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, 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.
Preserve the Life of Your Leftover Paint
Do you have a collection of paint cans gathering dust in the garage? Chances are they have been there for several years and you may not even remember which paint colors go with what rooms. Collections are awesome when they provide pleasure and even monetary benefits. But a jumbled assortment of splattered cans usually just brings you down.
The first task is to determine if the paint is still good. Chances are, if it hasn’t been subjected to freezing temps it will be. Latex paint has a 10-year shelf life and solvent-based paint can last up to 15 years. Test your paint by stirring and brushing it onto newspaper or cardboard, whatever is handy. If it is lump free is should be good.
Now do your inventory. Keep at least enough paint for touch-ups. To save shelf space and protect the remaining paint from air, transfer it into smaller airtight containers, cover with a piece of plastic wrap (this helps ensure a tight seal) and put on the lid. A mallet works better than a hammer to seal the lid as hammers can dent the rim. To further protect the lid try placing a towel or shop rag over the lid to absorb the impact. Label the container with the name of the color, what room it is for, the brand, and the color formula from the original label in case you want to match it exactly in the future. Store in a cool, dry area and up off of the floor to prevent the bottom from rusting.
If you’re like a lot of people, you may have moved a time or two, and in the ensuing confusion, brought along paint you no longer need. Once you have sorted through the colors, don’t toss your unwanted paint. It’s considered a household hazardous waste material and must be disposed of in a specific manner.
If you end up with a fair amount of unwanted leftover paint, consider donating it. Your favorite community theatre group or church may be in need, or check out www.Paint.Earth911.org for a recycling center near you. If you’re only left with the dregs, here is the scoop on what to do.
Latex Paint Disposal
- Pour unused paint into an absorbent material (cat litter, shredded newspaper, sawdust)
- Allow it to dry completely
- Dispose of dried material in your regular trash container
Solvent-Based Paint Disposal
- DO NOT pour paint down household drains, on the ground, or into storm drains. Paint can contaminate drinking water and waterways
- Contact local/state government Environmental Protection Agency for Household Waste Collection Days, or for the address of collection sites to drop off unwanted paint
Whether you’re keeping the paint or getting rid of it, taking the necessary steps to get organized and store it properly will serve you greatly over time. Disposing of paint properly will serve everyone for many years 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.
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!
Exterior Paint Colors: Explore the options!
Curb appeal is everything! So, when it comes time to update your homes’ exterior paint colors, consider dipping a brush into something a bit brighter than the current palette.
You may be thinking, “Good grief! I just took the leap from beige to terra-cotta inside my house and now I’ve got to do the same outside?” Relax, it doesn’t have to be extreme, but there are many great exterior color combinations and several ways to approach your decision.
One direction is to first consider the features you aren’t likely to change anytime soon, like the roof or an existing element such as brick, stone, stucco or an architectural feature. Choose a color similar in nature or perhaps a neutral to make that element pop.
Also consider your home’s surroundings, whether it’s the landscaping or neighboring homes, and keep within that existing palette. Some neighborhoods have homeowner’s associations that must approve any color changes, so be sure to check your covenants before you spend any time or money.
A huge factor in determining color may be the style of home you live in. If you’re lucky enough to own a Victorian, Tudor, Craftsman, or other type stylized home, they each come with original color schemes that can be tweaked to your particular tastes.
Here’s a question to ask yourself. “What do I want to accomplish with my home?” If you need for it to appear more prominent from the street or larger, choose a lighter color for your walls and have fun with your accent color; accent color is typically applied to areas such as shutters, the front door, and other interesting architectural elements. Be careful though, lighter colors can possibly work against you and make your home appear insubstantial. Go darker with the main color and your home will appear more solid. Again, the accent color is where you can really lend personality to your home. Add a bit of extra flair and paint the door a separate eye catching color.
Most paint company websites provide fantastic tools for creating custom color palettes, plus they have lots of color combos they’ve already pulled together — often with photo examples. And don’t forget your paint contractor. We’re the pros who work with color everyday.
A very important step you do not want to skip is to test your colors on a wall. Paint as large a section as possible, and view them in the daylight and at night. Take your time and make sure you love them!
Your home’s exterior paint colors don’t have to be blasé. Just a splash of color goes a long way to brighten up your home. The end results will pay off for many years to come.
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.