How to Prep for Interior Painting

Interior Paint Prep

Between 10% and 40% of the time spent on any quality painting project is devoted to preparation. If the surfaces upon which you apply paint are rough, have many holes and dings, or aren’t properly prepared, no matter how much effort you put into painting, the completed work just won’t look pleasing to the eye.

By following the steps below, you can ensure that your next painting project gets done right the first time and lasts for years to come.

1.    Clear the room

You’d be surprised how much time you can save by painting in an empty room vs. a room filled with furniture and other décor. Avoid paint splatters and constant obstacles by removing most items from the space you are painting.

Cover the floors, fixtures and any remaining items with drop cloths and plastic sheathing to avoid drips and splatters.

2.    Scrape and Sand Flaking Paint

If the finish on the walls, trim or other surfaces you wish to paint is peeling, it’s necessary to remove all loose material before getting started. You can use a paint scraper, a spackling knife, and/or sand paper to remove the flaking material.

3.    Repair Holes and Seams

From small nail pops to visible seams and large holes, you’ll need to repair the drywall before you slap on any paint. While wall patches offer quick speed for repairing holes, they add material on top of the existing wall surface and require significant feathering with spackle to hide.

A better approach is to cut back the drywall to the nearest studs, add a new piece, lay drywall tape on the seams, spackle and sand.

4.    Sand and Clean

The key to a smooth paint job is sanding. Make sure all the repairs you made are sanded flush with the existing drywall. It’s important to give all surfaces a light sanding, dusting and wipe down to ensure proper primer and paint adhesion.

5.    Prime

All areas that have been repaired must be primed with a general latex primer to avoid flashing (this happens when unprimed areas pull all the moisture out of the paint topcoat causing the finish to differ from the rest of the area).

A great tip and time saver is to have your local paint store tint your primer a similar color to your paint to cut down on the number of finish coats required.

6.    Paint

Now that you have adequately prepped your area for painting, it’s time to coat the surfaces with the finish paint you have chosen.

If you are painting a room that requires multiple gallons of paint, it’s a good idea to mix them all in a bigger bucket to ensure the color is consistent throughout.

You’re now ready to complete your painting project. Good luck!

How to Repair Ceiling Water Stains

ceiling_stain

A stained ceiling can be a real eye sore. What’s worse, is that it may be the result of an ongoing problem with plumbing in the floor above. And if you are attempting to sell your home, it’s often a red flag for inspectors that there may be some plumbing issues in the house.

Before you slap some paint on the ceiling to cover up the stain, follow these steps to ensure you properly address the issue.

Assess and Fix the Leak

If you don’t properly take care of source of the leak, fixing the spot on the ceiling will be in vain. Check the area above the ceiling to determine from where the water leak originates. Most stains occur on the ceiling in the first floor of homes and are caused by leaks in toilets and showers in upstairs bathrooms.

If you notice peeling caulk or pooling water, it may be a simple fix to replace with new sealant. However, if there are no visible signs of where the water is coming from, it might be best to call a plumber.

Prepare the Surface

After you have properly addressed the leak, you’ll need to prepare the surface before you paint.

If the drywall on the ceiling is damp or broken, you’ll need to patch it. After replacing the drywall, spackling and sanding, you’ll need to prime the repaired area before you can paint.

If the drywall is in good condition, you’ll need to coat the stain with a pigmented shellac to prevent it from bleeding through the topcoat. Next apply a quality paint and primer and your stain should disappear.

Considerations

It’s likely that you will need to repaint the entire ceiling to avoid slight color and gloss differentials on the repaired area.

Which Colors Help Sell Homes?

Selling Your Home

All Homeowners hope to sell their homes quickly, but recently, it has been a buyer’s market. Give your self a leg up from the competition by staging your home properly. To ensure you rope in buyers, make sure that the paint in your home is fresh and the colors are appealing to a wide audience.

Exterior Paint Colors 

Curb appeal can help capture buyers as they pass by your home. Ensure that your house catches their attention in a positive way by choosing the right exterior paint color.

In choosing a color, it’s best to take a look around the neighborhood to see if there are any color trends present. While you want to stand out, think of going for a similar color as your neighbors, but just one shade lighter or darker. Owning a green house amongst a sea of beige homes doesn’t draw the attention you or prospective homeowners seek.

