The official blog of

Atomic Painting Inc

Exterior and interior painting company servicing Chicago and north suburbs.

Stain Your Deck- step by step


A lot homeowners who have chosen to stain their decks haven’t been 100% satisfied with the results. However, you shouldn’t be discouraged because if you follow the following steps, you’ll certainly benefit from great results that will last longer.

Step 1: Keep your cool

Don’t start staining if you don’t have enough time. Every step of the process is important and requires an important amount of time, but the results are worth it. First of all, every piece of lumber that has been pressure-treated needs to be weathered for at least two months in order to dry out completely. Once the lumber is dried, you can start staining it. You should also make sure that the stain strippers applied on the surface are not rinsed off until the previous finishes are broken down. Plus, you should always keep an eye on the weather forecast and start your project only when the weather is favorable.

Step 2: Preparation

The final results depend on the attention you pay during the preparation. The wood should be cleaned carefully before the staining process, regardless of how old the deck is. New lumber should also be cleaned in order to remove any trace of mill scales. This step is very important, as wood stains can’t penetrate into the surface because of the mill scales. If your deck is older, you have to clean it and remove all the contaminants such as mildew, dirt, and old stains. In this case, the best solution is to use percarbonate wood cleaners. Not only that they effectively clean the wood, but they’re not dangerous. If you come across a cluster of stains, the cleaning process may become more complicated, but not impossible. In this case, only a stain stripper can help you.

You should pay attention to the directions before using strippers, as they can be more caustic than other cleaning products. The great part is that many stain manufacturers provide some instructional videos in order to help you use them correctly.

Step 3: Brighteners Can Be Beautiful

Don’t forget to use wood brighteners, as many people tend to overlook this step. Besides, this is the easiest part of the process so why would you skip it? Wood brighteners are a true miracle, as they help the wood surface open up and neutralize any stain strippers previously used and they also make old wood look as if it was new. It’s quite impressive that a single product can bring so many benefits, and yet people tend to overlook it. All you have to do is purchase a wood brightener, spray it on the surface, and then rinse it off.

Step 4: Don’t Stop Rinsing

Don’t forget to use a lot of water, especially if you’ve used many cleaning chemicals. Although most chemicals are presented as harmless and completely safe, you still have to rinse them off carefully after using them. If they are not completely eliminated, they can resurface in time, leading to the destruction of the new stain. Bear in mind that once you’ve finished cleaning the deck, you must rinse it up carefully to make sure that no chemicals are left on the wood.

Step 5: Don’t Buy Cheap Stuff

Once the deck has been cleaned and dried, you can start the staining process. However, bear in mind that a more expensive stain product usually gives better results than a cheaper one. It’s common knowledge that the better an ingredient is, the more it will cost. So don’t expect a cheap product to have the same resins, mildewcides or pigments as an expensive one. That’s very unlikely.

Step 6: Consider Waterborne Stains

In case you didn’t know, water based stains have gained a lot of popularity lately. Although you may be reluctant to try them at first, you should know that these products are way better than conventional alternatives, as they’re more durable. Manufacturers were forced to improve their products, and their efforts eventually paid off. Water based stains have a wide range of advantages, especially the high-quality ones: water and soap can easily clean them up, they are designed to face the weathering process better than other products, and they don’t consist of solvents that cause breathing problems. Plus, they can be used even if the wood isn’t completely dried.

Step 7: Read and Follow the Directions

Products have different labels and therefore, different directions. Reading the label can help you obtain a lot of information about the product, and you don’t even have to waste much time. First of all, you should verify the number of layers that have to be applied, how much time you have to wait before applying a new coat, how much you have to wait after cleaning or until the wood is weathered. Reading the label could help you get an answer to many questions.

