Sunday, 24 April 2016

Clear Coat Finishes for Your Exterior and Interior Surfaces

A clear coat is the best way to protect a painted surface, and ensure that it retains its look for an extended period of time. It can be applied to almost any painted surface to enhance its life and look. A painting work done without applying a clear coat is an incomplete job.

Venetian Plaster is the only case in which a clear coat is not used. This is because the product, with its waxing and burnishing, has all the gloss it needs; it requires no additional protection. Listed below, for your benefit, are the basics of clear coats.

What is a clear coat?

A clear coat is a clear varnish, applied on top of a painted surface. It dries into a hard transparent shell that is invisible, and serves to protect the paint from damage and wear. The clear coat, when used on a faux finish can make it look richer and deeper. Any imperfection in the clear coat can affect the appearance of the paint finish.

Polyurethane varnishes

Polyurethane clear coats are tough and long lasting, but they have a significant drawback. They tend to develop a yellow or amber tinge over time that can change the look of the paint applied below. This type of clear coat is typically used for exterior surfaces, which are subject to harsh conditions; it is often applied over darker shades where any yellowing will not be noticeable.

Acrylic or water-based varnishes

Acrylic clear coats are water based; they are not as strong as polyurethane varnishes. However, they do not develop any tint with passage of time; so, the look of the paint under the clear coat remains unaffected. These are most commonly used indoors, and are especially good for light colors; any tinting of the varnish will change the shade of the painted surface.

Different sheen levels

Acrylic clear coats are available in various sheen levels. In general, satin and low luster sheens are the most popular. However, there is no reason why a higher gloss varnish cannot be applied, if that is the look desired.

The amount of sheen is a matter of personal taste: it does not affect the protection that the clear coat provides. If no shine is required, dead flat clear coats would be the choice.

The antique look

The idea of not having a shine may seem strange, but it is useful when a faux finish is required for an aged or old look. For example applying a dead flat clear coat to a wooden bar can give it an antique look.

The clear coat is an integral part of the painting process: if it is not done properly, the quality of the finish will be adversely affected. At the same time, even the best of clear coats cannot cover up any painting defects: it can only protect the paint that has been applied.

It is possible for you to paint and apply clear coats yourself, but the results will not be a good as those of the works of professionals. This is simply because the professionals have the experience and expertise to identify exactly what type of paint and which clear coat should be applied to a given surface; they know for sure that is what would get the kind of finish, the client wants.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

How You can Care for Painted Walls

A properly painted wall does not require any kind of formal maintenance. All that is needed to keep it look fresh and new for years is regular cleaning, done in the right way.

A common mistake that many homeowners make is to scrub a wall hard in an effort to remove a mark on it. While the mark may disappear, what is often left is a strange new shiny patch on the wall.

The hard scrubbing strips off some of the paint and smoothens the shiny patch differently to the rest of the surface; it is known as burnishing. The key to cleaning a painted wall is to react rapidly to stains, and remove them as soon as possible.

Cleaning painted walls

There are basically two kinds of stains – water- and oil-based. The water-based ones are caused by things like mustard, wine, sodas etc. These can generally be removed by wiping them off with a clean wet cloth.

Oil-based stains caused by things like shoe polish, lipstick, cooking grease and so on are more difficult to deal with. To remove oil-based marks from a wall try the following:

  • Wipe away the mark or stain with a rag, paper towel or nonabrasive sponge, soaked in clean water at room temperature.
  • If that does not remove the mark, repeat the process with a mild mixture of a little dishwashing liquid and water. If this too does not work, apply a few drops of detergent to a clean cloth or sponge and wipe off the mark. Do not use excessive pressure.
  • If the stain is tough to remove even after all these attempts, apply some detergent directly on the stain and gently wipe it off.
  • If nothing works, you may have to buy a special stain removing product designed for cleaning painted surfaces. Follow the usage instructions carefully. Note that these products have strong solvents in them that can affect the painted surface. Ensure that the spot is completely rinsed off and all the solvent is removed after the cleaning process is over.

Permanent markers

As the name says they are accepted to be permanent, and so are not easy to get rid of. You can try the detergent method outlined above, and follow it up with the addition of a stain removing product. However, it is likely that in the end there will be so much abrasion and paint damage caused that repainting becomes necessary.

Painting a home is a far more complex job than most people realize it to be. It is not just a matter of using good quality paint and the right brushes and rollers.