A few other things to keep in mind when choosing an exterior paint color are as follows:

  • Take into consideration other existing colors and features on your home exterior (e.g., stonework, bricks, roof, fixtures, etc.)
  • Complement your landscape
  • Choose a color that’s right for your home style (e.g., some Victorian homes can take on color to bring out their numerous woodwork details, while most Colonial homes stick with a simple white pallete.)

Interior Paint Colors

While you may enjoy bold colors, such as deep reds and blues, not every prospective homebuyer will have the same taste. It’s often best to attempt to please the masses by choosing a neutral, warm paint scheme or a crisp and cool color pallete for the majority of the home’s main living area.

If you’d like to add a bit more interest to make your space memorable to buyers, consider adding it in the following rooms. 

Kitchen

Most wall space in kitchens is taken up by cabinetry, leaving very little area for wall paint. However, since most of a family’s time is spent in the kitchen, it’s necessary to give a bright and joyful look. Consider light greens, yellows, or beiges.

Bedroom

A bedroom is a retreat from the stresses of everyday life. You’ll want to convey this mood in the room’s paint color. Think about using relaxing colors such as earth tones, or cool grey colors.

Bathroom

Bathrooms are typically smaller spaces, but that doesn’t mean you need to stick with white to make the space seem larger. Often you can use subtle tones of greens, blues, and yellows to add interest without making the space feel closed-in.

Overall, the colors in your home should give buyers a sense of calmness and comfort. It’s generally a good idea to go with lighter shades of color so that homeowners won’t need to apply a primer or several coats of new paint to hide what’s existing.

Different Types of Deck Stains

Arborcoat

Deck stains are used to protect and preserve the wood of your exterior deck. They offer UV protection, water repellence, mold and mildew resistance, etc. Deck finishes come in many different types of opacity and bases.

Deck staining can be a “chore” for residential homeowners and unfortunately walking into you local store may produce some of the worst options available. Not all deck stains are created equal and there is not a perfect stain type or brand that will outperform all the others.

Water-Based Deck Stains:

Water-based stains have recently become the norm. The main reason for the vast amount of water-based stains on the market today is related to changes in VOC laws across the country. Many states have adopted or soon will adopt lower VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) regulations. This has prompted stain manufacturers to increase production of water-soluble decking stains.

Pros: Water cleanup, less chance of mold or mildew growth and they are environmentally friendly.

Cons: Do not penetrate as deeply as an oil-base stain. Slightly harder to apply as they dry quicker. Can be prone to peeling and wearing.  

Oil Based Deck Stains:

Oil based decking stains have been around for 20-30 years. They are typically made up of natural and synthetic oils. Many contain oils such as: Linseed Oil, Paraffin Oil, Tung Oil, Rosewood Oil, Etc.

Pros: Excellent penetration into wood. An oil molecule is smaller in size then a water molecule. Better a deck stain can penetrate, the better the performance. Easier to apply. More natural looking.

Cons: Stronger odors, longer drying and curing time. Some oils can promote the growth of mildew. Some oil-based stains will darken in color over time.

Solid Deck Stains:

Solid deck stains look like paints. They cover the wood so you will not see the wood grain anymore. Once you apply a solid decking stain there is little chance you will ever be able to go back to a transparent stain. Solid stains come in both oil and water based versions.

Pros: Excellent UV protection.

Cons: Films on top of the wood and do not penetrate well. Prone to peeling. Looks like a paint. Harder to apply. Cannot be removed with a deck stain stripper effectively.

Semi-Solid Deck Stains:

The Semi-Solid Deck Stain will only show a small amount of wood grain as they contain a high amount of pigment. They are offered by a limited amount of manufacturers. Semi-solids can be both water-based and oil-based.

Pros: Very good UV protection

Cons: Only a small amount of wood grain will show. Oil-based semi-solid versions will penetrate and perform much better the water-based versions.

Semi-Transparent Deck Stains:

Semi-transparent stains contain pigment that highlights the natural grain while sealing the surface. The semi-transparent wood and deck stain is most popular. Both water and oil-based are available.

