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Friday, December 4, 2009

Powerful lighting will result in flawless interior work

Q: What is the very best way to insure a flawless finish on interior paint work?
A: Start with very powerful lighting?

Prior to starting a interior paint job we do all the things that the homeowner expects us to do (tape off the base board, cover the floors, fix large holes with multiple coats of mud).
The difference between doing these things with powerful lighting versus that rooms normal lighting is significant. Prior to starting the Spackle or mud repair we bring a 2 bulb halogen light stand into each room and shine it on each wall. This allows us to see ALL of the imperfections from the previous paint job. This will add time to the mud repair and also show us the correct amount of paint that should be applied (2 or 3 coats). Often times 2 coats looks adequate in a rooms normal lighting but under the halogen lighting it becomes obvious that 3 coats are necessary.
This will take a little longer and may add some expense in painting cost but the end result will be better. It you have a house you plan to live in for a extended period of time it is worth it to take the time and do it with powerful lighting.

651-336-0561 cellular phone

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The painting contractor is the painting expert.

It is important to remember that when you deal with a customer or general contractor many times they have something in mind for their paint job that may or may not be correct. The issue in particular that comes to mind is timing regarding a job. It seems like General Contractors will propose a time frame for their subs that does not make sense. They'll have the trim being installed prior to the walls being primed or they'll have the ceilings primed but not painted and in-between have the flooring finished. The issue does not have to be about timing. Sometimes a homeowner will propose one top coat when clearly 2 are necessary. Or they may ask you to skip prep work to save money for a whole host of reasons (they are selling their house, renting it, replacing their siding in a year) etc etc.
It is important that the painting contractor acts as the painting expert. In my first few years in business I would let General Contractors tell me what they wanted with regard to their timing but I've found that nobody knows better the most effective and efficient way to finish their project than the painter (why would they). They don't have the experience, the know how and really don't know what it will take to deliver on your standard. I started seeing it when sloppy General Contractors would cram their schedule and then ask us to to do little extras in order to still meet their dead lines.
I have found that it is better to be extremely informative up front and take the role as expert. Most customers and General Contractors will be receptive if you've done a few jobs for them and they love the results. If you don't know better then it is best to be honest, receptive and allow the general contractor to give orders. But if you know best how to deliver the very best results, then don't let a General Contractor tell you something that cuts your profit or quality. Make sure to communicate.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Should I prime my wall first

Lots of paint jobs are done with a matching coat of paint. 1 matching coat is ok if you want a cheap job, but I normally don't recommend it for a quality conscience buyer. If you want the job to be better you should prime the surface and put two matching coats over the top. You will be more happy with the outcome. Even if you want a matching color I recommend priming the wall first. Lots of hand oil, dust, debris sits on the wall surfaces (interior or exterior) and the correct primer will assure that those blemishes don't bleed through.

Complete Custom Painting

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

What sheen should I use for exterior painting?

The same rules for interior paint usually apply for exterior paints. The higher the sheen the more durable and capable of being washed. Other considerations for the sheen level are what item you are painting. If you are painting a large wall that isn't a focal point of the house you may want to consider a flat finish. Flat paint will hide better than satin paint. All of the potential spray marks and roller marks are less likely to be seen when you use flat paint. With that said, it shouldn't matter which sheen you use on the siding (if you apply the appropriate amount and back roll it, the finish should be even.)
Generally speaking you will want to use a higher sheen level on items that you want to stand out. Front doors, decorative trim boards, panneled ceilings etc are all good candidates for a satin or semi-gloss finish. Large walls typically go well with flat paint.

Above all is making sure you applying enough paint. You should apply two full coats. That means that the 2nd coat of acrylic paint should be applied 4 hours or so after the first coat (or at least move the ladder to every locatin twice). Lots of painters try and do a quick coat for the 2nd coat (that means that they wait for the first coat to set up for 5 minutes without moving their ladder and then quickly spray in the same place). It is not possible to do that with satin paint and shouldn't be done with flat paint either. Stick with quality paints, make sure you apply a full 2nd coat and use the higher sheens on items that you want to stand out.

Nick D

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

What is a reasonable exterior painting warranty? Does it Cover the Cost of Applying the Paint?

What is a reasonable exterior painting warranty? Does it Cover the Cost of Applying the Paint?

There are a lot of paints starting to emerge that say things like "35 year warranty" or "Life Time Warranty" on the can. It sounds like a great deal but like most warranties before assuming that the paint will actually last 35 years you should read the entire warranty on the can.

If you do you will find that the "Life Time Warranty" is actually no warranty at all. The exclusions on ALL of the paints that I have used that claim to have a "Life Time Warranty" include the following:
Does not warrant against fading.
Does not warrant against paint on horizontal surfaces.
Does not warrant against damage as a result of water.
Does not warrant against damage as a result of vapor barrier issues, improperly installed windows, improperly installed siding, unclean surfaces, surfaces that were too hot or cold.
Warranty includes ONLY THE PAINT for the areas in question that are failing.
Warranty does not include the cost of application or labor.

So you can see that if your paint does fail, the likelihood of the paint manufacturer actually paying to have it fixed is almost none. Even if they do "take care of the problem" they will only do so by providing one gallon of paint. The homeowner is still responsible for the labor to apply it and all the other paint they will need to purchase because it won't match (being that the paint manufacturer will only warranty areas that are failing and the assumption is that not all of the paint on the entire house is coming off).

