Enhance Your Home Cosmetically & Structurally
Now that Spring has arrived here in Massachusetts, you likely are looking around your home to determine what projects are needed to repair or maintain it. And, if you’re thinking of putting your house on the market, you know that you’ll need to prepare it to compete in this market. As most people know, a fresh coat of paint can make all the difference not only cosmetically, but also structurally. After all, paint protects your home from the elements.
For many, hiring a professional painter to tackle the job is well worth the price considering the non-financial costs of the job. Consider the physical risks of hanging out on ladders, juggling heavy equipment, and dodging hornet’s nests. Think, too, of the environmental issues of mold and mildew, and, if your home was built before 1978, lead and other contaminants. Indeed the biggest cost may be the time the work takes away from your preferred activities like ballgames, picnics and social gatherings.
Ultimately, though, the main reason to hire a pro is to help make sure that the finish lasts for years to come. A professional knows exactly how to prepare the surface – whether wood, vinyl or stucco – to allow proper adhesion. Professional painters also know that what type of paint to use and at what time and temperature to apply it. Done incorrectly, your paint job could need to be redone way too soon.
Many people are surprised to learn that preparation can take as much as 75 percent of the time needed to do a quality paint job. It’s that critical to the long-term success of the painting project. A professional will spend time examining the house before starting the surface preparation looking for cracks, chips, peeling and fading. These factors could indicate standing water or constant sun in certain areas, and those areas might need extra attention. Water issues must be addressed because surface variations could indicate damage to the underlying wood or other material. And continuous moisture will damage the new paint, too. After the examination, the work process is basically three-fold: repair damage, prepare surfaces, and then paint.
A professional painter starts by repairing damaged areas – typically fascia, wood trims, window sills and doors. Light damage can be repaired easily with the proper tools, but split or rotten wood may require the services of a carpenter.
Next comes the critical step of cleaning the surface. Soap, water and elbow grease can do the job, but pressure washing often is the preferred method for clearing surfaces of dirt, grime, oil and other air-borne pollutants. The main thing is to understand that damage can result if done incorrectly. It’s much better to use very low pressure (less than 1000 pounds per square inch) and lots of water. Let the cleaners do the work, not the water pressure. To protect plants, animals, family and friends, be aware of the types of cleaners being used and where runoff from those cleaners is going. They can be toxic, corrosive or irritating.
The most labor intensive part of the process follows, as it involves scraping, sanding or wire-stripping any loose paint or wood. If your house was built before 1978, this process could be dangerous because of the use of lead-based paint prior to that year.
After all the repairing, cleaning and preparation is completed, the house is finally ready for its new face. Be sure your painter uses only good quality, exterior paint from a leading manufacturer. Since your home is likely your most valuable asset, you’ll want to protect it. And a fresh coat of paint can help to protect it from sun, snow, rain and hail for years to come. Besides, it’ll make it look good, too.