This article is about fillers and surface preparation. Most homeowners don’t know much about it, and don’t really think of filling products when they plan a painting project; color and paint tend to take centre stage. But the pro Toronto painter secret is that these products are of vital importance to the overall quality of a paint job.
There are several types to consider, and they are designed either for specific applications, or can be a multi-purpose compound. Just like with paint, they can come in different qualities, so always get a premium grade to be sure.
Drywall compound (or “mud” as it is known to many professional painters) is one type, and comes in several varieties under different brand names, but they can be simplified into 3 types according to their usage: base coat or “bedding”, multi-purpose, and top-coat. The product is essentially the same but the amounts of material are adjusted to make for a finer consistency in the top-coat mix, and heavier in the base mix. standard mud is a drying compound, meaning it dries via water evaporation, which is a relatively slow process. it usually takes up to 24 hours for a coat to dry. Drywall compound is meant for new drywall taping, and is not usually practical for small patching jobs, though they can be useful if you are skim coating walls to smooth out inconsistencies or lumps.
This brings us to the painters workhorse: setting-type compounds. These compounds dry by chemical reaction to speed up the process; some will dry in as little as 20 minutes to a hard-as-rock finish. They come in different formulations as well, and usually specific to a type of application. Some are meant for filling large holes and have high strength characteristics, others are for fine cracks and dents in walls, and are more lightweight, fluid and sandable. When doing wall repairs, you want to get the right kind of compound and it will greatly simplify your work. Toronto painting companies have available quite a variety of fillers, and they are also introducing eco-friendly painting products that are composed of natural materials, which are becoming more available.
The maximum size hole that should be filled with any kind of compound is usually around 1″ in width, so if you have larger holes to patch you may need some mesh tape to add rigidity; or you might even need to cut out and screw down a piece of drywall to fill the gap. Hardware stores also sell special mesh-and-metal patches of various sizes that can speed up this process too. When using a compound, you should use small to medium taping knives, and apply by working the filler into the cracks well, and then smoothing to an even surface. If it won’t easily allow a flat surface while wet, you may need to apply another coat after the first coat dries. Always put the lid back on the container or the compound will dry out and be useless.
The quality of the compound can be important for particular uses too. For example, if you are patching a metal door to even out the finish, you need a high-performance setting-type compound, such as Dyna-Patch. This is because such substrates can flex and be adverse to good adhesion of the filler. Other products are multi-purpose and good for all kinds of surfaces both interior and exterior (Drydex is a good example). Drying time for many such compounds is just a few hours under normal conditions, and most should be primed before finish painting.
Caulking is a ubiquitous product of the painter’s arsenal, and it too comes in many forms. Caulking is primarily used as a sealer for long cracks and joints, and forms a waterproof seal when used properly. Caulking can also be used simply to fill cracks for decorative purposes, such as along the tops of baseboards and door casings. most new construction interior trim will require lots of caulking where trim pieces butt together for a seamless finish.
Many caulks are latex based and silicon enhanced, and you can also get 100% silicon for water-intense needs like in the bathroom. Most are very durable, but you need to apply them on clean surfaces or they will not adhere well. A final note on caulk is to not use it where it shouldn’t be because it cannot be sanded. Many an amateur has attempted to fill gouges in walls with caulk, only to find it makes things look worse!
Don’t skip filling on your Toronto painting project, it is often the step that separates good results from great ones.