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.


Painting is not only cosmetic

Charles Loveless, Manager of Sales and DesignAs I travel around the communities I work in, I notice a lot of homeowners neglecting wood repairs and painting issues for their homes, sometimes the neglect spans 2 – 3 years or longer.  I would love to do a full exterior paint job with carpentry repairs, however, sometimes we have to fit inside our customers’ budget.  Therefore, about 15 jobs per month are smaller than $1,000 and only address carpentry repairs and touch up painting because the homeowner can’t afford more than that.  Unfortunately by not addressing the whole house, but only a portion, the homeowner will end up needing additional painting services sooner, and in the long run, end up spending more.

Some of the areas I see that need the most attention are the chimney, door casings, siding issues, and the face board around the roof line.   One reason neglecting regular painting maintenance and repairs leads to wood-rot is a caulk failure due to it aging and becoming brittle.  This allows water and moisture to seep in behind the wood.  I encourage all home owners to address the carpentry needs on their home immediately otherwise a few more serious issues may occur, such as:  termite or carpenter ant infestation, and internal damage to home’s ceilings and walls.

When you decide to have work done on the exterior of your home, ensure that the individuals doing the work prepare your house properly.  This includes mildew bath and pressure wash, sanding all peeling surfaces, priming exposed wood and then using a 60-year rated caulk to seal cracks and joints.  Some of the leading paint manufacturers include Sherwin Williams (Duration paint), Behr (Premium Plus Ultra), and Pittsburgh (Timeless).  Most paint jobs will look good even with a builders-grade paint on the house, however, will not last as long or protect your biggest investment: your home.  I encourage homeowners to spend a little more upfront for a quality paint job and paint materials, rather than spending more later due to poor workmanship and lower-grade paint products.

White Trim and Doors are Yellowing – Why?

A Clean color of white around Trim and Baseboards, accentuates your home's walls and flooring.

Homeowners will find that most of the trim and doors in their house are painted with an oil-based product.   Trim is found around the edges of the house (baseboards, windows, doors) and can accentuate and add style when installing crown molding or decorative trim molding.  The problem is oil-based paint on interior trim and doors is notorious for changing from white to an antique cream 7 to 10 years after painting.  Over the years, I have been asked “Why does this happen?” by many customers. 

First of all, you may wonder why oil-based paint is used so often; especially considering that it has strong fumes and isn’t  very environmentally friendly (due to high Volatile Organic Compounds- VOCs, strong solvents needed for clean-up and difficulty to dispose of properly)?  Using oil-based paints has its advantages:

  • It goes on smoothly
  • Is resistant to abrasion
  • Is moisture resistant
  • Dries to a hard / glossy finish and is more durable in areas with lots of traffic, which is why it’s used so often for baseboards. 
  • Using it on the decorative trim and doors helps to add continuity and color/sheen match with the baseboards.

The yellowing effect of oil-based paint occurs over time due to several causes. 

  • The alkyd chemicals in the oil begin to age/break down due to their curing mechanism. 
  • Exposure to sunlight and gas heat increases the yellowing. 
  • Oil-based paints are more susceptible to mildew.
  • Tobacco staining from smoking leads to a premature aging-effect.

There is really only one option for regaining the original trim/door color:  They must be repainted. The process to do this is:

  1. First, lightly sand the trim/doors with a 220 sand paper. 
  2. Wipe the surfaces to remove any dust from your sanding
  3. Finally, using a quality brush, apply the top coat with even strokes using high-quality oil-based paints.

If your trim/doors have oil-based paint you have to go back with the same type of paint.  Use this painter’s “trick” if you are uncertain what type of paint you have:  using an alcohol swab or cotton swab with alcohol, try rubbing off the paint.  If the paint comes off fairly easily, it latex, if not, then it is oil-based. 

Keep in mind that water/latex-based paints will not stick to oil-based paints resulting in peeling and being easily scratched.  You can use an oil-based primer prior to applying a latex top-coat, however there are problems:

  • you’ll still have to deal with the high VOCs of the oil-based paint
  • more paint is used
  • brush strokes will be more evident
  • Latex paint is generally not as durable as the oil-based.

