Reducing Stress

Stress levels are at a all time high. Especially this time of the year. The approaching holiday season. Reducing stress is easier then you think.

There is an endless list of suggestions online on how to lessen your stress. Something I find helpful is being organized. Basic organization is a business must. Stacks of clutter like bills, mail, receipts, etc are stressful.

Idea Number 1

Go paperless. While it is difficult to go 100% paperless, there are many apps that can help. Get one that will scan and file receipts, photos, documents, etc. Don’t forget to get rid of the items after scanning. Saying goodbye to all those stacks of files and mail will be a big help.

 

Idea Number 2

The TO DO LIST. Since we have decided to go paperless, get an on-line to do list app. There are several good ones. I use Do.List . It is simple and easy to use. One tip is to limit your “tasks” to a manageable number like 6 items.

 

Idea Number 3

Loose the junk . Being surrounded by junk and clutter is stressful. Just get rid of it. Whether it is a junk drawer or your garage, all that stuff adds up and up. Set a reasonable goal and go for it. If it makes sense to have a garage sale, do it. If it makes better sense to just give it away or donate it, go for it. One thing I find helpful is to NOT go through everything. Just box it up first.  For example dump that junk drawer into a box. Instant empty drawer! Then one evening while watching TV maybe, go through the box. You will be surprised how much goes in the trash.

Another idea to consider is “subbing” things out. If you are inclined to do “everything” yourself, consider getting help. There is someone out there qualified and willing to do almost everything you do daily. Cutting your grass, Painting your house !!!, etc.

Reducing stress starts after taking the first step. Trying any or all of these ideas is a great way to start.

 

 

Painting Exterior Metal In Cold Weather

Painting exterior metal can be a challenge, especially in the cold. When cold outside you can’t feel your hands, face, etc. Imagine trying to work outside in such conditions.

The biggest challenge with painting exterior metal in a cold environment is it tends to retain the cold and is slow to warm up during the day.

We were lucky enough to recently have a window of opportunity to paint a commercial exterior that was largely corrugated metal. We only had two days but made the most of them. We of course used a product that would work in the cooler climate. Sunproof is a good choice for colder weather painting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To be successful, stay well away from the days dew point temperature. Check to see what the temperature is dropping down to at night and wait several hours for things to warm up before you start laying down the paint. The North side of a structure can sometimes pose a challenge. The sun doesn’t have a chance to warm that side up. Waiting until the warmest part of the day for that side will help.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Try to pick a day where the temperature is within the coatings range of temperature for 24 hours and don’t forget to stay away from the dew point temperature.

Exterior Fall Painting

Exterior Fall Painting

Exterior painting this time of year can be tricky in Omaha. We have wide temperature fluctuations. One day in the upper 50’s the next in the 20’s. Complicating the matter is the drop in temperatures at night. Many manufactures these days make exterior paint that is considered “low temp”. Suitable for fall painting  or use in lower temperatures. When these products first came out they were marketed as low temp paint. Now many of the exterior paints available from major manufactures are automatically “low temp” products so you need not specify that you need a low temperature paint.

Low temperature tolerant paints are great but what about the painter?  It is difficult to work outside when you cant feel your face or hands. Just because there are products that enable you to paint outside doesn’t mean that is the best choice.  It is hard to pick a specific date for stopping exterior painting but as a general guideline we usually stop by the 2nd week of October. The window of opportunity to work outside shrinks day to day after about October 15th.

It is always best to wait for ideal weather to do exterior painting but if you find yourself in a situation where you must do some fall painting here are some general guidelines to make the most of it.

  1. Make certain that the product you will be using is in fact a low temperature tolerant product.
  2. Use a reliable weather service and monitor the weather. You will want to make note of temperature, dew point and sunrise/sunset times.
  3. Plan on starting the project later in the day and end earlier in the day.
  4. Dress for colder temperatures. Use layers. As you heat up from working you can remove what you need to. A warm hat works wonders. So does a warm drink like coffee/hot chocolate.

Besides having adequate temperatures, the dew point is just as critical. The dew point is the temperature at which water vapor condenses onto surfaces. It is very important to work in temperatures several degrees away from the dew point and to stop painting early enough to allow drying before the temperature can fall into the dew point range.

This will allow the paint to cure properly. Condensation on a newly painted surface will cause premature paint failure.

 

Painting Wood Paneling

Painting Wood Paneling

Painting wood paneling is not difficult. With a little extra prep work wood paneling can be painted and transformed into a more appealing surface.

Wood paneling is not as common as it once was but it’s still in many homes. If it is in yours and you don’t want the expense of ripping it out and installing drywall, consider painting it. To do it right call The Painting Company or follow these steps to do it yourself. You will need the same equipment you would need to paint any room. In addition you will need a quality bonding primer, caulk and caulk gun, sanding pole and sandpaper.

You want to do the same standard prep you would for painting a wall. Put down a drop cloth, remove switch and outlet covers, etc.  You want to begin with a clean surface. Grease, oil, cobwebs, etc should be removed. If a cleaner is needed, use one that is safe to use prior to painting or make your own. A solution of 1/2 cup ammonia, 1/2 cup vinegar and a 1/4 cup baking soda into a gallon of warm water works well. Any cleaner you use should be rinsed well.

painting wood paneling

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scuff sand the paneling. Basic up/down with a sanding pole will do. You want to scratch it up for the primer to bite into. Dust off the paneling. Sometimes a shop vac is helpful. Now prime the the wood surface. Next you will want to fill nail holes and caulk the seams in the paneling. By waiting to caulk until after you have primed you will see all the seams that need to be filled in.  If the paneling has an open grain or was light on the wood finish (lacquer) you may need to lightly sand and prime again.

Roll a couple coats of a quality finish and you are done.

 

 

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.