Monday, August 1, 2016

Play Your Cards Right When Dealing With Your Deck

Spring House, PA – Maintaining a wooden deck is no game; it’s an important part of home maintenance. Still, if you play your cards right, you’ll draw a winning hand in the form of a finish that is tougher and longer lasting than most, according to Debbie Zimmer, coatings expert with the Paint Quality Institute.
The secret lies in selecting the right type of coating after completing your surface preparation (replacing rotted boards, removing loose or flaking stain, ridding mildew with a bleach solution, and rinsing the surface -- or, when changing the color, removing all of the existing coating by power washing).
Deck coatings fall into two broad categories: water-based latex products, and solvent-based formulations. To get the best weather-resistance, Zimmer suggests that you choose a water-based coating. In addition to being more durable, these products dry more quickly, have little or no odor, and clean up with soap and water, so they’re better overall.
Water-based latex coatings come in both clear finishes and in a wide array of attractive colors. The type you choose will go a long way in determining how long your deck coating will last.
Clear finishes show off the natural appearance of wood, but offer very little protection from the sun’s UV rays. Choose a clear coating and you’ll likely have to reapply it annually.
Semi-transparent stains are more durable than clears. The small amount of pigment they contain helps shield the wood from UV rays and other types of weather. As a result, they last somewhat longer, typically 18 months or so.
More durable still are solid-color stains. Because they contain much more pigment, they impart better protection to the deck. More closely resembling paints, these stains still show the texture of the wood, but conceal the grain. If you want a longer lasting coating, this is the way to go: solid-color stains can last three to five years.
Whichever type of deck coating you choose, you can step up the protection by applying a second coat of the finish. In some cases, it will stretch the life of your coating, and in every case, it will help the wood stand up to the rigors of both the weather and abrasion from foot traffic and furniture.
Still, your ace in the hole when protecting your deck is the quality of coating you apply. The very best are 100% acrylic products.
“Top quality coatings made with 100% acrylic have better adhesion and flexibility than other deck stains. Plus, they typically contain special ingredients that help prevent mildew and other maintenance problems,” says Zimmer. “That translates into longer lasting performance.”
Now that you understand how to get the best long-term protection for your deck, draw on that knowledge when buying stain at your local paint retailer. It’s a sure thing that you’ll pull a winning hand.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Last Call for Pre-Holiday Painting

Last Call for Pre-Holiday Painting

mantelWith the holidays quickly approaching, it’s wise to take a careful look at the condition of your home. There’s still time to enhance things, but the calendar says that you’d better act quickly.
Take a careful look at your most important rooms, starting with your entranceway or center hall, where your company will form their first impression of your home. Then proceed to the family room, dining room, and bathroom or powder room. Pay special attention to the kitchen, since guests always seems to congregate there.
If you find your interior wanting, you need to get busy – before things like card writing, gift buying, food preparation, and other imperatives appear on your to-do list.
Make a list of the rooms that require attention and what it is that needs painting — walls, woodwork, or both. Then prioritize your projects based upon the importance of the room, and the amount of time you expect your visitors to spend there.
Start by wiping down whatever you plan to paint. Then repair the surfaces as needed. Next comes the fun part: choosing new paint colors for your walls and woodwork.
When you’re under the gun with your painting, it’s wise to go with “safer” colors. Can’t-miss neutrals like off-white or pale pastels are great choices. In a happy coincidence, these colors are expected to be in vogue next year.
But if you’re determined to fully embrace the holiday spirit, then go ahead and paint your rooms in the colors of the season.
If Thanksgiving is your main event, then apply rich autumn shades like burnt umber or gold to the walls; paint the trim in either white or the lightest tint from the same color cards.
Focused more on Christmas? Then choose festive hues from the red and green color families. Burgundy, crimson, and forest green are seasonal favorites; they also are wonderful choices for dining rooms and other areas where food will be served. Sprinkle in a few silver or gold accents, and your rooms will be picture-perfect for the year-end holidays.
When you purchase your paint, keep in mind that glossier coatings are more stain-resistant and more washable. Satin finish is a good choice for most walls, but you may want to use paint with a higher level of sheen in the kitchen and other high-traffic areas. As for the trim, it’s always wise to use gloss or semi-gloss paint. You’ll be happy you did when the festivities end and the cleanup begins.
At holiday time or anytime, always choose the very best quality coating you can afford. Top quality 100% acrylic latex paints wear much better than ordinary coatings, they’re more fade resistant, and are typically much easier to apply.
The best ‘paint and primer’ products made with 100% acrylic offer another advantage: They typically require one fewer coat to get great coverage, which can save a lot of time – the one thing there is far too little of around the holidays!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Posh Painting: Expand Your Space

