FAQs

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FAQs 2017-01-27T14:30:35+00:00

If you have decorating how-to questions or problems, the information found on these pages will be very helpful. Many common decorating questions have been compiled and answered by paint and decorating professionals.

If you need additional information, or would like to talk to an expert, please go to our retailer locator to find a store in your area. PDRA member stores offer top-quality decorating products and friendly, expert advice.

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The air temperature should be between 50 degrees and 85 degrees F. The dew point temperature should be five or more degrees lower than the ambient air. Avoid painting in the sun, too (the sun-warmed surface can be ten to twenty degrees higher than the ambient air). Also, don’t stain if it’s windy — the stain will dry too fast.

Try to plan your work so that you are always painting in the shade. Stop at least two hours before sunset (due to the danger of condensation).

It certainly can. As with paint, a quality stain will more than pay for itself by its longevity. After all, the labor component of a job — whether you do it yourself or pay someone else — is a much more important “cost” than the materials. A quality stain can last as much as twice as long as a cheap product — that means many more years without a re-do. Also, be sure to compare the spread rates between the higher and lower priced products. You may discover that the “high priced” product has a greater covering capacity than the cheap one and, therefore, isn’t really so much more expensive on a square foot basis.

Usually two coats will be needed, but the answer may vary depending upon the condition of the surface and the “look” you’re trying to achieve. For example, if the existing topcoat is in good condition, and you’re going to restain to the same, or darker color, one coat may suffice. If it’s been a few years since you last stained, or if you’re going to a lighter (opaque) color, you’ll definitely need two coats.

The gallons needed for one-coat can be estimated as follows:

  • Multiply the house perimeter, in feet, by 10
  • Multiply this number by the number of stories
  • Multiply this number by 0.85 (to deduct doors and windows)
  • Divide this number by the stain’s stated spread rate (in sq. ft./gal.)

In formula format:

Approximate gallons of stain for one-coat
= {House Perimeter (ft.)} x {10 (ft.)} x {# Stories} x {.085} / {Spread Rate (sq. ft./gal.)}

  • The actual stain you need will vary according to your structure’s actual surface area as well as the texture and porosity of siding. For example, rough sawn wood will use more stain than smooth; bare wood will use more than previously coated; etc.

Probably not. First of all, exterior products should never be used in interior or confined spaces, so unless your “sunroom” is no more than a screened-in porch, then you definitely should not use it. Secondly, unless the exterior stain specifically states that it can be used on horizontal, trafficked surfaces, it will not perform well on a floor.

Besides, as noted earlier, a stain’s appearance is affected by the underlying wood, so it’s doubtful that the stain will “look” the same on flooring as it does on siding. There are many suitable interior stains on the market which can be tinted to match the color you desire.

With respect to what “look” you want, it’s a matter of personal taste as to how much color or opacity you wish to give any deck’s wood. Most people with new redwood (or recently cleaned redwood, in good condition) want the wood to look as “natural” as possible, so they choose a “clear” product, with or without color enhancing pigments. In choosing a color read the label carefully; sometimes a product called “redwood” means it’s been formulated for redwood; other times it means it’s a redwood color.

There’s no right answer to this question; it’s a matter of personal preference. All stains differ from paint in that they provide color yet, at the same time, allow the wood’s character to show. A “solid” product is the most opaque and allows texture, but little grain detail, to be seen. A “semi-transparent” product allows some grain to be seen; a “clear” will show the most grain. Keep in mind that the more transparent the product, the more its color will be affected by the underlying wood; so, variations in wood color will be more obvious with transparent products, as will any natural blemishes such as knots and tannin. Also, opaque products usually last longer because they block out a greater proportion of damaging, ultraviolet rays.

To make your selection it’s best to try some stain samples on the kind of wood you’ll be coating.

If you allow the siding to weather naturally, without any additional treatment, it is unlikely that you will ever achieve the uniform gray tone you admired. Chances are your siding is experiencing some uneven weathering due to a disproportionate exposure to moisture and sunlight. Fortunately you can buy products which accelerate the weathering process. Applied properly, you can get a uniformed weathered look in 6 – 12 months.

Good surface preparation is the first step to any staining project. Even with new wood, the USDA Forest Products Laboratory has found that as little as two weeks’ exposure to weather and sunlight will damage the surface fibers and measurably decrease coating adhesion. A previously coated surface generally has some weathered surface fibers as well as loose coating (chalkiness or peeling), dirt, pollen and mildew. Obviously, these are things you don’t want to coat. So you have to remove them to get to a clean, stable surface.

