Painting Tips From a Blue Collar Guy - Posted by Tony Colella

Posted by Tony Colella on April 22, 2006 at 18:13:53:

Actually the product of choice seems to be the HUGE flat screen tv’s.

The rent all center truck is typically likened to a buzzard in my area. Its arrival marks the death of a tenant in most cases. Typically within 2 months or so we have to evict for non-payment of rent. I have become less and less friendly with rental center folks who later come looking for their property (which the tenant takes with them but leaves me with all the trash to clean up).

Painting Tips From a Blue Collar Guy - Posted by Tony Colella

Posted by Tony Colella on April 20, 2006 at 21:36:16:

I have never loved painting walls, houses, decks, etc. but I have learned a few tips on how to paint trailers faster and ?good enough? for section 8 inspectors etc.

For those who don?t know much about section 8, there isn?t much to know. They have a general standard of livability they look for in all facets of the home and from there they determine what they believe is the highest market rent that particular tenant?s benefit merits. This does vary by each tenant?s particular benefit amount but if the basics are Not covered you (the investor) get nothing.

Now paint is not a standard of living (other than something needs to be on the walls with no holes showing), but let?s face it, we are marketing a product to the public at large (regardless if they are section 8 tenants or not). If the product does not appeal to a good prospect we aren?t going to be in business long.

The reason I mention the section 8 program is this; it has a standard approved by an independent party. Let?s face it. Our homes need to fall somewhere above slum and somewhere below presidential suit.

I endeavor to have all of my affordable housing units meet or exceed section 8?s reasonable standards. Oddly enough this has actually distinguished my properties (as it has others who follow that standard). I am amazed that basic, safe housing standards should be so unique.

Back to painting. Now painting can be taught to pretty much anyone. Skill levels will range from 1st grader finger painter to town drunk, to expert to?? well me, a blue collar type painter. Not white, multicolored collar (from all the jobs that week) type collar a pro wears but not the type of painter who falls below my min, section 8 standard.

Although I no longer paint all of my homes, I do still get white knuckles and forearms from time to time either to get the job done or to teach a promising handyperson.

While I still learn new trick each day, here is the blue collar painting approach that I have arrived at that gets the job done as quickly as possible with the least trained help, for the least amount of money that still meets my (and section 8) standards. First…

Painting Stinks!

Answer. Buy the largest, commercial grade fan on the market. They run about $23 bucks and ventilate a home like a hurricane. Use them while painting.

Paint with Kilz Oil based paint. I used latex for many years (while in denial) and finally had to admit it costs 1/3 more per bucket and still takes 2-3 more coats of paint not to mention the labor and time that translates to.

Unfortunately Kilz is not produced ?odor free? in 5 gallon buckets. I repeat, ?painting stinks!? so I now buy the stinky stuff and provide the commercial fan (which, when you are stuck painting the inside of a tin can in the blazing sun creates a refreshing breeze while ventilating said can of un-odor free paint fumes).


I have learned that you can paint a wall with a deep, ¾ inch nap roller and fill every cut, crevasse, scratch, ding, etc. in one shot and look like a pro but when you get to the corner you make a terrible mess. So you break out a paint brush or smaller roller. The smaller roller makes a smaller mess and the paint brush leaves see-through-paint!


Oil Based Kilz ?.. SPRAY PAINT !

The time saved was amazing. One coat and done. Roll on from there and it looks like a pro got paid by some mobile home investor to paint the corners!


I cannot begin to tell you how many times I pealed paint down a wall trying to pull the old, tan shaded scotch tape off the trim. The paint would stick to it and then pull off the wall below (or above) like some kind of evil latex monster.

Problem no more ! Enter the blue tape superhero. Buy it, use it. Peal it off and your good to go. Nuff? said.

Roll on,


Painting Stinks - Posted by Anne_ND

Posted by Anne_ND on April 21, 2006 at 11:25:11:

Good advice Tony, I would just add that a respirator works wonders.

My health-conscious better-half bought one for me (about $25) and although my contractors all get quite a laugh at me, it works like a charm. When I started hiring painters I bought some for them to use, but they never did- I guess they weren’t sissies like me.