paint-patterns
How many times have you wanted to elevate the feel of a room but thought you couldn’t due to budgetary constrictions, spatial confinement within the four walls of the structure that you cannot renovate, or rental restraint (it’s not your pad, so you’re either prohibited from drastically altering the space or you don’t want to heavily contribute to someone else’s investment ñ besides, rent’s enough of a contribution as it is)?
The truth is that it doesn’t take much to kick your décor up a notch…if you have the right tools and know-how. And yes, many of those techniques involve little more than a humble can of paint and some inexpensive paint supplies.
Indeed, many folks know that applying a fresh coat of paint is a fast and easy way to brighten up a room and erase years of wear and tear from a wall’s surface. But what about going a step further and trying some cool, almost magical, optical illusions using the same tools?
Even if you have problematic surfaces or skimpy trim, you too can achieve the same high-end looks for less. Here are a couple of projects that highlight the power of paint while minimizing your less-than-ideal structural components.
Smooth Sailing
If you have textured walls or walls that are supposed to be smooth but were cheapened by shoddy workmanship on the part of the drywall “professional”, does that mean you’re doomed to a life without crisp, clean paint lines?
You shouldn’t have to say “see you later” to sharp edges and the freedom to paint designs or patterns on your wall just because they are not exactly up to smooth surface snuff.
Fortunately, a couple of paint’s buddies agree with you: all you need are painter’s tape and paintable caulking to create a smooth enough surface on your wall to where you can wave goodbye to bumpy edges and wavy lines.
Simply apply the painter’s tape to the wall where you want to paint your lines, apply a miniscule bead of caulking right over the edge of the tape and smooth it out with a wet finger. Be ready to go with your paint and paint over the tape and caulk so that you can remove the tape before the caulk (and accompanying coat of paint) dries.
Build it Bigger
create-an-exaggerated-baseboard_lg
Don’t put away that caulk gun just yet because you’ll need it for the next optical illusion: creating taller baseboards without replacing a single piece of trim.
Short baseboards are better than no baseboards at all but let’s face it, taller baseboards are best! And they are completely within your grasp.
You’ll need a:
  • Flat piece of wood (measuring about an inch wide) to use as a spacer
  • Top piece of moulding or trim to match the existing bottom trim, in sufficient linear footage to span the entire room of baseboards you are planning to build up
  • Nail gun
  • Caulk gun
  • White paint for the finished product ñ a bright white, semi-gloss is a great choice to make your baseboards really pop
Measure and cut each piece of moulding or trim in the appropriate length, with 45 degree miter cuts for virtually seamless edges and corners.
Use the spacer and rest it upon the top of the existing baseboard; work your way around the room to mark 1″ guide lines around the perimeter.
Attach the top trim to the wall with the nail gun at the 1″ marks ñ from here you should have an empty wall space of 1″ in between the new trim and existing baseboards.
Apply caulk to fill in the nail holes and the gaps in between mitered joints.
Once it dries, paint the newly exaggerated baseboard in its entirety (including the wall gap) to create an awesome optical illusion of super tall baseboards!
What are some of the cool ways you’ve used paint and paint supplies to pull the décor wool over scrutinizing eyes?

10 Fun Ways to Use Leftover Paint

Painted Adirondack chairsIf you’re hoarding a stash of leftover paint, you’re sitting on a gold mine when it comes to home decorating. With just a little imagination, you can use the paint for any number of projects that can infuse new life into your decor.
Want to give it a try? Start with one or more of the following projects, then come up with your own ideas. Your home will be the better for it, and you’ll have lots of fun in the process!
1. Make kitchen items kitschy. It takes only a little leftover paint to impart coasters, canisters, or the handles of wooden spatulas and spoons with bright color that can make cooking more joyful.
2. Colorize some flowerpots. In the same way, planters and flowerpots can be decorated with paint color — the more, the merrier. Paint them a solid color, or embellish them with a pretty pattern for more panache!
3. Dress up a dresser. Do you have an old dresser that’s seen better days? Spruce it up with paint! Apply different colors here and there to impart even more visual interest. Do the same with an old cabinet, table, or even a stool.
4. Rejuvenate “junk” furniture. Rifle through your attic, or frequent some garage sales. You might spot a unique piece of furniture just pining for a fresh coat of paint. . . and a prominent place in your home!
5. Put a stamp on your walls. Add pizzazz to painted walls by applying a handcrafted patterned border. Fashion a “stamp” out of an old sponge in the pattern of your choice, dip it into the paint, and dab new color onto your walls. Voila! Custom design.
6. Speak with an accent. Express your home’s individuality by adding accent color to one or more walls, doors, or doorways. Even a small area of unexpected color can make your interior something special.
7. Beautify a built-in. Make the most of built-in bookcases, cabinets, or even a mantelpiece by embellishing with a contrasting leftover paint color. It’s a great way to create striking elements in your décor.
8. Stencil something. Using a homemade or commercial stencil, apply paint to just about anything – your walls, a piece of furniture, or if you’re really adventurous, the floor. An interesting stencil can render the ordinary, extraordinary.
9. Make like an artist. Why buy artist’s supplies, when you already have a handpicked palette of colors you’re drawn to? Use them as is, or mix them into new colors to create murals or even fine art.
10. Frame your artwork. Repaint the frames on the prints, paintings, and drawings in your home to give them a fresh appearance. Or, paint a simulated “frame” right on the wall to highlight a favorite piece of sculpture or even a more ordinary item you treasure.
As you might imagine, most of these projects require just a small amount of paint, and some take only a little time. But each and every one can add a unique and very special touch to your decor.