“Water beading” simply indicates the presence of a water repellent additive in your product. Unfortunately, it takes more than surface water repellency to protect your deck from the elements. To really do the job, you’ll need to use a product which penetrates the wood cells and encapsulates the wood fibers with a protective resin. Choose a product which will provide your deck with deep- penetrating protection from the damaging effects of the sun’s ultraviolet rays, as well as from rain and snow. Also, look for products which provide mildew resistance.

No! Even pressure treated wood (PTW) will be adversely affected by sunlight and water. The surface wood fibers will degrade, resulting in graying and splintering. With time more serious damage will likely occur; for instance, cracking and warping. Use a stain that’s specially formulated to penetrate the hard surface of new PTW and protect it from the elements, while affording resistance to mildew.

That depends on many factors, including the makeup of your household and how much foot traffic traverses across a particular room. The average resilient floor covering is down anywhere from 10 to 15 years, industry experts say. Today’s vinyl flooring is very durable and easy to maintain. In many cases, the likelihood is that the homeowner will want to change the flooring for decorating purposes rather than because it has worn out. Carpet, meanwhile, is usually kept in a home for seven to 10 years, but many variables exist-not the least of which is the quality of the carpet you choose. Ask your floor covering dealer about longevity expectations and warranties whenever you buy floor covering.

Many people select their floor covering first and then coordinate other products with that selection. The reason: It covers such a large expanse of the room and draws the eye. Frequently, the carpet is done in a neutral color that will work with a variety of paint colors, wallcovering patterns and furnishing styles. But that doesn’t have to be the case. Bolder use of pattern on the floor can set the tone for a room and help set your overall decorating direction. Independent decorating centers have a full range of products-not only flooring, but also paint, wallcoverings and window treatments. With their help and guidance, you can put together a complete look for your room or home that coordinates from floor to ceiling.

The choices in resilient flooring are greater than ever. Many times, resilient flooring reproduces Mother Nature with deeply veined marble, granite and stone looks, “plank-wood” flooring and other natural-appearing styles.

Resilient sheet flooring with inlaid color offers a handcrafted look of extraordinary depth and richness. The designs are made from millions of tiny color granules laid into hand-cut stencils, which create the pattern color by color, shade by shade. The entire structure is fused into a solid sheet under intense heat and pressure. These floors are scuff-, damage- and indentation-resistant. Designs today clearly show a combination of objects, prints, colors and textures that reflect a mingling of cultures from around the world.

Wood flooring also is gaining as a popular choice, as people strive to bring the beauty of nature inside their homes. Wood entryways and family rooms add tremendous drama and open-ness to a home. Add a dramatic area rug as an accent, and you have a classic, but timeless look.

Current trends can be summed up with three words: pattern, color and texture. Today’s carpets and rugs come in a wide range of options, from rich cut piles and patterned berbers to fabric-inspired braids, that work well with today’s favorite looks. Berbers are especially popular, since they can be kept virtually footprint-free and are easy to care for. This carpet is suitable wherever a casual look is desired.

Area rugs, meanwhile, feature a blending of fabrics to create interesting styles. For instance, braided rugs today employ a variety of different fabrics-from wools to cottons to blends. They come in patterns and colors to coordinate with any decor.

Check with your local independent floor covering dealer for the best selection and latest trends.

According to the Carpet and Rug Institute, new carpet – like a new car – can have an odor for a short period of time after installation, yet it does not contribute to indoor air pollution. New carpet can emit low levels of chemicals, but they are extremely small when compared to other products used indoors. The vast majority of consumers are not affected by carpet odors or carpet chemicals. However, CRI recommends ventilating newly carpeted areas by opening up the windows and doors to let fresh air in. Also consider using fans and air conditioning for ventilation.

Always buy from a reputable dealer. If in doubt, contact the Better Business Bureau. Independent dealers are a good bet. They usually have a wide selection of custom goods at their disposal, plus better-grade carpet pads and qualified installers. Many also have decorators who will come into your home to help coordinate the carpet with the rest of the decor. Independent dealers also have the product knowledge to help you match the right carpet to your particular needs.

If you do check out the prices at a discount store, be sure to compare apples with apples. Many of these operations promise low, low prices but don’t always include the costs of installation, pad or tack strips in the cost. Also compare the quality of the the product you’re considering, including the pad.

Your course of action depends upon the type of stain and the type of carpet you purchased. Manufacturers have their own specific instructions, and it is best to follow those. However, a typical set of procedures will provide the following general guidelines.

First of all, a few general tips: Remove stains as quickly as possible to ensure optimum success. Absorb wet spills by blotting-never rubbing or scrubbing-repeatedly with white paper or cloth towels. Work from the outer edge into the center of the stain to avoid spreading. Also rinse thoroughly with soap and water after applying any cleaner to your carpet. Avoid using any harsh chemicals that may permanently damage your carpet.

