Paint and Preparation


At MHB Painting we use only high quality paint applied to properly prepared surfaces. Most people wonder, is there really a difference between paints? Spray vs. hand brushed- which is better? Is all that prep work really necessary?



A quality job starts with a properly prepared surface. Interior walls are all patched and woodwork caulked where necessary. Nail holes from paintings will be filled unless we are told not to fill them so that pictures may be put back up exactly as they were. As much furniture as is reasonable should be removed from the room. Larger furniture will be placed in the center of the room and covered with clean plastic. The floors will then be covered with drop cloths. Walls and wood trim that are excessively dirty will be washed and glossy surfaces sanded and dusted. Drastic color changes usually require a coat of primer tinted to 50% of the finish color. Keep in mind deep bold colors may require several coats to cover completely. Wood work is sanded and wiped clean with a damp rag to lift dust off the surface. Lived in homes are almost never sprayed. Our interior drop cloths are never used outside and vice-versa.


New work is a totally different. Most contractors have a set order in which they prefer to have their contractors proceed. In almost all cases it is easiest for us to come in and spray the walls with primer and apply a finish coat on the ceilings once the walls are ready to be painted. Traditional sheet rock with the joints taped and mudded are ready for paint once they are sanded. Skim coat plaster walls require more time to allow them to cure properly to get rid of “hot spots”. This usually can take 7-10 days depending on conditions such as humidity and temperature. One foolproof way to determine if plaster is ready for painting is to test its PH. If the PH is 10 or below, it is ready to be primed. Beyond this each contractor has a preferred order in which the work is to be done and we can work with whichever method you prefer.

Paint Quality

When considering paint for the interior, there is a difference between grades of paint. The cheapest grades of paint will save you money on the materials but you will more than pay for it in labor cost as it will require multiple coats to achieve the same results. Medium grade paints may appear to have the same coverage as their more expensive counterparts. The main difference here is durability. They may look great immediately after the job is done but what about in 3 years? 5 years? 7 years? You will also not be able to wash these walls as easily. Stains will be harder to remove or if they do wash off will leave burnish marks where the walls were rubbed.




Flat wall paint is easily touched up, will hide many imperfections in walls and is generally easier to apply. A perfect choice when painting original horse hair plaster walls in an older home. It is most commonly used in bedrooms. Not as washable and therefore not commonly used in high traffic areas.


Basically a flat paint that is more washable than traditional flat paint.


Eggshell is the most common finish for walls for its wash ability and appearance. It does not hide surface imperfections well and is harder to touch up.


Semi-gloss is used mainly on wood trim. Its finish is highly washable. It is not used often on walls since it magnifies surface imperfections and is very difficult to touch up although it is sometimes used in bathrooms and kitchens.




All exterior surfaces are washed to remove surface contaminants such as mold, mildew, pollen, etc… We will need access to water and require all windows to be closed on the day we wash the house. We will provide our own hoses. During the process of washing a house some loose paint will come off. We do not use the pressure washer as a replacement for scraping. We will not begin the painting process until the house is dry which normally takes 3-7 days depending on weather conditions. We will use pump jacks for houses that require intense scraping. This allows us to be more meticulous since we can scrape as if at ground level anywhere on the house. Wood that is scraped is then sanded smooth before it is primed. Houses with more than 50% of the surface exposed after scraping will receive a full prime. Usually oil primer is used although latex problem solving primer is sometimes used on houses with known moisture issues. Caulking is done where necessary. Many people think if they see a gap, “caulk it up to keep the water out” Unfortunately, caulk can do a better job of sealing the water in than keeping it out. Wood that stays wet rots very quickly. In general, vertical surfaces get caulked, horizontal surfaces do not. Wood that is rotting is replaced. Any wood we replace is primed on all six sides. Light carpentry such as corner boards and sill caps can be done by us. More extensive carpentry work will require a carpenter. You are welcome to use your own carpenter or if you like we can recommend one.

Paint Quality

Most people consider paint to be purely cosmetic not functional. Exterior paint is the outermost layer protecting your home from the elements. Apart from your roof it is the most vital means of preserving the quality of the structure of your home. The quality of exterior paint is more crucial than for interior. An inferior exterior paint will break down much faster leaving your house exposed to the elements in a shorter period of time. We use primarily the California 2010 paint line for exterior paints. For stain we use California Storm Stain.  We will also stand behind Cabots stain and Benjamin Moore Arbor Coat. New wood, even if pre primed will be given a coat of primer since the primers from the factory are intended to protect the wood during shipping and storage and do not hold up very well on exterior applications.

Spray vs. Hand Brushed

Many people often ask if hand brushing is better than spraying. The answer is no. The most important part of a quality paint job is the preparation.  A properly prepared surface can be sprayed or brushed with like results.  The key to spraying is back brushing. Back brushing ensures a clean even finish and work the paint into nail heads and other crevices. This is especially important on rough or textured surfaces. We understand that anyone who has ever had their house sprayed only to have it peel within a year or two will be reluctant to have their house sprayed again. We will use whichever method you prefer.

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