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How-To, Checklists, Resources | Cannon Painting

Cannon Painting

Exterior Paint & Stain Checklist: What To Do Before Your Painters Arrive

You’ve planned and waited for the big paint day! It’s exciting and maybe even a little stressful to have the exterior of your home painted.  You have a vision for your home and you want to protect your investment. Now, it’s just a matter of seeing it all come together as your painters work their magic!

So, how can you help your Cannon Paint Team as they bring your vision to life? We’ve put together a checklist to assist you in preparing for our Artisans to arrive.  You can fill it out on line or download the checklist to carry with you. And if you have any questions, just ask! They’re always glad to help!


Preparing For The Painters: Your Interior Paint Checklist

You’ve picked colors, you’ve planned, you’ve envisioned your home with a fresh coat of beautiful interior paint … now the big paint day is just around the corner! So, what can you do to help your Cannon Paint Team work their paint magic?

We’ve put together a quick checklist of things you can do in preparing for our Artisans to arrive. Fill it out online or download it for convenience. Just check each item off the list as it’s accomplished. When you’re done, you’re ready for the magic to begin.


10 Things Some Paint Contractors Don’t Want You To Know

As paint contractors, we’ve heard some pretty strange stories from our customers. From estimates that were so far off, you could see them orbiting the moon to painters who know nothing at all about paint … much less how to apply it correctly. And of course, it’s those types of contractors that tend to have secrets. So, exactly what are those dirty little secrets?

Before you hire someone to paint your home, check out this list of things some paint contractors won’t tell you:

1. They are not licensed.
Here in Michigan, the law requires that a paint contractor have either a Residential Builder or Maintenance and Alteration license. Any paint company operating without a license is doing so illegally and should be reported to the State of Michigan. Verifying a license is easy at the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs website.

2. They do not use their own employees.
Unfortunately, it’s a common practice for paint contractors to use sub-contract painters or worse yet, people that work “under the table”. What is the point of hiring a paint company if they’re going to hire other paint contractors to do the work? Have these people been screened? Are they insured? No telling. Which brings us to the next point.

3. They do not have the proper insurance.
If you hire a company that does not have insurance (or the proper insurance) you’re running a huge risk. In the event that a painter damages your property or sustains an injury while on your property, YOU could be held liable if THEY aren’t properly covered. A company should (at the minimum) have a $1,000,000 liability insurance policy.

4. They are not EPA “Lead-Safe” certified.
It is law that a paint contractor be EPA “Lead-Safe” certified to work on a house that contains lead paint. Any house built before 1979 needs to be tested for lead paint and if the test is positive, only a certified contractor can do the work. To not follow the proper guidelines for preparation means your painter could be putting you and your family at risk!

5. They don’t use contracts.
Believe it or not, some paint companies advertise that they don’t make you sign a contract … as if that’s an asset! It’s kind of funny actually … they’re called Paint CONTRACTors. The whole point of a legal document is to protect the parties involved. With a clear contract, your contractor knows exactly what’s expected and you know exactly what to expect.

6. They don’t know how to estimate.
We’ve heard paint companies claim they can “eye-ball” a project or base an estimate on the square footage of a home. Fact is, neither provides a sound method for estimating. The “eye-ball” method simply won’t be accurate and could end up costing you more than you anticipated. The floor square footage of a home only gives you an accurate way of measuring floor space. Your paint contractor isn’t ordering your flooring. A paint contractor needs to know the square footage of your walls and ceilings and how many linear feet of trim and casing there is in your home.

7. They don’t know how to paint.
Yes, we just said that! People buy a franchise, take a course on estimating and sales and they’re off like a rocket thinking they know what they need to know. You made a huge investment in your home … you need a contractor who understands the best methods for painting and maintaining the surfaces of your home specifically.

8. They don’t advertise.
Some say that this is a good thing since they aren’t passing the extra cost of marketing on to the customer. We say – what have you got to hide? Usually, it’s some or all of the things listed above. When you’re proud of your company, you want the world to know.

9. They don’t offer a warranty.
We know that having your home painted can be costly and you want the most for your money. Reputable companies will offer a warranty. Top-notch, reputable companies will also put you on a maintenance schedule. This is especially cost-effective for exteriors since you are addressing small sections versus having to re-paint the whole thing again.

10. That solvent-based paints, stains and lacquers are harmful to your health and the environment.
Let’s face it, solvent-based products are bad for you. They off-gas and release harmful VOC’s into the atmosphere that deplete the ozone layer and compromise indoor air quality. There are healthier options for you, your family and the planet. Some Paint Contractors don’t care enough to educate themselves, much less their customers.