I am either getting smarter or lazier - Posted by Bruce

Posted by Bruce on April 21, 2006 at 10:42:35:

Tony, I generally rehab my homes in front to back and about 3 homes ago I bought a Wagner Paint Crew sprayer. I can prime or paint a whole home in about 3 hours ceilings included. Cleanup is the key and must be done fairly quickly after each use. Quality of job is great and time savings is the best. I cover countertops and put in all storm windows. For ceiling cut- ins I use a piece of flashing attached to a 3 foot pole. I hold it against the ceiling and use it for a cut guide. I am very pleased with the product and price at Lowes was $179. Worth every penny in my book.

Re: Painting Tips From a Blue Collar Guy - Posted by Ryan (NC)

Posted by Ryan (NC) on April 20, 2006 at 22:09:02:

Thanks for the tips, has it been mentioned that painting stinks? Quick question are you using Kilz for your final coat (tinting?) or are you going back over it with latex? I’ve been using Kilz to seal everything and then top coating with a cheap semi-gloss off white latex to try keep the fingerprint issues down and the walls washable.

Best wishes,
Ryan Needler

Re: I am either getting smarter or lazier - Posted by Tony Colella

Posted by Tony Colella on April 21, 2006 at 11:15:41:

This has been an idea that has been on my mind but for some reason remained on the back burner. Not sure why. Although I now hire most of my painting done, perhaps I will try the power sprayer in the future.


Re: Painting Tips From a Blue Collar Guy - Posted by Tony Colella

Posted by Tony Colella on April 20, 2006 at 22:22:58:

I have been using it as the first and last coat on most homes. On a few of the nicer doublewides with land deals I have primed with (then latex) Kilz and coated with Eggshell white.

I had two painters I respect (experienced, good and cheap) state that while we use semi-gloss for ease of clean up, the “Eggshell” paint looks and cleans up the same but it can be repainted and blends in. Apparently semi-gloss does not repaint in patches without leaving a distinguishable difference.

Honestly for singlewides, especially older ones, the white, bright, new paint paint smell does sell. We do not receive any more money for the semi-gloss vs. eggshell vs. Kilz oil base but I have found Kilz oil the cheapest and the largest volume (5 gal).

What are the real questions/benefits?

Cheap, looks good and rents the highest (same).

If you have primed and painted with 2 coats of the Kilz oil base (by the way in 2 coats today it covered what 3-5 Kilz latex have not) then you simply apply a new coat for the new tenant. One coat is as quick as washing the walls AND still leaves that “new paint” smell for the next tenant.


Paint over the paneling and wallpaper? - Posted by Jered (WA)

Posted by Jered (WA) on April 23, 2006 at 09:17:28:

I assume this thread applies to wall paneling and wallpaper?

Just loadup the sprayer with oil based Kilz and get 'er done?


Re: Painting Tips From a Blue Collar Guy - Posted by JeffB (MI)

Posted by JeffB (MI) on April 20, 2006 at 23:12:11:

I’m still torn on this issue personally. I love oil-based Kilz primer for the ceiling, it looks great. But I’ve found when I use it on the walls AND the ceiling the place has a sort of, well, clinical look to it for lack of a better word. I’ve been using the Kilz as a first coat on the walls but then going over it with a latex based beige paint which looks fantasic and provides a nice contrast to the ceiling. HOWEVER, it seems to take my handyman a considerable amount of extra time to either tape where the ceiling and wall meet, or paint the line by hand. So as I said this is a constant struggle for me, which way to go. For now, I’m going the Tony method for my cheaper homes and the Jeff method for nicer, newer homes which I try to get “top-dollar” pricing out of. In either case, I don’t do any of the painting myself. Too many years in accounting/finance have rendered my hands ineffective holding brushes or rollers for long periods (carpal tunnel syndrome).

Thanks Tony for this PSA and for the great tip about spraying the corners!

Re: Painting Tips From a Blue Collar Guy - Posted by Eddie-Mi

Posted by Eddie-Mi on April 20, 2006 at 22:42:58:

I was talking to someone and they said Kilz water based is the way to go as opposed to Kilz oil. Any thoughts on that?

cleaning the sprayer - Posted by Steve-WA

Posted by Steve-WA on April 23, 2006 at 10:38:40:

dont forget that the sprayer will need to run through a lot of thinner for cleanup - PITA to me - I might consider rolling the oil based instead

just a thought

BTW, were you ducking me this last Thursday? I musta called you like fitty times!


