Extend the Life of your Exterior Paint

To extend the life of your paint job: Never start an exterior painting project without proper preparation, such as thorough cleaning of the surface, removal of old peeling paint and use of primer if required. An oil based (alkyd) primer is generally preferred for exterior surfaces.

Proper preparation will prevent the need to repaint right away.


Exterior Painting – Frequently asked questions

Can I paint over aluminum/vinyl siding?
Yes. Always make sure the surface is cleaned to remove any chalk or dirt. Never apply paint that is darker than the original painted surface on vinyl siding.

Do I need to wash my house before I paint?
Yes. Surfaces must be clean before painting. Thoroughly wash with a house cleaner and water solution, making sure to remove any and all mildew. Rinse and allow to dry.

How much paint do I need?
Be sure to utilize our Paint Gallon Calculator in the Project Planner section to help you determine how many cans to buy for your next project.

To achieve one-coat coverage, paint should be applied at a maximum of 400 square feet per gallon. Rough or textured surfaces may require more paint. On these areas allow for 25-30 square feet per gallon. Some bright colors may require multiple costs to achieve sufficient hide.

How do I apply the paint?
When using more than one gallon of the same product, mix the gallons together to insure color and sheen uniformity. Two coats of this paint will provide maximum protection.

How do I paint shingles & shakes?
Shingles offer natural breaking points, paint in a vertical direction.

How do I care for freshly painted surfaces?
We suggest not washing your newly painted surface for at least 30 days. After that time, dirt and stains may be removed using a mild, non-abrasive cleanser and water.

I have never painted the exterior of my home before….?
When painting the exterior of your home always start with a clean surface; paint one side of the house at a time, starting with the highest point; apply a full even coat to one side of the house at a time and always paint the trim last.

What conditions are best for painting my house?
Generally you should only paint when the surface is between 50F and 85F. High temperatures cause the water in the paint to evaporate too quickly, while low temperatures prevent latex from covering properly. Always avoid painting in direct sunlight, strong winds, or when rain is expected within 8 hours.

What tools do I need?
Depending on your project and the type of structure you are painting, paints may be applied with a nylon/polyester brush, a paint pad or spray unit.

What is the proper way to use spray equipment?
It is always safe to operate spray equipment with safety cautions. Use respiratory and eye protection. All spray units are different and it is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.

How to Repair Cracks and Holes in Your Walls

Painting over cracks and holes won’t make them disappear—and may even make them more noticeable—so it is important to fix imperfections before you start painting. Here are some basic steps. If you haven’t done so, cover the furniture and floors with a drop cloth to protect against dust and debris.

Before you add filler to minor or hairline cracks:

1. Use a utility or putty knife to widen the crack and remove any loose material.

2. Create a trench that is deeper and slightly larger than the crack.

3. For long cracks, remove the plaster or sheet rock material at intervals to help the filler hold.

4. For small holes, use a utility or putty knife to dig out the hole and make the inside of the hole bigger than the outside. This is to provide space for the filler and to help prevent it from falling out of the hole or crack.

5. Where sheetrock nails have popped up, countersink the nail pops with a hammer. The indentation left by the hammer head can be easily filled.

6. Brush or vacuum to remove dust and debris, and wipe the area with a damp cloth.
For best results, ALWAYS READ THE PAINT CAN LABEL. Professionals read the paint can labels to get the paint manufacturers’ most up-to-date information and instructions on the use of each specific paint. Every paint is different, and the labels provide important information, such as the average coverage area per gallon, drying times, number of coats needed, and surface preparation requirements. The labels also give specific safety information that should be carefully adhered to.

7. Use spackle or joint compound as filler, applied with a small, flexible putty knife for small areas, or a bigger one for large areas.

8. For a smoother finish, spread thin layers of filler rather than one thick layer.

9. Add as many layers as necessary, making sure that each layer is dry before adding another.

10. After the layers of filler are completely dry, lightly sand as needed with fine-grade sandpaper to smooth and blend the repair with the wall surface.

