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Tips for the Eco-Freindly Painter

Painting is an important way to protect our investments but it is not known for being the greenest of activities. Painting equipment like brushes, rollers and sprayers can use or absorb a tremendous amount of paint. You don't have to head straight for the sink as soon as you're done applying your paint.

Here are some tips that can help you do your part for the environment like a professional painter.


  • Scrape your brushes on the edge of your paint can several times to get the excess paint in the can to be used again.
  • Use the curved part of your painters multi-tool to scrape a lot of extra paint from your wet paint roller cover back into the paint can.
  • When priming your paint sprayer move your gun back to the paint pail as soon as you see paint coming out. There is no need to spray a lot of good paint into your waste bucket.
  • Use a three bucket system instead of the sink to clean brushes and rollers. The 1st bucket can be used to scrub the tools, the 2nd bucket for rinsing and a 3rd bucket to spin dry. The scrub bucket can sit for a couple of days to let the sediment settle out and the clear water can be poured off. If you are a regular painter you can save up the sediment and take a 5 gallon bucket to the hazardous wast site from time to time.
  • Wipe down other equipment like sprayers with rags or paint wipes and lay the rags out to dry in a well ventilated area. Once they dry they can be disposed of with your trash.
  • Let your empty paint cans dry with the lids off. When dry, these cans be thrown out with the rest of your trash.
  • Search out eco-friendly solvents if you are using spirits and thinners. Paint thinners can be stored and reused for future projects. They should never be poured down the drain. Always dispose of paint thinner or mineral spirits according to your local hazardous waste bylaws.
  • If you are using the same colour of paint in the near future then consider using a clam shell style plastic roller or brush cover. These will keep the paint wet and fresh for weeks and you won't have to clean up at all.
  • Choose low or zero VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) paint to make your painting projects eco-friendly.


We should all try to reduce the environmental impact of all our painting projects. We may not be able to reduce our impact to zero but we can significantly reduce the volume of toxins we release into the environment and our ground water system by just applying a few of these basic tips.

                           

                                                                                                          By Steve Haney

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Should I Paint My House Before I Sell?

If you are looking to put your house on the market for sale, then perhaps you will be looking to recover as much money as possible from your sale. One way to considerably boost the value of your home is by making it appear and look better. There is no second chance to make a first impression. It is imperative to make your house as good as it can possibly look to ensure that it sells for a great price.

The colour of a property goes a long way to add to its overall aesthetic. In fact, once people look at a building, the first thing that they notice is the colour of the property. So, should you actually paint your house before you sell? Well... Yes! Especially when you haven't painted it in a while or have done some remodeling on some parts that haven't been painted.

Painting both the interior and exterior of your house before the sign goes up is almost certain to be a wise investment. A newly painted home will appear new, well cared for and very attractive.


Painting The Outside of Your Property

As mentioned earlier, you want your property to look as good as possible, even from a distance. You want a potential buyer to be charmed just by looking at your property from the outside. Curb appeal goes a very long way in increasing the value of your home. Worn out paints can be an indication of poor maintenance and this can lead buyers into thinking that your property has more to it than just bad paint.

By painting the outer walls or your property, the fences and the garage doors, you can drastically increase its curb appeal and make your property standout.


The Merits of Painting the Interior of Your Property

After you have taken care of the outside of your home, you should also consider the interior of your home. Once you have captured the attention of a potential buyer from the outside, you should aim to entice them into buying your property once they step inside. One very important way of increasing the allure of your home is to repaint it just before you sell.

Faded or old paint in the interior of your home points to low maintenance or a huge underlying problem. Buyers may not jump at the chance to buy a house that has cracked or peeling paint. It would also be wise to take off any old wallpapers in the house as they may make it appear old or very busy patterns isn't appealing to everyone.


Colour Choice is Important

Go for neutral colours especially for the indoor painting. Don't aim to use flashy colours as a potential buyer may likely not be attracted to your style or choice of colours. Light colours tend to open up a space, especially one that is small. So, favor light colours for your bedrooms. While bold colours can be temping for the exterior of your property, we advise that you go for the more modest option by opting for a neutral colour which will appeal to a wider range of people. Although, a little design and tweak of colours will do just fine. Just ensure that you don't go for bold and very contrasting colour combinations, as the can discourage a potential buyer who has different tastes.

                           

                                                                                            By Steve Haney

  


High Humidity: To Paint or Not to Paint

Humidity can cause significant challenges for your painting projects. Outdoor projects or indoor projects where you don't have a climate controlled environment can experience difficulty when your paint won't dry in a timely fashion. Gravity will win the battle and you will watch your newly applied coat running and forming into ugly drips. However, when the humidity climbs, it doesn't mean you have to throw in the towel just yet.


