Caulk failure? Your siding may be the problem

Caulk failure? Your siding may be the problem

Exterior Painting Home Contractors Uncategorized Women In Construction

 

Repainting your home is an investment. Under normal circumstances, if you hire professional painters who properly prepare and apply two coats of quality paint, and if you maintain your property between paint applications, you can expect your new paint job to last 10 to 15 years.

Unfortunately, sometimes other factors affect the longevity of a quality paint job. One of the most common, if unexpected, factors that can affect the appearance and longevity of paint is siding caulk failure.

Caulk is the waterproof filler and sealant used in building work and in repairs. It is often used by painters to fill cracks or repair holes in order to create a smooth and uniform surface on which paint can be applied. When caulk separates or fails to adhere to a surface it can result in unsightly cracks, breaks or openings into which moisture can seep and cause a secondary, and serious, problem.

This failure can happen for a variety of reasons. The most common cause is directly related to the substrate (siding material) to which the caulk (and paint) is applied. Due to exposure, weather and outdoor elements, siding wears over time. Some types tend to wear well while others tend to experience caulk failure at an alarming rate.

We have seen the majority of caulk failure occur with the most popular brand of siding used by today’s builders and remodelers: HardiePlank®.

HardiePlank® siding is very popular because it is an extremely durable alternative to vinyl or wood siding. When it’s new, it actually holds paint longer than any other siding and does not require back brushing or rolling, under normal circumstances, which makes it easy to work with.

The problem is mostly with HardiePlank® siding which was manufactured before 2008. This siding has had serious issues with cracking and breaking due to expansion and contraction of the product as temperatures vary.  The obvious fix for this problem was to caulk at the butt joints in order to close the gaps; however, the same expansion and contraction that caused the initial cracking causes the filler caulking to fail. As a result, the seal is broken, allowing water penetration to occur, even on a freshly painted house.

The manufacturer of HardiePlank® addressed this serious issue in 2008 by requiring builders to install flashing behind the butt joints and recommending that painters did not, from that point forward, caulk in the butt joints.  Thankfully, as a result of this change in policy, newer homes with this siding should not have a caulk failure problem. Unfortunately, because the “fix” for this problem is not widely known by all builders and painters, we still run across this type of caulk failure fairly frequently, even in homes built after 2008.

If you are a homeowner or manager for a property with HardiePlank® siding, it is important to understand that paint will not wear as well nor look as good when applied over siding that is failing due to cracking or breakage or caulk failure.  We cannot guarantee results when working with this type of siding, because the problem is with the product, not with the paint.

There are some things you can do to minimize the issue, however.  If your home was built before 2008 and you have HardiePlank® siding, you should regularly maintain it by:

  1. Replacing caulking as soon as you notice it failing.
  2. Touching up the paint after any caulking repairs – this will help maintain both the appearance and the seal.
  3. In extreme cases, siding replacement may be needed.

Home renovations are stressful even under the best of circumstances. Things like caulk failure can complicate your otherwise straightforward job; but, more knowledge about your property and your potential problems can help to assure a quality end product. If you have HardiePlank® siding, check it often for caulk failure and hire a well rated and well informed painter whenever you choose to re-paint.

Until next time,

Nancy

 

 

The Pros and Cons of Medium-Density Fiberboard (MDF)

The Pros and Cons of Medium-Density Fiberboard (MDF)

Home Contractors Interior Painting

Medium-Density Fiberboard (more commonly known as MDF) is a man-made building material used as a substitute for real wood millwork in homes. We most often see it used in trim, cabinetry and interior doors.

This man made material has become very popular in new construction and remodels for a couple of reasons; it’s cheaper than real wood and it looks very nice after it’s been painted.

Remodelers and homeowner alike love this product because of the extra money it puts in their pockets and it looks amazing once the work is complete.  Real wood is expensive.

However, our painters have a different take on this product.  Painting this product the first time around doesn’t really pose any issues worth mentioning, but when it comes to repaints, it’s a whole different story.

When MDF gets wet, it swells.  Attempts to fix the problem in the traditional way (Bondo or other fillers and sanding) are futile and can even make the problem worse.  The only way to fix moisture damaged MDF is to replace it.