For water-soluble stains, such as alcoholic beverages, milk, mustard, greasy food or latex paint:
Absorb as much of the stain as possible with white towels. If any of the stain remains, spray a solution of clear, mild liquid detergent and water onto the stain (use one-quarter teaspoon of detergent to 32 ounces of water). For tougher stains, such as those caused by urine or coffee, use a solution of one part white vinegar and one part water before applying the detergent. For dried blood or wine, use a household solution of one tablespoon ammonia to one cup of water (except in the case of wool or wool-blend carpet) prior to the detergent. In all cases, rinse with clean water to remove the detergent residue.

For oil-based stains, such as crayon, ink, oil-based paint or auto grease:
Absorb as much as possible with white towels. Using protective gloves, apply an oil and grease spot remover for carpets to a paper towel and continue to blot. Do not pour or spray this product directly on the carpet, since it could cause damage. Repeat as necessary. Follow with the steps for water-soluble stains to completely remove the stain.

For such stains as chewing gum and candle wax:
Freeze the stain with ice or a commercially available product in an aeresol can. Shatter the ice with a blunt object and vacuum immediately. Follow this procedure with the oil and grease spot remover.

Many difficult stains – such as asphalt, coffee, grease, ink and urine – may require professional cleaning.

Many carpets today come with superior stain protection, soil protection and static resistance. Most homeowners clean their carpets about once a year. So, in the interim, you want the carpet to perform as well as possible in these three areas. While no carpet is completely protected, today’s products are better than ever. Check the labels on the carpet samples and ask your dealer how the carpet you’ve chosen will perform overall. Also, be sure to follow manufacturer’s instructions when cleaning any stains that find their way onto your carpet via the three kids, two dogs and one cat. Remember: Any carpet will take a beating from children, pets, spills and day-to-day foot traffic. But a good carpet can withstand the abuse and typically outlast many other household items.

There are generally three types of tufted carpet construction: cut pile, loop pile, and cut and loop pile. In a cut pile style, the carpet loops have been cut to create individual tips. Examples of this style include velvets and textured saxonies. In a loop pile style, the carpet loops are not cut or sheared. Instead, the intact loops form the surface of the carpet. Examples include multi-level loops and berbers. In a cut and loop pile style, as the name suggests, you will see a combination of the previous two styles. This type of carpet can range from very striking patterns to subtle tracery designs. Advantages of each: Cut pile styles come in a tremendous variety, making them suitable for virtually any area of the house; some of the textured types do well at minimizing footprints. Loop pile carpets are very durable, making them well-suited for high-traffic areas. Cut and loop styles come in multi-colorations and random patterns and have excellent soil-hiding properties.

When selecting a cut pile carpet, you may want to look at the twist, which refers to the number of times the fiber is twisted together in each individual carpet yarn. The tighter the twist, the more durable the carpet will be. For loop pile styles, the measure of quality is the tuft bind, which refers to the relative strength of the attachment of yarn loops to the carpet backing. Higher quality carpets have a denser tuft bind.

Another factor to consider is type of fiber. Most residential carpet is made from four types of fibers or blends of those fibers: nylon, polyester, polypropylene or wool. Nylon is the most common fiber because of its durability, resiliency and soil resistance. Polyester is a soft fiber that provides great color clarity; it is stain- and fade-resistant and less expensive than nylon. Polypropylene, also known as olefin, is gaining in popularity due to its stain-, fade- and moisture-resistance as well as its low cost. Wool, the original carpet fiber, is more expensive and less stain-resistant than the newer synthetics. Yet, it is still sought-after because of its luxury and beauty.

Your home’s exterior is the first impression visitors have of you. You should want it to look good. First, be sure to take into account the fixed colors of your home -brick, stone work and the roof color. You may want to consider choosing a paint color that will pick up the color from one of these non-painted areas such as, for example, a brown that appears in your brick. In addition, the style of your home may play a role in the colors you select. If, for example, you have an architecturally accurate reproduction of a colonial-style home, you may want to use authentic exterior colors from that period. Or, if you have a Victorian-era home you may want to use a number of colors to accentuate the architectural details (gingerbread) on your home. Generally, you can’t go wrong selecting a light color for the body of the house and a darker, complementary color for the trim. Another way to set your home off is to create an interesting welcoming entrance by painting your front door in a bold color scheme. Your local independent paint retailer can help you select just the right color scheme for your exterior project.

