Painting Ceilings

Painting ceilings isn’t difficult but no one seems to want to do them. If you have a ceiling that needs a fresh coat of paint or maybe you have some water stains you need addressed, the first step it to determine what type of ceiling you have. In the Omaha market textured ceilings are very common but smooth ceilings are gaining in popularity in the Midwest. You want to determine the ceiling type to know the best approach to painting it.

If you happen to have a sprayed popcorn ceiling that has never been painted then it will need to be sprayed. The popcorn texture will come off as you try to roll a coat of paint on it. If it has been previously painted then you may be able to roll it but I would suggest not going back to areas you have rolled to touch up until it is completely dry or the texture will come down. When you roll a coat of paint on it the paint loosens the popcorn texture bond and it doesn’t take much for it to come down.

Regardless of the type of ceiling you have the two big challenges are drips falling down onto your belongings or carpet and the cut around the perimeter of the wall. It is easier to paint a ceiling when you are painting your walls too. If you are only painting the ceiling then you are doing what is called a reverse cut. Only cutting in the ceiling which can be an awkward angle. If you are painting the walls as well then you aren’t concerned about the walls and you cut the wall color in after the ceilings are done. This is a more natural angle to run a cut line. Doing a good cut line just takes practice regardless of the angle.

As far as dripping on anything below the ceiling, the best approach is to remove as much of the contents as possible, use drop cloths on the carpets and a lightweight plastic on furniture. When painting ceilings the fewer obstacles on the floor the better.

If you have water stains you will need to seal them with an oil based primer prior to painting.

When rolling a ceiling you will want the right equipment. as previously mentioned drop cloths, plastic, a good paint frame and pole, brush, etc.

The easiest approach is to systematically roll from wall to wall working you way to the other side of the room. If you have very high ceilings, skylights, ceilings over stairs, etc. you may consider having a professional do it for you.

The Color of your Child’s Bedroom Affects Behavior

The Color of your Child’s Bedroom Affects Behavior

When deciding on a color or colors for your child’d bedroom consider that the color of your child’s bedroom affects behavior. Both Corporations and Governments have put research into how we are affected by the colors around us and have used that information to influence our choices and behavior. For example prisons paint holding areas pink because pink is a calming color. Restaurants use the color red because it stimulates appetite.

Speaking of RED, it is also an energizing and exciting color. It can stimulate anger and hostility. Kids and energy go hand in hand so they don’t really need additional stimulation. If using red in a kids bedroom you may want to limit it to an accent wall.

As previously mentioned, PINK is a calming color and may be a good choice for a kids room.

GREEN is also a calming color. It has a soothing effect on both adults and children. This is a good choice for children that struggle with anxiety.

BLUE has a soothing effect as well. It reduces both anxiety and anger. Blue enhances creativity and makes a relaxing environment.

YELLOW is the color of happiness. It has been shown to boost memory and concentration. It stimulates intelligence and is a perfect choice for a kids room.

ORANGE enhances critical thinking and memory. It is friendly and cheerful. Studies have shown that children play more cooperatively in Orange rooms.

It’s fun to decorate a child’s bedroom and create an environment that will comfort and stimulate them. Remember that the hue and saturation of a color plays a critical role. One color of pink can be calming while a “hot” pink can be stimulating. The color of your child’s bedroom affects behavior. Choose the color or colors best suited for your child to enhance their unique attributes.

Eradicate Mold and Mildew

On almost every home we paint the exterior of, I can spot either mold, mildew or both. When repainting the exterior of your home it is very important to completely eradicate mold and mildew. If you don’t it can continue to grow under the new layers of paint.

eradicate mold and mildew

When we prepare a home we use pretty strong chemicals that will require the home to then be painted. Even if you are not painting your home you should wash it at least twice a year and make sure to use the right chemical to remove dirt, mold and mildew.

There are several products available at all the big box stores. Whether or not it says it is safe around plants I would suggest you still cover them. You can make a pretty good cleaner yourself by taking 3 quarts water and adding 1 quart bleach and 1/2 cup TSP or washing soda. TSP is trisodium phosphate.