11. Wipe any dust from the wall with a clean cotton cloth before you start to prime or paint.

12. Prime all repaired areas to help seal the filler and to help prevent the filler from absorbing paint.

Design by Room – Ideas for Decorating Your Bathroom with Vinyl

There is no quick fix-up to your home like decorating a bathroom. Redecorating a bathroom can usually be done inside of a weekend, and is a quick and easy way to update a major feature of your home. Regardless of the level of remodel that your bathroom needs, this is one room where a little work goes a long way. Your bathroom receives as much use, if not more, than any other space in your home, and should be a place that is soothing, relaxing, and enjoyable to be in. Stained tile and water damaged floors occur frequently in a bathroom, and replacing even one of these components, particularly the floor, can reinvent the room quickly and with little monetary investment. Here you will find some tips on decorating your bathroom with vinyl.

1. Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl flooring is one of the least expensive materials that you can choose in remodeling. Vinyl is inexpensive, easy to install, and comes in a wide variety of colors, patterns, and finishes. Vinyl flooring can be purchased at any home improvement store, as well as any flooring store. Vinyl floor tiles can even be found in retail stores in small amounts. Depending on the type, vinyl flooring can range in price from fifty cents per square foot to four dollars per square foot.

2. Styles

When determining the style of vinyl flooring that you want to use, you should consider how it will tie into the overall color and decorating scheme with the rest of the house as well. Neutral colors tend to be the most appealing to potential buyers, if you are considering fixing up the home for a potential sale. If the rest of the home is decorated in a retro style, there is vinyl to match. The great thing about vinyl is that they sky is the limit when it comes to how many choices you have. There are a variety of textures that mimic natural stone, or even realistic hardwood flooring. Regardless of the decor, there is a vinyl option that will complement.

3. Installation

Installing vinyl will depend largely on the types of vinyl product that you choose. Vinyl comes in sheets and various types of tiles. Some tiles are simply peel and stick. These tiles are not generally as durable as sheet vinyl, and should only be used in low traffic, low moisture areas. Sheet vinyl is easily installed, simply cut to the dimensions of the space to be covered, and glue it to the floor with vinyl adhesive.

Tips: Care of Vinyl

Vinyl is a very durable material. It is just about impervious to anything (with the exception of sharp objects), which makes it ideal for bathrooms and kitchens where there tends to be more moisture than in other parts of the home. Cleaning vinyl consists usually of sweeping up dirt and debris and mopping the vinyl with simple soap and water. An occasional wax may be used to keep the sheen of the vinyl in good shape.

Design by Room – Cool Your House and Save Money

With gas prices at all-time highs, energy costs are on consumers’ minds. The last thing you want to do is spend more than you need to cool your home as temperatures rise. Buying a new energy-efficient air conditioning unit can pay for itself in cost savings in no time.

It’s important to consider two important factors to get the maximum benefit — cooling capacity and efficiency. Many people size air conditioners incorrectly, purchasing an air conditioner with more cooling capacity than needed.

More is not necessarily better — a unit with too much capacity may cool a room so quickly that it won’t run long enough to lower humidity. This results in a cold, clammy feeling caused by chilly, humid air. More importantly, you will be wasting energy and lots of money.

To help you determine what size room air conditioner you need, the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), a nonprofit trade association, has developed a “Cooling Calculator.” This calculator, along with other useful information about room air conditioners, can be found on www.CoolOff.org. The Web site will take you through a series of questions, before recommending models that fit your needs.

Once you know what size unit you need, consider its operating efficiency. The higher the energy efficiency ratio, or EER, the more efficient the model. When shopping, you’ll also want to look for the “AHAM-certified” seal. Models certified through AHAM’s program have been tested and their performance verified by an independent laboratory, assuring consumers that the product will perform according to the manufacturer’s product claims for BTU’s per hour, amps and efficiency.

Once you have the perfect air conditioner for your home size, you’ll want to keep it running smoothly.