Understanding the problem like professional painters is the first step. High humidity interferes with the evaporation rates of the various paint ingredients. Paint contains solvents that helps cure the paint. Paint also made up of a base that is usually water or oil based. In a high humidity environment the solvent and the water or oil base will evaporate at different rates leaving behind a mess instead of that nice smooth finish you were expecting. Under normal humidity conditions these ingredients are designed to evaporate at the same rate.


You will need to keep a watchful eye on the weather forecast and plan ahead for those humid days. Tracking the sunshine, clouds, temperature and rainfall isn't enough. Humidity matters.

First, start by using products that are specifically designed for high humidity conditions. These products will usually be labelled as quick drying. These products are best applied by sprayers and in thinner coats.

Secondly, planning to have the right equipment on site is important as well. Using fans to increase the air flow across your project will help to speed up the evaporation rate. Increasing the evaporation rate of the base components to closely match the curing rate of the solvents will help to eliminate that extra moisture.


Next, plan your day. You will need to sandwich your application time in-between the dew of the early morning and the high humidity that usually comes with the higher temperatures of the afternoon. These down times can be used efficiently by prepping other surfaces, masking the next area to be coated or spending more quality time with family.


Keep watch on the forecast humidity levels with an app on your mobile device. Most weather apps will provide humidity levels in a percentage format. Humidity levels up to 70 percent shouldn't cause you any grief. Even as high as 85 percent could be okay if you plan properly with the tips we suggest here. Any day over 85 percent humidity and you should skip the stress and plan a well deserved day at the beach.

                                         

                                                                                               By Steve Haney


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We can save a lot of money by painting instead of a complete renovation and get great results.

5 Things to Ask Your Painter Before You Sign a Contract

  

Before you hire a contractor to paint your home, bear in mind that expertise can differ considerably. Below are five qualities of a good paint professional. Ideally, you should ensure that you lookout for these signs before you sign a contract.


· How will you prepare for painting?

Every professional painter should know this. And if they don’t, they probably don’t have any business painting your home. Proper surface preparation is a key element in deciding how long the paint will last. Therefore, you should pay keen attention before the paint goes on your wall.

Some painters don’t give this stage the attention it deserves. For instance, with exterior projects, the painter should begin by totally scrapping loose paint and then power washing the areas to be painted. Time also needs to be allocated for these areas to properly dry out thoroughly.  Interior projects also require a significant amount of preparation even before the primer goes on. This is one of the areas where corners are cut in order to deliver a lower quote. If your painter isn’t budgeting time to prepare the surfaces to be painted, then you should raise the alarm.


· What steps will you take to protect my belongings?

A professional painter shouldn’t be so focused on the job of applying the paint that they forget that they may also ruin other parts of your home if they are not careful enough. For instance, your artwork, prized possessions, furniture, cars and other appliances should be properly masked or put away before painting begins. Protecting your possessions is an important part of the painter’s job and it takes time to mask and cover everything with care.

Similarly, your patio stones and concrete should also be protected as paint on them can be very hard to remove. Thus, a professional painter should be able to foresee that they may be putting other items in your property at risk if they do not mask them properly. 

You also need to know that they carry proper liability insurance in case of an unexpected accident. Be sure to ask what steps your contractor will take to protect your belongings and what insurance they have in place.


· Are you using high quality paint?

Some painters favor a particular brand of paint, and that on its own is not a bad thing. However, be sure to confirm that the brand and quality you paid for is what you are actually getting when it is delivered. This is important because there are different grades of paint. The name may be what is on the invoice, but the grade may differ from what you actually paid for.

Ensure you are getting what you paid for by confirming the paint type and quality once it arrives. High quality paint can be expensive, but it is worth every penny as it will be more durable, easier to clean and last much longer.


· Do you dilute the paint?

Real and experienced paint contractors understand what brand and paint quality does the job best in terms of overall quality and longevity. Also, once it comes to the actual painting, they also know that paint isn’t meant to be diluted with water.

Some painters are of the opinion that paints should be watered down, however, this is not necessary and is typically only used to reduce costs. Make sure you ask your prospective painting contractor that they are not watering down your product.


· Can I inspect your work before I make my final payment?

Upon completion of the job, a professional painter should be willing to walk you through the job they have done. Although, a real pro would do this first before inviting the owner to join in.

This is done so any spot that may have been missed is corrected before a final payment is made.

    

                                                                                                                               By Steve Haney

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How To Hire A Professional Painter

  

Painting your home is actually a big deal and like every other job that matters, you need a real pro to bring life to your home with an impressive paint job. If you are looking to paint your house soon or seriously considering it, below are some great tips to help you find the right paint contractor for the job.


