Avoid Haunting Paint Failures

Avoid Haunting Paint Failures

How to Avoid Haunting Paint Failures

Halloween season is here. It is time to finish up your exterior painting. Unfortunately, many tricks lay waiting for you with peeling and flaking paint, wrinkling, cracked, and blistering paint. It is possible to do the job right, giving you the treat of a great paint job for years to come. Here are four expert painting tips to avoid a scary paint job.

  1. Properly Prepare the Area

The key to avoiding a nightmare is to prepare the surface well. Fix any holes and fill cracks, making sure you give everything plenty of time to set and dry. Next, scrub everything clean to clear away any loose dirt, splintered wood, and peeling paint. If you have an area of patched, unpainted wood or metal, it is important that you prime the area.

  1. Get Quality Paint

If you think one type of paint is as good as another, you’re dead wrong. Choose an exterior paint that is top quality. Acrylic latex paint is best because it sticks best to exterior surfaces, while still allowing everything to expand and contract with temperature changes. Other benefits are that it is:

  • Long lasting
  • Durable
  • Holds up to different types of weather

No one wants to paint the exterior of their home every year or have to fix mistakes in the spring. Buying the right paint will help keep the paint looking great, no matter what kinds of demons fly at it.

  1. Choosing the Right Tools

Using quality tools will give you a more consistent application. The right brushes for exterior painting jobs have tightly packed, split bristles with varying lengths. Synthetic material is best for both brushes and rollers. They hold their shape best with latex paint, keeping the paint thick and even. If you can’t get new tools for the job, make sure your old brushes and rollers and completely clean and ready to use. Many paint failures are from using the wrong or poorly maintained tools.

  1. Wait for Ideal Weather

The most haunting part of exterior painting in October is the changing weather. If there is too much wind, the paint will dry quickly on your tools, ruin their ability to paint evenly. Paint requires dry conditions to set properly, so if rain or snow is in the forecast, it is best to wait for another day. It’s important to pay attention to the temperatures as well. It is best to wait for temperatures to be above 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Exterior latex paint will form a protective film to help with durability if it dries in the right conditions. If it is too cold, your paint is doomed. Not only will you tend to rush to get out of the cold, but the paint will react negatively too. Wait until the temperatures feel comfortable for you and your paint will yield better results.

Putting in a little extra effort to do the job right will help you avoid haunting paint failures in your exterior painting job. Take the time to prepare first and you won’t be sorry.

Uneven Ground Dangers

Using ladders can be risky. If you climb ladders long enough you will eventually get hurt. I’ve fallen twice. Once because of uneven ground and once because of an unstable base; decorative rocks. The first fall I was in my early twenties and bounced right back but the second I was in my fifties and still feel it.

It is important to choose the right ladder for the job. By doing so you will lessen your chances for injury. Whatever height ladder you use, subtract a couple feet from the height. That is your maximum working level. Don’t stand on the top rung of the ladder or even the second to the top rung. The more ladder you have against your body from your feet up, the more comfortable you will feel.

When using a ladder outside you will eventually run into uneven ground. The two biggest causes of injury when using ladders is:  1. Using the wrong ladder for the task and 2. Using the ladder on unstable or uneven ground. There are a lot of things you can lump together with #2. Wet grass, stairs, muddy ground, sloping ground, gravel, etc.

One tool we use that is a game changer is leg levelers. You will see these on the ladders on painters trucks around town from time to time. They bolt onto the sides of the ladders and allow the user to adjust for uneven ground/stairs. There are a few brands out there. They have there pluses and minuses. I prefer these .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They work great and are easy to install. They do sell a claw type foot for these but I have never used them. They look like they would work well outside. I can’t imagine switching the feet back and forth from inside work to exterior work so perhaps they may be better used on ladders set aside for exterior work only.

Picking a Paint Color for Your Closet

Picking a Paint Color for Your Closet

Picking a Paint Color for Your Closet

While most rooms have some sort of closet, there is so little conversation about what color to paint these useful spaces. Since they each have varying degrees of visibility, there are many different options to consider with color choices. While there are no rules for these areas, here are some general guidelines you can consider for the closets in your home.

Amount of Visibility

Closets come in all shapes and sizes. Many homes have a coat closet in the entry way to hang their jackets and coats, and those that belong to guests. This is one that more people will see than inside your linen or cleaning supply closet, which usually has a closing hinged door. Most interior designers will tell you to just paint the inside of these closets the same color as the surrounding walls. If the closet is especially dark or in a poorly lit area, using a lighter version of the surrounding color is a great way to add a little variety and brighten the space. If you want a more dramatic feel, you can always add a light, neutral color that complements the rest of the room.