Pros: Average to better then average UV protection. Shows natural grain. Very good penetration. In most scenarios can be cleaned and re-coated easily. Can be removed with a deck stain stripper.

Cons: Most water-based versions perform poorly compared to the oils. Many states with the Low VOC laws have a limited amount of quality oil based stains available. May need to buy online if in a Low VOC area.

Transparent Deck Stains:

Transparent deck coatings look the most natural as they contain minimal pigment. Average life of a transparent decking stain is about 1 year. Mostly oil-based only are available.

Pros: Very easy to apply and reapply as needed. Natural looking.

Cons: Below average UV protection. Typically need to be re-coated annually.

Clear Deck Finishes:

Clear Deck Finishes offer little to no UV protection and will gray quickly. Typically used as sealers.

Pros: Does not change the appearance. Extremely easy to apply.

Cons: Grays and oxidizes in months.

Low VOC Stains and States:

There are currently 17 States that restrict Decking Stains and Coatings. These states require a lower amount of Volatile Organic Compounds to be released into the air. This mainly affects oil-based coatings. By lowering the amount of “solvents” that can evaporate into the ozone you need to increase the amount of “solids”. This can cause issues with oil-based stains as they may have drying and curing problems. There are still a few good oil-based stains available in Low VOC States but not as readily available at your local stores. You may need to go on the Internet to find them and have them shipped. A couple of examples would be TWP 1500 Series and Armstrong Clark Wood Stains.

Current Low VOC States:

California, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Northern VA, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana. 

How Often Should You Refinish A Wood Deck?

Deck 9

A deck is a great way to expand your living space outdoors. Keeping the finish in good condition not only ensures its beauty, but it can also extend the life of the structure.

Over time, various natural elements such as the sun, rain, and fluctuating temperatures can cause your deck finish to deteriorate, and the boards and structure to warp, cup, splinter and crack.

Most wood decks should be resealed every 3-4 years. To determine if your wood deck needs to be refinished, simply sprinkle some water and wait to see if it is absorbed quickly or beads. If absorbed, it’s time to refinish. If it beads, perform another status check in 6 months.

The benefits of refinishing your deck are tremendous. Refinishing your deck means that you will apply a protective layer of sealant to the wood. This will ensure that moisture does not penetrate into the grain of the wood or the cracks. The sealant will help prevent the formation of mildew and cracks or warping. Additionally, refinishing the deck will help to restore the color of the wood in areas where it has faded. Moreover, re-staining the wood will help bring out the grain/color and ensure that your deck looks great.

How to Choose Paint Colors

Colorful Living Room

How to Choose a Paint Color 

Picking paint colors can be confusing, time consuming and stressful. However, you can follow these 10 tips to make the process much more enjoyable and ensure that you settle on colors you will love for years to come. 

1.    Start Small 

If you’re not sure where to begin with color, experiment in a small area, such as a bathroom or an accent wall. If you’re doing your own painting, pick an area that’s quick to do so you can see your judge the results more quickly. It’s best to look at the process as an adventure.

To get started choosing a color, draw inspiration from your favorite piece of artwork, a rug, a dish, or accessory.

2.    Think About Mood 

When selecting a color, consider the mood that you wish to establish in your space. For example, in a bedroom do you want the feeling to be restful and soothing or dramatic and intimate? Soft, cool colors and neutrals usually create a calming feeling, while stronger, deeper colors add drama.

Do you want a dining area to feel sociable and stimulating or appear formal and quiet? Warmer, contrasting and somewhat brighter colors add to a sociable atmosphere; deeper blue-greens and neutrals will give a more formal ambiance.

3.    Pay Attention to Lighting 

Ever wonder why paint stores have light boxes? The reason is that different lighting can significantly impact your perception of a color. For instance, 

  • Natural daylight shows the truest color
  • Incandescent lighting brings out warm tones and yellows
  • Fluorescent lighting casts a sharp blue tone

So, a strong color might be too bright and overpowering when used on all walls or next to a large window, but it might be effective when used as an accent wall with indirect light.

4.    Learn About Color 

To select a color, it can help to understand some terminology used to describe color. 