Getting the results you want require a true pro! Ask the right questions to find the right paint contractor!


The Oft Forgotten Fifth Wall

Ode To a Ceiling

Oh ceiling! How we gaze up at thee!
Upward. What wilt thou be,
…..Fair or lively, judge not by thy hue
Beloved whether white, yellow or blue.

It is true that we will often find ourselves gazing up at our ceilings without giving a second thought with regard to the color. It’s just a ceiling right, who cares? But this oft forgotten “fifth wall” can dramatically or subtly change a room with the merest hint or the boldest splash of color.

Bead board adds texture.

Many realtors believe neglecting to address the paint color of your ceilings is a big mistake when getting a home ready for sale. Not everyone is comfortable with bright ceiling colors, but white doesn’t have to be the color du jour.

If your home features architectural elements such as trey ceilings, domed ceilings, archways, decorative molding, floor to ceiling windows, etc., a painted ceiling can complete the rooms décor the way the perfect cuff links complete an Armani suit.

Even the simplest room may benefit from a ceiling in a shade beyond white. Most designers agree that rooms with ceilings below 9’ can handle a lighter shade of your wall color. However, on the opposite spectrum, it’s not unheard of to paint the ceiling of a smaller room the same color as the wall. Designers say by eliminating the contrast between ceiling and wall this will actually cause the room to appear more spacious.

Darker color than the walls is perfect for high ceilings.

Larger rooms provide more freedom for the creativity to flow. You can choose a ceiling color that complements your wall color, or if you want to create intimacy consider painting the ceiling a color darker than the walls. In rooms with high ceilings, create a cozy vibe with this clever decorating trick – bring the ceiling color down the walls about a foot; the effect is pure magic.

The art of whimsy is also alive and well and fully achievable on the ceiling, especially if you have the guts to go for it. Nurseries and kid’s bedrooms are the perfect canvas for your imagination to take flight. Cannon Painting has the artisans to make your flights of fancy come true.

Describe your vision for your room to the Cannon Painting design specialists. They can help you plan out the perfect finishing touches in your home.

The next time you think of your home as being made up of just four walls, remember to gaze upward. The oft forgotten fifth wall is just waiting for you to complete the picture. Your next interior painting project may have grown just a bit bigger but a whole lot more fun!

Are High-Quality Paints Really Worth the Investment

Not All Paints Are Created Equal

As tongue and cheek as it may sound, it’s more accurate than you may think when comparing one paint brand to another. Sure, the colors vary and one brand may carry that butter cream you’ve dreamed of seeing on your living room walls. But the differences have far reaching consequences that extend beyond your color palette.

Consumers are inundated with glossy ads and commercials from paint companies claiming to carry the most superior paint products. How do we rifle our way through the glitz to understand what information matters and whether we should pay for a higher-quality paint? Is it all just a gimmick? Gimmicky yes, but there is absolute truth behind the glam.

Five distinct factors are keys to determining quality in both interior and exterior paint:

1.  Pigment – Titanium dioxide is the primary pigment used in high-quality paints. Known as “titanium white”     due to its opacity and brilliant whiteness, this is the most expensive pigment. A high percentage of titanium dioxide is found in high-quality paints because of its superior coverage. Lesser quality paints will contain other pigments that are less opaque and less pure, therefore requiring more coats, more paint and more time!

2.  Resins – Also known as binders, resins are the ingredients that bind the paint to its surface to protect it from the elements. According to experts, when buying latex paint, look for 100 percent acrylic or vinyl acrylic on the label. Always go for the higher percentage of acrylic. If you don’t see it on the front, look for “acrylic polymer” in the ingredients. If in doubt, check with your local paint specialist or your residential painting contractor

3.  Solids – Higher-quality paints will contain more solids than cheaper paints, meaning they contain more pigments and resins and less water. In fact, a less-expensive paint can contain 15 percent fewer solids than a higher-priced paint. Better paint means durability, better coverage and easier cleanup.

4.  Additives – Additives are present in all latex paints, but the more you pay, the better protection you get. Added benefits may include thickeners to provide a smoother, even stroke; modifiers to reduce splattering; mildewcides to prevent and/or limit the growth of mildew; additives to protect paint even if it freezes once or twice.

5.  Low-VOC – Last but certainly not least is to look for paint that provides the best finish while also leaving behind a healthy environment. Low or no VOC paints are available in the high-quality market, so discuss your options with your paint pro. There is also plenty of research available online to determine for yourself what is best for you and your family.

Bottom line? The paint on your walls affects not only how your feel in your home, it affects your actual bottom line! Your house is special, so paint it that way.