There are a few areas where MDF should never be used – kitchen or bathroom cabinets and trim in the bathrooms. These are the two areas we see the most failure because of moisture.  Window sills are also problematic if the windows have any sort of condensation or leaking problems.

Additionally, if you have a hectic lifestyle with kids and pets, MDF may simply be the wrong choice. If your wood work is going to take a lot of abuse, spending the extra money now on real wood could save you money and headaches down the road.

Most people seem to be satisfied with the MDF product and have experienced great results, but I don’t see this honeymoon phase lasting too much longer. As the product ages, the true test of time is going to bear results and I’m afraid some of the results are not going to be as satisfying as they are at the present time.

Natural materials tend to outperform man made substitutes.  This is true for all kinds of materials; not just building materials. For example, natural materials used in clothing and the food we eat are better than man made.  Budget restraints may require the use of MDF, but it’s better to make the choice with your eyes wide open so you aren’t disappointed down the road.

Whatever choice you end up making, I hope your project turns out better than you dreamed.

Best regards,

Nancy

 

Brush, roll or spray; Which is the preferred method

Brush, roll or spray; Which is the preferred method

Exterior Painting Home Painting

 

Exterior paint can be applied using a variety of methods. The purpose of this post is to compare and contrast the most common methods and to explain how the processes we employ at Sisu Painting are guaranteed to get the best results.

Brushing and Rolling

Brushing and Rolling is a manual process that involves the application of two coats to meet manufacturer specifications.  While this type of process is both time and labor intensive, the painter is able to control the process and achieve an even coat and desired thickness.   This method provides excellent overall coverage, particularly important on “rough” siding surfaces such as cedar shakes or T-111.

If your siding is hardy plank construction that is smooth and non-porous, back brushing or rolling may not be necessary or even the best application, however; eaves, corner boards and trim almost always require two coats of paint with back-brushing or rolling for an even and attractive paint application.

Spraying

Airless sprayers are commonly used for exterior paint applications because the spraying method allows for a uniform paint application (in terms of thickness) as well as a relatively fast drying time. However, when working with rough siding such as cedar or T-111, the airless spraying method does not allow the paint to absorb into the siding and often results in an inconsistent coverage and eventual paint failure.

At Sisu we bring the best of both methods to your exterior paint job…

To achieve the quality results you’ve come to expect from Sisu, our painters apply the first coat of exterior paint using an airless sprayer followed immediately by back-brushing or back-rolling to assure that the paint is worked evening into the siding surface. They finish with a top coat. This method combines the best of both worlds to achieve the most attractive and longest lasting paint application possible.

Enjoy the sunshine,

Nancy

Choosing Paint Colors for Your Home

Choosing Paint Colors for Your Home

Exterior Painting Interior Painting Paint color

I am mad about color! I love how color looks and the way it affects my mood.  I love taking a space and transforming it with color or updating a house and watching people fall in love with their home again.  I am not an interior designer or professional decorator, but never-the-less, I offer a complimentary color consultation to each of my customers once they enter into a contract with us.  My eye for color and many years of experience are what I draw on to help choose the right color.

If you’ve ever stood in front of one of those displays in the paint store with the myriad of color swatches, pouring over magazines, checking out colors on line and fanning through the decks of color, you already know that choosing color can be hard!  How many colors should you choose?  Are accent walls all the craze they used to be? What color do you paint the ceiling?  Can I use more than one color on the trim?  Should I stay neutral and play it safe or should I go hog wild?

I will address each of these questions in this article and give you a few tips to help you achieve that beautiful palette you’ve been dreaming of.

How many colors? One of the first questions clients ask is how many colors for my walls.  Most of us have seen (or maybe even had ourselves) homes where each room is painted a different color.  This may have scared you enough that you are afraid to choose too many colors; and, rightly so!  More is not always better; in fact, more is just more.  I recommend sticking to three or four nice colors and that’s it!

Accent walls: I do not care for accent walls unless there is a specific reason for it, such as drawing attention to a fabulous piece of artwork or bringing focus to an architectural feature such as a fireplace.  I do not recommend using an accent color to add interest to your space.  If your space is that boring, focus on bringing in something of interest first, like an exceptional piece of furniture or artwork.  If you are struggling, this is where my interior designer friends excel.

