Product Reviews

Every Day Carries: Top Painting Tools Under $20

Every Day Carries: Top Painting Tools Under $20

Written by on December 22, 2019 in Product Reviews, Tools with 0 Comments

I’d bet that all of our toolboxes are loaded with disposable sundries and essential hand tools. The sundries include everything from sanding sponges to rags, tapes and caulk tubes. And the tools themselves are the first and most common daily essentials that we reach for in preparation for working our artistry. Often it is the […]

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OLFA Knives

OLFA Knives

Written by on November 22, 2019 in Product Reviews with 0 Comments

I wrote about OLFA knives in my “From the Field” column about “Tools Under $20” in American Painting Contractor magazine (2019). I am fascinated by the concept of tools we can’t live without, that don’t break the bank. By “can’t live without”, I mean tools that are likely to find their way into my work […]

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Interior Products

Insl-x Cabinet Coat Satin Finish

Insl-x Cabinet Coat Satin Finish

Written by on December 9, 2018 in Interior Paints, Interior Products with 46 Comments

More Robust than Standard Trim Paint Pro painters run into all sorts of cabinet finishing situations. It’s a broad category, ranging from refurbishing outdated existing cabinets to putting custom finishes on new ones. Product selection for cabinets can be challenging. Not everyone wants to get into lacquers or solvent based coatings. Insl-x Cabinet Coat is […]

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The Best Clear Finish you may have Never Heard of: Vermont Natural Coatings

The Best Clear Finish you may have Never Heard of: Vermont Natural Coatings

Written by on February 5, 2017 in Interior Products with 6 Comments

If you haven’t heard of Vermont Natural Coatings, this will sound kind of crazy. This small company located about 40 minutes from our Topcoat shop makes water based finishes that are fortified with whey – the protein that is a by-product of cheese making. Replacing Toxic Chems with Cheese? No Way! Way. PolyWhey™. And its […]

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Exterior Products

Pressure Treated Deck Maintenance with TWP – Total Wood Preservative

Pressure Treated Deck Maintenance with TWP – Total Wood Preservative

Written by on November 19, 2019 in Decks and Porches, Exterior Products with 0 Comments

Deck maintenance is a major part of my company’s annual workload. Most of the decks that we service are exotic woods, like ipe or mahogany. This is rewarding work, because we get to light up some of the most beautiful wood species on the planet. At the humble other end of the spectrum are the […]

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Painting Boral TruExterior® Trim

Painting Boral TruExterior® Trim

Written by on February 10, 2017 in Exterior Products with 13 Comments

A quick and inconclusive ‘heads up’ about a recent experience we had painting Boral TruExterior® composite trim. We have been sharing in our Facebook Spray Group the progress on a large pre-finishing project, with about 6000 lf of 1×12 pine shiplap siding for a new barn build by a local custom builder. The siding stain is […]

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Sanding and Dust Collection

FCI Trigon 180 Sanding Tool

FCI Trigon 180 Sanding Tool

Written by on December 2, 2019 in Sanding and Dust Collection with 1 Comment

A Sanding Solution You May Not Know About… The Trigon 180 Sanding Tool is an intriguing option for paint and drywall pros who prefer something better than the old school rectangular pole sander head. This tool has little in common with cheap pole sanders. It is made out of lightweight and robust aluminum, not plastic. […]

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Psychology of Low Grit Sanding

Psychology of Low Grit Sanding

Written by on December 26, 2015 in Prep, Sanding and Dust Collection, Uncategorized with 6 Comments

What grit do you sand at most in the type of work you do? Regardless of where your project sanding “wheelhouse” is, you likely start with low grit sanding and work up. Whatever “low” is for you, lower grits can often go pretty fast because it’s the rough work and gets smoothed out at the […]

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Wood Snobbery

Wood Snobbery

Written by on November 24, 2015 in Uncategorized, Wood Snobbery with 0 Comments

What do we do when we aren’t finishing things or testing products and creating content to share? The answer is pretty simple, we are on the road teaching others how to do, well, all of the above really. And many times, it points back to our long held commitment to wood snobbery. Our Prep to […]

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A new resource for IPE enthusiasts

A new resource for IPE enthusiasts

Due to the overwhelming response our ipe content has enjoyed on topcoatreview.com, the topic now occupies it’s own chunk of online real estate. If you are a ipe deck owner (at any stage of ownership) in need of professional guidance, we invite you to join us there.