Wet the surfaces to be cleaned and them apply the cleaning mixture with a pump sprayer or with a power washer if it has a cleaner suction hose. Let it stand for several minutes and then rinse well.

Sometimes when you spray the cleaner on your siding you can actually see the mold, mildew degrade and run down the siding like mascara and tears. There has been times when I didn’t see any mold until the cleaner hit it.

Eradicate mold and mildew twice a year to keep your home, and your paint job, looking great. It will lengthen the life of the paint job.

Open For Business

Open For Business

A major obstacle for any business is staying open for business during improvement or renovation. Sometimes closing down briefly is the way to go but no one likes lost revenue or disgruntled customers.

In most cases if the improvements involve painting you can stay open and here is how to do it.

First and foremost you want to work with a paint contractor that will work flexible hours. In many cases this solves the problem. Simply doing the paint work during hours you are normally closed won’t hit your revenue stream or impose on customers.

Sometimes the scope of work or other factors will require the work to be done during business hours. If that is the case here are some tips to make the process easier.

Make sure everyone knows what is going on. Employees, customers, delivery people, etc. Have a flyer emphasizing the positives of the improvements and anticipated start and completion dates. If possible have a separate entrance for workers, designated parking and cleanup/storage areas. You don’t want someone cleaning out a brush in the men’s room. It is very important to have paint products separated far from food products for example. Make sure the Paint Contractor has MSDS sheets for all products on site.

Use low VOC products. There are paints that will perform but have little odor. Use designated work areas and barriers to block off those areas. Simple sheets of plastic can do wonders.

Make sure areas that have wet paint are not accessible to customers and use wet paint signs. Try to schedule any work that will be loud to off hours. No one wants to listen to a sander while trying to eat.

Have a plan to handle complaints. A coupon for a future discount can quickly turn things around.

When everything is complete don’t forget to emphasize it. Use social media, radio, etc. Offer a special to customers to come check things out. You have spent some money on improvements, get the most out of it and leverage those improvements to bring in more business. Staying open for business during improvements is doable. We help businesses do it all the time.

Omaha Old Market Revamp

Omaha Old Market Revamp

Omaha old market is a great place to visit. If you live in Omaha you already know that. If you are considering visiting Omaha it is definitely a place you want to see. We have had the opportunity to do a bit of work in the old market and it is always a great experience.

omaha old market revamp
decaying limestone

omaha old market revamp
lots of it

This time we got to revamp the exterior of a restaurant there and we started with rebuilding some of the decayed limestone on the exterior. Limestone becomes very fragile when it begins to deteriorate. There was a fair amount that needed to be fixed.

omaha old market revamp
rebuilding limestone

We came up with our own concoction and it works great. The first step is to remove all the crumbling limestone. You need to be somewhat careful when doing this as it’s hard to find a stopping point. The more you scrape the more that comes off. I found that one of the best tools for this is a small wire brush. You can kinda shape the stone as you are removing the damaged material.

omaha old market revamp

The next step is applying a pre-conditioner product. It’s basically a glue which we also add to the vinyl cement that we use to rebuild the limestone. We saturate the stone with this product and immediately apply a firm mixture of vinyl cement. When we are rebuilding the limestone we have to do it in several layers. An eighth of an inch is about as thick as we go per layer.

omaha old market revamp

What works best for applying the cement mixture is your hands. It’s like forming something with clay. We of course wore latex gloves. The mixture is pretty rough on your hands.

omaha old market revamp
lift work

After we built up the limestone we primed it with a high PH masonry primer. This property was on a busy corner and difficult to get to so we had to use a lift and coordinate shutting down city meters and blocking parking stalls. That was a job in its self. I lost count of how many times we needed the Omaha Police help.

We applied several coats of high performance coatings so this will continue to look great many years from now. Fun project.

Four Quick Painting Projects

Four Quick Painting Projects

If you have lived in your home for awhile it is easy to get used to the same old look. When you consider repainting it sometimes becomes overwhelming to consider a “painting project”. Here are four quick painting projects that you can consider to quickly change the look and feel inside your home. Just pick one as a possible kick start to possibly something more.


