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Frequently Asked Questions... #1 thru #3

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Frequently Asked Questions #4 thru #6
Frequently Asked Questions...#7 thru #10
The Everyday Decorator
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Question #1: Can I paint my formica countertops?

My idol, Chrostopher Lowell of Interior Motives (The Discovery Channel) recently had a show that totally changed my mind about painting countertops. But, I will say that I think it was his chosen paint technique that saved the project. He painted a faux marble look using only three colors of latex paint and an ordinary brush. Formica has a non-porous surface, and in order for any paint product to adhere, it must first be treated with a primer. One of the best such products on the market today is KILZ. It is easy to apply, fast drying and odorless. (Check out for further info.) KILZ Any number of faux paint techniques can be used on the prepped and prepared formica. Marbleizing, faux granite, stenciling, etc. But, no matter the technique chosen, an FDA approved sealer must be used to ensure SAFE durability. Please remember that food will come into contact with these paint products. Please ask your local paint dealer what is the safest product to use for this project, or if you have any questions or doubts contact the manufacturer. It is recommended that a minimum of seven to eight coats be applied. Follow all manufacturer's directions...enjoy your "new" countertop!

Question #2: Can I paint my linoleum floor?

Linoleum, also a non-porous surface, requires a primer in order for the new paint to have something to adhere to. Just as I recommended for formica countertops, I also recommend KILZ. If the linoleum is stained from grease, dirt or age, I would recommend that you use KILZ ULTRA. This product works as a primer as well as a stain sealant. Otherwise, the stains may bleed through the new paint. (Visit for more info) KILZ ULTRA Deciding upon the pattern or design may be the hardest decision of all. Think of the primed and prepped floor as an artist would a blank canvas. Painter's or masking tape can be used to create any number of patterns. You can even simulate the look of terra cotta tiles by creating blocked off areas with the tape. Or perhaps a diamond pattern layed off in a diagonal is more to your liking. And don't forget a woodgraining tool and stain to create "wood" flooring. Obviously, any paint technique will be subject to heavy abuse due to foot traffic, chairs, mopping and normal wear and tear. Ask your local paint dealer what he recommends to be the most durable sealer, and the number of coats needed for this project. After all, you want to enjoy your "new" floor for quite a while!

Question #3: What can I do about my dark paneling?

By far, the easiest and cheapest solution to solving dark paneling is paint. A rainbow of color choices can a provide new and refreshing look for a room that is dark and colorless. Before painting, apply a primer such as KILZ (visit for more info) KILZ Painted paneling often resembles the look of walls in a quaint cottage. The natural grooves in the paneling only adds character. Another solution, and in my opinion the easiest though maybe not the most cost effective, comes from the use of textured wallcoverings. These papers were specifically designed to cover and camoflauge cracked, damaged walls. They are heavier and thicker in texture than average wallcoverings, but just as easy to apply. When purchased, these wallpapers are either white or cream - and a varied number of designs are available. There are also textured borders which can be used in conjunction with the papers. Both can be left as is or painted any color of choice. The third solution is far more time consumimg, but produces an "Old World" stucco look. Without a doubt, this technique will completely change your room. First, the grooves of the paneling must be filled in with a spackling compound. It may take two applications. Allow to dry completely between applications. Then, using a regular paint roller and drywall mud, "roll" on your new stucco surface. The nap of the roller will determine the texture, so purchase several different thicknesses and experiment before you actually begin. A trowel can be used to achieve a smoother look if desired. The stuccoed walls can be left au naturale, or painted with your choice of paints, glazes or any combinations. Here are a few combination ideas: 1.) Paint the upper 2/3 of the paneling one color, and the bottom 1/3 a darker hue of the color above. Add a chair rail for separation. 2.) Wallpaper the bottom 1/3, and paint the top 2/3 a coordinating color. Add chair rail or a textured border. 3.) Stucco and paint the top 2/3, paint the bottom 1/3 (to look like tongue in groove paneling). Add chair rail. 4.) Stucco and paint bottom 1/3, paper and paint the top 2/3. Add textued border to separate.