Here are some maintenance tips from the AHAM:

• Turn off the unit and open doors and windows during cooler periods.
• Use the unit fan and portable fans to draw in cooler outside air and increase circulation.
• Use a higher (warmer) thermostat setting during peak periods or when the area is unoccupied. A 75 to 80 degree setting will cut power consumption by 15 percent.
• Don’t let heat build up all day and then try to cool areas quickly by turning the controls to maximum settings.
• Draw the shade or window blinds to reduce solar and outdoor heat.
• Regularly change or clean filters and check air flow for blockage or frost on evaporator coil.

Decorate Your Bathroom On A Low Budget

Are you having a little difficulty decorating your bathroom without spending too much? Fret no more because I am just about to share some ways on how to do so without spending chunks of money.

First of all, consider what and how you like your bathroom to look like. Do you visualize a clean and sleek look? What about a feminine and relaxed style? Or perhaps, an eco-friendly design? This way decorating your bathroom will no longer be as hard as it should be because you have the foundation to work on.

Now that you have picked your choice, next step is to start being more creative. Putting in some small pots of plants does not only demonstrate an eco-friendly look, but it’s also a nice décor to achieve a spa-like ambiance. Couple the look with some small candle holders with scented candles and you likely created a spa-like ambiance in your bathroom. Meanwhile, if you are off to this idea, get a nice-looking vase and put some fresh flower on it. They are surely going to be a nice sight to place in one corner of the area.

You may also put a small but nice-looking art wall décor to transform a boring wall to a livelier one. If you love traveling, check out the souvenirs shops in places for some small tokens you can buy and make use as an accessory to hang on your wall. Again, this doesn’t have to be a hundred-worth of painting because it will only defeat the purpose of bathroom decoration at a low budget. Think cheap in price, but beautiful in quality!


Modern Bathroom Ideas

Chic and stylish are seldom the first words that come to mind when you think of your bathroom. For most people, bathrooms are more functional than aesthetic—after all, you don’t use it as much as your bedroom or living room. But modern design is slowly changing all that.

Modern bathrooms have evolved from the basic shower-and-toilet setup to luxury rooms where you can relax for hours. Think of it as a luxury spa, except that it’s right in your own home. But the best news is that it’s not as lavish as it sounds. Here are some trendy touches that can take your bathroom from drab and dated to stylishly modern.

Vessel sinks

Vessel sinks are placed completely above the counter so that they look like separate pieces. This is a fresh change from traditional sinks, which are often built or integrated into the countertop. The modern look of vessel sinks comes from their sleek designs and bold colors. Look for bright colors that match other elements in your bathroom, such as shower curtains and area rugs. Modern materials such as glass and stone offer excellent wear and will last years of constant use.

Matching faucets

Set off your sink with a matching bathroom faucet. Modern design is about combining function and style, so look for one that’s both stylish and easy to use. The taps that come with most sinks are usually of low quality. Look for one that can withstand everyday abuse. Metals such as brass, copper, and stainless steel are fairly durable and will fit in with the modern theme.

Recessed lighting

Traditional bathrooms use overhead lighting, or a single large bulb that lights the entire room. While this is certainly convenient, it doesn’t do much in terms of aesthetics. Modern bathrooms favor subtle lights that work on smaller parts of the room. Use a separate light for your vanity, tub, and shower areas. This makes for a more relaxing mood and a more flattering reflection. Use yellow or white area rugs to help disperse the light.

Vanities

The vanity is an important element in modern bathroom design. What was once a simple dressing table is now a personal armoire complete with a sink, counter, shelves, mirrors, and carefully planned lighting—all matching a single theme. Vanity sets are available from most home supply stores, but you can save money by putting your own set together. Pick a modern countertop as your base and let it set the theme for the rest of your setup.

Area rugs

Flooring has evolved more than any part of the bathroom over the years. If you’re still using ceramic tile, consider updating by using modular carpets, cork, or even hardwood. Use area rugs to protect your floors from damage and provide warmth in the cold season. Just avoid natural materials such as wool area rugs and jute area rugs, as they won’t hold up well to moisture. If you have a small floor space, use kids area rugs—they’re smaller and add a more welcoming look to the room.