Step 8: Less Is More

If you want to stain your deck perfectly, you are advised to use a wood stain that is semi-transparent. These products give a natural look to the wood, allowing it to breathe, and are easy to clean. However, make sure you read carefully the directions and avoid applying too much product on the wood. When there’s too much stain applied, the wood can be covered with a film that is similar to paint. This film won’t allow the wood to breathe, causing it to peel. In conclusion, never apply more stain than the wood can absorb!

Step 9: Paint Brush, the King

Deck stain can be applied using various methods, such as rollers and pump-up garden sprayers. Whatever method you decide to use, make sure you also have a paint brush. Paint brushes are the best method of applying the stain, as the friction caused by them helps the wood absorb a larger quantity of stain. So, whether you choose to roll or spray the stain, use a paint brush for creating a better penetration of the stain. If you want everything to go by the book, make sure you buy a high-quality paint brush.

Painting over Wallpaper

It can be quite difficult to remove the wallpaper from your walls. Moreover, when removing the wallpaper, you can cause serious damage. However, in case your wallpaper does not have any adhesion failure and it is in great condition, you don’t have to remove it. By doing so, your walls won’t be damaged and you can start painting over the wallpaper right away.

  • Preparing the walls prior to painting

Before you apply any paint layer, you need to prepare the walls. You can do so by sticking to the following steps. First of all, you must replace the damaged sections. Also, the loose pieces must be stuck with adhesive. At the joint points between the ceiling or floor and wallpaper, you should add a clear caulk line. Thus, the edges will be sealed and the paper won’t peel off. Use a spackle or joint compound to cover the textured paper. Add a thin coat. This substance will smooth up the surface and so the paint won’t reveal the texture. The wallpaper seams must be sanded down extremely gently so as to not become noticeable. Before applying the painting, you must add an oil – based primer. This way, you’ll be sure that the adhesive is sealed within the paper. At the same time, it divides the paint from the adhesive. One of the best primers is Fresh Start from Benjamin Moore. After you’ve done this, you can start painting. Specialists recommend using oil – based paint, because latex paint can cause peeling or bubbles.

  • Reasons for using oil – based primer

Primer is basically a sealant used on new surfaces. Its main characteristics are that it is an extraordinary first coat that allows you to switch colors. For example, it enables you to paint a red wall in white painting. Also, it offers an even finish and a better adherence. Primer comes in various types. The most used are the oil – based primers and water – based latex. The advantages of oil – based primer are that it can be used on latex finish coats and oil – based finish coats. On the other hand, the oil – based paints are usually inflexible. The oil – based primer is great on all types of materials, including metal finishes, and can even be used for the exterior walls. In addition, the primer can also help you get rid of fumes. All you have to do is add some vanilla extract in the primer. Also, remember to open the windows when using paints and primer.

  • Reasons for using oil – based paint

Oil – based paint comes with a more shiny and high gloss finish. When the paining is finished you’ll certainly adore that shiny appearance of your walls. Additionally, it is stain resistant and durable and it’s a great choice for household trim, bathrooms and kitchens. Oil – based paints are excellent for hard – wearing finishes. Moreover, this type of paint can be used to create various paint effects including marbling. These are the main reasons why you should use oil – based paint.



Dress up any room with Faux Finish Technique


  • Definition of Faux Finish Technique

Numerous decorative painting techniques are described through the terms faux finishing and faux painting. The name means false in French and it is used because these techniques replicate materials like wood and marble by using paint. In time, these procedures have included many other decorative finishes for furniture and walls.

Classical times have made faux painting extremely popular. In the ancient times, artists would use trompe l’oeil murals, faux wood and faux marble. Moreover, it used to take 10 years for an artist to learn how to make these murals. Faux painting was revived in the 19th century and then again in the 1920s. Modern history has seen faux finish techniques in public and commercial spaces.

Nowadays, specialists use 2 processes and materials. The first one is glaze work and it makes use of a mixture of glaze and paint that is translucent. It is smooth and mimics various textures, and it can be applied with a sponge, rag, roller or brush. The plaster work uses tinted plasters and it’s applied with a spatula or a towel. The final result can be textured or flat.

