4 Factors that Shout: Your House Needs to be Painted!

It’s inevitable, exterior painted surfaces will either have to be repaired and/or repainted, depending on the age, construction, and frequency of homeowner maintenance.  Typically, new construction homes need to be painted sooner than one might think.  6-7 years is the usual rule due to poor materials used during the construction phase.  However, most individuals appear to wait too long between paint cycles creating opportunities for wood rot and water damage.

A good way to inspect your home is to examine it with a pair of binoculars or telephoto lens. Here are some tips on what to look for when determining whether your home needs painting/repairs:

  1. Signs of fading and discoloration of the painted surfaces.
  2. Wood damage determined by rippling effect on exterior surfaces or actual damage.  The wood becomes spongy.
  3. Opening of caulk lines at joints and trim work.
  4. For stucco surfaces be aware of hairline or larger cracks.  This allows water in and makes stucco surface look splotchy, especially noticeable after it rains.

Remember the longer you wait and allow damage to set in the more expensive it will be to repair it.  It’s better to have the painting done as soon as you notice the first signs of fading and discoloration, that way you avoid expensive repairs.

We put together a video showcasing repairs we made to a house that waited too long and required extensive wood replacements.  In the end, we made it look beautiful as well as optimally protected with expertly applied quality products.

5 Summer-time in Texas Reminders

 

Some of these suggestions have been based on personal unfortunate experiences others from reminders from professionals and what we’ve seen at homes around the San Antonio area:

air-filter_IYR3W_691)      Change out the A/C filter at least every two months so that units are not stressed and will last longer.

 

acdrainline2)      Put bleach down the A/C overflow lines in the attic to prevent clogging and water damage.  (If you’re not doing this you may be calling us for ceiling and other water damage repairs.)

 

soakerhose3)      Keep soil around foundations moist with a soaker hose to help prevent movement and cracks.

 

 

waterpenetrate4)      If you water longer and deeper once a week your grass will fare better.  But remember to keep track of watering guidelines through your local water company.  Make sure you know the day(s) and timeframe that you’re allowed to water.

 

 

bugathome5)      Fire ants and other bugs will be more tempted to enter your home during a dry time.  Monitor the exterior of your home especially around brick weep holes.  A long-lasting spray will be necessary at points of entry to your home to minimize an insect invasion.

Your Chimney may be Rotting

Chimneys

Get the Binoculars and Check It Out

“Out of sight out of mind” is a true statement for areas of the exterior of your home that are seldom seen or noticed.  Once a year I suggest that you visibly walk around with a pair of binoculars or telephoto lens and examine the upper levels of your home; especially where the wood touches the roof.

If you drive down the block you may notice about 20% of all homes have some type of damage to their chimneys.  On 70% of homes we paint, the carpenter first has to replace rotten wood trim or siding on chimneys.  The chimney is one of the most exposed surfaces on your home.  Wind damage, driving rain, occasional lightening, squirrels, raccoons, and sun cause substantial damage.

You might say, “Charles, we have no problem; my home is not that old or it has been painted in the last couple of years.”  Believe me when I say, do a visual check once a year of your home’s exterior.  You will save yourself a lot of money by being aware and catching the maintenance items on your home before they become major problems.

Remember this: wood rot usually begins with water penetrating cracks which affects the interior of the wood surfaces.  Look and see if the painted surface looks like it may be waffling or collapsing on itself.  This is a sure sign of internal wood rot.  You usually cannot see this from the ground without binoculars.

Don’t worry about getting up on a ladder to do your repairs, contact us, we do it all the time in and around San Antonio, TX: Renovate Paint and Design, 210-403-3232, info@renovatepaint.com.

Freshening the Air You Breathe

air-filter_IYR3W_69As the weather is warming up your air conditioner will be working harder. Do you know how often you should change your air filters?

How often to change your air filters can depend on several factors:

*  the type of air filter you are using
*  the overall air quality of your home
*  pets, pets, pets..
*  occupancy of the home, and
*  the level of air pollution and construction around the home

For your standard 1″-3″ air filters, the manufacturers basically tell you to change them every 30-60 days, which is actually a great rule of thumb. But general rules aren’t always for everybody. If you suffer from light to moderate allergies, you could upgrade the air filter or change them even more often. Or, if you’re in a more remote area, less occupied home (like a vacation home) and there are fewer cars around, annually may be quite sufficient. Why do pets matter so much? They have a tendency to shed, which can clog your air filter quick and with great success. Of course the air filter is just doing its job by capturing pet hair and dander, but extremely dirty filters can cause extremely weak HVAC performance.  Here’s the points summarized:

  • Vacation home or single occupant w/o pets or allergies: 6-12 months
  • “Average” suburban home w/o pets: every 90 days
  • Add a dog or cat: every 60 days
  • Add more than one pet or have allergies: 30-45 days

Don’t forget to remind yourself to change the filters!  You can easily mark the date on your calendar or set a reminder on your phone calendar to ensure that this is not forgotten.  There are also air conditioning / heating companies in the local area that can send you an email reminder.

