Recent project:  Staining new wood to match existing stained wood

Recent project: Staining new wood to match existing stained wood

Many people like the look of old stained and varnished wood, especially in older Toronto homes.  But what happens when some of it is damaged and needs to be replaced?  Can the new wood be made to look like the old existing stained and varnished wood?  Yes it can!

Here’s the process that we used to match new wood to old

We matched the stain at the paint store

We got a sample of the old wood and a sample of the new wood and took it to the paint store for matching.  Patience is key with this process.  Our paint store requires 48 hrs for a stain match.

We sanded the trimvarnished wood, stained wood, toronto home painters

In order to ensure that the stain is absorbed evenly into the wood we gave the entire surface a light sand.  This opens up the grain and allows the stain to penetrate evenly into the surface.

Please note that we were staining oak, which is a very dense, hard wood.  Because oak is such a dense wood conditioner is not needed, however when dealing with softer wood, such as pine, a wood conditioner is necessary.  Wood conditioner is a clear base coat that evens out stain absorption.

We stained the trim

The stain that we chose was a rubbing stain, meaning that it is rubbed into the surface with a rag, rather than brushed on the surface.

varnished wood, stained wood, toronto home paintersWhen working with stain it’s better to apply two thin coats rather than one thick coat.  If the stain is applied to thick it can dry blotchy, which we want to minimize, of course.

This particular wood took 3 coats to get to the colour of the existing old wood.

We varnished the wood

The stain needs a minimum of 24 hours before it can be varnished.  This allows for proper drying of the stain before the final step of varnishing.  We matched the gloss level of the existing varnish, which in this case was a semi-gloss.

The first coat of varnish absorbed in to the wood and resulted in an uneven sheen.  So we ended up applying 2 coats which gave us a nice, even result.

In conclusion

varnished wood, stained wood, toronto home paintersWe managed to get a fairly good result, with the new wood trim matching the old wood trim as close as could be expected.  So If you’d like to keep the look of natural wood, but want repaired areas to look like existing areas, why don’t you have CAM Painters give you a quote?  We’d be happy to Transform Your Home With Lasting Beauty!

Toronto Home Stair Railing Transformation Project Guide

Toronto Home Stair Railing Transformation Project Guide

At CAM Painters, we just helped a customer undergo a recent railing transformation.  This customer had railings, posts, and stringers that were varnished and they wanted to update the look.  They decided to go with a two-tone look – white spindles and darker handrails and posts.  I’ll go through all the steps we did, along with the materials used.


Stair Railing in Toronto Home - House Painters, CAM Painters


Toronto Home Railing - House Painters, CAM Painters












First off let’s take a look at the materials list that was needed for the railing project:

Toronto Home Railing Project: Materials

  • Drop sheets
  • Plastic film
  • 220 grit sandpaper
  • Tack cloths
  • White-pigmented shellac based primer
  • Brushes
  • Mini – roller cages and sleeves
  • Roller trays

The customer was having the carpet replaced as well, so here was the process that they used:

Toronto Home Railing Project: Carpet Replacement

  • The carpet was removed
  • They had us into paint when there was no carpet
  • The new carpet was installed
  • We came back and did a half hour of touch-ups

Toronto Home Railing Project: Painting

Step 1: We sanded the surface

Paint doesn’t stick as well to glossy surfaces which are prevalent with railings, so we gave everything a quick sand with a fine 220 grit sandpaper.  This opens up the top layer of the varnish and allows the primer to penetrate deeper into the surface and create a better bond.

Step 2:  We primed

We wanted to ensure that we had the most durable paint system that we could get, so priming was essential.  Primer bonds to the railings surface and allows the finish coat to bond to it.   An aggressive primer is needed to stick to a varnished surface because the varnish is so hard and glossy, so we chose white-pigmented shellac.  Shellac bonds better than latex-based primers and even oil-based primers too, so it was the best choice in this case.