Actually, if you are painting new siding or where all of the previous coating has been removed, you should first apply a coat of primer followed by two coats of paint. However, if the surface was previously painted and that old paint is still sound, a single coat ofa quality paint will probably suffice. Your local independent paint retailer can advise you as to whether two coats will be necessary for your particular situation.

That depends. Both will do an excellent job under most circumstances. Water-based paints have a number of advantages especially for of do-it-yourselfers including ease-of-clean-up and general ease-of-use. In addition, top-quality latex paints generally have excellent adhesion to most surfaces and generally exhibit superior resistance to bleaching and fading when compared to oil-based paints. However, to determine which type of paint you should use for your specific project, consult your local independent paint retailer.

Without taking a look at your specific situation, it’s very difficult to give a specific answer. There are simply too many different types of problems that involve paint not adhering to exterior surfaces. For example, there are terms such as alligatoring, blistering, checking and cracking to describe different problems that can occur. However, almost all paint failures are due to poor or improper surface preparation. Another cause is improper application. The use of quality paint also is important, but, as in your case, will not ensure against adhesion problems if the surface is not properly prepared and the paint is not applied correctly.

To briefly answer both your second and third questions, yes, you can correct your problem and by properly doing so avoid the same problem in the future. Remove all loose, flaking or peeling paint, clean, spot prime where necessary, solve any moisture problems you may have and repaint with a quality paint using correct application procedures.

That’s the brief answer. For a complete and authoritative answer to your specific paint problem, see your local independent paint retailer. In many cases they have a publication and/or CD-ROM disk entitledPaint Problem Solver which illustrates many common exterior and interior problems and explains the cause and solution.

Those are both good questions. To find a good painting contractor, ask friends and neighbors for recommendations or see if your local independent paint retailer has a list. once you’re ready to talk to them, ask for and check references. When they give you a quote, get a firm price and both a start and finish date, find out who will actually do the work, check to see if the contractor has liability insurance (and bonding if necessary), and never pay in advance. A bid or contract also should include a list of the work that is to be done, how many coats for each surface, the type of paint to be used for each part of the job, the preparation work that will be done, and who furnishes the paint and other materials.

Your know-it-all neighbor does, at least, know something about exterior painting. Paint when the temperature is above 60 and below 90 degrees F. Otherwise the drying time will be adversely affected. Avoid not only rain but also wind. High winds not only can cause your paint to dry too quickly, they can also blow dirt and other debris onto the wet surface. You should also try to paint with the shade. In other words, if you can avoid painting indirect sunlight, do so. Always check the manufacturer’s instructions on the paint can label and get advice from your local independent paint retailer.

As with almost any product, when you purchase paint you usually get what you pay for. Purchasing paint strictly on the basis of price will end up costing you more in the long run. Here’s why. As long as you’re comparing two similar types of paint (i.e. interior wall paint, exterior trim paint), price differences usually reflect a difference in the quality and/or the amount of the key ingredients. Since it’s the ingredients that affect such important qualities as durability, flow, hide and leveling, the better the quality of the paint the easier it will be to apply and the longer it will normally last. In fact, a top-quality paint can last as much as twice as long as a low-end paint. This lowers the cost per year of service which saves you not only money, but also sweat if you do your own painting. If you use a professional painter, you save even more by insisting on a top-quality paint. That’s because the paint represents only a fraction of the cost of repainting; most of the expense is for the contractor’s labor.

By spending a little more upfront on your paint, you avoid frequent repainting. Naturally, if your budget is tight, watch for a sale on a top quality paint. However, remember to purchase the best paint you can afford. It will always be your best value in the long run. Consult your local independent paint retailer for the proper paint for your project.

Painting your old vinyl siding makes good sense both economically and aesthetically. Not only can you make it look like new again, you can, if you wish, change the color and give it a whole new look. Note that you can do the same thing with aluminum siding. Surface preparation and the use of a quality paint are the keys to painting both vinyl and aluminum siding. (However, check with the siding manufacturer to make sure that painting does not void the warranty.)

For vinyl, the first step is to remove any chalking and stains as well as any dirt by cleaning with a power washer or by hand-scrubbing with warm, soapy water and thoroughly rinsing. one caution: Never try to remove stubborn stains on vinyl siding with a wirebrush, sandpaper or a power sander. These can permanently damage your siding. After the surface is dry, paint using a quality paint. Note that you should not paint with a color darker than the original color of the vinyl siding. Why? Because dark colors can absorb the sun’s heat, causing the siding panels to warp.

For aluminum siding, any surface oxidation must be completely removed by careful, light rubbing with steel wool. If mildew is present, remove it by scrubbing with a bleach solution (one part bleach to three parts water). Power-wash or hand-scrub with warm, soapy water and rinse. Be sure to remove all chalking, loose paint, dust, dirt, and bleach solution. Spot-prime areas where bare aluminum may be exposed. After the surface is dry, paint as you would any siding using a good quality paint.

