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Monday, August 25, 2008

Communication is important.

A few times a year I will be asked to pick up the slack for a different painting contractor who didn't complete his job to the homeowners (or general contractors) standards. Such is the case in only 2 scenerios:
1. The contractor didn't have the skill to do the job he said he could do or
2. The homeowner and contractor didn't communicate the proper standard for the job.

A professional standard is the only standard to expect out of a painting contractor. With that said. Different levels of finish can be provided at different prices.
Example: A painting contractor could get a peice of previously painted cedar siding totally smooth by using a power sander. That same peice of previsouly painted cedar could simply be scraped and scuff sanded.
Both examples would fall under the category of "professional" painter work. The board will not, however look the same after being painted.
The example are endless. It is the contractors reponsibility to point this out the the customer. It is the customers responsibility to communicate what they want after the the professional painting contractor has given them their options.
If the the painting contractor has given the homeowner the options, and the homeowner has told the painting contractor that it is not important to them (or the homeowner picks one option), then any changes from that plan may require an additional work order. With that said the homeowner may be required to pay more money.
Generally speaking homeowners are not excited about additional work orders. For that reason, communication prior to work starting is probably one of the most important things a professional painting contractor can do for his customers.


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Different Surfaces Require Different Preparation

Q. Should I wash a real wood surface (like cedar siding) the same way I would wash T-111 (composite wood siding)?

A. No. Different surfaces require different treatment. a composite wood will generally require a detergent wash and not an overly agreesive power wash. I was watching TV ( I believe it was This OlD House) and they were demonstrating how to power wash. They were holding a high pressure sprayer about 1 inch from a wood deck and you could see the dirt totally being blasted out of the wood. ONE PROBLEM. While that may make the wood seem clean at first, after it dries the wood will likely be damaged or require a massive amount of sanding to get stain to sit evenly on it.
You should never use a power washer to remove something that could otherwise be removed by hand (sanding, scraping or paint removal machine) or by an environmentally friendly detergent.
Try cleaning the surface with either JOMAX, TSP or M1 House wash. If you add exteremely Hot water to one of these detergents and scrub them on with a medium bristle brush, you will likely get a better result than an agressive power wash but not damage the surface.
The same is true for scraping and sanding or use of a paint removal machine.
Make sure you do the wash after the scraping and sanding as they are likely to create dust.

Cement surfaces are different but just remember: Aggressive power washing and wood or composite wood do NOT MIX


Friday, January 11, 2008

Hardie Plank: Buying it pre-finished or paint it on the house

Q: Is it better to buy buy a pre-finished Hardie Job or buy it pre-primed and paint it on the house?

A: In depends on the following:

The criteria for buying a pre-finished Hardie plank job are the following:
1. You are replacing all the siding on your house and not individual sides or boards.
2. You have selected a installer who specializes in pre-finished siding installation and not someone who has done 1 or two jobs (if you don't you'll end up painting the whole thing anyway)
3. You don't need to do other painting like the soffit, fascia, doors, windows, etc (I'll explain why below)
4. You don't want any Hardie Shake on your house.
5. You don't want a color outside of the options that Hardie gives you.

The criteria for buying a job that needs to be painted on the house (pre-primed) are as follows:

1. You want a custom color or are working with a exterior designer
2. You have selected an installer that has not worked with pre-finished Hardie before (because you have checked all references)
3. You want Hardie Shake in the gables or decrotive trim.
4. You need to do other painting anyway like the soffit, fascia, doors, window sashes, trim, etc. The cost of doing those items may be less if you opt to do the siding as well, and you'll only know the total cost if you include the price of painting with the price of siding. Only after you compared the siding and painting costs in both scenerios, will you be able to determine the total cost of each.
5. You only want to replace parts of the siding and not all of it.

Important to note: Don't let a siding installer tell you that a pre-finished Hardie job is better than painting. It may or may not be. If you choose the right painter (someone who has done a detergent wash, backrolled the first coat, painted in the right conditions and uses quality products) the on site job provides a superior finish. Often times I'll talk to homeowners who say "the pre-finished job is baked on." Not true. A pre-finished Hardie job is NOT baked on. It is put through a heated environment that allows it to cure faster. This is done to control the environment and so they can produce more in a shorter amount of time. Acrylic paints don't "bake on." In fact, right on most cans of acrylic paint it says you are not supposed to put paint on surfaces that are above a certain temperature.

Remember, talk to multiple contractors and consider multiple options.

Nick Dettering

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Exterior Painting Twin Cities/Metro Area

Q: What is the difference between exterior solid acrylic stain and paint?

A: Not much in the look. In fact, if you were to ask 100 painters if they could tell the difference between solid acrylic stain or a coat of paint on a metal door I'd be willing to bet the honest ones would tell you "no."
There are differences in the properties that make up both products however, Solid acrylic stain generally is said not to require a primer prior to being applyed directly to wood. Acrylic paint ALWAYS requires a primer. Acrylic stain is gernerally thinner and paint is gernerally thicker (Although how thick a paint is in the can doesn't mean it is better always). It depends on the application and how often a person is planning of maintenancing what ever it is they are painting. For a custom bid and the CORRECT application call me.

Nick Dettinger
White Bear Lake, MN