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Monthly Archives: September 2011

Paint and Primer: Myth vs Reality.


Not a day goes by anymore that I am not asked for “paint with primer inside of the can.” The answer to this question is a lot more complicated than the “big box” stores would like you to think. What people are looking for is one tool that will do it all much like the trusty Swiss Army knife. The problem with the paint and primer in one label is that not all primers are created equal. We carry primers to seal dry wall, seal wood, block stains, block odor, fill porous block, stick to glossy surfaces, etc. Some primers can do more than one of these things but color blocking is about all you can expect from multiple coats of any top coat. If you read the fine print on the paint and primer combos most of them will only cover previously painted surfaces in good condition. These are cases where good quality paint will already do a great job. When running into anything more complicated you are still going to need a separate primer designed for your specific situation.

Paint and primer in one is not entirely a marketing gimmick because these new paints cover better to hide an old color in less coats compared to the same companies previous products. The main thing to know is that by using high quality paint like Miller Paint or Devine you will get very similar results to paints that are advertising paint and primer in one.


Jason S. – Kearney Location

Add Some Pop to Your Exterior By Painting Your Door

Change the feel of the approach to your home by adding a simple change of color to your front door. The trend of today is to do a deep red on your front door. In order to make YOUR house stand out among the rest, you can use a vibrant purple or a navy blue that will give your house the little something extra that makes it special. Of course you will want a color that goes with the rest of your house so that is where we come in. Bring in the colors to your nearest Miller Paint location, that are currently on your house and any one of our sales associates will gladly help you pick the perfect color to give your house that extra ‘pop’ it needs.

Of course you want to make sure that the colors you have selected are going to work, so remember to get a sample quart to make sure the ‘pop’ of color that you have picked out works with everything else around the door.  Or try making your house stand out by painting the trim around the door a bold color and leave the door a simple black.  This is very striking and noticeable.

An Example Of Surfactant Bleeding or Leaching

It’s that time of year again where we all need to be thinking of many problems that can occur in the exterior painting world. Having a couple of customers that we have had to guide through a quick wash before the sun returns and bakes the problem to surface, we were able to avoid a non-fixable Surfactant bleed problem.  Surfactant bleed (leaching) is one that is caused from our Northwest’s climate and wet or damp conditions in freshly painted surfaces with latex paint.

Surfactant is a soapy substance that comes to the surface and is more noticeable in darker colors due to the higher use of surfactants in colorants. Remember not to panic if you find this problem on your painting projects. A simple rinsing when caught in time or added detergent with use of a soft brush can fix almost all problems. In non-protected areas rain can be the simple solution as well.

In all painting jobs planning is the best way to prevent mishaps like this. Living in the NW can however cause un-predictable scenarios such as Surfactant bleeding, but we here at Miller Paint are ready to help in any instance you run in to!

So you are sure that you want that high gloss luster on the plaster walls of your 1920’s bungalow?

What about that flat you want to put on your family room walls where your young ones play and spend most of their time?

The fact of the matter is a definitive “no” to both of these questions.

Sure that high gloss look is great on a nice smooth surface, but most likely your brushed plaster walls have imperfections and textures that will literally shine, with light reflecting off the uneven surface, drawing attention to every detail of the surface.

And while that flat in the family room will hide those imperfections because there won’t be any light reflecting off the surface, it’s pretty much guaranteed that you will be cursing like an actor fired up on a weekend in Vegas, every time you have to attempt to wipe off messy fingerprints, or even a footprint (if you have children you know the high of this happening), off the wall.

Picking the right sheen for your wall is nowhere near as challenging as trying to guess what new surprise will appear on a newscast about actors going through “life” changes.

Just ask yourself a few questions…

1)    What is the overall function of the room? Is it a den or office space? A Main family gathering place? A little used room? The main thoroughfare for household traffic?

2)    Will the walls need to be washed? A bathroom, kitchen, or utility room will need a good washing every now and then.

3)    Are the walls in a condition that there isn’t a worry about imperfections “shining” through?

With these things flowing through the thought process, take these following things into consideration:

1)    Flats are great for hiding surface imperfections and textures, but terrible for washing ability, and not to mention burnishing problems with darker colors (burnishing, on a microscopic level, is essentially breaking off the uneven edges of the pigments in the paint film, creating an area shinier than the surrounding area that wasn’t scrubbed down or brushed up against).

2)    Semi-gloss and gloss are fantastic as far as being easy to clean, but every texture and imperfection will be highlighted because of light reflected off of the painted surface.

There is a middle ground though. You don’t have to go to sheen extremes.

Eggshell sheen will give some washability, but still help to hide imperfections because there is not a lot of light refraction coming off the surface.