For authoritative advice on repainting your vinyl or aluminum siding along with the proper type and quality paint to do the job, check with your local independent paint retailer.

Those terms refer to the sheen or gloss level of the paint, and, yes, it does make a difference which one you use. The sheen or gloss level simply means the degree of light reflectance of the paint. The terms you mention are ones that various manufacturers use to describe the shininess of their products. The following chart explains what each term means, and where paint with that type of gloss should be used. Your local independent paint retailer also can recommend the type of gloss you need for your particular paint project.

High Gloss (70+ on a 60-degree gloss meter)

Where to Use:
For kitchen and bathroom walls, kitchen cabinets, banisters and railings, trim, furniture, door jambs and window sills.

Comments:
More durable, stain-resistant and easier to wash. However, the higher the gloss, the more likely surface imperfections will be noticed.

Semi-gloss (35 to 70 on a 60-degree gloss meter)

Where to Use:
For kitchen and bathroom walls, hallways, children’s rooms, playrooms, doors, woodwork and trim.

Comments:
More stain-resistant and easier to clean than flat paints. Better than flat for high-traffic areas.

Satin or Silk (Range overlapping eggshell and semi-gloss)

Similar characteristics to semi-gloss and eggshell.

Eggshell (20 to 30 on a 60-degree gloss meter)

Where to Use:
Can be used in place of flat paints on wall surfaces especially in halls, bathrooms and playrooms. Can be used in place of semi-gloss paints on trim for a less shiny appearance.

Comments:
It resists stains better than flat paint and gives a more lustrous appearance.

Flat (less than 15 on a 60-degree gloss meter)

Where to Use:
For general use on walls and ceilings.

Comments:
Hides surface imperfections. Stain removal can be difficult. Use for uniform, non-reflecting appearance. Best suited for low-traffic areas.

Matte

Same characteristics as flat.

Good question. There are lots of factors involved, but for most interior and exterior projects the following will usually give you an accurate estimate of your needs. Simply calculate the square footage of the surfaces to be painted and divide by the number of square feet that the manufacturer indicates can be covered by a gallon of your selected paint.

Estimating Example
For example, if a room is 10 feet by 20 feet with 8-foot ceilings, your square footage is 480 (the circumference times the ceiling height). If you have a number of windows and doors, subtract the square footage of those openings (standard doors are about 21 square feet, standard windows about 15 square feet). For many paints, including primers and stains, a gallon will cover about 400 square feet (the product label will show the coverage). Since two coats are normally recommended for most projects, two gallons would be needed for the 10-by-20-foot room example. (This assumes there are one or two windows.) Remember, it’s always a good idea to have a little leftover paint for future touchups.

As mentioned earlier, there are a number of factors that affect how much paint you’ll need. These include the type of surface being covered and the color currently on thesurface as well as the one being applied. The best way to ensure that you have the proper amount of paint for your project is to take your measurements and other information (surface being covered, its condition and color) to your local independent paint retailer.

Clean immediately after use – paint thinner or kerosene with bristle brushes; soap and water with nylon/polyester brushes.

Use a brush comb to clean and straighten the bristles.

Do not soak your brushes for extended periods of time. They will lose their shape if you do.

If possible, store your brush by hanging it. Do not store a brush on its tips. This will curl the working tip of the brush rendering if useless.

  • Levels the paint finish without shadows or valleys
  • Will not shed lint on the painted surface
  • Will not skid or track when rolling
  • Will not delaminate during use
  • Faster overall painting with less effort
  • No unsightly brush streaks
  • Less bristle or filament shedding
  • Easier “cutting in” for those tight areas
  • Outstanding finish appearance

Run your hand over the cover to see if it sheds any lint. If it doesn’t, it’s probably a good cover.

Check both ends of the cover to see if there is any fabric hanging over either end. Good quality covers are “beveled” and there should be no overhanging fabric.

Look for the seam in the roller cover. If you don’t see one, then its probably a good cover. If you see any gaps in the cover or loose backing at either end, that means the cover is of inferior quality.

Generally you need to buy two brushes: a 3″ to 4″ size brush for larger surfaces and a 1″ to 2″ angular brush for smaller surfaces, trim work, cutting in (trimming an edge or border with a brush, such as where a wall meets the ceiling or at the edge of woodwork) and touch up.

Nylon & polyester blend paintbrushes work well in both oil and water-base paints.