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All about Sprayers

Graco Ultra Handheld Airless Sprayer

Written by on May 3, 2017 in Product Reviews, Sprayers with 7 Comments

2017: Year of the Comeback for Handheld Sprayers? There is a new line of Graco Ultra handheld airless sprayers for 2017. If you have used handheld sprayers in the past, keep reading because the technology has changed considerably. The new offerings from Graco are no longer called “ProShots”. And they have very little in common […]

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Preview: Graco Ultra Handheld Sprayers

Preview: Graco Ultra Handheld Sprayers

Written by on February 4, 2017 in Handheld/Cordless, Sprayers with 10 Comments

[Publisher Update: Graco Ultra Handheld Full Review now available] Graco’s 2017 lineup includes a total remodel of the handheld sprayer, now to be referred to as Graco Ultra (or Ultimate) Handheld Sprayers. We all recall the ProShots and TrueCoats from over the years. They’ve had their ups and downs. We’ve been working with handhelds for […]

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Reader Questions

What About Getting a Perfect Finish by Sanding?

What About Getting a Perfect Finish by Sanding?

Written by on February 13, 2017 in Ask the Topcoat Team! with 0 Comments

Thanks for all the great info on your website. My question: can I sand latex painted wood (trim, shelves etc.) with 1000 – 1500 grit after the final coat? I’ll be using the ETS 150/5. Is getting a perfect finish by sanding possible without using a sprayer? Thanks, Greg Hi Greg Getting a perfect finish […]

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Graco Jet Roller Inquiry from New York

Graco Jet Roller Inquiry from New York

Written by on February 9, 2017 in Ask the Topcoat Team! with 0 Comments

Eli from New York asks: I was wondering if you have used the Graco Jet Roller system? Scott answers: Hi Eli, Great question. We do use the Jet Roller, most commonly in our paint training program – Prep to Finish. It is a great system to teach students how to spray and back roll sheetrock […]

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On Further Review

On Further Review: Graco Handheld Sprayers

On Further Review: Graco Handheld Sprayers

Written by on December 11, 2019 in On Further Review... with 0 Comments

Painters Speak About Their Experiences with Graco Handheld Sprayers… [Full Review / 2017: Year of the Comeback for Handheld Sprayers?] Handheld sprayers are a mercurial topic for pro painters. For the most part, we either love them or we don’t. Within that, it can depend on what day it is. There is something intriguing about […]

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Pivit Tool for Ladders

Pivit Tool for Ladders

Written by on January 30, 2017 in On Further Review..., Uncategorized with 7 Comments

Pivit Tool Could be the Best Under $100 Investment You Make If your work involves much use of extension ladders, then you’ve likely encountered awkward set up locations. The Pivit tool from ProVision is a safe, convenient and cost effective solution. A stout, wedge-shaped implement made of durable polypropylene, the Pivit weighs in at 14 […]

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Benjamin Moore Waterborne Satin Impervo (314)

While we grew up with the oil based formulation, Benjamin Moore Waterborne Satin Impervo has become like a favorite old comfortable pair of sneakers to us. We use many trim paints for different situations, but when a customer specifies Ben Moore paints for their project, 314 is the trim paint we use. User Friendly It […]

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Purdy Parrot

Purdy Parrot

Written by on December 5, 2018 in Applicators with 1 Comment

To be a painter these days, one has to be able to create many types of finishes in a variety of situations. Knowing which products and tools to use is a big part of that. Producing a trim or cabinet grade finish that looks sprayed without needing to set up a sprayer (and clean it […]

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Priming MDF for Trim or Cabinet Grade Finishing

Oil-Based Primer: Still Necessary Sometimes Over the past decade, we have shifted heavily from oil based paints and primers to latex technologies. We’ve tested and used many of the current generation of latex primers, always looking for one that can meet our interior and exterior priming needs. However, there are still times when oil is […]

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Spotlight on Trim: A Paint Grade Refresher

Earlier this year we partnered with Journal of Light Construction magazine to create a feature article on proper prep and finishing steps for paint grade trim.  Folks in the trades argue in jest all the time about which trade is the most important. We, of course, argue that it’s the painters because we get the […]

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