Other closets are more open, like a walk-in closet, which is practically another room. There are three main options in these types of closets that are ideal from a design stand point. You can paint the closet:

  • The same as the bedroom. This gives the entire master suite a more cohesive feel.
  • A complementary color. While keeping the room still in the same color palette, the room is still a part of the suite’s overall feeling, but still a separate space.
  • Neutral light color. This option is most ideal for a walk-in closet that does not have any windows. This allows the room to feel bigger, but also increases the visibility in the space.

The color in these big closets matter and will change how you feel in the space.

Use of the Closet

Another thing to consider is what the closet is used for. Since these spaces are so handy for storage, there are all kinds of directions you can go with color choices. Three good examples are storage closets, guest room closets, and laundry closets.

Storage Closets. If you are storing holiday décor, camping gear, or anything you use several times a year, it is important to go with a light, or ever white paint color inside the closet. This increases the visibility in the closet, especially with a glossier sheen, and makes the space feel cleaner and organized. If you are storing memboralia, photos, or even random items that you have stuffed in there, a darker color is more ideal because it preserves the items or hides the junk a little better.

Guest Room Closets. There are two definite directions to go with these closets. You can go with a white interior to make the room seem cleaner or go with a darker color to make it more stylish. Depending on the room colors, you might feel like one option goes more naturally than another. This is one of the closets that there is more freedom of design here.

Laundry Closets. The best paint color for a laundry room Is a lighter color, even white. This gives the space a cleaner feel, which is the entire purpose of the closet.

Making a Choice

Closets are a great space for you to get creative with your tastes. They are a critical part to each room, yet the color options have no set rules to guide you in your choices. Next time you walk by a closet, think about the pop of color it could provide or the color that could lighten it all up and make the space seem fresh and clean.

CyberSecurity

CyberSecurity

CyberSecurity is admittedly a strange subject for this website but it affects all of us. Consumers and business owners alike. When I developed this website for The Painting Company I installed several plugins that monitor activity. One of the plugins showed every “hit” on my website in real time. I was shocked. Thousands of attempts to access the backside or hack this website occur every day. My response was to install security programs and for many weeks I would watch the activity and personally block ip addresses attempting access. The whole process was an eye opener.

I don’t pay as much attention to it as I used to but I am still diligent. One thing I could not figure out was why? Why would someone want into this website I don’t store personal information or credit card numbers on it.

If someone gained access to this website or any other they can use it as a launching pad for other illegal activity. You don’t need to have “valuable” information on your website to be a target.

If you have a website for your business here are some simple steps that hopefully will help you with your security concerns.

Control Access

At some point you will give access to your website to people you don’t know. This may be for SEO purposes, website site development, etc. This is always going to be a risk but you can control your exposure by taking these steps:

  1. Know as much as you can about whom you give access to.
  2. Keep track of who has access, their passwords used, etc.
  3. Monitor their activity. There are activity log plugins that will show you when someone signs in and what they are doing.
  4. Restrict access. Give them access to the only things they need. For example Godaddy has ways to give someone access to limited areas on the backside without giving them access to everything.
  5. Eliminate access when they are done. Important! I’ve forgotten to do this.

Update Software

There are always loopholes and problems with software. When these are discovered updates patch these vulnerabilities and help keep your system updated and trouble free. If you aren’t diligent about updating your software consider setting it on automatic update if possible. This is an option with WordPress and many of it’s plugins.

Back Things Up

There are an endless list of backup programs for websites and computers. I have a couple programs for the website and IDrive for my computer. Set whatever program you choose on automatic and your good to go.

Passwords

Everything has a password. Keeping track of them is a pain but necessary. Are you dependent on your passwords auto filling on your computer? Do you know what they actually are anymore? Everything that takes a password should have it’s own. Don’t use a password for more then one thing. Write them down and kept safe for reference. Secondary authentication is a good idea when available. That is where a text message is sent to you to enter after entering a password.

Change your passwords on a regular basis and keep track of who has them and what they have access to.

Have A Response Plan

I personally believe that the most important aspect to any cybersecurity plan is to have everything written down and filed away from your computer. Passwords, Website addresses for important websites like where your things are backed up to, Where your website is hosted at, contacts, lists of plugins and addresses. We are use to passwords and websites being auto populated on our computers that we are screwed if something happens to our computer or website.

Imagine there is a problem with your website or computer right now. What wold you do? Who would you contact? Can you do it without access to your computer or site? List out a, b, c, the things to do and how to do them. Keep this list with your password and important contacts list.

