The following are representative of the questions we answer on a daily basis, from both homeowners and contractors. We would be pleased to assist you any additional questions you might have.
Q: Are Fine Paints of Europe coatings considered environmentally friendly? Are they green?
A: Fine Paints of Europe is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council®. All Eurolux paints and primers and all ECO paints and primers meet requirements for compliance with LEED® EQ credit 4.2: Low-emitting materials. The intent of this credit is to reduce the quantity of indoor air containments that are odorous, irritating and/or harmful to the comfort and well-being of installers and occupants. For information on U.S. Green Building Council please visit www.usgbc.org ».
The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) developed the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Green Building Rating System™ as a "national consensus-based, market-driven building rating system designed to accelerate the development and implementation of green building practices," according to the organization. LEED is comprised of six performance area: siting, water conservation, energy, materials, indoor environmental quality, and innovation and design. A certain number of points must be earned in each category by obtaining credits. Different levels of certification can be achieved (LEED Certified, LEED Silver, LEED Gold, and LEED Platinum) depending upon the number of points earned. Manufacturers of LEED-qualified products including paints and coatings use this approval as a marketing tool for architects and builders interested in the LEED program. Selecting paints and coating that meet or exceed the VOC and chemical component requirements of Green Seal requirements will earn one point in the LEED rating system.
Fine Paints of Europe is pleased to announce that our Eurolux™ range of acrylic coatings and our ECO™ range of waterborne alkyds now qualify to carry the Green Windmill insignia signifying low VOC’s, low aromatics and earth-friendly formulations.
Q: I understand that your flat acrylic wall paint is not only beautiful but scrubbable. Realistically, how long could I expect a Eurolux job to last in an active residential kitchen?
A: A properly applied matte Eurolux finish could easily yield 12 to 15 years service in a busy kitchen environment. Because Eurolux contains no inexpensive chalky fillers and extenders, it is a beautiful, “tight” finish which repels stains and does not burnish.
Q: Why do you recommend the use of Omega brushes for your solventborne finishes. Is this a thinly-veiled attempt to sell your own brushes?
A: Due to their higher concentration of solids, our coatings have a different viscosity and brushing characteristic than domestic finishes. Therefore, our paints and varnishes benefit from a shorter-bristled, stiffer brush in order to spread them effectively. Only the Omega white bristle is bleached three times to create the resilience and spring necessary to apply a thin, even coat of heavily-pigmented finish. Some domestic brushes apply too much paint, creating a problem with drips, runs and sags.
Q: Can you tint your paints to match a color from another paint manufacturer?
A: Yes, all of our paints are available in every color under the sun! Custom tinting is available through FPE Retailers and directly from Fine Paints of Europe. We have most of the world’s paint manufacturers color decks on file for easy reference, just provide us with a code number. We are also able to provide custom matching to any fabric or wallpaper swatch.
Q: How much do FPE paints cost?
A: Most of our finishes are in the $100-$120 per Eurogallon™ price range. A Eurogallon™ will normally provide the same coverage as a U.S. gallon of similar gloss.
Q: Why are your paints so expensive?
A: More to the point, why are domestic paints so inexpensive? The United States represents an aberration in the world market for architectural coatings. This is a consequence of the absence of performance standards for paint in our country, as well as the unusually short average residency period (four years for the typical family!). Under these circumstances, domestic manufacturers have focused on producing impermanent formulations, which are typically heavily laden with chalk and other inexpensive fillers. Quality has been compromised in favor of low price for more than 40 years in this country. In 2006, the average gallon of architectural coating sold for less than $20. In view of wholesale and retail margins, packaging and transportation costs, a $20 can of paint will seldom contain more than $2 or $3 in raw materials.
We note that, in contrast, American automobiles and boats are painted with formulations which are engineered to perform extremely well under adverse conditions, and show a beautiful depth of color and touch. Automotive and marine coatings sell for $100-$300 per gallon.
Fine Paints of Europe paints are expensive because they are produced to be the best they possibly can be, rather than to sell at a specific price point. Our coatings contain no inexpensive fillers or extenders, and are composed of only the finest pigments, oils and resins, which are conditioned and combined to yield a beautiful and extremely durable finish.
In this world, you get what you pay for — and with Fine Paints of Europe, you pay for the best.
Q: Are Fine Paints of Europe less expensive in Holland?
A: No. In the Netherlands and throughout much of the world our paints are sold under the Wijzonol brand. Even in Holland however, these paints sell for more than we charge in the US. Nowhere are finishes of this caliber available for a price less than that charged by Fine Paints.
Q: My contractor gave me a bid of $4,000 to paint several rooms in my home. This bid included labor and material (a top domestic brand of paint). Can you estimate what he might charge to do the same work with Fine Paints of Europe?
A: The cost of this job using our high quality coatings should be approximately 15% more, or $4,600 (labor and material). For this marginally higher price, you can expect to receive finishes that will look and feel dramatically different from the best conventional domestic paints, and probably last two to three times as long. It will be a long time before you need a painter again.
