Don’t Throw Away Good Paint — It’s Not Just for Walls Anymore!
How many times have you eyeballed that shelf of leftover paint cans in your garage or basement and muttered to yourself that you need to reclaim that space? Before you take the steps to properly dispose of your interior paint remnants, consider some fun uses for those yummy shades that may add a pop of color in surprising spots throughout your home.
We all have inherited an old dresser, side table or some other piece of furniture that’s functional but not necessarily eye catching. Here are some perfect examples of where a coat of paint can take a tired piece and make it modern and fun.
Paint a dresser base one color and the drawer fronts something different. Install new hardware and you have an entirely updated and unique piece with your personal touch. If you have several different paint colors at your disposal, a side table can become an art project for you and your kids.
Are you tired of your kitchen table and chairs but can’t afford to buy a new set? One solution is to paint the chairs to match the kitchen wall or even an adjoining room bringing unity throughout the space. Not sure you want that much color? Try painting all or just a few inches of the chair legs.
Older homes often come with outdated kitchen and/or bathroom cabinets. An inexpensive fix is to apply a couple of coats of paint, new hardware and fixtures and the facelift is complete.
An old floor is another opportunity for your creativity to shine. Can’t afford carpeting or hardwoods just now? Consider painting a checkerboard pattern, or depending on the room’s use, try your hand at a Jackson Pollack style floor and spatter paint away. The process is sure to result in many a fond memory and a great conversation piece when friends and family gather.
If the idea of painting the actual floor is a bit too permanent, do as our forefathers did and paint a floor cloth. You will need painter’s canvas, gesso or canvas primer, paint, urethane, and — voilà — you have a colorful yet practical floor covering that would make George and Betsy proud. A quick check of the Internet will turn up many how-to sites.
Spruce up a tired bookcase by painting the back panel. While mostly hidden by books, that peep of color will easily brighten any room. Change the baseboard color in any given room and enjoy the simple transformation. Or select a specific wall and apply a different color to provide a focal point for the room.
The ideas are as endless as your imagination. Paint colors don’t have to appear in large masses — sometimes just a pop of color in an unexpected place will make you smile every time it catches you off guard.
Prepping Before Painting Makes Good Sense
Painting a house is never as simple as it seems. You can’t just buy a pretty color and slap it up on a wall and expect perfection. Any professional house painter will tell you the foundation for a beautiful paint job lies in the preparation.
On the exterior of your home, think of paint like sunscreen for your skin. However, unlike sunscreen, paint has to last for many years so it’s critical that the surface is in prime condition. Cutting corners here can have disastrous results.
A good scrubbing is the first order of the day. Painting over dust and dirt usually results in paint peeling away from under layers. Paint that is cracking and exposing bare siding may also be due to a poorly prepped surface or excess moisture. Should you discover cracking paint on your home, determine the cause for the moisture before repainting. Otherwise, you may eventually end up with the exact same problem to tackle all over again. What a waste!
If you run across mildew spots, trim back plants or shrubs that may have grown too close to the house preventing good airflow. You may even want to redirect gutters and downspouts.
Scraping and sanding are the best methods for removing defective paint. All bare wood must then be primed and seams and cracks should be caulked to keep moisture at bay. Only then are you ready to apply the paint.
The story is similar inside. Excellent prep work is the foundation of a superior paint job. Face the flaws right from the start so your end result is what you had envisioned. The fastest way to find flaws is to empty the room of furniture or move it to one area of the room and cover it with a drop cloth. Remove all wall hangings, and wall plates from electrical outlets and switches.
Look for cracking or peeling paint, particularly around windowsills and other trim. These will need to be scraped and sanded. Find and repair the cracks that can occasionally occur during the settling process paying close attention around doors and windows. Most likely you’ll have a few nail pops to repair due to everyday expansion and contraction, not to mention that hole you have been hiding behind your family photo! And don’t forget to inspect the vulnerable corners that tend to get dinged when moving furniture around or just in the course of life.
When all the patching and sanding is complete, drop cloths will need to be laid and windows and non-paint surfaces will need to be taped. Then you’re ready for the fun part!