Ceiling color: If you have vaulted ceilings, painting a color on the ceiling will bring it down and make your space cozy. If the ceilings are high enough, going darker on the ceiling than the wall can come off nicely.  I also like color added to tray ceilings, such are often found in dining rooms and master bedrooms.  Don’t be afraid to go dark or bold in these spaces; otherwise, I like white for ceilings.

Try to pick one white for all your ceilings.  This will help the flow of color from room to room and give your home a nice airy feel.  I prefer the whitest of whites for ceilings, such as Benjamin Moore’s Super White.  A warmer white that goes with just about any color is Sherwin William’s Dover White.  These are two whites that work well in almost any space with most colors.

Trim and wood work color:  White woodwork is gorgeous, but adding a bit of color to your woodwork can be just as beautiful!  The same whites that look good on the ceilings, look good on woodwork; but, white isn’t the only option!  Here’s one way to add a bit of color to your woodwork: Paint your kitchen island a dark color that compliments the rest of your woodwork, then carry that island color into another room, such as your study.  I also love painting the woodwork the same color as the walls, except with a different sheen.  If you decide to go this route, choose a flat for the walls and a satin for the trim.  This is great for both traditional and modern spaces.

Is a neutral palette the best choice?  A neutral palette is almost always reliable and beautiful.  Decorating rules tend to state that the walls should complement your furniture, not the other way around.   It’s the job of the wall color to make your belongings look better.  In fact, you’d be surprised how the correct color can make that shabby sofa look acceptable again. If you are picking colors for yourself, pull neutral colors out of your sofa, rug, artwork or other “inspiration” piece.  Pick colors that are related on the color wheel from room to room and don’t go crazy!  A few nice colors that feel related will go a long way in giving you the dream space you are looking for.

If you love bright, bold or unique colors that reflect your personality, don’t be afraid to use them.  Just use them sparingly.  A pop of color here or there, whether in a room or brought in with accent pieces is an excellent way to brighten up your house.  I love the extraordinary and unexpected – in limited amounts.

I’ve given you a lot of Sisu rules for choosing paint colors, but I have one caveat: “Decorating rules are made to be broken!”  Following all the rules would be rather boring, right?  But, unless you are experienced with decorating or have enlisted the help of a professional, it may have better results if you stick to the rules.

Happy decorating

Nancy

Color Wheel Basics – Choosing the Right Color Scheme

Color Wheel Basics – Choosing the Right Color Scheme

Exterior Painting Interior Painting Uncategorized

 

You’ve probably noticed that we focus on color a lot. Whether we’re talking about your interior or exterior paint color or choosing the perfect pops of color to complete your look, color is important to us! And why shouldn’t it be, it’s all around us. Talking about color can be difficult, however. We wanted to give you a leg up on the conversation and cover a few of the color “language” basics.

Primary colors

The primary colors are red, blue and yellow. All other colors are made by blending these three primary colors together.

color wheelColor Wheel

A color wheel is a circle with different colored sections that helps to show the relationship between colors. Color wheels can be simple, only showing the primary colors and their basic, blended counter parts (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple); or they can be complex, showing a large variety of hues and lightnesses.

warm colorsWarm Colors

These colors are the colors on the right half of our color wheel; specifically, the reds, yellows and oranges are all warm colors. When you think of warm colors, think about the amount of energy you want to give your space. They are “advancing” colors, meaning they appear closer, and will make a space feel cozier and slightly smaller.

cool colorsCool Colors

On the left half of our color wheel are the cool colors. These colors—blues, greens and purples—are receding. A cool color can be useful to calm down any space in your home, which is why they are commonly found indoors and in living spaces. They will make any area feel more open and tend to have a relaxing effect.

complimentary colorsComplimentary Colors

Color wheels can be awesome tools for easily choosing colors that match. Complimentary colors are one of these perks. Want to find colors that are very different but still look good together? Look across the color wheel for some complimentary color pairs like the one shown here. Opposites really do attract in this case!

monochromatic colorsMonochromatic Colors

Another color scheme that is relatively popular uses the variety of values (lighter or darker shades of the same color) to its advantage. We’ve seen monochromatic looks making a come back, specifically in terms of using different sheens to play colors up rather than changing the hue. A monochromatic look uses only one slice of the color wheel.

analogous colorsAnalogous Colors

If you’re not digging the contrast provided by complimentary colors, analogous colors may be more your speed. Look at a wider portion of the color wheel for your analogous options, including several different slices, and pick a pallet which appeals to you.

