Product Reviews

New 2014 Product Launch: Graco Finish Pro II

Written by on February 3, 2014 in Air Assisted Airless, Sprayers with 2 Comments

2014 Graco Finish Pro II Graco has released their 2014 lineup of fine finish sprayers, which includes improved 395 and 595 versions of the legendary Finish Pro air assisted sprayers. Topcoat began testing the 395 Finish Pro II several months prior to its release, and we were able to provide some practical input to influence […]

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Pricey Stops from 2013: Hand Tools that Broke

Pricey Stops from 2013: Hand Tools that Broke

Tools that stop working are the most costly tools to have around. In 2013, for us, it wasn’t the expensive tools that stopped working. It was tools in the under $20 price range that bit us. Here is a run down on some of the disappointments of 2013. We suspect that you will see a […]

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Interior products

An “Old Soul” Zero VOC Latex Drywall Primer

An “Old Soul” Zero VOC Latex Drywall Primer

Written by on July 8, 2013 in Interior Products, Primers with 5 Comments

How refreshing in this day and age of wonder products to find a drywall primer that is totally VOC compliant, but without all the marketing hype or pomp and circumstance of “gonna change the way you paint”. I think we all, including the manufacturers themselves, can see that there have been too many backfires and […]

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The not so Complex Truth about Paint Adhesion

The not so Complex Truth about Paint Adhesion

Written by on July 7, 2013 in Interior Products, Primers with 4 Comments

Don’t Mistake Cutting Corners for Cutting Edge My June 2013 “From the Field” column in APC magazine discussed the concept of paint adhesion – a topic that is rather confused and misunderstood in this day and age of paint products. On the one hand, the “old school” approach to using a 3 coat system on […]

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Exterior Products

Hall of Famer or Has Been?

Hall of Famer or Has Been?

Written by on September 2, 2013 in Exterior Paints, Exterior Products with 3 Comments

SW Duration Exterior Trim Paint As a product category, exterior trim paint is a fortunate beneficiary of paint manufacturers pouring R&D dollars into waterborne/latex technologies in the past several years. While oil stains were historically effective on exterior siding applications, they were not an enduring standard for exterior trim. Latex exterior trim paints have always […]

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Benjamin Moore Arborcoat Stain Review

Benjamin Moore Arborcoat Stain Review

Benjamin Moore Arborcoat Stain Review Is finally out…our Benjamin Moore Arborcoat Stain Review – in the July 2012 issue of American Painting Contractor magazine. Please check it out. We put almost a year of observation into this product prior to submitting the review for publication, and since the review was published, we have continued to […]

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All about Sprayers

What is Air Assisted Spraying?

What is Air Assisted Spraying?

Written by on November 30, 2013 in Air Assisted Airless, Sprayers with 5 Comments

This is a question that seems to be a bit misunderstood in the paint industry. Most painters come from an airless spraying background, which is geared for production and not so much for the delicacy of finer finishes and transfer efficiency. Airless, in my opinion, is great for spraying large, wide open surfaces, and that […]

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Tips for Painting Furniture

Tips for Painting Furniture

Written by on September 7, 2013 in Handheld/Cordless, Industry News with 4 Comments

New Instructional Painting Video Series In this video, Todd shares some small project finishing basics for painting furniture or other types of small projects. This is the second in an instructional video series that we are working on with Graco, in partnership with our own Prep to Finish paint industry education program. Recently, the first […]

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Wood Snobbery

Wood Finishing Tips from the Topcoat Woodsnobs

Wood Finishing Tips from the Topcoat Woodsnobs

Written by on November 28, 2013 in Wood Snobbery with 1 Comment

“Fear of Clear” Todd and I frequently team up on wood restoration projects of all flavors – interior and exterior. Sometimes we are presented with antique quality pieces to work with. If clear finish is involved, the project always falls into the category of “fine finishing”, a rather misunderstood term these days. So, we are […]

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Better Than New with Ipe Deck Oil

Better Than New with Ipe Deck Oil

Written by on November 4, 2011 in Decks and Porches, Wood Snobbery with 31 Comments

