Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Faux Effects launched several new products in late Spring 2010.  As an FE instructor and training/retail studio, we are always thrilled to get our hands on the new stuff and see how it works.  There is a buzz about these products and of course questions so I thought I would offer my take on the new products: Luna, High-Hide Metallic, Sharkskin, and the Stone Decor.  I would also like to offer my thoughts on the Rock-Kote products.

I am not approaching my review as a chemist or a sales person.  My reviews are based on 2 things. The first is my experience using the new Faux Effects products in my home and in Ashley's house.  I like to put finishes through the tests for "What crazy thing will someone do in the field ?" This means I rush dry times, set things on it before the finish cures, try combining different products, skip steps and other random things-you get the idea.  By screwing it up, I also learn how to fix (and avoid) problems. It takes more time but our customers are worth it!  My second criteria comes from teaching the products in class.  What I look for is:
  •   Can new products integrate with existing products?
  •   Will this product save me steps and/or time?
  •   Does the new product increase durability?
  •   How easy is it for a student to understand the product concept and use?
  •   Are the new samples pretty and sellable?
I like to teach new products within the context of portfolio building collection classes rather then a class devoted just to using the new products alone.  This way you can upgrade old favorites you know and trust by giving them a new twist.  It is a nice way to reconnect with homeowners, builders, and designers by letting them know, "hey, I've got these new samples that will work on walls, tile, floors, and counter tops."

So far, I have used most products in my home.  I have also taught with many products in two different classes: Renew, Reuse, and Recycle and The Contemporary Lux Collection.  The High Hide Metallic are in production so I have not used them in class or in my home but I did use them in my FE training.

Which leads me to the first thing you should know about the products-they are GOLD LABEL.  I can hear the groans now.  While I find them overall easy to use, there are specifics involving product tinting, mixing, and application that are better explained by actually doing a sample in class.  As a side note, even when we give good step by step notes in a classroom, people still have questions when it comes time to do an actual project. You can't image how many more questions we get when people don't do a class. For example, when a homeowner tries to DIY cabinets, the average is 2 calls a day and constant complaints that "My kitchen doesn't look like your showroom sample" Well duh....

Every studio that wants to sell and teach the new products has to attend a Faux Effects training directly with Ray (founder or FE). Ashley and I went to Dallas and we're grateful for the opportunity to get the scoop straight from the Mad Scientist himself.  FE is recommitting to the professional finisher by offering products not available to everyone-this should increase your business because your samples can't be copied for $2 a square foot by painters! Anyway....on to the first product.

First up, SharkSkin.  This is a base coat material but we have also used it successfully as a finish by itself.  You can apply this just like Setcoat but the opaque finish has a lovely velvet look and feel. The colors are Dark Brown (deep coffee), Black (black velvet), Deep Blue (very pretty color like a Crown Royal bag), Neutral White (same as Setcoat), Leather Red (Love it), Green (I have not seen ) and Eggplant ( a better coverage version then Eggplant Setcoat).

There are 5 Metallic Sharkskin Colors: Bronze, Rich Gold, Pale Gold, Copper, and Silver.  These colors match the colors available in the Faux Metal line (one of new favorites).  Imagine Designer Metallic more fabric like and without the hassle of adding the messy and globby metallic concentrate.  I find the Rich Gold to be the most versatile.

The cost for Regular Sharkskin is about $10 more per gallon then Setcoat. Coverage is 400 square feet and it comes in quarts and gallons.  Tech sheets say that 1 coat is usually enough. This is true if most of the Sharkskin is covered.  The Blue and Eggplant definitely need two coats for coverage. The cost for the Metallic Sharkskin is more ($119.75 per gallon), but this product comes in 8oz, gallons, and quarts.  It does not stick as aggressively as the regular Sharkskin.  I would suggest using regular Setcoat underneath on new construction or cabinetry followed by Metallic Sharkskin.  I used it over old paint (2 coats of Ben Moore) and had no worries.  You should cut-in and roll at the same time to avoid hat-banding the room.  For spraying (which I have not done yet), the material may be cut 20% with water.  So when would you use Sharkskin?

Sharkskin may become the finish.  I have never used Setcoat just as a finish unless I was painting a cabinet Black Setcoat.  Because the Sharkskin has some thickness, it may be brushed or rolled on and then manipulated with a trowel.  The velvet texture is more finished then a straight paint.  This sample is 3 steps: Roll base Sharkskin, random roll on another Sharkskin, and glaze.  The finish below is 2 steps using only Sharkskin.

Sharkskin texture is a perfect base for troweling waxes.  I've watched people struggle with troweling wax (like Aquawax) for years.  Setcoat needs more grip and Texture Coat has too much.  Sharkskin is the baby bear of products-it is just right.  I switched some wax finishes to this base and it was much easier to work the wax across the surface.  Since the first coat of Aquawax looked good there was no need for additional wax layers to correct problems (this saves an extra step). 

3 step finish with Metallic Sharkskin and Aquawax

This texture works well with products that need some grip and absorbency like the new Luna (more about this in a future post), Low Viscosity Glazes, and Faux Metals.  Using the Metallic Luna for my Tile Raku Finish saved me two steps from my previous approach.

Sharkskin with wax and Faux Metals.

Sharkskin and Low Viscosity Glazes
Sharkskin with new Luna product.

Because it is thicker then Setcoat and has a slight texture, Sharkskin is excellent for stencils.  I used Sharkskin underneath and then applied more over the stencil with a black foam roller.  The look is more sophisticated then just paint and color.  This sample is Dark Brown Sharkskin with Bright Gold Sharkskin over a Wallovers Stencil.  It looked great in just 2 steps.  I did decided to over glaze and blow in Amber Gold Mica Flakes which added a step.

After working with the Sharkskin awhile, I found it to be much more versatile then I originally thought.  I like the colors (although the Silver is a cold blue based silver). The Dark Blue would make a pretty base for an evening sky.  This weekend I am rolling Sharkskin as a base for a finish in one of our guest baths. I will post the progress of the room.  This is the room where I will use all the newer products to make over this blah bath. 

PS...Nice patch Bruce...Thanks for getting out that ugly medicine cabinet!

1 comment:

  1. I nedd to paint on an aluminum sheet for out sign in pale gold metalic. Can you give me some advice what kind of durable paint I cna use for that purpose.