Re: Paint over the paneling and wallpaper? - Posted by Tony Colella

Posted by Tony Colella on April 23, 2006 at 10:01:11:

While I have not yet used the sprayer you certainly could. I roll Kilz over everthing in the home: stains, paneling, wall paper (I will peal loose paper only).

You Bring Up Some Good Points - Posted by Tony Colella

Posted by Tony Colella on April 20, 2006 at 23:31:23:

Honestly for ceilings, latex has proven more than adequate (though still more expensive) and unless a terrible stain is present, one coat looks great.

Painting walls a different color to eliminate the sterile, hospital look…

The reality is the only time you see the walls is when it is vacant. Let’s face it, these rooms are usually no more than 14 feet wide. When modern furniture, TV’s, Stereos, posters, paintings (not to mention NASCAR) are placed on the walls… you can’t see much of the walls if any at all.

Yet your painter had to tape and trim, tape and trim… for what?

All white requires little trim work (which takes the most time and skill). Stop creating nice looking, vacant hulls!

Visual is only one of the body’s senses. I have read that smells create the longest lasting memories. Think of the smell of mom’s apple pie etc.

The smell of new paint implies NICE. Clean rooms implies nice.

They move in and move out and with one coat of paint it, once again looks NICE! (all for less money).

Build the home for the tenant, not the builder.


Kilz water based-Kilz oil - Posted by Steve AZ

Posted by Steve AZ on May 02, 2006 at 08:04:44:

I’ve used them both. Kilz water based does not kill water stains.

Another Tip - Posted by Tony Colella

Posted by Tony Colella on April 20, 2006 at 23:05:03:

I too feared oil based for smell and clean up reasons but I have finally had to give in. The ease of clean up must mean thin paint.

Latex was easy to clean up but the reality was I never clean up paint.


I always wrap the wet paint brushes and rollers in plastic wrap and place them in a cold place (the vacant fridge works great!).

When you come back the paint is still damp and you roll on without a problem or cleanup.

That leaves clean up of the painter (now you see another reason I want to pay others to paint).

Today I looked at the 5 gallon paint buckets. Essentially the Oil base kilz was 2/3 the price of the latex kilz (again they don’t make a 5 gallon odor free kilz) and covered in 2 coats what latex would have done in 3-5 (painting over wallpaper and bright oil based paint).

The way to go depends upon many factors but for price and coverage, unfortunately oil base is the way to go. Just be sure to have fantastic ventilation.


Re: You Bring Up Some Good Points - Posted by osupsycho (OK)

Posted by osupsycho (OK) on April 21, 2006 at 12:31:09:


I am getting the idea that you need to make and market an air freshner spray that is “fresh paint” smell. Could be big… :slight_smile:


Re: You Bring Up Some Good Points - Posted by JeffB (MI)

Posted by JeffB (MI) on April 21, 2006 at 07:57:09:

Point taken. I’m working on two units currently which I just moved. One got the two tone paint treatment. The other I will try all white. It’s a nice 16x80. We’ll see how that comes out. Just to clarify, you’re talking about using the Kilz oil based white primer as your final coat of paint, right?

One other question, why do you bother using latex for the ceiling when you’re using oil-based for the walls. Seems you are creating nearly the same headache you are seeking to avoid by using two different materials?

Re: You Bring Up Some Good Points - Posted by Sailor

Posted by Sailor on April 22, 2006 at 16:03:23:

There is a “New Car Smell” spray used by dealers, so maybe you are onto something, Jad.


Re: You Bring Up Some Good Points - Posted by Tony Colella

Posted by Tony Colella on April 21, 2006 at 11:12:54:

Yes, Kilz oil base was used as the fist coat primer and second coat (final). This way when the tenant moves out we can usually go back in with just one coat or simple clean up and be done.

As for the ceilings you are correct in that I would not switch back to latex for the ceiling. I was simply pointing out that when I did use latex kilz, it would cover the ceilings in one coat (unless a bad stain was present).


Re: You Bring Up Some Good Points - Posted by Tony Colella

Posted by Tony Colella on April 22, 2006 at 16:43:14:

Maybe we could make a spray that smells like a “Rent-a-Center” since that seems to be the favorite attraction of my tenants.