To Paint or Not To Paint …
If you are struggling with the question about whether or not to paint your home’s interior trim and/or doors there is no right or wrong answer. It’s a matter of personal taste. There are those who wouldn’t dare cover stained wood with paint and then there are those who love the look and light of painted wood. Maybe there’s a middle ground for those who appreciate the atmosphere both finishes convey?
The style of the home and the type of wood used makes all the difference. Traditional Victorian style homes, for instance, often have dark stained trim and doors that pop against intense, rich painted walls. Very high ceilings and large, airy rooms handle the infusion of colors easily.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, a ranch style home with eight foot ceilings and very little natural light would most likely fair better by painting the interior trim in a very light shade in order to reflect as much light as possible.
Today’s more contemporary homes are great canvases for combining painted woodwork with a natural finish. Hardwood flooring is extremely popular and is a great place to pick up the tone of your natural wood color. A staircase for instance canhave beautiful hardwood flooring, painted spindles and a gorgeous natural wood banister to match the flooring. If you don’t have hardwood flooring throughout your home you can play off of a key piece of wood furniture, and vary the wood tones as long as you don’t mix it up too much!
As is the case with most painting/staining projects, if you are planning to undertake the venture yourself, be prepared for a lot of prep time and a good deal of mess. This is one job you may want to hand over to a professional paint contractor. Without the proper preparation, the end result can be quite unsatisfying … be sure to do your homework and don’t skip steps in an effort to save time.
One little tidbit to consider, once you have painted over woodwork, you can’t go backward without completely stripping everything down to the bare wood. You can however, paint over the stain.
Should you or shouldn’t you paint your woodwork is a question that can only be answered by you the homeowner. Do you need more light, do you like a modern or traditional look, or is a blend of the two a better representation of who you are? Trust your instincts and enjoy the transformation!
Get to Know Your Bristles!
As with any DIY project, you can throw caution to the wind and end up with a did-it-yourself disaster. Or you can do a little homework and buy the best tools for the job.
Even if you hire a commercial paint contractor to complete your next house painting project, you may simply wonder what the heck is up with all of those different paint brushes. They may look the same to you but their uses are quite specific.
The size of the brush plays a big roll in the job it performs. A 1” to 2” angled brush is best used for painting narrow spaces, trim, window sashes, and other small surfaces. Brushes anywhere from 2-1/2” to 4” are likely to see the most action. These are used for cutting in of walls and ceilings and applying paint to exterior trim. Larger still are 4” to 6” brushes and are used when applying deck stain or for going behind an airless paint sprayer to catch drips and to create a smoother finish.
Pairing the correct bristle with the right type of paint really is important and will affect your end result. Latex or acrylic paints should be applied with synthetic brushes such as polyester, nylon or a blend. Today’s paints are thicker and require a stiffer brush, plus they hold more paint, and provide easy clean-up. The stiffer the brush the better it will also perform on a rougher surface such as exterior trim.
Natural animal hair brushes are designed for oil-based paints. White or Black China bristle brushes are highly recommended for providing the best quality finish. They are quite expensive however as with all things, you get what you pay for. Cheap brushes, both synthetic and natural bristle, will loose bristles, show brush strokes, and simply fall apart faster.
The key to any good brush is to clean it thoroughly after each use. Synthetic brushes should be cleaned in soap and water until it runs clear. Remove excess water and store for drying. To clean oil-based paints, pour mineral spirits into a container and dip the brush repeatedly. Repeat this process several times until it runs clean. Remove excess solvent. Comb bristles to remove dried paint and to reshape the brush. Once all of your brushes are dry, return them to their protective jackets to help retain their shape and preserve the life of the brush.
As you can see, a brush is not just a brush. Consider carefully what you are painting and purchase the proper brush for the job. If you carefor your tools properly, and believe me, professional house painters consider brushes their tools, they can last for many years and many beautifully painted rooms to come.
Do you cringe when you walk into your kitchen and see your outdated, even ugly cabinets?
Cabinetry is not cheap, especially if you’re looking to update an entire kitchen. And if your cabinets are of good quality, why replace them when a great paint job could completely redefine the room?
When trying to decide what to do with your cabinets, your local paint contractor will be able to tell you if a few coats of paint will magically make all of your cabinetry problems disappear. He’ll also be the first to tell you that cheap, sagging, peeling or chipping cabinets will still be all those things after he paints … they’ll just be saggy in a different color.
You can certainly tackle the project yourself … just prepare for the reality: It’s messy, hard work! In the end, you’ll be glad you did it … but you may not believe that while you’re in the middle of the mess!
To make the project go a little more smoothly, here are some quick tips to help you get started:
- Carefully select the right primer and paint for your type of cabinetry
- Prep the room carefully to protect appliances (be thorough – you’ll thank yourself when it’s time to clean up)
- Tuck the hardware in a safe place so you don’t lose pieces (never try topaintaround handles and knobs!)
- If replacing hardware, make sure you buy the same type so the holes match up
- Remove the drawers and doors (never try to paint themwhile in place)
- Use non-shrinking putty to fill holes
- Gloss paint offers the best protection
- For latex-based paint, use a synthetic brush
- For oil-based paint, use a natural bristle brush
- Apply at least 2 coats, waiting ample time between them
If the entire process seems a bit overwhelming and time consuming, you may find it’s worth a little extra to hire professionals. Typically, a pro can finish a project like this in a fraction of the time it takes to do it your self.
Painting outdated cabinets is considerably less expensive than replacing them. Not only will you save money, but you’ll also find that freshly painted cabinets will liven up the entire room.
Inspect Your Home From Top to Bottom Before Old Man Winter Rolls Into Town.
Here in the Grand Rapids area, we’re feeling touches of the winter already. When it comes to protecting your home, it’s not too late to paint the exterior if you get your paint contractor on it right now. There are other areas of the country with a bit more time to work with before the arctic air pushes in.
Having your house painted may be crucial to how your home weathers the extreme cold and moisture of the harsh months ahead. Exposed wood that is subjected to moisture and extremes in temperature is likely to fall victim to wood rot. If you end up with an extensive amount of wood rot at winter’s end you could be facing thousands of dollars in repairs.
Start with a thorough inspection. Check the gutters and facia for moldy streaks. These streaks may indicate your gutters aren’t draining properly and will need to be repaired or redirected to correct the drainage issue. In some instances the mold may only require a good cleaning.
Look for joints and cracks that need to be caulked. Carefully inspect window and door jambs. Water tends to pool in these areas making them prone to wood rot. Look for wood that may be soft to the touch or peeling and blistering. Landscaping may be hiding siding damage caused by drainage problems or plants and shrubs that have grown too close to the house. This is the best time to trim back your greenery.
Once you’ve made all your repairs, a fresh coat or two of a high quality, low-VOC paint will seal your home and protect it from winter’s snow, ice, and temperature extremes.
Painting your home is your best weapon against winter’s harsh elements, but you may want to add these additional winterizing tasks to your arsenal:
- Clear leaves and pine needles from the roof
- Repair leaks around skylights and chimneys
- Repair loose shingles
- Clear chimneys and vent openings of old nests or any other blockages
- Clean gutters
- Drain the exterior water lines of your irrigation system
- Insulate your water spigots and any other pipes that tend to freeze
- Drain water hoses and bring them indoors
Whether you are a do-it-yourselfer or prefer the work of a professional painter, the pay off of fresh paint will be one hundred fold. You can rest easy knowing your home is protected from winter’s icy grip and it will arrive at spring’s door looking fresh and free from harm.