Cybersecurity is important for all of us. If you have a website and do the things suggested above you are well ahead of your competition and better prepared for the unexpected.

 

 

 

Paint Brands

Paint Brands

The number one question I am consistently asked is why painters wear white (which is answered here in another blog post). The number two question is what paint brands I use or would recommend. Everybody has their favorite. I have used many brands over the years and realize what consumers are facing when deciding what to use. We all want the best product for the least price. Some people put a higher priority on price then quality, some people the other way around.

Quality is paramount to me. Since I am also a daily consumer of paint, I also take into consideration the people I deal with. The customer service. There are paint manufactures out there that make good paint but I wouldn’t use there products because I don’t care for how they operate. Greed and avarice is no stranger to the Paint Industry.

We have already discussed quality paint and how to determine it in previous posts so there is no point in going over that again.

Manufactures often sell paint under several different labels. This is common at Big Box Stores. Sometimes this is done to give the impression of a store having it’s own brand. This also gives the impression of variety when actually one or two manufactures made everything in that store. Occasionally a major manufacturer doesn’t want direct association with a lower quality product.  Whatever the reason bear in mind that there is a shrinking list of companies that make paint and the the list will continue to get smaller because of acquisitions and the fate for those that can’t keep up.

Who I like.

Pittsburg (PPG). Founded in 1883. A global supplier of paints, coatings and specialty products. Over 46000 employees and over 1.5 billion in net income. A long list of products. You will find any paint product you will ever need here. There is a long list of labels manufactured by PPG such as Glidden, Porter, Dulux, Sikkens, etc.

They make quality products and lots of great commercial and specialty coatings.

 

Benjamin Moore. Also founded in 1883. Purchased by Berkshire Hathaway in 2000. Innovative company with high Quality products. One of the largest paint makers in North America with 7 plants and 22 distribution centers.

Products are sold through a network of 4000 independent retailers.

Painting Ceilings

Painting Ceilings

When we are asked to paint ceilings 99% of the time we are painting them white. People just don’t give ceilings a second thought. The default color is white.

We have painted ceilings different colors from time to time but for the most part ceilings are almost always going white. It’s pretty much the standard in the Omaha area.

You may want to consider bucking the trend. It has a very dramatic effect when you walk into a room and the ceiling is not what you are expecting. Think of the ceiling as an accent point or fifth wall.

 

painting ceilings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An interesting approach to the question of what color to paint your ceiling is to add some of your wall color to the standard ceiling white. How much to add is up to you but I would suggest starting light, you can always add more.

Painting ceilings a darker color then the walls gives the feeling of infinite space. It does not make a room seem smaller but actually has the opposite effect and when the walls and ceilings are painted the same color it often appears that the ceiling color is slightly lighter then the walls because of the lighting in most rooms.

Because of the nature of paint sheen I recommend going with a flat.

 

 

 

 

 

Touching up the exterior of your home

Touching up the exterior of your home

In Omaha, fall is the perfect time to inspect your home and look for areas that may need some attention. We recommend power washing your home twice a year. In the spring and in the fall. After you have washed your home in the fall, look at areas that may need some touch up like window sills, around doors, around faucets, etc. Look for cracking or peeling paint and pay special attention to areas that may need to be re-caulked as well.

 

touching up

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exterior paint touch ups can sometimes be a challenge. The biggest issue is with paint that may have aged or faded over time. In situations where this has occurred, having some leftover or extra paint isn’t going to be much help. The best approach in this situation is to match the existing paint on your home and use that instead. To get something to match, look for a gutter strap, outlet cover, downspout, etc. Take your “sample” to the paint store and have it matched in the same product that was used to paint your home.

Touching up is not too difficult. Once you have the paint you need, either leftover or newly matched, you will want to scrape and sand the area and then do any caulking that may need to be done. Prime the area with a quality exterior primer. I like Sealgrip. 

When touching up it is a good idea to paint to a stopping point or to paint an entire area rather then just a specific spot. For example, paint the full window sill or paint the full piece of lap siding. This will help to blend the touched up area to the rest of the home. Always do two coats!

 

 

Best color if you want to sell your home

Best color if you want to sell your home

It’s no surprise to me that blue and it’s tints and shades are the colors that rank highest for selling your home. Blue is considered by most Americans as their favorite color and as far as this study goes is the best color for your home.

Blue is a primary color and when you add white to it you create a tint of that color. Likewise when you add black you create a shade of that color. So the various blues out there are a winner in the eye of your real estate agent.