READ: Toronto Home Painting Tip: Steps for Painting Stained or Varnished Wood


Shellac Primer Applied to Railing - House Painters, CAM Painters

Shellac primer applied


Step 3:  We painted

When multiple colours are used I like to put a marked up picture in our project management app for quick reference, so that all my guys know what colour goes where.  It’s been said that a picture is worth a thousand words, and I think this is an instance that proves that saying right!

We did 2 coats of each colour using Sherwin Williams ProClassic Waterborne Alkyd.  This paint dries very hard and durable and is suited for high-traffic areas like railings.

Step 4:  We came back to do some touching up

The new carpet was installed, and the carpet installers did a wonderful job.  However, even though they were very careful, a little damage was done to some of the spindles and posts.  So after they finished, we came back and looked over the entire project and touched up the areas which required touching up.

READ: 3 Things Your Toronto Home Painter Wants You to Know


Finished Stair Railing Project - House Painters, CAM Painters

All done!

Railing With Descriptions of Work - House Painters, CAM Painters

Marked up picture











There you have it, from a dated stairwell to a thoroughly updated look!

Transform Your Home With Lasting Beauty!

Toronto Home Painting Tip: Steps for Painting Stained or Varnished Wood

Toronto Home Painting Tip: Steps for Painting Stained or Varnished Wood

Years ago it was common to have varnished wood trim, or stained panelling or other natural wood features throughout the home.  This was a standard in Toronto home painting and varnishing. This highlighted the natural beauty of the grain, however, it can result in a very dark look for your house.

These days many people are choosing to paint their stained or varnished wood to brighten up the interior of their home, but it’s not as simple as grabbing a brush and putting on a coat of paint.  Here are some pointers if you’re thinking about painting your interior.

Natural Wood Ceiling- Toronto Home Painting - House Painters, CAM Painters

Natural wood can make an area look dark if you have varnished wood…

You’ll know if you have varnished wood by looking at it, this coating generally has a glossiness to it, and it sits on top of the surface and looks like a clear film.

Do not paint directly over top of varnished surfaces without the proper preperation!  This coating is inherently unstable, it never fully cures, even though it is dry to the touch.  If the paint is applied directly over it without proper preparation the paint will develop cracks as the coating underneath shifts.

READ: Should I Paint My Toronto Home Before or After Installing New Flooring?

Steps for painting varnished wood

  • Scuff sand the surface:  We want to break open the top layer so that our primer can penetrate and grip the surface
  • Prime with a high adhesion primer:  I like to use Sherwin Williams Extreme Bond Primer or XIM UMA.  Both primers are great at sticking to difficult surfaces.  Follow the directions on the can and allow it to fully cure before the next step.
  • Paint with a top quality paint:  When painting trim I usually use Sherwin Williams ProClassic or Benjamin Moore Advance paints.  These paints dry very hard and durable and also dry very smooth too.


If you have stained surfaces…

It’s a little easier to paint if the surface is currently stained.  As you might guess, this coating soaks into the surface and doesn’t create a film on top, so getting paint to adhere is not a problem like it is with varnish.

Steps for painting stained wood

      • Prime the wood with a stain blocking primer:  Any oil based primer or any shellac based primer will do.  I like to test an area with Sherwin Williams Multi-Purpose Water-Based Acrylic-Alkyd Primer which has the properties of oil paint with water clean up.  If that doesn’t seal properly and there is discolouration on the surface, I’ll move to a regular oil primer.  Finally, if the oil primer doesn’t work I’ll use a shellac based product like Zinsser BIN which is effective on all types of staining even nicotine stains, if necessary.
      • Paint with a top quality paint:  Once the primer has been given enough time to dry, paint with a top quality paint like I mentioned above.
Finished Wood Ceiling- Toronto Home Painting - House Painters, CAM Painters

All Done!

Stain Bleed Through Wood Ceiling- Toronto Home Painting - House Painters, CAM Painters

Stain bleed-through










READ: Interior Painting: How Much Will it Cost for My Toronto Home?