  • Hue is what we call a color. Red is the hue; blue is the hue. 
  • The value of the hue is how light or dark it is. 
  • Saturation refers to how dominant the hue is. As we go from red to pink, the red hue becomes less dominant. 
  • Intensity is the brilliance of the color. The pure colors such as red are more intense than the combined colors such as yellow-green. A stronger intense color usually has a more dominant hue.

If you want a more active space, consider introducing stronger, more intense color. Even if you want a light-colored room, choose colors that are slightly more saturated than off-white or light pastel. Very light color can feel bright and stark when it appears on all surfaces in a room. However, two or more medium-light, closely related pastel colors create a luminous effect when used in the same room.

5.    Test Your Color Choice 

Boost your confidence by testing colors on poster board or large areas of a wall. Don’t be afraid to go beyond your comfort zone: Consider strong, vivid colors or soft, deep neutrals like chocolate brown or olive green as main or accent colors. Or add drama with a stronger color on the ceiling. Tinted ceilings can dramatically change the whole look of a room.

 6.    Add Interest with Faux Finishes

Transform otherwise flat or dull walls into interesting and personal spaces with subtle or dramatic visual texture and breaks of color. Burnished mineral/metal finishes and layered colored glazes add depth.

7.    Consider Room Flow 

Consider walls as planes of color, and see how they interact when viewing one next to the other in adjacent rooms. Approach it like a composition: You’re in one room, but you’re going to see a piece of another room through it. So as you’re choosing colors, consider how they will flow from room to room to create your picture.

8.    Utilize a Color Wheel 

A small color wheel is a great reference tool for modifying and intensifying two or more colors. For example, red and green, which are complementary (opposite) colors, are most intense when used together. You may be surprised at how many combinations function beautifully together, and you may even become attracted to entirely new color palettes. The color wheel also illustrates the visual temperature of a color. Draw a line from the yellow-green mark on the color wheel all the way down to the red-violet; you’ll see that all the colors on the left are warm and the colors on the right are cool.

9.    Play with Monochromatic Schemes

If the idea of one color seems boring to you, create bold or subtle variations with contrasting paint finishes. For example, use closely related colors, or try a single color in different finishes, for walls and trim in one space.

For an accent color, select a warmer or cooler color to complement your main color group. For a quieter ambience, make sure your colors are not extremely bright. White or an off-white tint can be a striking accent when used as trim with a monochromatic color group.

10. Choose Different Finishes 

A single color used on walls and trim takes on new significance when applied in different finishes. For example, wall and trim colors can remain the same hue, but use an eggshell (matte or otherwise less reflective) finish on walls and a satin or semigloss on trim. The color will appear slightly different on each surface. It’s a good way to create a cohesive look in rooms with many windows and doors, and relatively little wall area.

5 Mistakes to Avoid When Hiring a Painter

Most homeowners assume that all is well if they follow the typical advice provided for hiring a painting contractor:

  • Get 3 bids
  • Check past references
  • Inspect completed work

This is good basic advice, and worth doing; but it often is not enough to prevent you from getting burned. The cursory background check just does not do enough to prevent serious, but entirely avoidable cost, schedule and quality problems.

To avoid headaches down the road, more work is required before and during the hiring process. Ultimately, the more you know, the better and more detailed your overall plan, the lower your risk. Set aside the time to prepare properly and avoid these five contractor hiring errors: 

1.    Loose Job Requirements 

If you do not know exactly what you want done and cannot explain your quality expectations, you are vulnerable to a multitude of serious problems. Do not begin the hiring process until you know exactly what you want – and have your requirements in writing. 

2.    Using the Contractor’s Contract 

It is your money, so use a contract that protects you. Make sure the contract details all materials to be installed, work to be performed, quality checks, payment requirements and how changes will be handled.

3.    No Change Order Process

Don’t let changes throw your project & budget into chaos. Make sure your written contract is crystal clear about how changes to the project are made and how cost and schedule changes are approved.

4.    Prepayment

Do not let your contractor be the middleman for purchasing materials. Never pay for work that isn’t completed to the quality standards you included in the contract.

5.    Unverified Credentials

Understand your contractor’s license history and reputation with knowledgeable home professionals in your community. 

By using Homespree to hire a painter, you can avoid many of these issues. Homespree completes a thorough background check on all contractors within its network, in addition to providing solid work requirements and contracts.