The room, and it’s color, that seemed to have the biggest impact was a blue bathroom. The next best place to paint blue is the kitchen followed by the dining room.

All this is according to Zillow. They studied pictures and selling prices and discovered the trend. It may not be too scientific but they did look at over 32000 homes.

Apparently even painting your front door blue added value in the eye of a potential buyer. There were colors that you should avoid as well and painting your living room blue had a negative effect. Weird. Here are the full results of their study on the best color for your home. What on average was added to the sold price of a home.

Front Door  Navy blue to dark grey +$1514.00

Living Rooms  Brown +$1809.00   Blues -$820.00

Exterior  Grey and Brown mix (greige) +$1526.00   Brown -$1970.00

Kitchens  Blue +$1809.00   Yellow -$820.00

Bathrooms  Blue/purple +$5440.00   White -$4035.00

Bedrooms  Blue +$1856.00   Pink -$208.00

Dining Rooms  Blue +$1926.00   Red -$2031.00

 

Painting Kitchen Cabinets

Painting Kitchen Cabinets

Painting kitchen cabinets is very popular across the country and Omaha is no exception to this trend.  While there are many websites pushing this as a DIY project, it can be challenging to even the professional to get it right.

If painting your kitchen cabinets is something you are considering here are some things to keep in mind.

This is a time consuming task and it is very disruptive to your routine. Having your kitchen torn apart for a week or so can be very stressful. Plan ahead. How will meals be prepared and served? Often in addition to the kitchen another area like part of the garage will be used to work on the doors/drawers. That’s another area you may use the use of for several days. Allow yourself the time needed to have the job done right. This isn’t something that fits into a tight schedule.

There are many steps that must be taken to do it right. There are solvents, primers and paints and each one has an odor associated with it. While containment areas will be set up for sanding and painting, odors will travel through your home. Some of the products are probably not the type of thing you have smelled before.

Know what to expect. In almost all cases the cabinets are wood. So in the end it will look like painted wood. The cabinets will be caulked and puttied as needed and the grain will be filled in after several coats of paint but in the end painting your cabinets will not transform them into a perfectly smooth plastic like finish.

All the doors and drawers are going to be removed. In most cases the contents of your cabinets can remain, unless you want the interior of the cabinets painted as well, but they will be masked off so you will not have access to what’s in them. The drawers will in most cases need to be emptied.

Pick the right color. If in doubt, we can paint a sample door to display in your kitchen. This isn’t the type of job you want to repeat because of a color your not sure of.

 

Choosing Exterior Paint Sheen

Choosing Exterior Paint Sheen

Most people get confused when it comes to the sheen of paint. What adds to the confusion is that there are no standards for sheen from manufacture to manufacture. One companies flat might look similar to another companies eggshell or satin.

In general, sheen goes from flat to eggshell, satin, semi-gloss, and finally gloss. Some companies have high gloss.

In the residential market we are usually dealing with the first four. On interior walls it’s usually flat or eggshell and on exteriors it’s most often flat or satin.

When choosing a color and sheen for the exterior of your home, always pick a high quality product. By doing so you will ensure a long lasting finish (when the proper prep work has been done).

On the exterior of your home, the sheen you choose will effect how easy or difficult it will be to keep your home “clean” and a clean exterior will extend the life of your paint job. In simple terms, the less sheen you choose the more texture the surface of the paint will have. That “texture” holds dirt. Dirt and moisture over time will breakdown the paint film. A slicker feel, like satin will repel water and dirt better.

The number one enemy to the exterior of your home is the relentless Sun followed by the weather. Hot, cold, rain, hail, etc.

After you have had your home painted, there are two things you can do to keep your home looking good and prolong the life of your paint.

#1  Keep your exterior clean. Powerwash twice a year. This should be a relatively low power wash. No chemicals needed. Wash off cobwebs, dirt, etc.

#2 Quickly address any damage to the paint. Hail or animal damage for example. Any penetration into the paint film will allow the elements to get between the paint and your homes exterior and grow into a bigger problem.

I recommend choosing at least a satin sheen for exteriors. It will perform over time and it’s not so shiny as to look “funny” in your neighborhood. The smoother finish helps repel dirt and moisture and it’s easier to clean. One thing to bear in mind is that flat paint hides surface imperfections and as the sheen goes up, imperfections begin to become more noticeable. This may be an issue for older homes with a little more wear and tear on them.

If you like the look of a flat finish, choose a top quality product and be more diligent about keeping it clean. I had a satin finish on my own home for the last 15 years and just switched to flat. I just like the look better so in the end you should choose what you like the look of and be prepared to work a little to keep the exterior looking nice.