High quality or more expensive brushes have distinct advantages over the cheaper ones. First of all, a high quality brush will finish the job more quickly. This is because a top-quality brush has the ability to “hold” more paint in reservoir, which means you will spend less time “painting the can” than applying the paint to the surface. Also, a top-quality brush will have a tapered end, which means there are shorter bristles on the outside and longer bristles in the center. Tapered bristles give the painter more control over where and how much paint goes onto the surface. A top-quality brush will also not shed bristles like a cheaper brush, because of how firmly the bristles are seated in the ferrule (the metal band that attaches the bristles to the handle), and also determined by the material used as plugs (space plugs inside the ferrule that bond the bristles in the ferrule, add taper to the bristles, and finally create “wells” in the center of the bristles to hold paint) in the ferrule.

In terms of time, the most efficient applicators are listed in order:

  • Sprayer
  • Roller
  • Brush

In terms of which is most effective in least amount of wasted paint listed in order:

  • Brush
  • Roller
  • Sprayer

Generally, there are two types of paint brushes, those made of natural-hair bristles and those made with synthetic materials (usually nylon or polyester).

Natural bristle brushes are preferred for use with solvent-based (oil- or alkyd-based) paints, especially for enamel or finish work. Natural bristles are hollow and can absorb the water contained in a latex paint, causing them to swell and become soft and limp (similar to your own hair when it is wet).

Most synthetic brushes work well with both latex and solvent-based paints, but always check the manufacturer’s recommendations on the brush. Some of the solvents used in solvent-based paints can break-down the compensation of a synthetic bristle-once again check the label.

Keep in mind, the same above rules apply to roller covers: synthetic vs. natural (wool).

  • Wallboard or smooth plaster – use a short nap 1/8 to 1/4 inch
  • Light-textured stucco or poured concrete – use a medium nap 3/8 to 3/4 inch
  • Cyclone fencing/wire fences – use long nap 1″ – 11/2 “

You probably already have many of the tools needed. Numbers 1 through 16 are those that are always needed for hanging wallcoverings. The remaining ones will be needed for specific types of wallcoverings and/or for special situations. Here’s a tip: good quality tools and sundries always pay off. If you need any of the following, buy the best you can afford!

  1. Yardstick for measuring
  2. Scissors for cutting and trimming
  3. Stepladder
  4. Razor knife or breakaway type knife for trimming
  5. Seam roller for pressing and setting seams
    Caution: Avoid pressing too hard. This can cause all of the paste to be squeezed out which can lead to loose seams.
  6. Wide wall scraper or broad knife
  7. Two-inch putty knife for patching walls
  8. String, colored chalk and weight for making plumb lines
  9. Carpenter’s level or bubble stick (the recommended way to make plumb lines)
  10. Smoothing brush
  11. Buckets
  12. Sponge for rinsing down strips
  13. Sandpaper and/or sandpaper block
  14. Drop cloth or brown kraft paper for protecting floors
    Note: do not use newspapers as the ink may smear)
  15. Screwdriver for removing switch plates and fixtures
  16. Raised working surface for pasting and cutting strips (special tables are available at many wallcovering retailers)
  17. Water tray for wetting prepasted wallcoverings
  18. Paste brush, paint roller or pad applicator for pasting unpasted wallcovering
  19. Miscellaneous sundries for patching and preparing the walls including primer/sealers
  20. Adhesives for unpasted wallcoverings (see manufacturer instructions and/or ask your independent wallcovering retailers for the proper type for your project)
  21. Vinyl-to-vinyl adhesive for overlapping vinyl wallcoverings and special surfaces.

Yes. In fact, it’s fairly easy, and if done properly, the repair is practically invisible. As illustrated, place a larger piece of pasted wallcovering over the tear so that it makes an exact match with the wallcovering on the wall. Use a razor knife to double-cut through both layers around the tear. Remove both layers, clean the exposed wall area and repaste the new outer piece into the area. After 15 minutes, lightly seam roll the fitted edge. Note that an irregular, wavy cut following the design in the wallcovering will make your cut less noticeable.

wallc03

On all wallcovering, except some textures and murals, there is what is called a pattern repeat. This is the vertical distance between one point on a pattern design to the identical point vertically. This pattern repeat is an integral part of the design. A random match is one in which the pattern matches no matter how adjoining strips are positioned. Stripes are a good example. A straight-across match is one in which the design elements match on adjoining strips. A drop match is one in which there is a vertical drop between the matching design elements. With straight-across matches, every hung strip is the same as the ceiling line. With drop matches, the number of strips hung before a strip is repeated is dependent on the type of drop match. For example, in a 1/2 drop match the third strip hung would be a repeat of the first strip; in a 1/3 drop match, the fourth strip hung would be a repeat of the first strip; in a 1/4 drop match, the fifth strip hung would be a repeat of the first strip, and so on. Here are illustrations of three types of matches.

pattern

Actually, you can find wallcoverings for even more. However, the average price for a single roll of wallcoverings is only about $16. That, by the way, works out to only about 65 cents per square foot. The price is affected by such factors as the type of wallcovering (i.e. solid vinyl, fabric-back vinyl), how elaborate the design, and the exclusivity of the design. As with any decorative product, collections from famous name designers cost more. No matter what style or pattern you desire for your project, you can always find a wallcovering to fit your budget.

