use on wood, metal, stucco, concrete and brick. You can topcoat with any latex or alkyd paint.

Same can, more coverage

Every can of spray paint contains solvents, which evaporate, and solids, which form the coating. More solids means you get more coverage out of the can. And that's the idea behind Painter's Touch Ultra Cover 2X paints. According to Rust-Oleum, you get twice the coverage. The 2X line includes a wide range of colors, plus primer and a clear coating. Expect to pay less than $4 per can.

by Tom Caspar
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Author:Caspar, Tom
Publication:The Family Handyman
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2015
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