Step Away From a Humdrum Stairway into Stairway Magic!
How could a painter resist a Pantone staircase? The answer of course is we can’t, and there are plenty of other creative ideas for turning a ho-hum staircase into a stunner. If you’ve ever stood at the bottom of your stairs and wondered how you could possibly liven up a humdrum staircase, then we have some great ideas for you.
Wrought iron never goes out of style so replacing wooden balusters with wrought iron is not only a wise investment, but one that will vastly improve the overall visual impact of your staircase. Many standard styles are available that are quite lovely, but should your budget allow for a custom design, the sky is the limit.
A little imagination is all it takes when it pertains to creating staircase magic. To create means ‘to evolve from one’s own thought or imagination’ and therefore what you create is as unique as the individual. A creative staircase can mean refinement and elegance for a stunning conclusion, while another may think outside the box by using a simple design element to create a striking effect.
If your staircase is the first thing people see when they enter your house then it’s your chance to set the tone for how you want guests to feel in your home and perceive who you are. Do you lean toward a formal style or a more casual elegance? Are you a bit funky and eclectic or do you prefer French country or a lake cottage feel? Take lake cottage for example: The use of stained hardwood flooring for the stairs paired with a sisal runner and soft pastel interior paint can create the feel of lake breezes blowing across your cheeks.
Carpet runners are an excellent way to infuse your stairs with color without actually altering the stairs themselves. If you’re not afraid to take the leap and apply a design technique to your staircase, think about design elements you love. Are you fascinated by tile, wallpaper, stencils, paint or refurbished materials? Any will do. Check out our Pinterest page “Sassy, Stunning Staircases” for some incredibly creative and beautiful examples.
Lastly, don’t miss the opportunity to utilize the space underneath your stairs. That lost footage can be turned into a great reading nook, playroom for the kids, wine storage, pantry, small office or study area, book shelves, hidden drawers, mini-mud room, entertainment nook, or even a small half bath.
Your home is your castle and your staircase is possibly one of the most important features. Play it up for all its worth and enjoy your staircase, be it sassy or stunning.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
The Absence of Color? Not at All!
For many, the idea of painting any room in their home white is akin to stepping outside without accessorizing. In this world of rich, vibrant color, why would we deny ourselves an opportunity to express our creativity? But this is where white gets the short end of the stick. There are many shades of white — dare I say, more than 50?
When you think of the color white in any other context what comes to mind? Perhaps brilliance, purity, luminosity, feelings of openness, and even elegance (think white evening gloves, bridal gowns, etc.). There are many layers to white because of its many shades. In fact, Sherwin Williams carries 141 shades of white paint. So if you’ve been considering white for your next interior painting project, the possibilities are endless.
White has always been associated with modern settings. So for the homeowner who likes their life and home elegant and contemporary, white will create the perfect backdrop for artwork and modern furniture, and perhaps even showcase unique features of your home such as dark cabinetry, flooring or architectural features.
Think black and white. It doesn’t get much more basic than that. It’s classic, it’s graphic and it can be stunning. Artwork is framed in black, an accent color is creatively placed throughout the room by way of your accessories, and you’ve got something magical.
With its many shades, white is a great choice for painting the walls of your beach cottage or country home where you most likely have a great deal of natural light. White is soothing and friendly and provides the fresh, clean feel of outdoor living. Your home away from home may also be the place you enjoy decorating with artwork and furniture. The clean background of white provides the perfect canvas for these treasures to take center stage.
A dining room with wainscoting is the perfect opportunity to layer several shades of white for a subtle yet luminous affect. Choose a glossy sheen and a bright white paint for the wainscoting and a darker, more subtle white for the walls such as Sherwin Williams #7557 Summer White, or #960 Dove Wing from Benjamin Moore.
It has taken people a long time to get over their fear of color when it comes to painting their homes’ interior, but don’t let your fear of white keep you from getting the best living space you deserve. White can be just as much of as any other hue on the color wheel. Cannon Painting color experts are here to make your vision a reality.
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
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.
Once 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.)
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.