ECO Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos

We Can Help You Choose Colors That Complement Your Home’s Decor

How to choose color to compliment your home’s décor

People come in all shapes and sizes, and so does the ability to visualize color and texture. Making paint color choices can be a seemingly impossible decision for one person and yet another may find it great fun. Cannon Painting’s experts are primed with the tools and knowledge to assist a client in complementing their home’s decor on any level.

If you are beginning with a blank canvas or even have neutral furnishings the first question we may ask is really quite basic. What is your favorite color? Or what mood do you want the room to convey? Different colors can express very different feelings and emotions. Blue for example is popular for its ability to soothe and relax. Red invokes energy, passion and may also stimulate appetite. Yellow is a cheerful color and can be thought to convey happiness. If nature is where you prefer to be, green may be your color of choice. Similar to red, orange is a friendly, up-tempo color, and purple may tend toward a low-key mood but with a contemporary flair.

Most people have furnishings that lend themselves toward some great color combinations not even conceived of by the homeowner. So the question may be asked, “What is your favorite painting or piece of artwork in the room?” This can often provide several combinations to work from — a main wall color and perhaps one or two accent color choices. Upholstery and rugs are prime sources of color inspiration to draw from as well.

Image Courtesy of you’ve picked your primary room color you can also use a simple color wheel to determine your secondary accent color. This doesn’t have to be a paint color but can be pillows, lampshades, vases and other pieces of art. Select either a color opposite your chosen shade for sharp contrast, or colors right next to it for a very subtle color palette. Our color experts are here to help, and with the added benefit of color selection tools from both Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore, the process is even more exciting.

Room décor is just one aspect to keep in mind when selecting wall paint color. Room size and natural light also play key rolls. Large rooms with plenty of windows accommodate darker colors better than smaller rooms. Lighter hues that reflect natural light will make a smaller space appear roomier.

You may not feel comfortable making an outright color choice, but you know exactly how you want to feel in your own home. Our experts are more than paint contractors, they’re craftsmen, and they will bring an artistic approach to every project we deliver. Cannon Painting knows how to make your vision a reality.





(Paintbrush and Color Wheel images courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.)

What’s the Big Difference Between Brushes? Aren’t They Basically All the Same?

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.



Ugly Cabinets? Perk ‘Em Up With a Fresh Coat of Paint

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.


The Ultimate Weapon Against Winter’s Harmful Extremes

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.


Velvet, Pearl and Satin

Velvet, satin, semi-gloss, pearl, or high-gloss. Sounds like a sexy ad campaign, doesn’t it?

Manufacturers use terms like this to describe interior paint sheens. And while the terms vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, there are some basic consistencies that can help you figure out which is best for your project.

To help bring clarification, the Master Painter Institute (MPI) developed gloss and sheen standards by category. The MPI’s goal is to make clear what has always been for some, a semi-transparent set of standards.

The lowest amount of gloss or shine is the ‘flat’ finish with 0-5% gloss. What this means is paint that will reflect very little light and is the perfect solution for hiding imperfections in walls and ceilings. However, it is not recommended for high traffic areas since it is hard to clean. On the other hand, touch ups are easy so be sure to keep extra paint on hand. Add another 5% gloss and you have a ‘matte’ finish — some brands may market this paint sheen as ‘velvet’ or ‘suede.’ It is a tad more reflective and slightly more scrubbable. Bedrooms, closets and dining rooms are fairly easy bets for flat and matte finishes.

A traditional ‘eggshell’ finish is next with 10-25% gloss. This finish can actually be likened to the characteristics of a true eggshell. It has a nice low sheen and a bit easier to clean but will still mark if scrubbed with too much enthusiasm. Probably not a wise choice for kids rooms. ‘Pearl’ or ‘satin’ finishes provide more shine than eggshell just as an actual pearl will reflect more light. This finish is used in high traffic areas, so kitchens, bathrooms, hallways and bedrooms are a good fit. 

‘Semi-gloss’ paint reflects a lot of light with 35-70% gloss and is easy to clean. Typically used for doors, trim, and cabinets, it is also used quite often in bathrooms. Many families with small children will also use semi-gloss paint in hallways namely because of the ease of cleanup. A word of caution though, the glossier the finish the more the imperfections in your walls become obvious.

When you really need to bring drama to a room or an architectural feature, choose a ‘high-gloss’ paint. With 85% gloss and up, this highly reflective paint will offer real zing and durability.

Most importantly, when choosing a paint contractor for your next project or shopping for paint at your local home improvement store, tell them what you’re looking to achieve and ask for sample finishes. You don’t have to settle for less than exactly what you need.