The type of paint, the preparation of the surface, the way the paint is applied, the number of layers and much more contribute to the quality and longevity of the results.

A badly painted surface will never look good or last no matter how clean it is kept. On the other hand, quality painting done by a professional finishing company can be expected to last for years with only minimal care.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

How You can Evaluate Painting Proposals

Getting proposals for a home paint job is one thing. But being able to evaluate and choose the best of them is entirely another matter. For most homeowners the uncomfortable process begins by contacting painters, calling them over, pointing to a project and asking for quotes.

As a homeowner, you may think that the painter is a professional with expert knowledge. Perhaps you may really be unsure of what you want, and look to the painter for guidance. Going into details of quotes may make you feel inadequate. Given below are a few helpful ideas for you to consider.

Different painters, different approaches

Not to speak of the quality of the work painters do, the crucial difference you need to be aware of from the get-go is their different approaches to a project. One painter may quote more for preparation because he feels that it will ensure a better finish.

Another may decide that an extra coat is the way to get the best results. Yet another may consider important the type of paint to be used. Comparing the quotes which derive from different parameters will be a nightmare for the common customer.

Set a comparison base

The best way to get over this problem is to create a detailed project description: that would serve as the base for comparison.

  • Start by spending time going through interior design and décor magazines to get some ideas.
  • Decide on what kind of painting you want done and put it down on paper in detail – the preparation to be done, the colors to be used, the type and quality of the paint, the number of coats and anything else you want to specify.
  • Ask the painters you contact to give you a quote based only on what you have specified, even if they have other ideas.
  • They can give a second quote based on how they would like to approach the project. This quote must clearly indicate what the effect of the change will be, both in terms of cost as well as of the finish. 
  • You will then have two sets of quotes –the first based only on what you have specified (Set A), and the second based on what the painters recommend (Set B).
  • You can then choose the best quote from Set A. Discuss with the painters the comparative costs and benefits of going with the Set B options. If you feel that a Set B option will be better, you can go with that. Otherwise, you have the best quote based on your specifications ready to finalize.

Summing up

When asking for a painting proposal go into as many details as you can. Don’t worry about looking ignorant. It’s not your area of expertise, after all, and you know more about other things than the painter does. If the things you want are impossible, impractical or beyond your budget, a good painter will explain the problems to you and try to find alternatives that will work.

A painter who is impatient and brushes off your ideas without offering other convincing options is not the right one for you, no matter how skilled he is. It is your home and must be painted the way you want, and the money you’re going to pay is your own.

The painter’s role is to provide you with options and alternatives. Once the project details are firmly drawn, he should give you the best finish possible. So be meticulous about what you want, and don’t feel shy about asking all the questions you have. That’s the best way to understand a proposal and evaluate it.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Home Painting: What You can Look for in a Professional Finishing Company

Home painting is among the most common of ‘Do It Yourself’ (DIY) activities. But the fact of the matter is that the quality and durability of the finish of an amateur painter can rarely match that of a professional painting company.

And to be honest, who wants to go through the pain of post-painting cleanup? The easy way-out for you is to leave the job to such a company. Should that be your choice, you need to know what essentials to look for which would ensure that you employ the right people for the right job. And here are listed those essentials:

Color expertise

If you intend changing the color of a room, you need to be sure of what the new color scheme will look like. It will be too late and rather painful to recognize a mistake after the job is done. A professional painting service will be able to provide you with the guidance and support you need to choose the correct color palette for the room.


It’s one thing that anyone can apply a dash of paint to a wall. But applying it correctly to bring the walls back to life is entirely another matter. A professional knows for certain what needs to be done to produce the best results, and how to go about it.


Knowing what paint is to be used on what surface, and what mix will get the desired shade and judging how many coats are needed to get the right finish are all things that come from experience and specialized knowledge. These are areas where an amateur can easily make mistakes, which become apparent only when the paint is dry. By then it’s too late to do anything about it, except start all over again.

Preparing the surface

Before painting is begun, the surface has to be prepared properly. Without this essential initial step, the finish and durability of the paint will suffer. Experts know very well how to clean the surfaces, and fill holes and cracks, what amount of sanding is required, what type and amount of primer needs to be used and how to carry out all these essentials.

