Sheen – Choose the Correct One for Your Project

Sheen – Choose the Correct One for Your Project

Home Painting Interior Painting

The term sheen refers to the degree of shine or luster in the paint. Paint can be usually be ordered in the following levels:

  • Flat
  • Matte
  • Low-sheen/Low lustre
  • Velvet
  • Eggshell
  • Satin
  • Semi-gloss
  • Gloss
  • High gloss

The catch is sheen from one company may not match the sheen from another… even when they are labeled similarly. It can be tricky to select the right one for your project, so here are some helpful guidelines:

When selecting paint, always ask to see the sheen chart, which is something every paint store will have on hand. Some paints are only offered in a few levels, while other lines come in a vast array of options.

Picture of Benjamin Moore sheen chartKitchen, bath and high traffic areas

I recommend you stick with a bit of luster in the kitchen and the bathroom because flat paint can take on water stains. Also, if your home is bustling with children and pets, you may want to select paint with a bit of shine, which makes it easier to clean.

For these higher traffic areas, I recommend a washable flat, low-sheen, velvet, eggshell or satin sheen.  The lower the shine, the better it will look, so ask your painter or the paint store which is the lowest sheen up from flat in the product line you have chosen. Many times, it will be satin or eggshell.

Flat is beautiful

A flat sheen will always minimize the imperfections inherent in any surface, which makes flat ideal for most walls other than kitchen and bath.  If your lifestyle is such that you don’t expect a lot of clean up on the walls, I recommend a flat sheen for the most beautiful finish.

Semi-gloss shows everything – proceed with caution

I never recommend using a semi-gloss for walls, even in a bathroom, because high sheen results in more light reflection and that means greater visibility for any imperfections on the wall.

Trim with Satin

Cut pieces of trim showing sheen differencesFor woodwork or trim, I prefer a satin sheen. Because baseboards and trim tend to take some abuse, satin enamel won’t accentuate the imperfections but will allow for easy clean-up because it dries to a hard surface. Important: NEVER use wall paint on woodwork. If the woodwork is in exceptional condition, then a semi-gloss can be a suitable choice as well.


So, now you’ve got the scoop on sheen.

Until next time,


How Much Does It Cost to Paint a House?

How Much Does It Cost to Paint a House?


The cost of painting a house can average between $5,685 to $6,749. Customers often ask for a square footage cost based on the size of their home; when in reality, it’s the square footage of the wall surface that we base our calculations on. This is why we measure when we provide a quote. Other factors can also influence the cost to paint a house.

Exterior vs Interior

In addition, the cost to paint exterior of house is calculated differently than the cost to paint interior of house. So, how can you budget for your home maintenance or remodel? My formulas for the cost to paint a house are proprietary and I really don’t want to give my hard-earned calculations to my competitors, so I’ve done the next best thing. I searched my records for the costs of the past 20 interior and 20 exterior paint jobs. These amounts encompass a variety of jobs and are a base for knowing the average cost, big or small:



Exterior of house painted by Sisu


Portion of interior painted by Sisu

Contributing Factors

Many factors contribute to the cost of painting a house: the size of the project, the detail involved, the number of colors, the age of the home, the amount of prep work, and so on. Recently, we painted a stairwell for $350 and the owner supplied the paint. We also got paid over $18,000 for painting the interior and exterior of a new build pool house. All in all, the best way to get the cost of your painting project is to schedule a bid.

If you’re just looking to have a room painted, the average price to the paint walls of a 12’ x 12’ bedroom with 8-foot ceilings is about $556 for a two-coat color change. If you paint more rooms, the price can come down, so there’s always that to consider. The time of year can affect pricing. Currently, we are running a 25% off special because our exterior season is over and we naturally slowdown in the winter. This discount brings the cost of interior house painting way down. We hope this information helps you to budget your painting project.

Waterborne vs Oil-Based Paint That is the Question

Waterborne vs Oil-Based Paint That is the Question


Water-based paints have come a long way since they were first introduced in the 1940s and 50s. Today we use water-based paints on exteriors because oil-based paints tend to get brittle and will crack and peel. Interior wall and ceiling paints are almost exclusively waterborne paint with few exceptions. But, when it comes to trim paint, the options become a little broader and occasionally oil-based paint is appropriate.

As waterborne products become more advanced, the oil-based options seem to dwindle.

