The Pacific Northwest presents unique challenges because of … you’ve guessed it … the weather. There are plenty of places around the country that are wetter than Seattle, but only in Seattle is it both wet and cold. Our long winter – many people feel, at least – begins in October and doesn’t end until April. It’s not usually that bad, but if you grew up in for example Southern California, the long dark days of the Puget Sound can feel very much like a six-month winter. Why is this important to this topic? Well, exterior home and business building painting comes to a virtual stop on Seattle for almost half of the year. That’s because water and most paints don’t mix. No matter what paint type you are planning to put on your home, the house surface must be bone dry. Even with water-based paints, including many of the new flexible types on the market today, even light condensation on the siding of your home will interfere with the efficacy of the paint. You might not notice it immediately, but even a little amount of extra water will skewer the paint mix and may present problems later in the form of paint shade differences. So, while it might look perfectly fine the day you paint your house, variations in the paint ‘thickness’ (due to the relative percentage of water in it) may show up in the bright summer daylight as an uneven color on your house.
The other problem is, if you do go ahead and paint your house on a cooler, damp day, you might not be able to dry it fast enough. An external painting project needs time to dry. By the end of the first day of painting, it may look and feel dry, but it takes time to set. You’ll know that if you ever got part of your car repaired and painted. The auto company will advise you that it takes days or even weeks to finally ‘set’ and that you should not take it into a car wash before that time. It’s not quite the same with houses, but it does take a least a few days for the new paint to fully dry and ‘set’. If you have a cold and rainy storm while that is in progress, your paint might be compromised.
For some strange reason, most people leave this decision until the last minute. And that can become a problem because it takes time, and if you bump up against a painting contractor’s busy summer schedule, you may lose your time slot for the work, and have to wait again until the next summer schedule. Deciding on color, in particular, takes time, and you might want to try a few ‘test spots’ on inconspicuous areas of your home before you choose the color you settle on. You would be surprised at how different a paint can look in situ to how it looks on in the catalog, or even on the top of the paint can. Paint is usually available in what I will guess is 8-ounce paint containers. Use those as a low-cost way of testing out your color ideas. If you are, indeed, hiring a painting contractor, you can present your decision early.
If you are ‘not great with colors’ as some of us are, some painting contractors offer color and paint selection services. If they do not, consider hiring a professional decorator to help you choose main colors and trim wisely. Once the paint goes up, the money is spent and you’re stuck with the color. You may not be in a position to do the work all over again if it went horribly wrong.
It’s tempting to jump right into the painting before all surfaces are ready, but no paint does well if applied to a surface that is not fully dry and ready for the application. You don’t have to using rubbing alcohol to do the complete cleaning, and some rooms might not need it as much, but kitchens and bathrooms in particular usually have considerable buildup on the old paintwork that should be removed first. A kitchen will usually benefits from a thorough washing with washing up liquid in hot water and a sponge, followed my removal of any washing up liquid residue after the initial scrubbing. That means you will end up with a nice clean surface, free of grease in particular, which would have otherwise compromised the quality of the work.
Doing the cleaning properly first will greatly enhance the life time quality of the paint and your enjoyment of the kitchen.
Paint no longer has lead in it, thankfully, but it has many other additives that we never heard of only a few decades ago. Leave the paint in one place for a while, and you’ll find it will settle. Sometimes the oil might settle to the top, and heavier ingredients sink to the bottom. Mixing it thoroughly will ensure you get a uniform application of color and effectiveness across the entire painting project.
You can mix the paint can by can manually, which take a long time, or you can avail of the shaker and mixer tool I’ve seen in many home stores that supply paint. It truly does mix the paint into a uniform consistency, so consider do that to your cans of paint the morning you are starting the project.
I’ve seen people spend a fortune of the best paints, only to skimp on the most important tools: the paint brushes. And the best thing about the paintbrushes is, you can use them over and over. That is, if you take care of them. I remember my own father took excellent care of the tools he bought to maintain his house. He was pretty handy at everything from wallpapering to carpentry to painting. He had superior attention to detail to anyone I’ve ever met, and it paid off. After a painting project, he would clean the brushes back to an almost as-new condition. They were stored properly and were available again years later for the next project. For my entire childhood, he was able to retain the good use of those excellent tools, and not rush out to buy replacements because of lack of care.
If you plan to use them again in the future, get advice on what will be the best tools on the market, invest in those, and maintain them well. Not only will the quality show up in the finished product, but it will save money in the long term.
Check back next week for more tips!