A satin sheen will offer a little more shine and luster than an eggshell, hence giving better washability (although a heavy orange-peel texture will be a little more apparent with the higher sheen level).

There are options available if that low sheen look is desired. There are matte finishes available that, while not a true flat, will help hide those bumps and divots accumulated over a long lifespan of a wall in an older home. Ceramic matte finishes are fantastic alternatives to flat paints. They have great resistance to burnishing from scrubbing the surface (the aforementioned footprint? Wiped away remarkably well with Miller Evolution matte as the coating on the wall without creating a shiny spot).

Just keep these simple suggestions in mind when getting paint together for a project.

Flat – helps minimize visibility of imperfections due to limited light refraction from painted surfaces.  It is less washable, therefore use in areas where traffic is kept to minimum. Great for most ceiling surfaces (not for bathrooms or kitchens though). Also works well in a media/theatre room.

Eggshell – Has a little bit of washability, but still helps to hide imperfections. Works well in an office/den area, as well as adult bedrooms or areas of less traffic where there is not a need to wipe down the surface on a regular basis.

Satin – Better washability due to a noticeable sheen. Textures and imperfections will be more apparent than with a flat or an eggshell. Ideal areas for use would be higher traffic areas like an entryway, main hallway, and is a great finish for kids rooms. Also works well as a trim/door finish on those less than perfect surfaces.

Semigloss – Higher sheen means a very washable surface, but also means more light reflecting off of the surface. This is the type of finish you would like to use in bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms for the ability to wash the painted surfaces easily. This is also one of the more common trim/door finishes.

Gloss – A door/trim finish on the most perfect looking of surfaces, although there are those situations on a wall where it would work because of the need to be constantly washed, and help minimize dirt pickup, it is still not the norm.

Choose what is right for needs of the room, but still has a touch of your style to it. Sometimes functionality is better than overall appearance, but remember that there are middle grounds of compromise available. You don’t need to go to extremes and draw unwanted attention. Subtlety speaks louder than an obnoxious jet setter, in the right application.

Miller Paint Sheen Wall


How We See Color Changes Over Time

We all know how important light is when it comes to color. In fact light is pretty much what makes color. In daylight the colors in your house look very different than they do at night with artificial lighting from lamps and such.

We also know that as we age our vision changes… so many people start needing glasses to read their morning paper and to do the things we used to do with no problem. But did you also know that the lens in our eyeballs can yellow over time as well? This yellowing causes a change in how we view the blue/violet end of the spectrum. Blues can look more gray and a bit more dull which can make it difficult to accurately depict the colors for color matching or touching up an old paint job. Red however tends to be much more vivid than before, bringing out even small amounts of reds in a pattern.

Changes in the ability to differentiate shades and tones and fine details also can decrease as we age. This has been attributed to the decrease in the number of nerve cells that are used to transmit visual signals from the eye to the brain. They are also the same nerve cells that are used to perceive and judge distance and depth… causing us to need glasses for things like reading and driving like mentioned before.

There is something however that can be done do correct all of this! Something many older people get is cataracts. The surgery to correct this also addresses the yellowing of the lens which ultimately takes the “age” of the eye back to that of an infant. The vision and color perception is clean and clear. If this surgery is something that you ultimately need… do not hesitate, it could just change the way you see things.

For The Best Color Selection - Visit Your Local Miller Paint Location

As a paint salesman I see customers everyday looking to add color to their homes. Some of these customers have been using the powerful suite of online tools available in our digital age. While these tools are excellent at certain functions such as determining how much paint a given project requires they often fall short in helping people make the right color decision for their homes. The reason for this is that color as it appears on a PC screen is at the mercy of the screen’s resolution. What looks like a light gray green on a screen can be a bright pastel mint green in the store!

This is not to say that all Internet color tools are useless. They can be very helpful in defining a general color or color scheme for a customer’s home. Tools like the Miller Paint Virtual Painter can help customers visualize trim and wall colors in combination and help narrow their search. I advise all my in store customers to try out any number of color combinations online. Worry about the specifics after you know that you don’t like three blue walls with a red accent wall. When you find a great combination get some swatches at the store or a sample quart and double check that it’s perfect. After all monitors aren’t the only things that change color. The lighting in your house will change color too! When you’re happy with the color I’ll make the gallon(s) and get you on the road to your painting adventure.

Josh, Tigard Location

Still having trouble deciding on the perfect color combination that sings to you?

As always, please take advantage of the Ask a Designer program offered at many of our Portland and Seattle Metro store locations. We have local area designers in a select number of our stores to help you! Visit our website at under “Ask a Designer” and see the locations and times for this free service!