So now you have a basic understanding of the steps that need to be taken to paint varnished or stained wood.

If you’d rather have us come in and do the painting for you, why don’t you schedule a quote?  We’d be happy to transform your home with lasting beauty!


Rollers – What kind of roller should I use to paint my Toronto home?

Rollers – What kind of roller should I use to paint my Toronto home?

Painting a ceiling - Toronto Home Painting - House Painters, CAM PaintersA common question I am asked from my Toronto home painting clients is, “What’s the best brush and roller to use for a painting project?”  It really depends on what you’re painting and the finish you want to achieve.

Last post I talked about brushes, this post let’s talk about rollers.

In order to know what is best let’s talk about what you’re planning on painting.

Ceilings and Walls – roller for no texture

These are wide-open spaces that you want to cover as evenly and efficiently as possible.  Typically we use a 9″ roller, however, if we’ve got a lot of the same colour to roll out (ie. a big room or multiple rooms of the same colour) we’ll use a big 18″.  The advantage of the 18″ is that paint is rolled out twice as quickly, without any sacrifice in the quality of the final product.

What about thickness?  For flat walls and ceilings I generally use a 15mm roller, which is a medium thickness roller.  If we go with a thinner roller we have to dip it in the paint too often, which is inefficient, or the paint ends up being too thin.  If we go with too thick of a roller it puts too much paint on the walls which can result in drips and sags.

I really like microfibre rollers, I find that they produce the smoothest finish with the least amount of texture, or “orange peel”.

Pro tip:  Even if a roller says that it’s lint free, it can still leave lint on the surface.  To minimize this wet the roller with water and give it a spin with a roller spinner before using.  This will take off any loose fibres, so they don’t end up on your freshly painted walls.

READ: How to Have a Great Painting Experience


Ceilings and walls – roller for textured surface

Many ceilings in Toronto homes have stucco or popcorn texture.  For these surfaces, I would use a thicker version, perhaps 20mm or even 25mm.  More thickness is needed to get into all the nooks and crannies of the texture.

2 words of caution:

Popcorn ceilings give off a lot of spray and paint splatter, so be prepared for this and cover everything in the room.  If it’s not properly covered it will get paint on it.  Also, you’ll get paint on the bottom of your shoes so be careful when exiting the room after painting!

Check to see if the popcorn ceiling has been painted before.  If it is unpainted you will have to use alkyd paint.  I’ve written a post on painting popcorn ceilings, click here.

READ: How much does it cost to paint my interior in Toronto?


TrimPainting a door - Toronto Home Painting - House Painters, CAM Painters

Trim painting involves a lot of brush work, however, the process can be streamlined with the use of a mini roller.  Also, a very smooth finish can be achieved with a mini-roller.

For doors, cabinets and other flat surfaces I use what’s called a flocked foam mini roller.  It’s foam with a flocked covering on the outside.  Foam lays paint out very flat, however, they can leave bubbles in the paint.  With the flocked foam, the flock pops the bubbles, leaving the smooth surface with no bubbles!

To use a roller on trim, first, brush out what it won’t be able to reach and then roll the areas that are left.  Always brush before rolling to ensure the smoothest end result.

If you’d like a quote on your next painting project feel free to book a quote online.  We’d be happy to Transform your home with lasting beauty!

What kind of brush should I use to paint my Toronto home?

What kind of brush should I use to paint my Toronto home?

I often get asked by people who enjoy DIY projects, “what kind of brushes and rollers do you use?”

In this post, I’d like to talk about brush selection, and in a subsequent post I’ll talk about roller selection.

Quality is key.

A low quality brush will only give you frustration and slow the painting process down.  How do we select a quality brush?  Take the brush out of the package and place it against a wall with a little bit of pressure, as if you’re applying paint.  If the bristles come to a nice point, that’s the sign of a good quality brush, you’ll be able to apply the paint in a nice clean cut line.  If when you place the brush against a wall and the bristles are going many different directions – select another brush, or use it as a dust brush!