It is also important to have your system serviced by a licensed AC contractor at the beginning of each cooling and heating season.  It is a good idea to install an inline HEPA filter.  These filters remove 99.9% of air borne particles.  This means that they remove not just dust but also pollen,  VOCs and other harmful pollutants that exist in all homes.  Also, HEPA filters typically only need to be cleaned twice a year and should be a part of your regular service agreement.  A little bit of home maintenance will help you stay cool all summer long.

Bathroom Remodels Make a Big Splash This Spring

Bathroom Remodels Make a Big Splash This Spring.

Renovate Paint and Design brings a fresh new look to bathrooms in San Antonio, TX.  Take a look at some of our projects for ideas and to understand the some of the process.

Bathroom Remodels Make a Big Splash This Spring

This gallery contains 15 photos.

WOW, it is happening again this spring.  Many previous and new customers have contacted and engaged us in bathroom remodeling.  It is amazing how some simple changes add such elegance in one room. Check out our video on YouTube to see how we do these remodels and for more ideas: Look at these pictures of […]

All DECKED Out: Staining and Caring for Your Outdoor Platform

Deck Transformation: Before (above) and After (below)

The harsh weather conditions of Texas cause Deck refinishing and staining to be a very popular service. Oftentimes, however, it is not done properly.  The KEY to getting outstanding results is in surface preparation.  When prepped correctly the deck will turn out great. Rush through prep, skip a step (or two) and the deck will not look right or last very long.

Over-application of the wood finish coating is a major source of problems and complaints.  There are many do-it-your-selfers or non-professionals that believe that when it comes to coating, more is better. This is simply not the case and is particularly a problem for decks. Most deck finishes are designed to penetrate the surface of the wood. Putting too much of these coatings on the wood leads to a buildup of material, forming a film which can ultimately peel or crack. For water-repellent products, over-application can result in a surface which is overly waxy, sticky, or slick. Over-applied stains will often result in sticky surfaces, since the coating buildup interferes with their ability to dry properly.

It is a face that all exterior wood needs protection from the elements.  This is due to the damaging effects of the weather on exposed surfaces.  The day that you finish installing a deck or other exterior wood structure is the day trouble can start.   Consider these points:

  • Morning dew, rainwater, and sprinkler’s water, are quickly absorbed by unprotected wood, causing it to soften and swell.
  • Direct exposure to the sun’s heat causes drying, causing the wood to shrink.  Continuous cycles of wet and dry, swelling and shrinking cause wood to warp, split, crack and check-all of which leads to premature wood degradation.
  • Surface graying is caused by exposure to the sun’s UV rays on unprotected wood.
  • Consistent moisture creates conditions for the growth of mildew, algae, mold, and other fungal organisms that feed on wood. spreading across and staining the surface.
  • Termites and other wood-boring insects also use wood for a food source, causing rot and decay.

Weathered Wood

If the wood on your deck is uncoated, it needs to be cleaned thoroughly with a product specifically formulated to remove the aged top layer, which will rid the surface of its graying appearance, ground in dirt, stains from food, fungus growth, including mildew, mold, and algae.  After cleaning the surface we use a pressure washer to aid with the cleaning, but use low pressure 500-800psi.  Too much pressure will cause the wood to deteriorate.

A stain stripper will need to be used first, if you have a previous failed coating on your deck.

New Wood

Just as in restoration of old wood, it is necessary to prepare the surface of the new wood before coating. Preparing the surface involves cleaning the new wood, in order to remove invisible surface barriers, such as excess wax, or mill glaze, a burnished surface often found on new cedar lumber.

Preserve your woods beauty and structural integrity by following through with a regular maintenance program.  Once your deck is installed and protected it should be cleaned once a year, inspected, and re-stained as needed.  Daily exposure to UV-rays will wear away the coatings surface layer, thus making it necessary to re-apply periodically.

Splash water on your deck and notice if it is absorbed or beads up. If it is absorbed rapidly your deck is ready to stain. If it beads up you still have stain or contaminants on the surface.

Types of Deck Stain

Transparent Deck Stains are the lightest pigmented. These are also called wood-toners and will enhance the woods natural beauty. They typically offer the least amount of UV protection from graying as the trans-oxides are usually low. They offer the most natural look.

Semi-Transparent Deck Stains are higher in pigment and trans-oxides. They still penetrate into the wood but have a higher ability to stop UV discoloration. Typically are “richer” in color then the Transparent Stains and accent the wood grain.

Solid “Opaque” Wood and Deck Stains are not transparent at all. They will mask or cover the wood similar to a paint but are thinner in consistency so they will penetrate into the wood cells. They offer the best UV protection from graying.