Here’s what we love about oil-based paints

Example of oil-based eggshell sheen

  1. Best sheen – nothing compares to the sheen of oil-based paints. It is sophisticated and subtle and has an appearance you cannot attain with water-based products
  2. Best leveling properties. The paint takes longer to dry so it levels out better, especially when brushed. This makes for a beautiful finish that’s hard to achieve with the water-based product

What we don’t love about oil-based paint

  1. It’s bad for the environment – oil-based paints have VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) that gas off and pollute the environment
  2. The finish yellows over time. Recent regulations lowering the VOC content allowed in paint has increased the amount of yellowing that we encounter
  3. The finish gets brittle and will chip and chip and crack over time. This problem has also increased with the recent regulations
  4. The finish does not clean well. The paint will pick up grime and oil that is impossible to keep clean. This problem is especially bad on cabinetry, which tends to be a high traffic area
  5. The finish does not touch up well

What we love about waterborne paints

  1. Waterborne paints are more durable than oil-based products
  2. The product dries quickly
  3. The finish does not yellow over time
  4. The product touches up easily
  5. The paint cleans up with water
  6. The finish is easy to maintain
  7. The product sprays out beautifully

What we don’t love about waterborne paints

  1. Waterborne paints don’t level as well as oil-based paints, so they show more brush strokes and stipple if painted by hand
  2. The sheen is not as nice as oil-based paints

The hybrid water-based enamels on the market, called modified alkyds are performing quite well. The drying time is a bit slower, so they level better. We love these products for their durability, ease of application and beauty.

Benjamin Moore Advance Satin Water-Base Acrylic-Alkyd PaintSherwin Willaims ProClassic Water-Based Acrylic-Alkyd Paint

I prefer to use oil-based over waterborne paint on trim, if the house has historical significance and the paint will be applied with a brush. Brushed oil-based paint is lovely and gives the look that older homes seem to call for, especially if you are not painting the entire house. It’s always best to keep the finishes as uniform as possible. If you have previously hand painted oil-based paints that you are matching up to, then I recommend sticking with the oil-based products.

If you need help deciding which paint will be appropriate for you next painting project, we are just a phone call away and we are always happy to help where we can.

Until next time,


Painter’s Tape – Choose the Right One

Painter’s Tape – Choose the Right One


Wandering through the aisles of a paint store trying to pull everything together for your DIY painting project can feel overwhelming. From painter’s tape to drop cloths and paintbrushes to sponges, the options are practically endless. Some of these things won’t make a difference in your end product—the plastic you put on the floor probably won’t mess up your walls—but things like brushes and tape can make a huge impact on your lines and finish.

Let’s focus on the tape

Painting without tape is like trying to color in the lines on a tiny picture with a giant marker. It’s going to end in tears. Painting with the wrong tape can be just as bad. If it’s not sticky enough, you will end up with squiggly lines instead of straight ones. If it’s too sticky, you can end up with glue residue on the walls and other adhesion issues.

Recommended types of tape

Most of the tapes that we recommend are 3M™ products, the makers of Scotch® brand tape. These types may be more expensive than other options; but you really will get what you pay for. Cheaper means less quality when it comes to tape.

Scotch Masking Tape for production painting Scotch® Masking Tape for Production Painting 2020 is a high adhesion tape with a 3-day safe release.

Where: Use this tape in places that require high adhesion, mostly exteriors or hard to tape places inside.

Why: With 2020, you won’t have to worry about the wind blowing down your paper or plastic once you’ve stuck it to your trim and windows. You’ll have three days to use and remove this tape without risking sticky, messy residue on your surfaces. This is the shortest release period and the stickiest tape we’ll recommend, so be careful where you choose to use it. Make sure to take it off promptly.

Scotchblue Painter's Tape for multi surfaces

ScotchBlue™ Painters Tape for Multi-Surfaces 2090 is a medium adhesion tape with a 14-day safe release.

Where: Use this tape for most of your painting projects, especially if they’ll take more than a few days, both interior and exterior.

Why: With 2090 you’ll have good adhesion without worrying about removing it in the three-day time window that 2020 provides. While you’ll have two weeks to finish your project before being concerned with adhesion issues, you also won’t have to worry about the tape coming off before you’re done.

Scotchblue Painter's Tape low-medium adhesionScotchBlue™ Painters Tape 2080 is a low-medium adhesion tape with a 60-day safe release.

Where: Use this tape for interiors, especially on delicate surfaces or on projects that may take a few weekends.

Why: With 2080 you’ll have an easy to work with tape that produces awesome straight lines. This tape is our favorite for interiors both because of the two-month safe release and because you don’t have to worry about paint seeping (bleeding) under the tape as much as you would with 2020 or 2090. We’ll warn you that this product is a lot more expensive than either 2020 or 2090, however. Like we said before, you get what you pay for!

Frogtape comes in a variety of adhesion levelsFrogtape® is not a 3M product and can be purchased in a variety of adhesion levels (multi-surface or delicate surface).

Where: Use this tape for interiors and special projects, like painting patterns/geometric murals. There is also a variety specifically for heavily textured surfaces.

