objective:  intro to tools/materials needed, discuss paint/ stain and gloss properties, provide hands on approach to materials discussed- TOOLS NEEDED: build your toolbox—


  SANDER- Orbital Palm Sander/ ( and: Sandpaper/ sandblock/ steel wool ($2.97- 20.00)  (basically– YOUR NEW BFF!)– 


PALM (ORBITAL) ($50-80) – I am loving the Porter cable brand currently–

Quick side note on Sandpaper:  

—  1.  block

—  2.  paper   (velcro type/ sticky– holes match on your sanders plate)

— 3. sticky paper (DO NOT BUY)

— 4. sheets– (DO NOT BUY)


sandpaper -Steel wool  

60,80,120,2200, 00, 000, 0000



80-  Course

120- MED

220- FINE


Q——When to Sand?  

  When in doubt…..-short answer– always— 


Paintbrushes–& Rollers-  cost varies–  but- buy best you can afford and take care of it



PAINT-* most common

STAIN:  Tips:  

1. sand to Bare naked wood

2.  apply pre-stain conditioner for even results

3.  apply stain    (love gel/ brush/ rub on  *not a fan of polyshades!)   * longer its on…darker it stays


Primer:  (Base coat)


1.  Zinsser BULLSEYE 1-2-3 / KILZ  ( stain blocker-)

2.  Contractors adhesive primer /bonding ( apply with roller)



1.  latex -(water based)  Most common–

2.  oil-based paint 


CHALK paint-  ( not chalkboard paint!)- has binders- marketed to sell — says no sanding– but buff / waxing– EXPENSIVE


Latex —- excellent finish, user friendly– and to touch up

cleans up with soap and water, dries quickly, has less odor and is non-flammable 


“Enamel”  associated with paints that have some gloss/sheen to the finish.

Enamel paint is formulated with higher concentrations of resin because they are intended to be subjected to more wear and tear. 


refers to the amount of light reflected by the surface of a paint finish 


Five basic sheens: flat, satin, eggshell,  semi gloss and gloss. 

Flat Paints  no-reflective properties -(aka:  matte finish) 

– helps hide surface imperfections

– normally used for ceilings-and-areas NOT subjected to a lot of wear and tear, dining rooms, living rooms

-CHALK paint considered a Flat paint

Satin Finish  (aka—eggshell finish, soft luster sheen similar to that of an eggshell)

– harder surface finish- 

– more durable and more stain resistant than a flat finish. 

– provides calm soothing atmosphere-

– a good choice for walls in children’s rooms, hallways, stairways and family rooms 

Semi gloss Paints

– very durable, they are easier to clean, and are more stain resistant than satin finish paints 

– most often used on heavy wear surfaces or frequently cleaned such as kitchens and bathrooms 

– good choice for wood trim and cabinets 

Gloss Paint

– harder, more durable, very stain resistant paint finish. 

– easier to clean than all the other paint finishes. 

– can take frequent washings 

– does reflect most light, so makes surface imperfections more noticeable. 

-best choice for heavy wear areas like furniture and cabinets, floors, stairs, handrails, high traffic doors and trim


Q——Which type of paint should you use? 


1.   how much wear and tear will the surface get 

2.   is a sheen or gloss to the finish going conflict with your decorating scheme. 


Glaze-– optional– but a whole blog is going to be dedicated to it!


Sealers (Top Coat) (polyurethane/ polyacrylic/ sparurethane-

sparurethane- marine — outdoor applications

1. CAN ($7–50.00)

2. SPRAY CAN ($8-12)






ANY oil-based– important to   STIR not shake!

Why? introduces numerous bubbles that will show up in your final finish.  stir gently before each use. 



Polyurethane (oil based): 

Pros:  easy to apply –2-3 applications- 

Cons: Odor- well ventilated space

        brush marks– need to sand in-between coats, takes time to dry and tends to yellow over time

Polyacrylic (water-based):

Pros:  soap/water clean up, dries quickly, self-leveling- no odor- and has a milky white finish when applying– but dries clear

Cons: tend to raise grain of wood-  and susceptible to water marks and can be temperamental with stains


Directions for Applying an Oil-Based Polyurethane:

use a fine-bristled brush, a clean cloth or a foam brush.   Cheap brushes leave brush marks–  I typically use foam brush. 

Brush with the grain of the wood, using ample, but not overly thick coats

Avoid over brushing, (will show in finish) so use long strokes to brush out as many bubbles as possible. (bubbles will typically disappear quickly)


After the first coat has dried (I typically wait 24 hours), lightly sand the entire surface (again, with the grain) with 320-grit/ or extra fine steel wool.  

Sand lightly, to not to sand through the thin coat and damage the stain underneath. Wipe off all dust caused by the sanding before applying a second coat. 


Repeat these steps until the desired level of protection is achieved.  Can use 0000 steel wool last, followed by a coat of paste wax, if desired.


Directions for Applying a Water-Based Polyurethane:

Water-based polyurethanes don’t match well with oil-based stains, so if you’re applying over stain, you’ll want to “rough up” the stained surface slightly before applying your water-based polyurethane using some synthetic steel wool or sandpaper. Since oil and water don’t mix, this will help the polyurethane to avoid  beading on the surface like water on a freshly-waxed car. 


Apply a very thin coat of polyurethane with a fine brush, foam pad or cloth. 

Work with the grain, and avoid applying too much 


The initial coat should be dry within a couple of hours, and a second coat can be applied.  I always apply minimum of 2 coats.    Shouldn’t need to sand between coats as with the oil-based polyurethane version, but in order to get the same amount of protection, you will need more coats of the water-based polyurethane.


Additional Tips:  

Polyurethane- runny- DRIPS can occur– use thinner coats and sand out the run or carefully remove it with a sharp razor blade (followed by a sanding to feather in the blemish).

When applying, channel your inner yogi-poses and look at your surface from different angles and work with bright light –


razorblades/ window scraper


bullfrog– clean lines

blue tape– ok


SCREWDRIVER ($.88-8.00)

flat head (line)

philips (“X”)


wood glue ($6)


gorilla glue

wood filler ($5) stainable– 

quick-grips ( $25)



special gloves

Space- ventilated-


paper towels– old towels– shop towels

ugly clothes– apron

Mineral Spirits