The proper order for your projects

It is not uncommon for my customers to undertake a number of home improvement projects a the same time. For example, they may have their roof replaced and the exterior painted. Or they may have their flooring replaced and the interior painted. Doing these projects in the proper order can save money and provide for a better job in the end.

On exterior projects, it is best to replace the roof first. The removal of existing shingles, as well as the placement of ladders, can often result in damage to fascia boards and siding.

Similarly, landscaping should be done after painting. Doing so will provide easier access to the surfaces to be painted, as well as eliminate potential damage to the freshly planted shrubbery and flowers.

On interior projects, any reputable painting company will tell you that the proper order of having the painters at your home to paint and the flooring guys there to replace the flooring can be even more important. However, the order will be determined by the type of flooring to be installed.

As a general rule, it is best to remove any existing flooring prior to painting. The removal process can often create significant dust, and in the case of tile, flying debris can cause damage to walls and woodwork. The removal of carpet can cause damage to baseboards, and walls can be easily scuffed. An alternative to completely removing carpet is to cut away a few inches adjacent to the baseboards. Not only will this eliminate damage to the freshly painted surface, it will allow us to paint the baseboard below the carpet line.

It is generally best to install new tile, wood, or laminate floorings prior to painting. Even with the most extreme care, installers can easily mar freshly painted surfaces.

Wood flooring presents a unique problem. The installation process requires substantial sanding, and the dust can accumulate on the walls. Removing the dust from a freshly painted wall can easily damage the paint. Consequently, it is best to have the floors installed and sanded prior to painting.

Having the floors completed prior to painting however, presents challenges to the painting crew. As with paint, the freshly applied polyurethane on the floor can be easily damaged, even with the use of drop cloths and other protection. Consequently, it is best to have the painting performed before the floors are completely finished.

At the completion of the painting, the flooring company can apply their final protective coatings and install shoe moulding. With the proper care, no damage will be done to the freshly painted surfaces.

Following the proper order can require careful coordination between the home owner and contractors. But in the end you will wind up with a better looking job.

Adding pizzazz to your interior walls

There are a lot of ways to give a room a unique character. One of the most obvious methods is the color of paint selected. However, there are other techniques that can be used as well.

Accent walls have long been used as a means to add interest to a room. However, it isn’t the only way to use multiple colors within a room. Stripes, whether horizontal or vertical, can be used to create a unique affect and add interest to a room.

Creating stripes can be time-consuming and tedious. A base coat must be applied and allowed to dry sufficiently. Tape is then used to mark the location of the stripes and create a straight line. The stripes can be of equal width and uniform distance apart, or varied. When choosing a pattern it is important to keep in mind the location of doorways and windows, as these can significantly impact both the location and the appearance of the stripes.

The color of the stripes can be bold and dramatically different, or vary only by a shade or two to create a subtle distinction. For even more subtlety the same color can be used for the stripes and base coat, with a higher sheen paint used for the stripes. The difference will be noticeable only at an angle, which can create a very interesting effect.

Another way to create a unique appearance is with faux bricks or stones. The possibilities are almost endless, as the size, shape, and color of the stones or bricks can be varied.

One example is to create faux bricks with joint compound and a stencil. The “bricks” are then painted with a white base coat, a light coat of the adjoining wall color, and then glazes are applied to give the bricks an aged appearance. The remainder of the wall is covered with a thin coat of joint compound. The “mortar” lines can be painted and highlighted to provide depth and interest.

The final appearance looks like a brick wall that had been plastered, and then some of the plaster has fallen off. This technique can be repeated on other walls and to give the room a unique “old-world” charm.

Another way to add pizzazz to a room is with texture. Stucco or similar troweled finishes can provide a masonry-like appearance, and when combined with glazes, color washes, or other decorative techniques, the result can be dramatic.

Volatile Organic Compounds

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are a by product of the manufacture and use of many products, including paints, primers, and varnishes. Many coatings will continue to emit VOCs for years after application, which can diminish indoor air quality.
Low VOC coatings use water as a carrier instead of oil-based solvents, resulting in lower levels of harmful emissions. Certified coatings also contain no, or very low levels, of heavy metals and formaldehyde. The amount of VOC’s varies among different “low-VOC” products. Low VOC paints will still emit an odor until dry.

Benefits of Low-VOC Paints:

  • Less irritating odors
  • Fewer harmful emissions
  • Improved indoor air quality
  • Less need to vacate the home