Tuesday, September 27, 2011

What Color Should You Paint the Garage Door?

Because of its size, a garage door painted in an accent color commands a disproportionate amount of attention and, depending on its location, can detract from the entryway which should be the focal point of the front of your house. After all, the garage door is only the entrance to where your cars live, it’s not where you welcome visitors. 

The solution is simple: paint your garage door** the same color as the walls of your house, and choose a special accent color with a dash of pizzazz for your front door, a color that’s used nowhere else.  You’ll be amazed at the difference this simple change will make.

**Some garage doors can't be painted. Read the warranty.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Paint-Primer Hybrids-Do They Work?

The new paint/primer hybrids being marketed today are very popular with consumers who hope to reduce the work of painting, but do these products perform as advertised? The answer is perhaps they will in some situations, and definitely not in others. In spite of the marketing hype, these hybrids aren’t always the right choice, so it pays to get expert advice about your specific project.  

The primer you need depends on: 
  • What you’re priming (wood, drywall, plastic or metal)
  • Whether you’re working inside or outside
  • What you want to accomplish. 
The primer to use on a rusted metal railing outdoors is different from the primer to use on a water-stained ceiling.

The right primer will:
  • Improve adhesion, or the ability of the finish coat of paint to stick to the surface. 
  • Fill imperfections to create a smooth surface and make the finish coat more attractive and durable.
  • Marry two different types of paint, such when you want to use a latex paint over a surface previously painted in an oil base paint. 
  • Enable you to make a significant color change. (For maximum coverage, tint the primer to the color of the finish paint.) 
  • Reduce absorbtion of moisture to protect the item being painted, especially wood.
  • Retard the development of rust.
  • Block tannin, grease, wax crayon, water damage, rust or smoke stains, etc. from bleeding through the finish paint.
  • Retard odors from nicotine, fire damage, etc. 
  • Evenly seal the drywall paper and taped areas so that paints with a sheen will have a more uniform, attractive appearance.
Finish paints are designed to be:
  • Attractive
  • Durable
  • Cleanable to a greater or lesser extent, depending on the type of paint and the sheen
Paints aren’t formulated to do the same work as primers, and when you combine the two, it’s arguable that the resulting hybrid is a less effective version of both. In addition, because primers cost considerably less than finish paints, using the right primer followed by a good quality finish paint will reduce the overall cost of your project, and give you more attractive, long-lasting results. If all this has your head spinning, remember that one of the many benefits of hiring a professional is product knowledge. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Your Baseboards and Crown Molding - Should They Disappear?

When painting the inside of your house, you not only have to choose attractive wall and trim colors, you have to decide where to put them. One important decision is whether or not the baseboards, crown molding and other details should be accented.

I firmly believe that you should accent only the details that are:
  • attractive 
  • suitable to the design of the house, and
  • in the proper scale with the room
Many of today's houses have narrow, utilitarian baseboards and crown molding that don't deserve special attention, but people go on automatic pilot and paint them in the trim color, usually a white. This creates awkward, skimpy white lines at the floor and ceiling that draw the eye, and when the wall is a rich color, the high contrast makes their shortcomings even more obvious.

Crown Molding Enhanced With Paint
Don't worry, I'm not suggesting that you replace your trim! There are two simple solutions. You can either make it disappear, or you can enhance it.

  • To make trim "disappear", paint it in the wall color so it becomes texture. The ceilings will look taller and the room more unified and spacious. 
  • To enhance the trim, use masking tape and trim paint to redefine it, as was done in the above example from one of our projects. Notice how small the wood section of the crown is, and how much larger and more attractive it looks after Roger enlarged and painted it in a golden bronze metallic I chose to complement the blue walls, gold ceiling and the mirror frame. 
If you want to enhance your trim, you don't have to have a fancy look and metallic paint. The technique works just as well in less formal rooms.

Our two hour color and detailing consultation ($225, plus travel charges in some areas) includes suggestions on how to make the most of the details of your house. If you hire us to do the painting, the consultation is free as part of our services. To schedule a consultation or a painting estimate, call me at 828-692-4355.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Where Are Your Window Treatments?

Roger started a new interior painting project today, and last week I visited the homeowners to help them choose colors, a free service for our clients. While I was there the conversation drifted, as it often does, to other design issues. 

One of my recommendations was that they bring more light into the house by re-hanging their window treatments at the top of the wall, instead of at the top of the window, and that the panels come to the outside edge of the window casing, instead of hanging over the window. If you have a valence over blinds, the bottom of the valence should hide the stack - but that's all. Moving the window treatments will make the room look larger and brighter, and it won't cost our clients a cent. Look at the impact of this simple change. The windows are the same size, but the one on the right looks much larger and has a lot more pizzazz.

Between the window treatment rehab and the spiffy new paint colors, this lovely house will look even better, and be a more cheerful, enjoyable place to live.