Do you have other color terms bogging you down? Let us know and we’ll do our best to help you out!

Until next time,

Nancy

Sisu Rules for Getting the Best Results

Sisu Rules for Getting the Best Results

Uncategorized

You are taking on a project that will improve your property value and enhance your living experience…and may increase your anxiety. Whether you are taking on a small painting project or a whole house remodel, we offer these basic guidelines to help maintain perspective and humor…and get the best results.

Carefully review this list so you know what to expect during your paint project:

  1. Perfection does not exist, and looking for it can add to your stress.If you are someone who expects perfection on this or any project, you’re likely to be disappointed often.  Your paint project is being managed by human hands and humans are, well, human. You can trust us to do our very best to create the results you want.
  2. Murphy’s Law applies to every project, bar none.  If something can go wrong, it probably will. Stuff happens.   Keeping a cool head and learning to rely on honest and direct communication is the best way to deal with glitches in the plan. It’s also why it’s important to hire professionals to manage your project. We have lots of experience with overcoming the inevitable glitches along the way…so you don’t have to.
  3. Communicate with us. Something doesn’t look or feel right?  You’re frustrated that you can’t get to that bottle of wine covered with painter’s plastic? You haven’t seen your cat around for hours and worry he may have fallen into the paint bucket? (kidding!) Talk to your onsite project manager, tell them how you feel and what you need.  And, never hesitate to call the office or the owners to discuss any questions or concerns. We are all here to help you be as comfortable as possible with the process.
  4. Delays   Many factors can delay a project, including the weather, material shortages, sick workers, or other unforeseen issues.  Don’t fret, your project will be completed in the order it was scheduled. Rain is the biggest reason for delay of exterior projects. We carefully monitor weather forecasts to determine whether or not to schedule painters on a given day.  Sometimes the forecast is incorrect, which may cost us a day on the project. However, to get the results we (and you) want, we need optimal painting conditions. Try to be patient, and trust us to do our best.
  5. Now and then, damage  On any worksite, things occasionally get broken. If you have an irreplaceable heirloom or special family treasure, take the time to move it out of the construction/paint zone. While our employees are extremely careful and, while paint spills and splatter can easily be cleaned up in almost all instances, we strongly encourage you to remove anything of personal importance.
  6. Sometimes the swatch doesn’t always match the wall, or your expectations.Our color matching experts are excellent at what they do, but remember rule #1: perfection does not exist.  This is the reason we do drawdowns (large samples of the actual paint drawn down on card stock for color match approval).  The good news is, if the color doesn’t match, we can always change it.  That’s the nice thing about paint J.
  7. Interior paint projects can disrupt your life! In order to do the proper paint preparation necessary to achieve an exceptional final result, we’ll cover everything (furniture, etc) with plastic, paper and drop cloths… and keep things covered during the duration of the painting project. If it’s your first project using professional painters, you may be shocked… but you will be thrilled to see the final result. Try to be patient.
  8. There may be surprises along the way. Once the project is underway, our painters may discover existing damage or flaws that require attention. Your house may need maintenance that you were not aware of.  Discovery is important, but it’s never the kind of news we are happy to deliver.  When this happens, you can trust us to bring the issue to your attention.  In some cases, we may need to bring in other contractors to fix a problem, which may add additional costs to your project.
  9. Occasionally – very occasionally – we miss a spot.Touch-up painting is generally done at the end of the project, during the phase when our expert painters are looking over all the newly painted areas. If, by some chance, you notice something we missed, just give us a call and we’ll come and fit it.
  10. We take deadlines seriously, but workmanship is most important of all.Rest assured, our painters are working as fast as they can to finish your project.  Sometimes, due to a variety of unforeseen circumstances (see #9), things take longer than anticipated.  We will never rush a job to get to a deadline, because we know that rushing results in sloppy workmanship.  Be patient.  We pledge to stay on your project and do the job right, from start to finish.
  11. Pre-existing paint conditions can be tricky. It is common to encounter old drips and spills on trim or baseboards, left over from the last paint application.  Because this paint is old and set, the process of removing it can be very time consuming and expensive.  In most instances, through careful preparation, we can make it look better or “good enough,” but rarely can we make it look like new unless you are willing to incur additional expenses.
  12. Color selections must be pre-approved to assure a match. Your color selections need to be finalized at least a week prior to the start of your project in order to present drawdowns for color match approval.  If you authorize us to begin your project without your having approved the color, the cost of ordering additional paint in a new color will be applied to you.
  13. Relax: there is rarely a problem for which there is not a good solution. It is rare that we face an issue that really baffles us, but occasionally it takes a little awhile to find the right solution.  Remember, we are as eager as you are to make everything come out right.
  14. Brace yourself for color shock. Once the color starts to go up, so will your anxiety.  This is a normal reaction to change. Take a deep breath.  The first coat rarely looks “right” in the beginning, but 99% of the time clients find it stunning in the end.
  15. Sit back and enjoy the process. We hear it all the time from clients: you won’t find a harder working or more highly skilled team of professional painters anywhere.  The work ethic of our team is unsurpassed in the industry, and they are really nice to boot!