The type of brush is dictated by the task you are doing.

There are two main types of brushes; angle sash and straight sash.

Angle sash brushes are cut at an angle, so that the bristles come to a point.  These brushes are good for all tasks, especially when cutting straight lines, for example, brushing the top edge of a wall, or painting a window.IMG_20151105_114550

Straight sash brushes are squared off at the bottom.  These brushes are not as good at cutting a straight line as an angle sash.  They are good, however, for painting clapboard siding and decks.

The size of the brush should be determined by the task that you are doing.

If you are painting walls, I’d recommend a 2.5″ or 3″ brush.  These brushes will hold more paint so you will not have to be dipping your brush in the paint as often.  This allows you to do longer, more even strokes, which will result in a better, smoother, finish.

IMG_20150901_112014Most trim I use a 2″ to 2.5″ brush.  This would include baseboards that are over 3″ (which most are these days), window and door casements, doors, etc.

If you are painting fine trim, such as a french door, you could opt for a smaller 1.5″ brush.  This will ensure that you don’t get too much paint on the smaller surface.  Too much paint on the surface and you will get drips and sags.

Sometimes there are times when an artist brush comes in handy.  These are great for detail work!  Here’s a tip to keep the brush steady while doing fine detail work; touch the surface with your pinky and ring finger while you hold the brush with your thumb, index and middle finger.  The pinky and ring finger anchor your hand and minimize any hand shakiness.Exterior Home Painters in Toronto - CAM Painting - Gallery Image 10

What brands of brushes are good?

This is all a matter of personal preference, of course, but I’ll give a few suggestions to start you off.  You can look for Purdy brushes, Wooster brushes, these are pricy brushes, but you get what you pay for, if you take care of them, they’ll last for a while.  Other good brush brands are Piccaso (which can be found at some Benjamin Moore stores).  If you’re looking for a more economical brush, Sherwin Williams has a contractor grade brush that has a lot of bang for the buck.

If you’re project is bigger, or more involved than you’d like to take on, please book a quote!  We’d be happy to come over and give you a quote and help you Transform your home with lasting beauty!

How do I know if the paint in my Toronto home is oil or latex?

How do I know if the paint in my Toronto home is oil or latex?

oil or latex, toronto house painter, interior painting, exterior painting, wallpaper installation

It’s important to know is the paint in your toronto home is oil or latex.  In this post we’ll show you how to tell the difference.

First off, why is it important to know if my home is currently painted with oil or latex?

Oil paint generally dries harder and slicker than latex and latex paint has a hard time binding on to oil without proper preparation.  If oil paint is present and proper preparation isn’t done the latex paint won’t adhere to the oil paint underneath – see picture

oil or latex, toronto house painter, interior, exterior, wallpaper installation

Latex paint over oil without proper preparation

How likely is it that I have oil paint in my home?

If your home was painted within the last 5 years there was likely no oil used.  If it’s been over 10 years since your home was painted there are a couple of areas that could be painted oil:

  • trim – doors, door frames, window frames, baseboard
  • walls and possible ceilings in the kitchen and bathrooms

These are the places that I would check first.  10 years ago oil was a much more durable alternative than latex for these high traffic and high moisture areas.  Recently, with advances in paint technology there are great latex paints that are more than suitable for these areas.

How do I tell if the paint on my walls and/or trim is oil?

Look at the paint closely:

if there are a lot of brush or roller marks it’s likely latex, oil looks more smooth than latex.  Oil will also feel smoother to the touch than latex.

Use the acetone test:

Put some acetone or nail polish remover on a rag and rub it on the surface of the paint.  If the paint comes off on the rag it’s latex paint, if the paint doesn’t come off on the rag it’s oil.

I think my paint is oil, what do I do now?

Proper preparation is key.  There are 2 things that I’d do to ensure that the latex top coat will adhere to the oil paint:

If you’d prefer to have someone do your painting for you why don’t you book a quote?  CAM Painters can Transform Your Home With Lasting Beauty!