Ladder Safety

Some Simple Steps for Ladder Safety

Construction Ladder Leaning Up Against A House Ready For New PaintIn order to do some exterior painting or to clean out the rain gutters, many of us will be climbing ladders in the coming weeks. For most, that’s no everyday occurrence, so it always pays to review the steps that make ladder use a little safer. Here are some tips:
  • Inspect your ladder before using it. Make sure the rungs are intact, and free of dirt or excessive paint buildup that could interfere with footing.
  • Wrap cloth around the tops of the ladder rails to protect the wall and help prevent slipping.
  • If the day is wet or windy, wait for better weather.
  • No matter what the weather, wear rubber-soled or non-slip footwear.
  • When raising the ladder, make sure that the base is level and sits firmly on solid ground.
  • Place your ladder at the correct angle. For every nine feet of height up the wall, the base of the ladder should be three feet away from the wall.
  • Make sure the ladder reaches at least three feet above the highest level that you want to stand.
  • Remove knives, scissors, and other pointed tools from your pockets before climbing the ladder.
  • Always face the ladder as you climb and descend.
  • While working on the ladder, keep your hips between the rails to maintain stability.
  • Keep your ladder away from all power lines, especially if the ladder is made of metal.
  • Avoid pushing or pulling too hard on tools while standing on the ladder — it could make you lose your balance or cause the ladder to slide.
Following these ladder safety tips will give you (and your loved ones) some peace of mind while you’re finishing those late-season exterior projects. Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015



A General Guide for Effective Touch-up Work

Performing quality touch-up work can be difficult and in some cases impossible. The reason why effective touch-up work is so difficult to achieve is due to a discrepancy in porosity of the substrate and the existing coating.

Any freshly damaged areas will absorb the touch-up coat at a different rate than the surrounding areas that had been previously painted; resulting in variances in color and gloss (also known as “Flashing”).

Touch-up work showing flashing.

Although touch-up work may not be possible in every situation, the list below provides a general set of conditions that typically must exist to effectively touch-up a surface.

5 Conditions for Effective Touch-up Work

1) The existing coating should have an MPI Gloss Level of either GL - 1 (a traditional flat finish) or GL - 2 (a traditional matte finish):
Coatings with higher gloss levels will be too difficult to touch-up. Variances in light reflectance are significantly more noticeable with higher gloss paints.

2) The existing coating should be light:
In general, deeper/darker colors are more difficult to touch-up effectively.


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3) The surface must not be exposed to critical lighting conditions:
Even if the existing coating is an MPI GL - 1, touch-up work can appear visible under critical lighting conditions.

4) The same batch of paint must be used for touch-up:
Different batches of paint will have slightly different qualities even though they are the same product from the same manufacturer. Even the slightest variance in color and sheen is noticeable when it appears side-by-side in the middle of a wall. In general, it is a good idea to keep a little bit of paint left over for touch-ups.

5) The same type of application tool must be used:
Different application tools will provide different finishing textures, and will ultimately make any attempts at touch-up work visible. If the initial coating was applied by a roller, the touch-up work must be performed with a roller with the same nap size. Using a 10-mil nap roller to touch-up a surface that was applied with a 15-mil nap roller will create a significant variance in texture.

Brush marks from touch-up work plainly visible on a rolled wall.

If the surface in-question meets all 5 conditions listed above, there is a good chance that effective touch-up work will be possible.

Keep in mind that while the list above does not guarantee whether or not a surface can be touched up successfully, it does provide a general set of conditions that are typically required for effective touch-up work.

Whether a surface can be touched up at all depends on a range of factors including the finish’s gloss, color, method of initial application, and its location (especially where critical lighting is involved).
 





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