Filling should be thorough, and done right down to the slightest crack that is evident. The filling compound should be forced in with a putty-knife or caulking tool and not merely scraped over the surface of the crack.
After the exterior has been thoroughly scraped and prepared, you should go over the surface for open cracks and joints. These should be filled with good linseed-oil putty or caulking compound. Small cracks and fissures can be disregarded, because the paint will fill them, but anything over an eighth of an inch deserves filling. Have in mind the fact that you are painting the exterior first as a matter of preserving it, and secondly to make it look better. Real preservation means protection against the weather. Never apply a second coat of paint until you are sure that the first coat has dried; and then wait for another day. A coat of paint over a semi-dried coat is absolutely useless.
Interior painting is something that can be done leisurely and without any worry about outside influences. As a rule it consists of floor-finishing, trim-painting, wallpapering and enameling. At the very beginning, it should be noted that there is so much advice and so many good suggestions available to the homeowner through the good magazines and from the various manufacturers of paint and varnishes, that there is no excuse for anyone failing to get a good color scheme or to do a neat job. All interior painting hinges on having a clean, dry surface to work on, and having the right quality of paint, varnish or enamel to work with. It is very easy to wash an interior surface by giving it a good rubbing with warm water and soap-suds, and then rinsing it off with clear warm water. We do not recommend the use of any strong solutions or compounds, because when they are strong enough to eat the dirt or grime off the woodwork, they are also strong enough to attack the paint.
You often see a paint job that is completely spoiled by the fact that the old coat of paint had been chipped off in places, and left a depression on the surface which the new coat did not fill out. You can avoid this sort of thing by using fine sandpaper and taking down the edges of the depression. When you do this, the new coat will have a good even appearance.
Interior woodwork should be stripped before it is painted. All nails, hooks or brackets should be removed, and then the wood should be washed, dried and sanded lightly.
Among the things to remember about interior painting is the fact that paint, enamel or varnish does not take as readily to smooth, glassy surfaces as they do to rough or semi-rough surfaces. If you will give the woodwork a light roughening up with sandpaper before you paint it, it will help to give the new coat a grip.
Mixing paint or enamel is extremely simple. There is hardly a can of paint sold which does not have the directions for mixing printed on it. The main trouble is that the average person thinks that they know more about it than the man who made the paint, and insist on adding thinners or driers according to their own misconceived ideas. You can depend upon it, that you will get a better job, and more satisfaction if you do as you are told. Prepared paint is ready for use as you buy it. Read the directions, follow them, and you will be doing things properly. As a general thing, when you open a can of paint, you should have an empty can at hand, and pour about half of the contents of the new can into it. Stir the remainder in the new can thoroughly, and then gradually add the paint which you poured off. If the directions say to add one tablespoon of turpentine, add one spoonful, and not two. If the directions say to apply a coat of flat white before applying an enamel, do it. In short, give the manufacturers of the product credit for knowing what they are talking about.
Floors are usually covered with shellac or varnish. When you want to refinish a floor, you have two procedures open to you. You can rent a sandpapering machine by the hour, and take off the old finish, or you scrub the floor by hand with alcohol and steel wool. The first procedure is modern, and makes a good, clean, fast job; the second one is the old-fashioned method, but still popular with many painters. A coat of shellac will dry in about fifteen minutes, a coat of varnish requires a full day at least unless it is quick-drying. When the floor has been cleaned of the old coat, you should go over it for stains and spots. As a rule you can remove ink stains with a bleach or by scraping with a piece of broken glass. Hot grease or penetrating oil stains require a bleaching. You should also go over the surface for any nail-heads which are showing, and drive them back where they belong. You should fill any unsightly cracks with a filling paste.
Floors may be prepared for re-shellacking or varnishing by first scrubbing them with steel wool and denatured alcohol. High edges or ends should be scraped down even with the surrounding surface.
When you visit your local paint store, ask the proprietor for his advice about any job that you have in mind. New products and procedures are coming on the market every day, and you will find that he knows all about them. Take advantage of his long experience and benefit by what he can tell you.
One final bit of advice on painting is this: do not at first attempt big jobs involving large surfaces or complications. Be content at first to try your hand at small painting jobs, and as your technique improves and you become familiar with the procedures, you can go further.
The subject of painting is one of the most important of all household maintenance items. The first illustration shows a sun-porch, done in one color; ceiling, walls and matching furniture. The second shows a room done in contrasting colors with blending furniture coverings. (See Chapter VIII.)
Above and below are two fine examples of good solid wood floors, which will endure for years, and require but a minimum of maintenance from the homeowner. (See Chapter VIII.)
The treatment of floors depends entirely upon the worth of the floors. Certainly nobody would care to hide beneath a rug or carpets, the splendid inlaid hard-wood floor shown above. (See Chapter VIII.)