Thursday, January 12, 2012

Plastic Shutter Painting Revisited

As I was going through my previous posts, I noticed one about painting plastic shutters.  Most of that information is still accurate, but there's more to the story now!

You can buy pre-colored shutters from most home centers and supply houses.  This is a great option if they have the color and size that's right for you.  But BEWARE!

Most of the pre-finished shutters nowadays are NOT PAINTABLE!

We had a customer bring in several packages of red shutters from Home Depot.  They weren't the "right" red, so we agreed to paint them for him along with his new front door.  We opened up the packaging, laid them out and wiped them down with our cleaner/deglosser solvent.

They were then sprayed with a really good quality 100% Acrylic Satin Exterior House Paint.  The same one we use all the time.

When we checked them the next day, they were still not dry.  This is in the middle of the Summer, they should have been BAKED by then! Same story 1 week later!

It was only then that someone read the original packaging stating they were not paintable.  Thankfully the homeowner was understanding and worked things out with Home Depot.

Here are the lessons:

1:  Read the packaging!

2:  If you want to paint your shutters a custom color, order the PAINTABLE shutters available from the factory.  You may have to wait a little while for your order arrives, but the finished product will be well worth the wait!

3:  Another option is to have your painter match the front door color to the new shutters if they all must match.

If your shutters are more than a few years old, you shouldn't have a problem with painting shutters.  Just to be sure, ALWAYS test the paint on the back side and see if it dries.

Questions?  Feel free to ask, just click the link in the "Contact Me" box on the left side of the page.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Why does my new color look different on my walls than it did in the store?

I'm asked this question a lot.  As if it isn't hard enough to pick colors!

You wouldn't believe the effect that light has on the way a color looks!

I'll be the first to admit that I'm HORRIBLE at picking colors.  There are professional decorators and designers that know what they are doing.  Depending on the size and scope of your project, hiring one of these professionals may be a wise investment.

If you decide to do it yourself, here are some tips I give my customers:

1:  Go to the paint store (or home improvement center) and look for chips with the color(s) you like.
2:  Take those color chips home and look at them in the area to be painted.  Be sure to look at them both in daylight and at night, with the lights on.

You may notice that the colors look different at home than they did in the store.  You have to remember that most retail stores have fluorescent lighting.  This is almost always a different light than you have at home.  Not only that, there are different COLORS of fluorescent lighting!  Maybe you have incandescent bulbs, maybe you have CFLs. Either way, they will look different.  Even natural light will affect the way the colors look.  Now, onto the next step.

3:  Decide which (if any) of the chips you think you like and take them back to the store where you picked them up.

Many stores have "sample quarts" available for purchase.  These are low cost (about $5) and low quality paint, but the important thing is the color at this point.  The reason you take it to the store where the chip came from is that most of these stores will only tint the quarts with their formulas.  They generally can't and won't custom match a quart for a $5 sample, it just doesn't make good business sense.

4:  Gather the quart or quarts of your possible color choices and take them home.  Don't forget to gather a brush or two to apply the paint!

5:  With a brush, apply 1-2 coats of the sample paints on your walls.  Make sure you let the first coat dry before adding the next one.  You can use a hair dryer to speed up the process.  Do this on different walls to make sure it looks good everywhere!  Also, try to apply your samples next to the trim in that room to make sure they look good together.  Don't forget to label the samples with the color that was used. A post-it note works great for this!

DO NOT! Tape a square in the middle of the wall to do your sample!!!!  Tape lines leave sharp edges or ridges and are very difficult to cover up later!  Make sure your samples have soft edges, they'll hide easily when the finish coats are applied.

6:  If you aren't satisfied with any of the color samples you have applied, repeat steps 1-5.  It's cheaper to buy more quarts than to repaint because you hate your color choices once the job is done!  This isn't something you do every month, so take the time to find a color you are happy with!

7:  Once you have settled on your favorite color, it's now time to buy the paint.  Whether you are doing it yourself or hiring a contractor, the following still applies.  Take your sample quart to the paint store where you plan on buying your paint.  Remember, you don't have to buy it from the same place where your sample quart was purchased.  If you take it to another paint store, make sure they match the color to the contents of the can, not a color chip or previous match.  