Why: With Frogtape® you’ll get the added bonus of PaintBlock® Technology, which is a special film on the tape that reacts with wet paint to form a seal. The idea is that this will mean no bleeding, or minimal bleeding, and straighter lines. Our painters have mixed feelings about Frogtape®; but, if your lines are the most important part of your project, it may be a good choice for you. They also offer Shape Tape ™ which lets you create custom designs with much less work than standard tape as it’s already patterned in a couple of different shapes.

 Tape Width

Once you’ve picked the tape that’s right for you, all that’s left is to decide what width you’ll need. As professionals, we use one or one-and-a-half-inch tape. As a homeowner, using tape as wide as two inches gives you a bit of wiggle room—not that we’d ever accuse anyone of being sloppy!

It’s pretty much downhill from here as far as the tough choices go. Our painter’s tip to you: make sure to take the time to tape off properly and run your finger along the edge of the tape once you’ve applied it. The friction from your finger against the tape will create heat to activate the glue. This helps to achieve the straight lines you’re looking for.

Good luck!


Will Paint Fix It? Sisu Tips on What to Expect

Will Paint Fix It? Sisu Tips on What to Expect

Home Painting Interior Painting

Painting always comes with a unique set of challenges for each client. Things that weren’t apparent before painting become visible once we’ve started and customer expectations can be unrealistic. I get it. You’ve paid god knows how much for this interior paint job and darn well expect it to look exactly like you’ve dreamed it would. We want the same thing! Not only are you our customer, you are our lifeline–the people who keep us afloat in this crazy world. We love you and want the best for you! Unfortunately, there are some things that a good paint job just won’t fix.

Got cracks, holes, or texture that looks like the rough side of a bad day?

As much as paint can transform a space in an amazing way, it will not fix all your wall issues. If there’s a visible structural defect before you paint, chances are good it will still be noticeable after you paint. Structural defects can be sneaky, only showing their ugly faces once the wallpaper is off or the furniture is out of the room. Sometimes they’re obvious from the get-go. If your painter claims he can fix the waves, cracks or holes in your walls using paint, he’s probably lying to you. If you’re working with us, we’ll let you know as soon as we find any issues.

 Woeful Woodwork

Trim, baseboards and door casings all tend to suffer from woodwork neglect. Years of wear and tear can leave them looking rough and dinged up. Moisture damage on exposed wood can cause raised grain. As a professional painting company, we know a couple of tricks of the trade that can give you beautiful results. We’ll sand, fill with Bondo or wood filler, use PeelBond or TrimMagic, prime and do anything else we can think of to improve the finish of your wood. Paint will protect and clean up your woodwork. It won’t fix any flaws inherent in the substrate. Additionally, if you find dry rot anywhere, don’t paint over it! Dry rot needs to be removed and the wood replaced by a professional. Hiding the problem won’t help in the long run.

Terrible Texture

Once we landed a job repainting ceilings. It would have been straight forward enough, except for the fact that the homeowner’s main motivating factor for painting was more complicated than a tired color. The texture was peeling off! We looked closer at the damaged area and were amazed that the texture and drywall were not primed. That may not mean anything to you, but to us it was apparent that this was going to be a huge issue. Due to the lack of primer, any paint or texture we applied would just fall off again. We explained to the homeowners that this was a pre-existing condition (something we hadn’t accounted for in the scope of work and couldn’t guarantee in the long run).

As with all of our clients, we did everything in our power to resolve the issue. We called in a drywaller to repair the places where the texture had failed. When they were done, we sprayed the ceilings with an oil-based Z-Prime coat which we let dry overnight. The primer sealed the texture so that we could paint without re-damaging it. When we painted, we used two coats of paint applied with an airless sprayer, making sure not to back roll so the texture wouldn’t be damaged. The results were miraculous (if I do say so myself) and our efforts probably saved the customer thousands of dollars! The moral of the story? Just because paint can’t fix your texture doesn’t mean that it can’t be fixed by a painting pro and a fantastic drywaller.

 Revolting Repairs

We’ve been called in to right the wrongs of other contractors. Shoddy wall repairs can ruin the feel of your whole space and leave you feeling jaded towards contractors generally. First, we’d like to apologize to anyone who’s ever been of a victim of this type of disservice! How terrible, to put your home and your money on the line and have results which are less than pleasing! You have all of our sympathy. Secondly, there is a glimmer of hope. Although sometimes these repairs can be too time consuming to fix (a nice way of saying too expensive) and outside of the services we offer, painting can still perk up your space.

For everything else there’s spackle and caulk. Minor holes and slight cracks can be filled in using one of these two products, but they aren’t guaranteed to succeed. Proper prep work should include fixing what can be fixed and letting you, the customer, know about everything else. Sometimes, there’s nothing to do but call a drywaller. If you have any doubts about your space and its inherent flaws call us, email us, or tweet us! We are happy to help.