Q: I am painting doors with a Hollandlac Satin finish. Your Specifier’s Manual recommends one coat of Brilliant, followed by one coat of Satin. Why can’t I apply two coats of Satin?
A: You can indeed apply two coats of Satin and still achieve a very good finish. We have found, however, that the application of Brilliant before Satin offers several advantages. Not only is the Brilliant easier to apply, it provides a more uniform and chip-resistant foundation for the Satin than does the Satin Enamel itself. The same principle is used by quality floor finishers who apply two or three coats of a high-gloss urethane varnish on new floors before ‘finishing’ the floors with a satin urethane varnish. The integrity and durability of the system are provided by the gloss finish, whereas the aesthetic is provided by the final Satin coat.
Q: Do you recommend that doors be painted vertically (on hinges) or horizontally (on sawhorses)?
A: In a perfect world, doors should be painted horizontally and dried vertically. A freshly-painted door which is allowed to dry in a horizontal position will frequently serve as a magnet to airborne dust. This dust, as well as other imperfections, can be eliminated by lightly sanding between coats. After application of the final coat, doors which have been painted in a horizontal position should immediately be moved into a vertical position against a wall, with the wet side at a slight downward angle.
On simple door re-coat projects involving one coat, it is normally best to paint doors in place, on their hinges.
Q: How long will a Hollandlac or Eco application last?
A: A Hollandlac or Eco application, consisting of a full FPE primer coat and two finish coats, applied to a sound substrate according to instructions, can normally be expected to look freshly-painted for eight to ten years. This finish will typically remain presentable and serviceable for at least an additional five years before requiring renewal with a single maintenance coat of Hollandlac or Eco.
Q: How do I achieve a brilliant, mirror-like finish on my exterior woodwork?
A: Front doors can be painted by the same method used to achieve dramatic high-gloss finishes on the doors of London and the facades of Paris. The door should be rough- sanded (100 grit) to break up the existing finish, and then primed with Oil Primer. After drying, the door should be skim-coated with Swedish Putty and sanded smooth with fine grit paper (220 or finer) until the desired degree of perfection is achieved. Without re-priming, the door should then be painted with two or more coats of Hollandlac Brilliant Enamel, polishing between coats with a paper of 220 or finer grit. Do not sand after the final coat. In theory and practice, it is possible to make a 200-year old door look like the fender on a Mercedes, although in most cases it is prudent to leave a few flaws for the sake of authenticity. The same treatment will make an old set of kitchen cabinets look better than new. For interior use and in milder climates, a similar effect can be achieved with one or multiple coats of Brushing Putty, applied in much the same manner. (Please refer to Brushing Putty » on this website).
Q: I am painting my house with Eurolux House Paint. Can I use this paint on my house trim?
A: Yes. Eurolux House Paint is suitable for all wood exterior surfaces. Many clients, however, prefer to use Hollandlac or Eco Brilliant Enamel on doors and shutters.
Q: I power-washed my house after all the prep work was done. How long do I need to wait before I begin painting?
A: We have seen a great deal of damage done over the years by power-washers, and we do not recommend their use except in the hands of professional house washers, operating from ladders or boom trucks. Frequently, power-washers are improperly operated, from a standing position on the ground, which results in large volumes of water being forced behind clapboards and shingles. Under the worst circumstances, it can take months for this water to escape through the slow process of evaporation. If paint is applied before the moisture has dissipated, it will likely fail within twelve months. We would strongly suggest that you purchase an inexpensive moisture meter, and not initiate application of finishes until the moisture level is below 14%.
Q: What is the best time of year to paint the exterior wooden homes in northern half of the US?
A: Moisture levels of exterior wood are normally lowest in September and October. Temperature and humidity are typically ideal for proper drying during the autumn months when most house painters paint their own homes (this rule does not apply to the Pacific Northwest where it sometimes never stops raining).
Q: How do I paint a wooden floor?
A: The floor should be sanded to abrade any remaining finish, and then thoroughly washed with a powdered cleaner such as Spic-n-Span. Use water as sparingly as possible, and allow the floor to dry thoroughly. Once you are certain that the floor is dry, apply one coat of Oil Primer and allow to dry for at least twenty-four hours. The floor should then be lightly sanded with a 150-grit paper to the desired level of smoothness, vacuumed and tacked dust free. The floor should then be painted with either a FPE Floor & Deck System or a Hollandlac Brilliant System.
Alkyd paints dry in a matter of hours, but require a full twenty-one days to cure to their maximum hardness. Painted floors should be protected from heavy use during this curing period. The instructions are much the same for decks and porches, although in this instance it is extremely helpful if you can prime the bottom with Oil or Eco Primer. Paint failure on porches frequently results from moisture infiltration from below, which can be blocked off by a FPE alkyd coating.
Q: What are the advantages of oil paint vs. acrylic paint for interior woodwork?
A: In the satin and gloss finishes which are commonly used on woodwork, oil enamels traditionally exhibited a richness, touch and leveling ability which was unmatched by waterborne paints. However, with the introduction of Eco, many professional painters and designers believe they have discovered an odorless, waterborne alkyd which can be used interchangeably with traditional Hollandlac oil enamels. Upon visual and tactile examination an Eco finish is indistinguishable from a traditional Hollandlac enamel finish.