Yes. In fact, proper surface preparation will make it easier for you to hang your wallcoverings and plays a very important role in assuring satisfactory results. Basic preparation steps include patching any cracks and/or nail holes, washing any greasy or dirty areas, and using a primer/sealer made to be used under wallcoverings. There are other steps that should be taken with new plaster walls, new drywall and other surfaces including paneling and tile walls. Your local independent retailer can advise you as to exactly what preparation is needed for your walls and provide the specific products and tools necessary.

While very versatile, some types of wallcoverings are better than others in certain rooms or situations. For example, there are wallcoverings that feature such qualities as stain resistance and scrubbability. These would be excellent choices for kitchens, baths and laundry rooms. Other wallcoverings resist abrasions and are washable, making them a good choice for children’s rooms.Others feature color-fastness as a characteristic. These would be naturals for rooms that receive a great deal of direct sunlight.These features and others are listed on the wallcovering’s label and/or in the sample books at your retailer. Wallcoverings produced for commercial use also are classified by physical and performance characteristics. Your local independent retailer can advise you as to the type of wallcovering you should use for your particular situation.

Yes! In fact, you can even hang over wall tile, brick, cinderblock and textured walls. While there are a number of methods, the simplest is to use what is called lining paper. This is a special type of blank wallcovering stock that is hung over the paneling (or tile, etc.) to provide a smooth surface over which your regular wallcovering is then hung. Your local independent retailer usually carries lining paper and can provide complete instructions. You’ll be amazed at how much brighter a paneled room will look when the old, dark paneling is covered with wallcoverings.

It depends. Most residential wallcoverings are now hung by consumers such as you. By following manufacturers’ instructions, the advice of the independent retailer where you purchase your wallcoverings and the step-by-step directions in booklets such as PDRA’s How to Hang Wallcovering, you can hang your own wallcoverings and do a professional-looking job. Wallcoverings are not difficult to hang! However, there are certain types ofwallcoverings and architectural situations (elaborate stairwells,for example) where a professional definitely should be hired.Your local independent retailer can advise you as to when and if you should hire a professional and can usually give you a list of local paperhangers.

It’s true that there are many wallcovering choices. In fact,when you include both color and pattern, there are well over 100,000 choices available at any one time! But that’s to your benefit. You’ll be able to find exactly the right pattern and color you need to fulfill your decorating objective. And, at a price to fit any budget. To make your selection task easier, many independent retailers have their wallcovering sample books and in-stock wallcovering organized and categorized by room, style, type of wallcovering and price. In addition, many independent retailers have well-trained, certified consultants who can guide you quickly to exactly the right wallcovering for your project.

The first thing you need are accurate measurements of the walls that are to be covered. Use a yardstick or steel tape measure. Measure in feet rounding off to the next highest half foot or foot. Draw a room diagram showing doors, windows and ceiling height. If there are built-in bookcases or a fireplace,for example, show those as well. Next, calculate the square footage of every wall that will be covered. Subtract areas that will not be covered. (Standard doors are about 3 X 7 feet or 21square feet; standard windows about 3 x 5 feet or 15 square feet.)

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Estimating Example
20′ + 20′ + 15′ + 15′ = 70′ room circumference
70′ x 8′ ceiling height = 560 sq. feet
2 standard windows = 30 sq. ft.
1 standard door = 21 sq. ft.
30′ + 21′ = 51 sq. ft.
560 – 51 = 509 sq. ft.
509 / 25 = 20.36 rolls

Divide this figure by 25, the number of square feet in a single metric roll of wallcovering. This gives you the approximate number of rolls needed. Note that the pattern repeat,rooms of unusual size or shape, greater than normal wastage during hanging, or other special circumstances can affect the rollage needs. Your local independent retailer can calculate your exact wallcovering needs based on the pattern you select and your room diagram.

You can go in any direction-from beautiful interior wood shutters to wood blinds in a variety of slat sizes. Many view shutters as a lifetime investment that enhances the value of their home. For a more economical choice, consider wood blinds. In wider slat sizes, they emulate the look of shutters for a fraction of the cost. There are also vinyl products that emulate the look of wood-both in shutters and blinds.

