any painted or glazed finish that resembles something real - or
something that is not.
a metal door can be deceptively woodgrained to imitate a handsome
oak door, or it can be ragged in several different colored glazes
for an interesting effect. The term faux has also been extended
beyond it's original intent to include simple glaze techniques
that do not attempt to imitate nature at all, as well as the
more colorful and exaggerated suggestions of wood and marble
called "fantasy finishes.
common theme that ties all faux finishing together is the use
of the tinted glaze or wash. Used over the appropriate basecoat
color, these translucent glazes and thin color washes can produce
a vast array of effects, ranging from the simple and elegant
pinpricks of a stipple technique to the diaphanous and opulent
effect of a marbleized surface,
illusions began some 4,000 years ago. The earliest examples
found were my mycenean pottery. Later the Greeks and Romans
used these panted finishes to embellish their temples and other
fine buildings as well as for furniture and murals. Throughout
the centuries, other Europeans used these finishes lavishly
and extensively in their churches, cathedrals, public buildings,
palaces and estates.
we in the design related fields have witnessed a tremendous
resurgence of interest for these age old techniques. In the
past, these decorative trade secrets were jealously guarded
and passed down from father to son, or from the master to a
promising apprentice. Today these 'secrets' are revealed freely
in workshops, videos, and books.
the contractor is performing the actual decorative work himself
or specifying the finishes to subcontractors, he/she still needs
a good understanding of how these finishes are created. Often
the expense of a book, video, specialty tool, or even the cost
of an entire workshop can be recouped in a single professional
decorative painting job. After completing the intensive two
day PRO FAUX workshop, one graduate made $1,600 in a single
day with one of the ten finishes he learned in the hands on
is the shortest road to success. Knowing the fundamentals of
paints, of mixing glazes, and the usage of proper tools and
techniques add up to the right ingredients for an enjoyable
and successful start for anyone truly interested in decorative
who take the time to learn correct decorative painting techniques
can increase their hourly earning potential by as much as tenfold.
It is not uncommon for experienced faux finishers to command
$50-75 per hour! In addition, these decorative painting skills
can add almost instant credibility to a contractors business.
Whether one chooses to specialize exclusively in this field
or offer it as a part of a complete decorating service, clients,
designers, and architects alike perceive these individuals as
an elite corps of painters. A painter with these skills can
command a much higher pay rate than his or her peers.
who depend on good weather for the majority of their work can
often offset foul weather days by offering interior specialty
work. If they are already at a client's home for painting, wouldn't
it be nice if they could sell the service of marbleizing the
fireplace or woodgraining the metal doors to fill in on a rainy
day? And if the painter is your customer, that's more business
for your store.
is a major advantage of faux finishes. When foot traffic is
extremely heavy, as in a shopping mall, real marble and granite
make good sense. However, if one is more concerned with aesthetics
than durability, faux finishes are an excellent alternative.
Faux finishing is typically a fraction of the cost of installing
and finishing real wood or stone materials. For example, the
cost of remodeling with actual hard wood may add up to $120.00
/board-foot for rare species even before calculating in the
cost of demolition, installation, and finishing. By comparison,
woodgraining may only be $5-10/sq.ft. Marble prices can be much
more. It is not uncommon to spend anywhere from $30/sq.ft. For
3/8" thick floor tiles, and up to $200.00/linear-foot for
finished solid granite counter tops.
upper areas of churches, public buildings and grand theaters
would frequently be marbleized to match the real marble used
on the wainscot and floor areas where durability and practicality
are a must. In fact, a third of the "marble" one sees
in European churches is actually smooth plaster that has been
deceptively painted to look like real marble.
architects, custom builders can add another dimension to their
designs by making good use of a faux finish. By the specifying
faux along with the real, they can usually complete their projects
on time and at or below budget.
can be used
in numerous ways to complete a rooms design. Accenting existing
decor with either a painted piece of furniture or a marbleized
fireplace, for instance, can be very appealing. A new wall covering
is handsome complemented by glazing objects which do not readily
lend themselves to wall covering treatments, such as fluted
columns or panel door systems. These difficult surfaces can
be painted and glazed to match any color and texture the client
can often be done in a fraction of the time required to select,
order, and install wall covering. Not only are most simple glaze
finishes seamless, but clients love the idea of having someone
create a totally unique wall finish in their homes. Designers
and architects working with in a strict budget and time frame
for the completion of a job know that specifying faux marble,
faux bois, and other decorative treatments will be less costly
in time and money than installation of the actual materials...
and the final effect can be just as grand.
of the tools, materials and techniques used in faux finishing
can certainly enhance the paint dealer's business - both with
contractors and DIYers. Dealers can profit even more by understanding
the full range of uses for products they may already stock.
both Floetrol and Penetrol (manufactured by the Flood Company)
are used not only as paint conditioners, but also as intricate
ingredients in nonproprietary glazing liquids.
warn those who anticipate learning faux finishing that this
craft can be quite addictive. So much so that one of our students
from Houston gave up his successful painting business in order
to specialize solely in the field of decorative painting.
too, that dealers and their professional customers can write
off the cost of education, resources, and materials. In fact,
the government actually encourages continuing education to help
boost your business. Many larger firms and companies already
have tuition assistance programs available for employees. The
more specialized information an employee has, the more valuable
that employee becomes to the company; it's an investment!
the time to be knowledgeable about decorative painting can boost
sales by educating their customers. One popular way of building
your retail business is through simple in-store demos of ragging
and sponging. Vic and Angela Termina, owners of Decorating Depot
in Allen Park, Michigan, offer these demos once a month to a
standing room only audience made up of consumers and contractors.
Majestic Paints in Columbia, Ohio recently ran a newspaper ad
promoting a free in-store demonstration of faux finishing, and
received 450 calls the first day.
well know, you stand a much great chance of selling someone
once you get them in your store. There's more to marketing faux
than just selling a quart of glazing liquid. When someone want
a faux finish they're actually asking for two or three paint
jobs. First comes the surface prep, then the enameling, then
the faux treatment, and in many cases a clear protective coating.
In fat, faux painting can often lead someone to get really excited
about the prospect of changing their walls and woodwork. Beats
selling a gallon of flat, doesn't it?