If you have an option, try to use a quality interior latex paint, especially on decorative trim (crown molding).   Keep in mind that if any alcohol-based products touch the latex paint it will cause the paint to deteriorate and eventually come off.  FYI – some household cleaning products contain alcohol.  The advantages to using Latex paint are:

  • Low odor (lower VOCs)
  • Faster dry time
  • Water clean up
  • Long-term flexibility
  • Non-yellowing
  • Not combustible

Whichever option you choose, whether oil-based or latex, be sure that you use high-end top-quality line of paint.  Examples of paint brands that all have great oil-based (Alkyd) paint product selections are:  Sherwin Williams, Benjamin Moore, and Pittsburgh Paint.

NOTE:  A few paint manufactures have been testing out and/or have on the market new oil-based and latex trim paints that can be applied to trim/doors. These should release less VOCs into the home environment and be able to be cleaned with only water.  We will report on these products in the near future.


Your home is an investment that needs to be protected

Protecting your homes’ exterior surfaces can be costly, so often the question is when it is necessary to spend the money for preserving this important investment.  This all depends on how well your home has been protected by the products used and how they were applied at the time it was painted.

 If you have an older home (10+ years) the expected lifetime of the painted surface depends on the last painter’s discretion and integrity.  Preparation, application, and quality of materials all play into the longevity of the painted surface in protecting your home.  This holds true for newer homes, as well.  It is not uncommon for new homes to need the exteriors repainted within the first 5 years due to poor application and inferior materials.

The most important indicators as to when to paint your home are:

  • open caulk joints,
  • peeling surfaces,
  • chalking or dullness on the painted surfaces,
  • mildew growth, and
  • wood damage. 

 A timely paint job can save you money by preventing deterioration of exterior surfaces thus requiring minimal or no repairs.  Secondly, a professional paint job can save you money over time by having to paint less often:  approximately every 10 years instead of every 5 years. 

 When choosing paint, select a premium grade from a local paint supplier such as: Sherwin Williams(Duration Paint); Coronado (Crylicote); Pittsburg(Manor Hall) just to name a few.  The top-of-the-line paints tend to have advanced latex formulas that last longer, are resistant to fading and help prevent mildew growth.

 When choosing a company to paint your home, follow these guidelines:

  • require many references,
  • drive by a home that was completed by the paint company,
  • check the Better Business Bureau,
  • have everything in writing,
  • pay no money up front,
  • meet the individual in person to determine character and comfort level in a working relationship.

SOLUTIONS for Avoiding Painting Traps

While painting is one of the most inexpensive ways you can remodel and protect your investment, a quality  job does not come cheap.  There are some painting traps that if you fall into could lead to a paint job lasting only 5 years.  However, avoiding these traps and finding a company built on integrity will lead to a paint job that will last 10 to 12 years, and cost you less in the long run.  How can you ensure you’ll be paying for a high quality job at the best possible price?

Sure he may look like a painter, but there’s more to painting than “looking” the part.

 Trap #1:     Temptation may be to go for the least costly painting estimate; however, you will have to consider what you are paying versus what you are actually getting.

Solution:    Ask questions about what they will be doing, what type of paint they’ll be using, get many references, and check the Better Business Bureau.

Trap #2:     Very little is in writing on the estimate, so what you get may be a mystery.

Solution:    Be sure everything is in writing; remember if it is not, it doesn’t exist.

Trap #3:     Switching paint materials and / or watering down the paint.

Solution:    Ask how many gallons will be used, inspect paint materials, and ask for copies of the receipts.

Trap #4:     The cover up: hiding with caulk or cheap wood filler damaged/rotten wood that should have been replaced.

Solution:    Visually inspect your home with binoculars for damage prior to asking for estimates.  All wood repairs need to be in writing.

Trap #5:      Using a cheap caulk that will crack open in a short period of time, thus allowing rain to get behind the painted surfaces.

Solution:    It’s your home that is being painted.  Ask the painter to show you the caulk that will be used.  It should say at least 50+ years of life.

Trap #6:     No close inspections at the end of the job—they just “take the money and run.”