The beauty of drapery hardware can allow you to be truly creative. Today’s drapery hardware comes in a variety of finishes and styles. You can mix and match rods, rings and finials to create a one-of-a-kind look. Finial designs today run the gamut, from birds and scrolls to leafs and pineapples. Not only can you decorate your window, but you can show a little personality, too. Many independent retailers have an excellent selection.

Try a touch of fabric at the window! Use a valance to soften a horizontal or vertical blind. Drape some fabric over a wood pole to create an informal swag. Have stationary side panels to set off your blinds or shades. Use a swagholder to create your own rosettes. With a bit of imagination, you can make a little bit of fabric go a long way. Your local independent retailer will have a variety of suggestions for using fabric to its best advantage.

Fortunately, many manufacturers offer window coverings that work well in these specialty shapes. Pleated shades and cellular shades look dramatic in an arched window or circular window. They also work well in a skylight, with a motorized control for easy raising and lowering. Horizontal and vertical blinds are good choices for angled windows, since they can be operated so easily in this unusual shape. Work with your independent retailer to determine which window covering is best suited to your unique window needs.

Window covering cords have been identified as one of the products most frequently associated with strangulation of children under 5. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Window Covering Safety Council have joined with major manufacturers, importers and retailers across the United States to warn parents and caregivers about this danger. Entanglement in these cords and strangulation can occur when a child is left alone in a room for only a short period of time. Parents are advised to keep all window covering cords out of the reach of children. Never put a crib or young child’s bed near a window with a dangling cord. And because young children climb, never put a chair, sofa, bench or even a bookcase near such a window. Do not knot or tie the cords together, since this creates a new loop in which a child could become entangled.

There are methods for eliminating the loop in two-corded horizontal blinds, pleated shades and cellular shades. When you purchase new window covering products, you’ll find a warning tag that describes these methods. Or see your local retailer for advice on replacing the existing cords with safety tassels.

It all comes down to the function, the look and the budget that you desire. Horizontal blinds provide excellent privacy and light control and work best on standard windows, such as those in a kitchen or laundry room. They are available in a multitude of colors. Vertical blinds likewise provide good privacy and light control, but are more suitable for large-scale windows or patio doors. They come in a virtually limitless array of fabrics as well as in easy-to-care-for vinyl. Pleated shades also offer excellent privacy and light control. They provide a soft touch at the window and come in a variety of colors and patterns. Cellular shades are a variation of pleated shades, with a honeycomb shape that provides added insulation. Draperies, of course, are a popular choice for living rooms and dining rooms. You can layer treatments-using a blind or shade for light control and a drapery for aesthetics-thus creating a truly customized look.

That’s a good question! Newspaper ads can be very confusing, and remember that the greatest percentage off doesn’t always guarantee the lowest price. When comparison shopping, be sure and look at the actual dollar amount you will be spending on the blind. Also, compare features and benefits of each product you consider. You want a product that will last long-not one that will lose its shape after a few tugs on the slats. You want a product that has tight closure to ensure good light and privacy control. You want a product that you can raise and lower easily. Also, be sure to take a close look at product guarantees-one of the most important attributes of a home decorating product. The finer window coverings have lifetime guarantees, whereas the lower-priced products may be guaranteed for only a year. once you consider all of these factors, you will be able to make an informed decision.

Yes, you can, but it’s not recommended. Most stores will not be held liable if your custom window coverings do not fit due to your imprecise measurements. Because the products are custom-made to your home’s specifications, they cannot be returned. However, if you feel that you would rather measure yourself, be sure and use a sturdy, metal tape measure. Cloth tapes can stretch, and yard sticks are not long enough. Also, be sure to measure your windows at least twice and confirm your measurements with your spouse or a friend. Many independent retailers who offer shop-at-home services will measure your windows and give you an estimate for free. Still others will charge a fee, but will apply it to a subsequent purchase. Check with the individual store policy for measuring before doing it yourself.

It’s true that custom window coverings cost more than ready-made or made-to-measure products. But they add greater value to your home than any other type of product. They are specially designed for each particular window. Similar to the way that fine clothing reflects your unique personality, custom window coverings are the ultimate expression of your taste and style. And they don’t have to be as expensive as you think. Many decorating products stores offer shop-at-home decorators who will come to your home, measure your window and suggest window coverings that enhance your existing color scheme and the architectural elements of the room. The results can be simply stunning. And since your home is your most important investment, the value of custom window coverings is in keeping with the cost.

Custom window treatments are window coverings that are suited specifically to your windows. They are precisely measured, fabricated and installed to fit the size and style of your window and home.