The best thing you can do to improve your overall experience of any home renovation project, is to relax and stay positive. Remember, especially during the construction phase, how much you wanted these changes… and that all good things take time.

Here’s to fresh paint!

Nancy

Hiring a Painter – Subcontractor or Employees?

Hiring a Painter – Subcontractor or Employees?

Home Contractors Women In Construction

When I started my painting business, I was astonished by the unprofessionalism of some of my competitors.  I don’t want this to sound like a rant, so let me state that there a many hard working and legitimate companies that are providing top notch service and following the letter of the law. Absolute Painting, Mountain Painting, ESP Painting, Sundeleaf Painting and Pearl Painters are just a few of the companies that I know that are out there doing it right. But, we’ve all heard horror stories about contractors and I’m going to address one particular area that really has me concerned about our industry.

When you hire a painting company, you may not be getting what you think you are paying for.  If the painting company wants to dodge paying the high cost of workers compensation insurance premiums, then they will subcontract to their employees and file a 1099 form.  What does this mean?  If you are a subcontractor, you can work as a sole proprietor. As a sole proprietor, you are not required to carry work comp insurance.  If you are working for yourself and you get hurt, that risk is on you as a business owner.  It’ not like you can sue yourself.  So, the painting companies are taking employees and classifying them as 1099 subcontractors, which is wrongly implying that they are individual painting companies.  The problem is they are not licensed!  If they are not licensed, they are not legal subcontractors.

If the subcontractor is legally licensed and carries general liability insurance, there is no risk to the home owner.  That’s contract law – the risk is on the contractor, not the home owner. Not so true if they are not licensed. If they are not licensed, then there is no exemption for home owner liability.  The onus in on the home owner at that point.

The bottom line is that if a 1099 employee that is not legitimately licensed were to get injured on your property, you could be held liable for that injury. Think about the implications if there was a serious injury or even death.

What can you do?  Make sure that all subcontractors are legally licensed to practice in the state of Oregon by checking on the CCB website; http://search.ccb.state.or.us/search/ . Check with your contractor to see if they have employees or 1099 employees.  If they have 1099 employees, run for the hills.  A legitimate painting company is going to have their own legal employees and not a bunch of 1099 employees.  Once in a while, a painting company will get too busy and hire another company as a subcontractor to do the work. In that case, you will need to check the subcontractor’s business detail to make sure they are not using 1099 employees as well. It’s a lot of work and unfortunately, almost impossible to monitor 100 percent.

Our policy at Sisu Painting, Inc. is that we never use subcontractors to do our work.  We use our very own highly skilled and trained employees, who are all covered by work comp insurance.  I recommend you hire companies that follow this practice.