The doors inside your home take a beating. It is easy to overlook the wear and tear they take. Stop for a moment and really look at them. Repainting them the same color again will be easier and still have a nice clean updated look. Have you considered changing the color? If you think you might like a different color, I would suggest starting with your front door. A nice bright front door draws attention and makes a homes appearance really pop.

Hopefully you have kept track of the paints inside your home. Get a new gallon, get your paint supplies together and spend a day getting those doors updated.


Bathrooms like doors take a beating. Since these are high moisture environments, take a look at the condition of the drywall around the shower and tub. If it looks like it may need some work you may want to pass and let a professional paint contractor take care of it.

If it looks good and sound then painting a bathroom is generally not a major undertaking and you can get a lot of bang for the buck. Pick a bold color and go for it. I would suggest going with a higher sheen paint. A satin is a good choice.


Most kitchens can be repainted by a homeowner in a weekend. The idea is about change so you don’t have to have the “perfect” color. Just pick something you like. The kitchen is the rally point for most families so you might want to have a consensus on the color.

Accent Wall

Perhaps the quickest and easiest of the four quick painting projects is the accent wall. A good choice for a accent wall is one that your eyes are naturally drawn too. Perhaps a wall with a fireplace, A dominant wall in a room, A wall with natural breaks in it that lend to it being an accent wall. Perhaps the wall space above your cabinets in the kitchen. Once you have an accent wall you can pick a wall hanging, etc. that will help with the accent.

We Paint The Cleanest Homes in Omaha

We do paint the cleanest homes in Omaha because we clean them! I am amazed by the lack of prep given to homes by many paint contractors. Prep would be the scraping , sanding, caulking, priming and of course washing.

paint the cleanest homes in omaha
nice clean house

Washing a house before painting it is so important. If not done correctly it can spell disaster. You will be sealing dirt, mold, mildew under your new paint job. Besides getting poor adhesion, the mold and mildew will take off and grow under the new film of paint. Unless a mildewcide has been added to the new paint.

There really isn’t a “typical” home in Omaha but on average we spend about 5 hours power washing a home. Sometimes much longer if the home is in a tree line or has been neglected.

When power washing it is important to wash all surfaces from a relatively close distance. Close enough to blast off the dirt but not so close as to cause damage. Chemicals are a must!!! We use our own concoction (we make) that will kill mold/mildew, etc.

This stuff gets pretty slippery so we try to avoid going up ladders or walk on roofs as much as possible. We have a rather long spray pole that enables us to spray very high up at a close distance. It’s very hard to hold onto because of the leverage working against the user but it works great and is much safer. It’s the long yellow pole in the photo.

Sometime actual scrubbing with a brush is necessary but worth it. A very clean surface is the best way to start prepping out a home for a new paint job. We really do paint the cleanest homes in omaha.

Paint Quality

I am repeatedly asked what the “best Paint” is. Everyone has their favorites be it brand or a specific product. All paint manufactures make good paint and not so good paint. Sometimes a well known company makes paint that is so bad they go to great lengths to hide their name from it.

One time I spotted someone using a product that was obviously not good. I asked them why they were using that particular product and they said cost was the determining factor. I was curious who made it. They did a good job hiding their name but screwed up by having their phone number on it. When I called that number they answered Sherwin Williams.

A quick way to determine the quality of paint is to determine its percent of solids by volume. This information is available from a data sheet for the product or requested from the manufacture. Requesting this information will quickly establish you as someone that knows their stuff.

Using the examples above you see that one can has 25% solids so it has 75 % liquid (100% – 25% = 75%). The second can therefore has 50% liquid.

Most paints cure by evaporation. As the liquid evaporates the solids align with the resins and binders to form a paint film. The liquid in a latex paint is mostly water and in an oil base paint it is mostly mineral spirits.

The quality and type of solids is important too. Some manufactures load paint with clay to boost its volume solids.  If you pick a high end product from a reputable manufacture its solids will be high and of good quality.