8:  Paint your walls!

I hope this helps in your color selection process.  Don't wait until the last minute to do this!  It may take a little more time that you originally thought and you don't want to make a rash decision.  Remember, you'll be looking at these walls for a long time to come.

If I've left something out or you have additional questions, don't hesitate to ask!

2 years!

Wow, has it really been 2 years since I've added to my blog????  I guess so!

That's about to change!  I've been compiling topics that I hope will interest my readers (both of them!).

If there are certain topics that you are interested in knowing more about or have questions about, don't hesitate to contact me.  In addition to painting, I have LOTS of experience with siding, wood rot and all aspects of windows, be it repair or replacement.  If I can't answer your question, I certainly know someone who can!

Be on the lookout for new posts in the very near future.

I hope all of you have a safe and happy holiday season and a Merry Christmas.

Take care all!


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Gutter Protection, Does anything really WORK?


Do those gutters with tops really keep leaves and other debris out of your gutters? Are they maintenance free? If you don't need new gutters, do the screens and toppers that you add to existing gutters work? What should I know before I buy?

There are three main types of gutter protection.

1: Mesh screens. These are basically metal screens that resemble what you see on wrought iron patio furniture. They are slightly flexible and fit on the gutters either by friction or by screws. This is by far the least effective system for protecting your gutters. I've seen a lot of these become loose over time or they are completely missing altogether due to high winds. When you have Maple trees that release those "helicopter" seed pods, the large end with the seed tends to get stuck in the screening and they won't come out unless you pull them out! So much for maintenance free! The will also let small leaves and other debris through which can clog the system.

The home above has the mesh style leaf guards that have come loose and actually trapped leaves inside the gutters! So much for protection!

2: Solid covers. These are the ones that are always advertised as being maintenance free, have no clog guarantees, etc. These are usually the most expensive of all the options. Basically, these are designed to let the leaves flow over the gutters while the water flows into the gutters. Sometimes they require new guttering to be installed, but not always. In theory, it's a good idea, but in practice things don't always work out as advertised. These systems are usually attached under the first row if shingles using nails or screws.

When they do clog, there is no easy way to find the problem since you can't see inside the gutters. Also, since they are so inaccessible, it is a great place for insects, such as wasps, hornets and bees to make their homes. Mosquitoes also love the moist environment caused by a clog. While many of the installers offer free cleaning, you only know there's a problem when it's too late! Why do you buy these again?

3: Foam Fillers. These are relatively new to the gutter protection market. The brand I know and have experience with is Gutter Filter, but there are others. They are an open cell foam insert that install inside your existing gutters. When correctly installed, they prevent leaves and debris (no matter what size) from getting inside the gutters. The foam is very porous and will let water pass through very easily. Sometimes leaves may sit on top of the foam, but eventually they will either wash off or blow off. Some of the inserts sit flat across the top of the gutters, others form a dome and rise above the height of the gutter slightly. I prefer the taller material since it allows less debris to collect.

Here is a picture of what the product looks like when viewed from above the gutter.  Of course, this is just a sample, the real thing will not have any gaps and the end of the gutter.  Also, there IS a screw bracket in this piece of gutter, it is completely hidden by the product.  You'd have a similar appearance if your gutters have the large spikes.

If you were looking face to face with your gutters, this is what you would see. 

Here's the "cutaway" view.  Water is allowed to flow through the product and will flow unobstructed below the filter for quick drainage.

BEWARE!  I saw a lookalike product at a local hardware store this weekend.  It looks similar, but the feel of the foam and density of the product are completely different. 
BOTTOM LINE: do your research and get several opinions! Different homes require different solutions. Just like windows, everybody makes the best product available! Disregard all of the hype, not everyone out there is looking out for your best interests. Check the installers rating with the Better Business Bureau. Remember, when it comes to gutters and leaf protection, there really is no such thing as "maintenance free." Plan on having your gutters inspected once or twice a year until you're comfortable with the performance of your guttering and the installed protection system. I know there's a lot to consider, but I hope this helps!