  • Examples of Faux Finishes

Ragging – provides a romantic and soft look. The desired effect can be obtained by putting the rag in various positions. You can use the base color to paint the wall and wait until it is completely dry. Afterwards, you can mix a glaze finish with the texture color. The rag must be put inside the glaze mixture and then dabbed on the wall. By using less paint, you will obtain a softer effect. For different effects, you can use other materials such as canvas, plastic bags and paper bags.


Sponging– this is one of the funniest and easiest techniques. It offers a textured look. To begin with, you need to select the base color and apply it on the walls.   The paint will be mixed with a special finishing glaze. Make sure not to over dip   the sponge in the mixture. Start from the corner and continue with the entire wall. Use a random pattern and don’t allow the paint to get dry on the working spot. smooth finish. After it is completely dry, you can start sponging. You can use multiple colors when sponging. Stay away from synthetic sponges and use a natural sea sponge. For a smooth application, the sponge must be damp.


Color washing – it provides a graceful, flowing and smooth look. The procedure is the same. Use the base color to paint the walls random and varies patterns. and wait until it’s dry. Use the faux finish glaze to mix it with the second color. Paint with overlapped and short strokes.

Crackling – this can be used for an aged and distressed look. After you apply the base color let it dry. The next step is to use the crackle faux finish to cover the walls. Wait up to 4 hours until it’s dry and apply the other coat. Don’t overlap. The paint will crackle in an instant and  will offer a unique design. You can also use this technique for furniture.

Give Your Home a Little Gift for Christmas

  • Use stencils to design modern walls and make warm and cozy interiors

Hanging wallpaper is fine, but it’s always better to stencil your walls. This procedure is extremely simple and creates an interesting design. Moreover, it doesn’t carry the hassle of applying wallpaper.

Cheap and simple

A room looks fantastic in wallpaper. Still, it requires a lot of labor and effort. On the other hand, stenciling is much simpler and has a similar effect. You can make use of custom design combinations and you can either stencil the entire wall or add a border. Through stencils you can accentuate your wall’s design by using different patterns. The result is attractive and the procedure is much simpler than applying wallpaper.

Stencil styles

If you simply want to add a border by using stencils, you have to make use of a guideline to keep the line straight. First, you need to measure the line and afterwards draw it with a piece of chalk or a pencil. This will be the reference point for your stencil. After you paint the stencil design, you have to remove the stencil immediately, while the paint is damp. When you take away the stencil, make sure you don’t ruin the design.  The stencil will be moved to the following spot and so on. If you’re using 2 or more colors, wait until the first color is dry.

Stenciling is much more advantageous because if you’re tired of the design, you can always paint over it. The wallpaper must first be removed to paint the walls underneath. Moreover, in case you make a tiny mistake while using stencils, you can always paint over and cover the mistake. Thus, stenciling can be immediately updated.

  • Your walls can have a unique finish with Faux Finish techniques

There are numerous faux painting techniques and they all use texture tricks, paint colors, glaze or plaster. These techniques can be used for a piece of furniture or for a room. The most common faux painting methods are:

Faux Terra Cotta: the Terra Cotta look can be easily obtained by using a cardboard backing and foam rubber. The procedure is called stamping and it’s extremely cheap. It is mainly used for flooring. After you complete the stamping process, you should use polyurethane coating to seal the floors.

Faux Woodgraining: this technique can be used for walls or floors. You can simply drag the paint and afterwards glaze it make it to look like wood grain. This method is more complicated, but if you know exactly how to do it, it will look like real hardwood.

Faux Marbling: this technique requires more steps to be achieved. This finish must have depth. Also, you should not overdo the areas and you have to make use of the right veining procedure to create the veins. If you don’t stick to these guidelines, the final result will be far from the real marble’s lustrous look. The perfect marble look can be acquired with a special dabbing technique. A visual aid, like a piece of marble will help you imitate the look.