The solids are what remain on the surface when you paint. Anther way to look at it is like this. Would you rather buy a can of jelly beans that is 50% full or 25% full.

Worst Job?

Worst Job?

USA Today listed the 25 worst jobs in America. Painter is number 10. The criteria is based on the quality of the work environment, amount of stress, occupational outlook and income.

It is interesting to read what they consider bad jobs and to point out most of the jobs have projected growth and good income. They have enlisted military personnel as number 5 but have no data to bolster their decision. No wages, job growth percentages or total employment figures.

So according to their list, painters did better then Taxi drivers (which was number 1), loggers, newspaper reporters, retail sales people, military personnel, corrections officers, disc jockeys, broadcasters and advertising sales people.

worst job?
worst job?

The occupational outlook for all trades, including painters, is very good. Anyone with a decent skill level can pretty much write their own ticket. Where things get screwy in the trades is that often the people with the skills bring to the table a host of other problems the employer has to decide if it’s worth dealing with or not. Someone with skills, no criminal record, decent appearance, reliable transportation and no chemical dependency can write their own ticket. The demand is through the roof for this type of painter.

This is true for all the trades. Carpenters, electricians, plumbers, etc. There is a huge demand nationwide. Omaha is no exception. The limiting factor to business growth is employees not lack of work.

The emphasis has been on going to college and being “white collar” for so long, their is a real shortage of the people we need as a society to prosper. Many people much smarter then me are trying to unravel that problem. A link to the full article is here.

I would certainly not list painter as a worst job but I’m biased. I know the guys I work with have little stress, secure employment, make decent money and they all know I have their back.

Paint or Not?

Paint or Not?

Paint or not? We can all spot a house in need of painting. Often people let a home go longer then they should before deciding it’s time to get it done. Sometimes the home is neglected for much much longer then it should have been.

How do you know if it’s cost effective to paint versus residing? To be clear, every home can be repainted and done so in a professional manner. That means not just scraping the loose paint and then painting but actually sanding everything down and removing all existing paint if necessary. That would require a lot of labor and labor is the single most expensive component of a paint estimate.

I personally do not like vinyl siding. You can take the most beautiful home and put vinyl siding on it and it becomes garbage to me. It looks like a plastic mess. Cheap looking. That’s just my personal opinion. Sometimes that is the best option for someone however. Often budget constraints will force the issue and it makes more sense to put siding (vinyl, steel, aluminum) on a home and save a lot of money. Sometimes however siding is much much more expensive then painting. It often comes down to the condition of the home versus the quality and type of siding you might choose. Vinyl is traditionally the cheapest.

time for siding

Obviously if it will cost $7000.00 to repaint a home and you can have it resided for $3000.00, that may be the way to go. There are some companies out there that will do siding very cheap (that’s how it looks). If your selling the home, I would suggest the siding if it’s cheaper.

Reasons for going with siding:

  1. You have lead based paint and can’t afford mitigation (removal).
  2. Your selling the home or don’t plan on being there long and it’s cheaper.
  3. The home is in such bad shape you can’t afford to have it repainted.
  4. You like the look of siding as opposed to paint.

Reasons to go with repainting:

  1. You hate the look of siding.
  2. Your home has unique carpentry work or features.
  3. You plan on living in your home for a long time.
  4. Your budget allows for a quality paint job.
  5. You don’t want to be limited in color selection. Siding has very limited color choices. When you paint you can do multiple colors and choose any colors you like.

One problem with siding that is often overlooked occurs down the road when you experience damage to the siding. Hail, wind, etc. Often that same siding is not available and then there is a big problem. The siding available has a different embossed pattern to it, is a different color, etc.

To paint or not often comes down to your personal preferences and financial constraints. The best way to navigate through the decision is to get an estimate from a reputable paint contractor and a siding contractor. Ask lots of questions and make your decision based on the facts.

Oh the house with the scaffolding at the top had all the paint removed. All 4 sides. Lots of work!!


Ironically the day after I wrote this I did an estimate that is the perfect example of a house with character worth having the job done right. Removing the old paint and sanding down the wood.

house with character
need to remove the old stuff