So the homeowner is left with choosing a good painting company that will warranty their work.
What is a Reasonable Exterior Paint Warranty THAT ALSO INCLUDES THE LABOR IF SOMETHING GOES WRONG?
Depends on the surfaces but as a general guideline,
The PDCA recommends 1 year on all surfaces.
It is reasonable to offer more than one year on the appropriate surface but the reason that the PDCA recommends only 1 year is because surfaces like wood, steel or areas that are exposed to excessive moisture are areas that will need maintenance.
Something like James Hardie Siding will last longer and if you are lucky your metal gutter paint job might last 10 years (even though they are warranted for 1 year). I painted my gutters and down spouts 7 years ago and they are still in excellent shape. I used one prime coat and 1 top coat. Even though they've had snow pile on them, they have not peeled. However, it would be a bad idea to assume that would be the case for all metal surfaces and go around telling customers that their paint jobs "will last a life time."
Everything in Minnesota needs maintenance if it is outside. Be wary of painters that say they are offering a lifetime warranty. Make sure you read the entire warrany on any can of paint. Not just the part that says "Life Time Warranty."

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Should I replace my cedar siding or paint it?

If you drive around your neighborhood you'll likely see a house or two that have cedar siding that has turned black. Normally that is a sign that mold growth has started. In a short amount of time dead wood fiber has built up on the surface of the wood and it is almost beyond repair. If you don't mind having a house that has moldy siding then you can keep it. If you don't mind spending thousands of dollars replacing cedar siding because you neglected to care for it then its not a big deal either. Normally you can tell for sure if the cedar needs to be replaced or not once you start the washing, or if you push a knife or moisture meter into it and it is rotten then it needs to be replaced (or at least replacing it is your best option).

However, the best solution is to give it a good wash and top coat, every 3-5 years so you're never faced with a black moldy house. Wash it then coat it with a wood preservative. I recommend X-100. It is a ABR product and I've gotten the very best results with it. I also recommend using a the X-180 wash prior to the top coat as it has a additive in it that kills mold.
The only step that remains after this point is to make sure to sand off any of the wood fibers that were raised when you did the wash. This is an important step
Overall it is important to care for your cedar (decks , siding lawn furniture) every 3 years or so so you get the maximum life out of the siding.
Your house will look better too.

651-336-0561 cellular phone

Friday, January 23, 2009

Commerical Painting requires excellent time management

Complete Custom Painting and Restoration offers commercial painting for new construction, tenant improvement and commercial remodel. One thing that is consistent with commercial painting is the need to fully understand and meet scheduling requirements. While you may think some questions are a minor issue, the more facts you know about the job site and the job schedule, the more likely you are to have success and impress the contractor. I always cover schedule requirements prior to starting work and even go as far as asking detailed questions within the schedule. It is not enough to know that a contractor wants a project done in 7 days, you must know as many details as possible within that 7 days to have success.
If I don't ask the detailed questions then I would probably end up scrambling to make sure the job is done up to the highest standard, or end up bringing on more painters to finish on time. This can cost money so it needs to be avoided.

Some questions that I always ask are:
1. How many phases is the job going to be done in
2. How many days do I have within each phase to finish the painting and decorating work
3. Is the grid going to be in prior to our first coat
4. Is the floor going to be in prior to our first coat
5. Will the floor be covered by the drywall contractor
6. Will the drywall contractor vacuum after their final sweep
7. Do you like us to start at a certain time in the morning
8. Do you like us to finish by a certain time at night
9. Can we work weekends
10. Can we work nights
11. What are the security requirements
12. What are the safety requirements
13. What other contractors will be on site during our working time

The list could continue but at a minimum I like to know at least this much. The more I know prior to work starting, the better the outcome.

651-336-0561 cellular phone

Monday, January 12, 2009

Painter Twin Cities Metro Area offers cash back

Complete Custom Painting is offering a 3% referral cash back reward for any referrals that turn into a completed and paid paint job. Our program goes like this.
Goal 1: Prior to the job starting we offer our sign off sheet that measures our performance and lets our customers know it will be our job to meet and exceed all of the job requirements.
Goal 2: As always we stick to our goal of quality work with quality products and finish on time in a professional manor.
Goal 3: We do a final walk-through with the customer and they fill out the final sign off sheet. At the bottom of the sign off sheet is a request for a referral. The referral is not required but any referral that turns into a signed job that pays in full would earn the customer who referred us cash back of 3%.
OVERALL GOAL: Do a great job for each customer so every customer wants to refer us.

Question: Why 3 % Cash Back for any customer?

Answer: Because advertising is expensive and I'd rather pay it to my customers. It costs lots of money for print advertising, yard signs, trips to contractors offices for blue-prints, on-line lead services, price cutting for contractors for additional work etc, etc, etc.


Monday, January 5, 2009

Fine Finishing

The only standard for sprayed enamel or sprayed clear coat is a perfect standard. For this reason I don't recommend a process involving less than 3 coats.
If you are enameling trim, doors etc it will take a full 3 coats to get the results you want. The first coat will be a primer. You will follow that up with sanding putty and caulk. The 2nd coat will be a quality enamel with an extender added. I recommend a oil based enamel for a new construction setting and a waterbased enamel in a re-paint scenario. I thin the 2nd coat roughly 20 percent with Penetrol. I follow up the 2nd coat with more sanding, putty and caulk. The final coat is only thinned down about 5 to 10 percent. The thinner for enamel work should only be a product made for extending the life of your enamel as well making it "lay down." Do not use paint thinner to thin enamel.
For sprayed varnish or lacquer I recommend using only products that are meant to be sprayed. Using a polyurethane in a sprayer can give you varried results. Laquer and 1 hour varnish work well in a HVLP or Airless sprayer but using a product that dries slowly in either can be asking for trouble. Oil based polyurethane dries slowly and is far more touchy than Varnish or Lacquer. Water based Polyurethane works well in sprayer but will require a minimum of 3 coats if not 4 to get the desired finish. It is important to understand the correct product given the setting to make sure that your new millwork has the perfect finish.