Clearing the Air in Your Office
Business owners have a lot to think about. Expenses, staff, clients, taxes, and economic ups and downs — just to name a few. Add to the list of worries is the health of their office space. Nowadays, we’ve come to understand that the buildings we inhabit, whether home or office, have an impact on our overall health, and employers are searching for ways to improve the health and wellbeing of these structures.
The green movement is on the rise across the nation as more and more people understand the importance of energy conservation and pollution controls. We hear a lot about clean air as it relates to the outdoors, but what about the air you breathe inside your home or place of business? Many people are getting sick due to indoor pollution, which can be caused by a number of things. Believed to be the worst offenders of “sick building syndrome” are mold, poor ventilation, and chemical pollutants. Symptoms can range from nausea, headache, dizziness, fatigue, shortness of breath, tightening of the chest, and eye, nose and throat irritation.
Chemical pollutants such as volatile organic compounds or VOCs, are especially sinister as they lurk in many places: carpets, cleaning materials, and the interior paint on all of the walls and ceilings. Worse still is that they have been linked to serious health issues such as kidney and liver damage, and even cancer.
But there is good news for business owners. Low/no VOC paint is available in both the residential and commercial market. For medical practices with patients who suffer particularly from respiratory illnesses, no VOC paint would be a blessing. OB/GYN patients and pediatric offices would also benefit enormously from the healthier environment an eco-friendly paint would provide.
It goes without saying that any space painted with a low/no VOC paint would afford employees and patients alike a healthier workplace. Consult your commercial paint contractor to select the best product for your particular project as more and more manufacturers are introducing eco-friendly paints to the market. To know for certain what you’re getting, check for the “Green Seal label”. This non-profit group requires compliance with a strict set of criteria for green standards.
When the time comes to repaint your office space, think green for your employee’s health, your patient’s health, and your own health. Whether they know it or not, you’ve helped them all breathe just a little bit easier.
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.
Cannon Painting Isn’t Sacrificing Quality by Using “Green” Paint
It’s not a new concept, “going green”, but in the painting industry, green has typically been relegated just to paint brushes and walls. Cannon Painting’s Chris Ward saw the environmentally friendly green light early on and has been educating his customer’s about the health benefits of choosing a “green” commercial paint contractor.
In reality, becoming an environmentally friendly house painter is not a simple task in a typically wasteful industry. Determining how much paint you need is not an exact science, there are lots of containers, and customers do change their minds occasionally. Chris says this is exactly where he starts his conservation efforts by “…trying to reduce the amount of waste per project…”. He also recycles leftover paint and other materials whenever possible and encourages everyone to do the same. Most communities offer drop sites where you can bring leftover paint for recycling or proper disposal.
Next, and probably most importantly, is Cannon Painting’s decision to use environmentally friendly products whenever possible. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), paint contains volatile organic chemicals or VOCs, which are gases emitted into the air. As paint dries, VOCs evaporate and may cause eye, nose, and throat irritation, headache, fatigue and dizziness. The long-term effects are not yet known. It’s also the pollutant that keeps on giving. These emissions can continue for as much as six months after the paint has dried. It’s a bit frightening when you consider laying your precious newborn in a freshly painted room.
The really great news is that low-VOC latex paints are readily available in top name brand paints and Cannon Painting has been using them routinely. In fact, Chris and his crew were the first in their area to use “green” paint both for exterior and interior painting projects. Chris rests easy knowing he is protecting the health of the homeowner and his crew, yet he is not sacrificing quality.
Unfortunately, green technology hasn’t caught up with solvent-based paints, wood stains and lacquers the way it has with water based paint. Oil products are required to protect real wood surfaces; even so, they still aren’t as durable on the exterior as they are on interior surfaces since wood is meant to decompose over time. Cannon Painting takes the utmost care to ventilate and apply these types products as environmentally safely as possible.
Cannon Painting’s Chris Ward takes his environmental responsibility seriously. For your next house painting project, choose a commercial painting contractor that considers the health of you and your family as important and his own. Going green is a long-term goal for Chris, and you can bet he will be on the cutting edge.
How Do You Find The Right Contractor For Your Project?
It’s a time many homeowners dread—your house needs repainting and the job is too big to do yourself. Fear not! If you do your homework, you can find a highly qualified commercial paint contractor to do a beautiful job and save you the hassle.
The first obvious question is, “Where do I start?” Begin with referrals from friends and family. If you strike out there try online referral sites such as Angie’s List, Yelp, Manta or Yahoo Local. These sites provide reviews, photos and business details to help you find the best professionals
Now that you have the names of a few contractors, immediately narrow the field and ask for references—be sure they include several that are a few years old. This will help you evaluate a contractor’s work over time.
Once you’ve done that, you’re ready to take the following steps:
1. PREPARE: Create a list of the work you want done and provide it to each bidding contractor. Require written quotes with details of the work proposed.
2. ASSESS: When assessing quotes pay particular attention to the preparation details. Overlook this step and you might as well throw your money down the drain. A painter may spend more than fifty percent of their time with preparation alone, especially on the exterior. Exterior prep can include caulking, pressure washing, patching, and repairing damaged spots or rotting wood. Interior prep often requires repairing nail pops, drywall holes, cracked plaster, cleaning surfaces, and masking non-painted surfaces.
3. REVIEW: Review the painting process, which typically begins with priming. Ask what type and brand is being proposed. The same questions apply to the paint. If you’re unsure what type finish to use, a contractor can help you understand the choices available. Discuss the colors you want and determine the number of coats the job requires. When it comes to paint brands, consider this: Higher quality brands may carry a bigger dollar amount, but they last longer, costing you less over the long run. Many paint contractors are taking an Eco-friendly approach to their business by using paints containing fewer harmful solvents, so this may be a direction you want to request in your initial search for a painter.
4. ASK: How does the contractor plan to protect the interior of your home, such as your furniture, floors, lighting fixtures, etc? On the exterior, what measures are planned to protect your landscaping and decking?
5. VERIFY: Does the contractor warranty his work and if so what is covered and for how long? Make certain the paint contractor is licensed and insured. A contractor’s license can be verified via your state’s website.
6. OBSERVE: When the painter arrives for an appointment, does he appear “professional”? Is he presentable, courteous, and organized? Is he on time for appointments and genuinely interested in your project? These can be telltale signs regarding how the actual project will proceed.
It may appear to be a daunting task, but by creating your checklist, asking for referrals and comparing apples to apples, you’ll be prepared to find the best paint contractor for your next big painting project.