Lead abatement

If your home was last painted in 1978 or earlier, it is possible that the old paint might be lead-based. These old paint coats might peel, chip or crack now, releasing lead into your home environment, which is hazardous to every occupant of the home. Small kids are at the risk of greater exposure to lead-poisoning as they tend to lick, bite and chew anything unobserved.

A professional paint company, unlike an amateur, will be able to test for lead in the old paint. If found, they will deal with the problem efficiently, following all safety measures. They will ensure that nobody suffers from this hazard and your family is kept safe.

Using the right tools and paint

Cost does not always ensure matching degree of quality. Knowing what type of paint will achieve the best and the longest lasting finish means that the most expensive paint may not be required for the job. Using the right types of brushes, rollers and other tools will ensure the best results. This is something that a professional knows how to achieve.

Cleaning Up

Minimizing the mess and doing a complete post-painting cleanup is an integral part of a painting company’s job. This ensures that your newly painted home looks clean at its best.

When choosing a paining company, check its qualifications, skills, experience and its references. If you are satisfied, ask them whether they will be able to commit themselves to all of the above services and benefits; better avoid companies that are unwilling to. Otherwise, bad painting done will remind you every day of the wrong choice of a company and the mistakes that were made.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Finishes that Improve Your Workplace Efficiency

Everyone has a favorite color. You may think that yours is the best choice for your home office. Yes, it is nice to be in a room with the walls painted in your favorite color. But that does not mean it will create a more productive atmosphere or your work will be more enjoyable.

A great deal of research has gone into studying the impact of colors on moods. Among the many studies done on this, one by the University of Texas found that “… bland gray, beige, and white offices induced feelings of sadness and depression, especially in women" and that purple and orange evoked similar feeling in men. Blue, on the other hand, is a positive color – one that is associated with blue skies, which are a symbol of peace and tranquility.

So, what colors are the best for your workplace?

  • Yellow: Yellow creates a bright atmosphere. A mellow shade of yellow will create a cheerful, positive and friendly working environment. It can add life to a sedate quiet office that needs more life.
  • Blue: Blue is associated with nature in the form of blue water or blue skies and creates a sense of peace and tranquility. It also provides a sense of stability. This is a good color choice for high pressure work areas, where people tend to frequently show signs of stress.
  • Green: Green is restful to the eyes, and so it causes the least amount of eye strain. Because it is associated with the calm and freshness of green grass, it is indeed a comforting color. Green is ideal for high tech environments, where people spend most of the day staring at computer monitors.
  • Red: This is a color that should be sparingly used, because of the strong reactions it evokes. Red is the color of action, high intensity, pressure and urgency. Using red in isolation is not advisable, but red accents in a quiet sedate workplace can add a touch of excitement and energy to the atmosphere. It can also be used in non-work areas like break rooms, hallways and bathrooms.

Remember these are generalizations, and individual reactions to different colors may vary. If you are painting your home office, choose a color that gets you in the right mood. If it is a formal workplace, try to get a consensus from everyone as to what colors will work the best.

Get Expert Painting Help

If your office, whether at home or in a formal workplace, is usually filled with people, and needs painting, go beyond the thought of only what looks good. Consider how the color choices will affect productivity. After all, that is what a workplace is for. This does not mean that you need to paint your walls in unpleasant colors or use shades that clash with the office décor.

There is always a via media that can be found to make the area pleasant and at the same time boost productivity. This is not easy, but a professional painting and finishing company will be able to guide you on the right color choice and combination options. The expert touch that they will give to the finish will enhance doubly the effect.

Try it and see for yourself how investing in the right colors can pay big dividends. In fact, there is no need to wait till the walls need painting. You can do it any time for a quick and effective change in the mood, ambience and efficiency of your office.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Common DIY Painting Mistakes you should Avoid (Part-2)

In the previous blog post we looked at some of the common mistakes people make when they attempt DIY painting. What follow are a few more, and these do not relate to the technicalities of painting as such, but to simple common sense errors that people make because they think painting is easy.

Not sanding

Sanding may appear to be counterproductive, especially if the new paint is being applied over a smooth coat of old paint. But paint needs to stick on to a wall, and for this it requires some texture or roughness. If the wall being painted has any shiny surfaces, scrub them gently with sandpaper till the shine is gone. Follow this up by rinsing down the wall. This is an important step that is often overlooked. If not done, grit from the sandpaper may remain on the wall, and if this is painted over, the finish will be ruined.