Faux Stone: this technique is great for walls because it can conceal various damages. The texture is created from wall compound and the patterns are manipulated with a trowel. In the end, you will need a glazing paint color.

  • With a homemade painted headboard you can change your bedroom’s appearance

A bedroom can be instantly personalized with a headboard that leans against or attaches to the wall. So, you don’t need to occupy the entire space in your room or build a new bed frame. The mattress and the box springs can be supported by a cheap metal frame and the headboard will sit behind the bed. Before starting manufacturing your homemade headboard, there are a few things that you should take into consideration.

Think about a preferred style, height, the mattress’ size and the attaching mode. It all depends on the overall design of you room and the desired look. Make up a design plan and measure your mattress before you start the project. Remember that you have limitless design options by using a wooden headboard. It can be colored and stained anyway you like.

Environmentally friendly paints and colorants

Definition of VOC

VOCs or volatile organic compounds are gases emitted by certain liquids and solids. VOCs are made from various chemicals that might have long – and short – term health effects. VOC concentrations are usually higher indoors as compared to outdoor spaces. There are thousands of products out there that emit VOCs. Some of the most important are photographic solutions, lacquers and paints, permanent markers, paint strippers, adhesives and glues, cleaning supplies, craft and graphics materials, pesticides, carbonless copy paper, building furnishings and materials, correction fluids, printers, copiers and office equipment.
Unfortunately, VOCs are used in most commercial and household products. Most preservatives, cleansers, varnishes, disinfectants, paints, waxes, dry cleaning products, cosmetics and glues contain volatile organic compounds. Not to mention that VOCs are included in fuels like kerosene and gasoline. Pesticides and cigarette smoke also include VOCs. The sources of VOCs can also come from different household and building materials. For example, wall coverings, vinyl type flooring, new carpeting, wood products with waxes, finishes and glues, draperies, adhesives, and backing can release harmful VOCs.

The different types of VOCs

There are numerous types of volatile organic compounds. They are classified based on different needs and interests. For example, the VOCs can be classified according to their effects, source, use and target organs. There are also volatile organic compounds that come in groups depending on their poisoning potential, physical state, general chemical structure, reactivity and chemical stability. Basically, volatile organic compounds are the physical or chemical agents that interact with various biological systems and cause different adverse responses. These special responses can be included in a diversity of physiological groups and can range from serious to minor responses and effects. They can lead to critical disabilities including cancer or kidney failure or they can cause kidney or liver damage.
The most common types of volatile organic compounds are perchloroethylene, benzene, heptane, methylene chloride, styrene, hexane, trichloroethane and toluene.

The market  features numerous products that don’t contain volatile organic compounds. One of these healthy products is the Benjamin Moore Natura paint. This type of paint has zero VOCs, but it’s still extremely efficient and performing. The Benjamin Moore paint is resistant to fading, odorless, durable and washable. The product makes use of the innovative waterborne Aura technology to offer a high – quality and eco – friendly paint. Natura comes in a wide array of colors and shades and even if it contains colorants, it doesn’t have any VOC. There are plenty of so called zero VOCs paints out there that contain VOCs because of the colorant. Natura is one of the only paints that’s odorless and that doesn’t have VOCs. It comes in primer, flat, semi – gloss and eggshell and it’s mainly used for the interiors. Moreover, it is resistant to splatter and 100% acrylic latex. Not to mention that it is VOC compliant and follows the special Green Promise designation.

Choose zero-VOC paint for you and your family

Zero-VOC paint will keep your family safe because it does not contain harmful chemicals. It is odorless and it can be washed extremely easily. Often used for the insides of people’s homes, the paint is eco-friendly. It will improve air quality and your family won’t develop any kinds of respiratory problems. Additionally, zero-VOC paints are extremely helpful for people with chemical sensitivity and allergies.