For a few years now, we have been sharing our┬átips on ipe deck oil finishing. Rule number 4 discusses the importance of maintaining the ipe deck annually. This picture show’s one of our annual ipe deck oil finish masterpieces, which Todd insists on personally servicing. This one gets inspected and worked as needed in the […]

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Sanding and Dust Collection

How to Power Sand Crown Molding and Custom Trim Prep

Written by on April 1, 2012 in Power Sanders, Prep, Sanding and Dust Collection, Tools with 3 Comments

Trim Prep Accelerant There are many, many cases where traditional round orbital and square palm sanders are not helpful in completing interior trim prep tasks, simply because of their design. Most notably, crown molding, base cap, cove, bed molds and beadboard, which are among the more common custom profiles that distinguish a basic trim pack […]

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5 Tips for Sanding Spindles

5 Tips for Sanding Spindles

Written by on March 13, 2012 in Prep, Sanding and Dust Collection with 1 Comment

Good habits become muscle memory. Especially on those tedious, repetitive tasks. 5 Tips for Sanding Spindles: 1. Don’t sand them manually (use a power tool) 2. Don’t sand one spindle at a time. 3. Sand in one orientation at a time 4. There are 8 surfaces per spindle: 4 faces and 4 edges 5. Think […]

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Reader Questions

Reader Question: Popcorn and Point Up

Written by on March 30, 2014 in Ask the Topcoat Team! with 2 Comments

Terry from Specified Coatings in North Carolina asks: Hi Scott! First of all, thank you for the very informative information you provide us in the painting industry. It has been most helpful to me. I took the plunge today and purchased a Festool planex ct 36 dust extractor. We are primarily a high end repaint […]

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Reader Question: Drywall Finishing

Reader Question: Drywall Finishing

Written by on February 9, 2014 in Ask the Topcoat Team! with 0 Comments

Drywall Finishing Question I have a room I’m going to put up sheet rock, finish and then paint. Finishing the sheet rock is tough. I’ve done it before but are there new tools out there besides a pan and knife to help me do it better and easier? And the sanding part, always dust anywhere, […]

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On Further Review

Proform Picasso “the Bull” 2.0 brush

Update 10/12: On further review, these brushes have not held up as well over time as other pro level brushes that we use. They are good as long as they hold together, but when they are done, they are done. Not typical of professional quality brushes. Picasso paint brushes have been getting a good bit […]

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5+ Ways to Please your Graco 395/G40

5+ Ways to Please your Graco 395/G40

Written by on November 16, 2011 in Air Assisted Airless, On Further Review..., Sprayers with 16 Comments

**Updated 2/13 to include Graco 395 pump/compressor use recommendations** Graco 395 Finish Pro and G40 aaa Gun Update: The G40 gun on our Graco 395 Finish Pro keeps soldiering on, entering it’s fourth year of service with just one repack, after consistent use in both production and fine finish tasks in the shop and in […]

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Ask the Pros!

Ask the Pros!

Written by on January 3, 2014 in Ask the Topcoat Team! with 2 Comments

Have a question about a product? Want to know more about a tool? Want to share a project or problem you have tackled? We love to hear from our readers! You can fill out the form here or leave a comment below and add a photo. We will respond as soon as possible in our […]

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All Our Yesterdays…

All Our Yesterdays…

Written by on February 24, 2014 in Cutting Room Floor with 1 Comment

Ever wonder how paint manufacturers communicated with customers in the past? You know, the old days of slow cars, rotary phones and typewriters… They sent postcards. A far cry from today’s high paced cloud based tricks. It turns out that my wife’s grandfather was a Sherwin Williams paint sales rep in Billings, Montana in the […]

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Reader Question About Wood Prep

Dave from Canada asks: Scott, I’ve been searching for someone like yourself to help me out for quite some time. Thanks for the information and time you spend on educating people in this extremely complex coatings industry. I’ve been dealing with this issue over quite some time now. A few years actually. And it’s been […]

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