Remember, the foundation for a beautiful paint job lies in the preparation. Do it correctly from the very start and you’ll enjoy your paint color a lot longer!
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.
Interior Painting: Let Inspiration Be Your Guide
Where in the vast color spectrum do you even begin to select a hue when it’s time to begin the interior painting of your precious home? After all, the walls you place that moss green or buttery yellow upon are the ones you will stare at day in and day out … and the choice you make is integral to your daily state of mind.
You may think that statement a bit far reaching, but it’s really not when you consider that color is all about emotion. Put two clashing colors together and you feel the tension and friction almost instantly. Yet if you put two colors together that complement one another you immediately feel at ease.
So where to begin? The first place you may want to start your color search is right at home. If you have a favorite patterned couch, chair or pillow you can choose a color from the upholstery that blends well with all of your décor. If your furniture is neutral then consider pulling a color from an accent piece such as a rug or even a favorite piece of artwork.
A great place to get color ideas is from home décor catalogs or stores. The rooms displayed have been decorated by pros that have studied color and are up on the latest trends. Bedding is often quite beautiful and may be just the inspiration you need when choosing your bedroom color scheme. Next time you look at a wall of towels think about where your eye travels and which colors cause you to linger more so than others. If you’re not afraid of vibrant hues, plant nurseries could very well stimulate your creative juices. The most important thing to remember is not to be afraid of color!
That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to paint every room an energetic color. Sometimes you may want that rug or favorite painting to be the focal point, so then it’s a matter of choosing the perfect neutral. Color combinations are everywhere, and when you open your eyes to them you’ll begin to see them in places you never dreamed.
Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, save yourself big headaches and potentially big bucks in the long run and purchase a) sample sizes of several shades your chosen color, or b) samples sizes of several different colors you envision for your room. If possible, paint at a 3’ x 3’ square on the wall and live with it for several days. View in it in all different lights. You’ll be shocked by how much a color will change throughout the day, so make sure you love it all 24 hours!
The bottom line is each home is as individual as the people who inhabit it. Allow that individuality to shine through with your interior paint colors. Have fun with it and the rewards will be uplifting!
A recent study by Rent.com found that a staggering 86 percent of Americans prefer an apartment with sustainable features, and more than half are willing the shell out the extra cash for the upgrade.
According to the survey, 42 percent of respondents were willing to pay up to $100 extra to live in a green apartment, and 13 percent would pay even more than that.
Renters were almost three times as likely as non-renters (11 percent versus 4 percent) to say living in an environmentally friendly home an absolute necessity.
If you’re on the hunt for your next apartment, Rent.com suggests some simple eco-friendly things to look for during your search that provide sustainable elements without the inflated price tag.
VOC-free paint: Landlords will usually repaint the interior of the apartment before you sign the lease. If this is the case, ask your landlord if they’re willing to let you choose the paint. This will allow you to choose both the color of the paint as well as a brand that offers VOC-free or low-VOC paint.
Matters of aesthetics and sexiness aside, when it comes to environmental impact there’s no denying the vitality of eco-friendly building products designed to not only conserve resources like energy, water and raw materials but also to help you save money and stay healthy.
You may not be aware of it, but paint formulations have been undergoing dramatic changes over the past several years, driven by regulations to reduce the Volatile Organic Compounds (known as VOCs) in a gallon of paint. VOCs have been identified as having an adverse effect on air quality, so over the past couple of decades, the government has stepped in to require increasingly stricter limits on the VOC content of paint.
Nationally, the U.S. EPA has set the limit for flat-sheen paints at 250 grams per liter, but there are parts of our country where poor air quality is more of an issue and the limit on VOCs is even lower. In Southern California, for instance, the governing body has set the VOC limit at 50 grams per liter. Missouri follows the national EPA rule, though nearby Illinois is part of a consortium of five Midwest states (which also includes Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio) that are moving forward with lowering VOC limits to 100 grams per liter.
While low or no VOC content is good for the environment, it is also good for the consumers who use them. Low-VOC paints emit less odor than other types of paint. That’s why they are often specified for projects where the occupants could be sensitive to paint fumes, such as hospitals and schools.