Until next time,

Nancy

 

Best Temperature to Paint a House

Best Temperature to Paint a House

Exterior Painting Home Painting

 

Weather can have both positive and negative effects on your paint job.  When it’s wet and soggy outside, the moisture in the air can slow down the drying process, even on the inside of your home.  If you hire a professional like Sisu Painting, Inc., you won’t need to concern yourself too much because; like all good painters, we are obsessed with the weather.

However, if you have decided to take on a painting project yourself or you feel uneasy about the painter’s you’ve hired, here are a few quick tips to guide you during the painting process.

  1. Read the paint can label and stay within the recommended guidelines for temperature. Not all paint products are created equal, so this is an important factor.
  2. Do not paint exteriors when it’s raining or there is impending rain.
  3. If the forecast is wrong and your paint gets rained on, do not panic.  Although it is not recommended to paint in the rain, most exterior paint products are waterborne, so a light sprinkle is unlikely to damage your paint job.  Almost all exterior paints have drying agents that quicken the drying process, usually skimming over within four hours.  A heavy rain may wash off fresh paint. In that case, you may being doing a bit of touch up painting.  The worst case scenario is that you will have a mess to clean up and need to repaint.
  4. Do not paint when it’s too hot.  If you are painting on a hot day, try painting the shadiest sides of the house to avoid the direct sun. Painting in direct sunlight on a very hot day will not produce the best results.  The paint might dry too fast, become gummy, possibly blister and if you are using an airless sprayer, can dry in the air as the paint is atomizing, before it hits the surface.  A good painter can tell when the paint is drying too quickly and will call it quits.
  5. Do not apply paint products or urethanes on interiors when it is extremely wet and cold.  You could experience bubbling or the product can sag.  This is because the paint or urethane is not drying fast enough.
  6. Avoid painting in the fog; and, a good rule of thumb to follow is to paint only when the air temperature is 5 degrees or more above the dew point.  Weather Underground is a good resource to find out what your current dew point and temperature is for your area.
  7. Heat plus air flow will help your paint dry.  If you are painting inside and having drying issues, turn up the heat and increase the airflow by opening windows or turning on a fan.
  8. Don’t watch your paint dry, I swear it slows down the process!

Now that you have somewhat of a handle on when to paint, don’t let anything stand in the way of your vision and that fabulous paint job!

Cheers!

Nancy Long

 

Metamerism – The Metamorphosis Of Color

Metamerism – The Metamorphosis Of Color

Home Contractors Home Painting Interior Painting

Have you ever chosen the perfect color for your walls at the paint store, only to get home and find that it looks like a completely different color? How about pairing up a paint color to a pillow or other item only to discover it doesn’t match at all once the paint is up on the wall. Or, maybe you painted a room and one of the walls looks like it was painted a different color? All these scenarios are most likely caused by a phenomenon called metamerism.

Following is Wikipedia’s definition of metamerism: In colorimetry, metamerism is the matching of the apparent color of objects without matching the spectral power distributions. Colors that match this way are called metamers.

In the painting world, metamerism describes the effect that light has on color that results in changes to the appearance. If you take a board with paint on it and move it around the room, lay it down or hold it up over your head, the color will change, depending on how the lighting is hitting it. If you leave the board in one spot, you can watch the color change throughout the day as the sun rises and sets.

Metamerism can make choosing a color for your room a challenge. The color might be exactly what you are looking for at 2:32 p.m., but as the sun moves and lighting changes, it may turn drab or go a little too bright. A world without metamerism would be boring and flat, so I appreciate metamers. I enjoy the variations in colors that occur because of lighting.

Most commonly, we run into trouble when we take a paint color and change the sheens. Sheen refers to how flat or shiny the paint is. There are a myriad of sheens, but the most common are flat, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss and high gloss. We generally choose a color based on a paint chip, which is made of ink. Then we choose a sheen and that changes how much light the paint will absorb or reflect. This sheen variation can make it look like the color is different or wrong, when in fact, it is a spot on match.

I hope you have enjoyed this lesson in metamerism and that it helps you to appreciate the ever changing colorful world around us.

Until next time!

Nancy