· Check Past Customer Referrals

This is a no brainer. Since you are after the best contractor for the job, you can start by finding one that has done a great job elsewhere. You can ask family or friends for referrals or simply go on the internet and search for painters in your area, check out their websites. Are they professionally presenting their business? Check online review sites like Trustedpros, Yellow Pages and Google Maps.


· Pay Attention During the Quoting Process

It is often recommended that you invite at least three different contractors and request a quote. Also, it is crucial that these contractors actually come to assess the area to be painted themselves. This should be more than a quick glance. Pay keen attention to how much the contractor spends assessing the area to be painted. A professional contractor will do more than glance at your home and give you a quote.


· Be Straight with Your Expectations

You can expect fair treatment, fair and square. State your demands and be sure that the contractor is on board with what you hope to achieve. Usually, the number of coats applied to the wall isn’t the only thing that affects the final paint job quality. Preparation is also crucial and be prepared to pay extra if you want a professional job. If you wish to compromise on some of the preparations, be sure to agree to what extent with the contractor before the job begins. If you skimp on the preparations then don’t expect the contractor to provide a warranty.


· Ask to See Pictures of Completed Projects and Certifications

Since you need to gauge the expertise of your potential painter, be sure to ask for past painting jobs that they have undertaken. Ideally, something recent – three to six months ago. If you are impressed with what you see, then go ahead and give them a shot.

Also, since we are obviously talking about hiring a real professional, you may want to ask to see credentials or membership to a professional or recognized painters group. This isn’t a clear reflection of the painter’s skill, but it goes a long way to show that they are dedicated to their work and are fairly reliable.


· Get It In Writing

Ensure that the contract clearly stipulates what is to be done, in what order, the complete cost and in what period it is to be completed. The contract should also contain key details about the contractor such as office address, name, telephone number, email and make sure the paperwork stipulates your rights to change your mind.

Also, request a copy of the painter’s liability and workers compensation insurance records. If the painter doesn’t have any coverage, and someone gets hurt in the course of the job or any damage is incurred, you just may be the one to cover the cost.


· Make Sure You are Getting Quality Paint

Some painters will go as far as recommending a paint for you. This isn’t a bad idea. However, do not simply take their word for it. If a painter suggests any particular paint brand or type, ensure you independently find out if the paint suits the paint job and what you hope to achieve.


· Hold out and Ask for Guarantee

Resist the temptation to pay the complete fee before the job commences. You should pay at most 50% of the total fee as a deposit. Also, request that the painter guarantees you that any imperfection or blemishes in the final paint job will be corrected before you complete the payment.


                                                                                             By Steve Haney

Colour Psychology: How Colour Can Affect Your Mood

  

Home improvement is key and it is generally anything that can help make your home feel more relaxing and comfortable to live in. There are of course several factors that need to be considered with regards to home improvement. However, while you are caught up in all the improvements you should and can make to your home, do not forget about color. 

Scientifically, it has been proven that colors can indeed have a psychological impact on us. And the exact kind of impact will vary with each color. Therefore, color is an important tool that can be used to alter or control our emotions and state of mind. So, while picking colors for your home, be sure that they are in tune with what you hope to achieve. Randomly picking colors for the fun of it can work in the reverse of your actual intention. 

By understanding the psychological implication of different colors, you can make well informed color choices for your home and rooms.

Red

Red is a color that is commonly associated with hunger stimulation, headaches, stress and excitement. Which is why red is usually the better option for your kitchen or dinning room. Red is a good color to paint your gym if you have one, since it tends to induce excitement. On the flipside, you should avoid painting your bedrooms red if you want to get any sleep.

White

White is code for cleanliness and chastity. It is no coincidence why bathrooms and kitchens are often painted white. White can also portray a clean and sterile environment. White also help other colors stand out. So, smart blending with other colors can add beauty to a space.

Blue

Blue oozes an aura of comfort, calm and peace. Blue is a great color choice for office/study rooms, bathrooms, living room or your bedroom. The color blue is also said to increase focus, lower heart rate and increase productivity. Conversely, avoid painting your dinning room or kitchen blue since it can decrease appetites.

Brown

Brown is commonly associated with warmth. Brown, which is a dark color, can make a space feel inviting, cozy and homey. Brown is a great color choice for your living room, kitchen and dining room. An admirable way to introduce the color brown is through dark furniture or floor patterns. On the contrary, avoid brown in bathrooms.

Green

Healing, peacefulness and tranquility – these are some of the things that green stands for, making it a great choice for the bedroom and living room. Green also blends in well with other colors, and you can always tweak its shade for a lighter or stronger feel.

Yellow

Yellow is linked with inducing metabolism and thinking. Lighter shades of yellow are great for your bathroom and living room. Avoid painting your bedroom yellow, as it can be overly stimulating. Yellow can also be used to brighten a room.