Drenching the brush in paint

It is a common misconception that you need to get as much paint on the brush as possible. Dipping the brush too far into the paint can is a mistake. First of all, the paint that collects at the base of the bristles will not flow on to the surface being painted. Next, it could start dripping and damaging the finish. And thirdly, the paint is difficult to clean out when the job is over. Dried paint will make the bristles hard and when the brush is used again, the paint will not apply properly. Ideally, the brush should be dipped only one third of the way in. This is the area from which the paint can optimally be applied.

Starting wrong

Painting randomly or starting at the easiest places is a big mistake. Always start at the top, near the ceiling, and work your way down. That will give you the smoothest finish and allow you to catch any drips that may occur.

Painting over wallpaper

It is possible, though not advisable often, to paint over wallpaper. If it has to be done, using water-based primers and paints is a mistake. The water content can reactivate the glue holding the wallpaper to the wall, and cause it to start peeling – often days after the painting is completed. If you have to paint over wallpaper, use only oil-based primers and paints that will not react with the glue.

Skipping the cleanup

Painting can be tiring and it is tempting to postpone the cleanup till later. If brushes are not cleaned immediately after use, they can become unusable. Wash them thoroughly with dish detergent and clean water. Once dry, wrap them in airtight plastic wrap and store them in the original packaging which will allow them to retain their original shape.

In theory, painting is easy. In practice, making mistakes is easy. The flaws in your painting may not be immediately visible, but they will appear soon enough. Painting is time consuming and messy; it would be a major hassle to redo a job to cover up flaws or achieve the expected finish. It also means greater expense. DIY is great for certain things, but when it comes to painting, which affects the look and ambience of a home, engaging a professional painting and finishing company makes a lot of sense in terms of quality, cost and convenience.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Why hire a Professional Painter?

Painting a home is among the most common of ‘Do It Yourself’ (DIY) projects. After all, what you need is just the paint, brushes and rollers to do the job yourself. Why should you pay a professional for doing something you can manage yourself? While that is partially true, there are other factors that you need to consider.

It may not be rocket science, but …

Will you be able to mix shades correctly to get the color you want? Do you know what type of paint is right for the surface you want to paint? Are you sure that you have prepared the wall correctly? Are you certain that you want to take on the physical stress and strain of doing the job? Have you kept the post-painting cleanup hassles in mind? Is your answer to any of these questions “No” or “Maybe”? Then think twice about doing the job yourself.

The finish is everything

The final look of the finished surface determines how good the painting is. Using the best quality paints is good. Having the right tools is essential. But nothing can replace the experience and expertise of a professional painter when it comes to quality. That’s the difference between a “Nice” wall and a “Wow” wall. You are not going to paint your home every year. So why should you settle for a ‘nice’ job when you can get a greater one?

It’s not the tools; it’s how you use them

Painting requires ladders, scaffolds, brushes, rollers and other tools. You can rent them when you do painting on your own. But are you sure you know how to use them correctly? Will you be safe on the ladder or scaffold? Painting is like driving a car – the more you do it, the better you are. Only a professional painter who does the job everyday will have the skills to ensure that the quality of the painting is what it should be.

Preparation is critical

The quality of the final finish depends as much, if not more, on the preparation of the surface. A professional knows well how to scrape the walls, remove spots and stains and get a completely smooth surface that will ensure a perfect finish.

DIY is not cheap

A professional painter will be able to do a job that will last for years. That means the repainting costs over time is reduced. They also know exactly how to mix paints to get the maximum coverage from each can.  Professionals will do a great job using much less paint than you would. Don’t forget to add the cost of equipment rental to your DIY budget. Painters have their own equipment. Put all these factors together, and you will realize that the real cost of using a professional painting company is not as high as you may think.

Cleaning up is a real pain

Post-painting cleaning is indeed an irksome hassle. The professionals will make less of a mess, as complete cleanup is part of their job. Besides the actual labor of the cleanup, your time has value. Have you factored this in when thinking of doing painting on your own?

Think about it

You want your home to look its best, don’t you? Then you have to consider seriously all these issues. Don’t you feel hiring a professional painting and finishing company to do the job does make a lot of sense, in many ways? Contact a company with the skill, experience and ability to paint your home the way you want it to be painted. All you need to do then is just to sit back and enjoy the new look.