Q: I am accustomed to using satin enamel on walls, in order to achieve durability and washability. Must I do the same with your coatings?
A: No. If you are seeking a beautiful, durable finish which is easily maintained, Eurolux Matte Acrylic will more than exceed your hopes and expectations. Eurolux Matte is as durable, scrubbable and chip-resistant as our Hollandlac and Eco Brilliant paints! We experimented by smearing ketchup, mustard and chocolate syrup on the walls of our Woodstock showroom, which are painted with Eurolux Matte. After allowing these condiments to dry, we were able to remove them with nothing more than a sponge and warm water. No residue or blemishes remained after cleaning! Our clients can be assured of scrubbability and chip- resistance in a non-burnishing wall coating, whether they select Eurolux Matte, Satin or Gloss. These remarkable scrubbable acrylic paints can be expected to yield ten to fifteen years of beauty and service in an active home.
Q: How do I prepare my existing stained and varnished kitchen cabinets for painting?
A: Great care should be taken before painting previous ‘furniture’ finishes, due to the high likelihood that silicone waxes and cleaners have been used on these surfaces. The presence of silicone can be expected to interfere with the ability of a wooden substrate to properly accept a paint finish. Silicone is present in most of the popular household waxes sold in the U.S.
Wood surfaces should be well-abraded with a 150-grit paper to break up any existing finish, and then tacked clean. All surfaces should then be wiped down with Wil-Bond, which will seal the silicone and promote bonding. Surfaces should then receive at least one coat of Oil or Eco Primer/Undercoat or Brushing Putty, which should be allowed to dry and then sanded to the desired degree of smoothness with 220-grit or finer paper. At this point, you can apply the desired Hollandlac or Eco finish.
Q: Can Formica be painted?
A: Yes, although painted Formica will no longer serve as an appropriate surface for chopping and other rough use. Formica should be thoroughly washed with powdered detergent, and then primed with XIM - UMA Primer (according to instructions on container). XIM Primer is available through most good independent paint merchants, or can be ordered from Phillips. After allowing the UMA primer to dry for 3 or 4 hours it should be sanded glass-smooth with a very fine paper - 220 or higher. After tacking to remove all dust, apply one coat of Hollandlac or Eco according to instructions. Concentrate on putting on a thin, even coat. After allowing Hollandlac or Eco to dry overnight, re-sand your countertop with 220 paper and tack clean again. Apply second coat and allow to dry overnight before use. Please apply all coatings in a dust-free environment. Remember, the above solution will not be as durable as your original countertops, but it can extend their life in a "light duty” setting.
Q: I have oak kitchen cabinets with a heavy open grain pattern. The cabinets are very well made, but I strongly dislike the oak grain pattern. Any suggestions?
A: FPE Brushing Putty is a high-build sanding primer which can be used effectively to re-face and conceal grain patterns in oak, luan and other grainy woods. This primer is applied with an inexpensive brush, and then sanded to a glass-smooth finish. (There is no need to use an Omega brush.) In some cases, two coats of Brushing Putty may be required, but your effort will produce a smooth, uniform surface in which the grain pattern has been completely concealed.
A Swedish Putty treatment is an alternative to the use of Brushing Putty for concealing grain patterns. However, in most cases Swedish Putty is more appropriate for surfaces which are gouged or heavily dented. Swedish Putty is especially effective in highlighting a high-gloss finish, although the application of Swedish Putty is quite labor-intensive.
Q: White enamels always yellow in my kitchen. Why does this happen and how can I prevent it in the future?
A: White alkyd paints, even great alkyd paints such as Hollandlac and Eco, will yellow in the absence of abundant ultraviolet light. Dark rooms create an environment in which yellowing occurs quite rapidly. This is especially troublesome in rooms such as kitchens and bathrooms, in which a yellowed painted finish presents an unacceptable contrast to white enamel appliances. The only alternative is to utilize Eurolux Acrylic, which is non-yellowing under all circumstances. Eurolux White will provide an ideal solution to your yellowing problem.
Q: Why is it so difficult to find a good painter?
A: The shortage of good painters in this country results from the unwillingness of American homeowners to adequately compensate qualified professional painters. Most homeowners do not shop for medical, legal or other professional assistance on the basis of price, but this is the primary criteria used in the selection of painters.
In Europe, a qualified painter is on the same socio-economic level as an accountant or dentist in the United States. Dutch painters serve a six-year apprenticeship, belong to a guild, and attend regular refresher courses on product and technique. These craftsmen are well-compensated and take great pride in their work.
High-quality professional painters are also available in the United States, and they can normally be located through a reputable, independent paint retailer.
Negotiate a fair price for a first-class job, and you will be well-rewarded for your investment with many years of beauty and satisfaction. On an annualized basis, it is much less expensive to use a first-class paint and contractor than to try to save by cutting corners. In painting, as in other aspects of life, you tend to get what you pay for. This is what has inspired Fine Paints of Europe to begin the Certified Painters Program ».