Black

Black is one of the strongest colors you can introduce into your home. It can portray both a depressing and sleek feel, depending on how it is used. Black should be used tactfully. Too much of it can ruin the beauty of your home.

Purple

Purple is associated with creativity and royalty. However, the color is also known to create a relaxing and calming feel. Purple is a great choice for offices and living rooms.


So, put some serious thought into your colour choices. Consider how you will use each room in your home and choose wisely.


                                                                                            By Steve Haney

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Should I paint my home myself or hire a pro?

The Importance of Understanding Moisture Content: Before You Paint Concrete

  


With ordinary paint moisture can usually find a way in but it is difficult for the water vapour to escape. This will cause your paint to flake or delaminate. High moisture substrates, or the underlying layers beneath your paint can cause even the highest quality paint to fail. So, when painting masonry always use a breathable paint. This would require that the paint has a vapour permeability of at least 75 perms.


If the masonry surface you are considering painting has a white flaky substance on it, you can’t just scrape it off and throw on a coat of paint and expect it to last. This substance is called “efflorescence” and is a warning sign that you have a moisture problem. Masonry products are very strong, but they are also very porous. As moisture migrates through the masonry it picks up and carries minerals with it. When this moisture arrives at the outer surface of the masonry it evaporates and leaves all the minerals on the surface. In a situation like this you must properly seal the surface before you paint, or your paint job won’t stand the test of time.


There are ways of testing concrete for moisture content. When concrete is mixed it has a lot of extra water so it can flow into place. This extra moisture needs to evaporate before any new concrete surface can be painted. One way to test concrete is by using calcium chloride. You start by cleaning a spot on the concrete and record the date and time. Then seal the pre-measured container of dry calcium chloride to the concrete using tape. The more moisture this substance absorbs the more moisture is in the concrete. This is important because some paint manufacturers won’t back their warranties above certain levels. One problem with this method of measuring moisture is that it only measures the moisture at the surface of the concrete.


Another method of testing moisture in concrete that is more reliable is the Relative Humidity test. It tests the moisture levels deep into the concrete. You start this test by drilling a hole at least to a depth of 40% of the thickness of the concrete. After cleaning the hole, you put a humidity sensor into the hole. You should be safe coating the concrete if the relative humidity in the hole is less than 70%.


Another factor to understand when coating concrete is pH values. A neutral pH is a value of 7. Anything above that is alkaline and anything below 7 is acidic. This test is completed by sanding down and cleaning a test patch to remove any old coatings. Then using a pH testing kit measure the pH value of the concrete surface to ensure that the surface is not to alkaline for your coating specifications. 


Understanding the moisture content of the surface you are painting is important to the longevity of your paint job.


                                                                                                                                   By Steve Haney

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The Importance of Understanding Moisture Content: Before You Paint Wood

Wood is a very absorbent material. New lumber, for example, can have a moisture content in the range from 12% to 25%. There are many factors that can contribute to this:


· The type of wood

· The climate where the wood is from

· The time of year

· And the time since the building was constructed


It’s very important to test the moisture content of wood before painting, especially new construction and wood siding. Even if wood feels dry to the touch it can still have a high moisture content. Using a hand-held moisture meter is easy and accurate. Try and get the prongs of the meter at least 3/16 of an inch into the wood. You are looking for a moisture content of less than 16%.


It’s obvious the exterior wood is exposed to environmental moisture like rain and dew. We need to monitor the weather when planning exterior painting. However, it is the moisture that penetrates the wood from the inside that can really destroy an exterior paint job. 

Homes that were built be the use of vapour barrier can often experience moisture problems on the warm side of the exterior walls. Frost can form on the inside of the wall cavity from the warm moist air inside the house. When this frost melts as the weather improves the resulting moisture can be absorbed by the wood and penetrate the siding. If your homes paint job doesn’t last more than a couple of years you may be experiencing this problem. The underlying problem must be repaired first before it makes any sense to paint.


Anytime you are painting interiors the same cautions will apply. Especially when a restoration has been completed after a flood or fire where there has been water damage. Sometimes when the contractor is under pressure to get the job finished to meet a dead-line they may not leave enough drying time before the drywall goes on. When you paint the drywall may feel or appear dry, but that moisture will eventually reach the surface and cause your paint to fail.


Again, your moisture meter will be useful in this situation. Ideally you would check the framing for moisture before the drywall is installed, however, if you can’t you should wait as long as possible and then test the drywall. 


Delivering a professional painting job is not just about skill with a brush, roller or sprayer. It’s also about understanding the finer details like understanding moisture.


                                                                              By Steve Haney