Solution:     A Service Manager or company owner should inspect your home with you at the end of the job.  Grab a pair of binoculars and carefully inspect the surfaces the exterior.  Be sure you have sufficient lighting, and maybe get a flashlight, for dimly lit areas on the interior and/or exterior of your home.

Trap #7:      Their primary experience is in new construction or low/moderate-end apartments.

Solution:     Painters in these settings aren’t as concerned with the non-painted surface. Interview the painter before hand, to determine their experience.  Check with at least five past customers for their satisfaction.  Finally, be sure they are protecting the non-painted surfaces during your project (roof, brick, trim, windows, fans, etc.).

Trap #8:    Painting Contractor has too many projects going on at once, thus neglecting your project resulting in not finishing in a timely manner.

Solution:     While interviewing the painter get a definite start and completion time. Additionally, get a commitment as to what time they will arrive and leave during each day.

Call RENOVATE PAINT AND DESIGN, 210-403-3232, to receive a FREE estimate to find out how we stand out above the rest, and how we’ll ensure that you’ll be one of our many satisfied customers.

The Changing Colors of Fall and Your Home

Fall colors will be creeping all around us soon! Consider colors for your home.

Fall brings about many changes.  It’s also a time when homeowners consider improving the look of their home as they prepare for holiday entertaining and family gatherings.  Choosing colors when repainting the interior or exterior of your home can be complicated, but rewarding when the right choices and combinations are used.  Working as a color consultant on our projects we have found that when considering colors, homeowners typically will either want to stay in a safe range of color selection or be more adventurous with multiple and/or dramatic colors.

The exterior selection of colors is less complicated than interior selection.  Basically, we, at Renovate Paint and Design, visualize the overall design of your home, the siding and roof colors, and the colors of homes around the property.  One of the most important tools we use is listening to the customer and asking questions.  When a general direction on color selection is determined we then choose two to three color combinations that work well with the home, thus taking much of the complication out of the decision process.

 Whether painting for the first time or updating the interior of your home, the selection of colors will transform it into an environment that reflects the personality or interests of the homeowner, such as: warmth, tranquility, vibrancy, elegance, modernism, drama, or passion.  Most homeowners are fleeing from the monotone off white or beige walls that were standard when the home was built.  They are becoming more educated in their choices by reading home magazines, visiting color visualizers on the internet, going to the Parade of Homes, or by stopping to look at model homes in new subdivisions.  Renovate Paint and Design compliments this knowledge by bringing years of experience with colors and textures into the homeowners’ environment.  They have established that the best way of helping customers in choosing the right colors is to envision the desired outcome.  When considering color changes, focus on the furnishings, floor coverings, architecture design of the home, and the desired effect.  Renovate Paint and Design gives a free color consultation during the estimate for painting your home to assist in the overall transformation that you desire.  Call us at 210-403-3232 to set up your appointment.

Smart Choices for Interior Painting

When choosing the right paint for your home you will need to consider the mood you wish to create, how functional it is (washable), and health concerns about painting.

Changing from off white or light beige to a richer/warmer color affects the whole atmosphere of each room.  The color brings together the furnishings, both highlighting and complementing your décor.  The choice in adding color begins with a little boldness from you and in seeking help from professionals so that you can enhance your homes appearance.

The functional benefit of a washable paint is obvious if you have young children or pets.  Paints that have a satin sheen tend to be washable and there are a few paints such as Duration Home (Sherwin Williams) that have a mat (flat) finish with the same claim.  The only negative aspect about a satin sheen is that it does not create as warm of an environment as does a mat finish.  Making a choice for satin paints in high traffic areas, children’s bedrooms, and baths can give the walls more life with less frequent painting.  However, I would suggest in low traffic areas (ex., master bedrooms, dining rooms, living rooms) you choose a mat finish paint to enhance the warmth/mood.

Families with young children & pets often consider low- or no-VOC paint options

Oftentimes customers are concerned about the smells and fumes coming from paints.  Paints do, over time, release what is known as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) into the home environment.  There are many warnings on the labels of paint cans that speak about the harmful effects of VOCs.  In particular, if you have respiratory problems, allergies, young children, pregnant, or if you are concerned in general about environmentally friendly paints, then those with low or no VOCs are right for your home.