Paint Failure and What to Do About It

Paint Failure and What to Do About It

Home Painting Interior Painting

Blistering and peeling paint is a serious and prevalent problem. Older home and buildings are the most common places where blistering and peeling paint become an issue. If you own a home that was built prior to the 1960’s, you are more likely to be experiencing this problem.

Paint failure is both unsightly and potentially damaging, and it’s important to have enough information to make informed decisions about how to address the problem. While there are many different types of and reasons for paint failure to occur, including weather, neglect or abuse, in today’s post I will describe the symptoms of the problem and address a common paint failure issue that can even occur immediately following a fresh application of paint.

Here’s how to know you’ve got a paint failure problem:

If you see bubbles or “blistering,” which can vary in size and may appear as tiny blisters or large bubbles which appear intact or are breaking through the paint, you definitely have a paint failure issue. You may also see moisture seeping through the bubbles, or water stains which would be a sign of previous moisture. These symptoms can easily lead to peeling paint, which can lead to an unsightly and damaging mess.

Here’s why:

If you see signs of moisture, as described above, you can be certain that any blistering and/or peeling is being caused by moisture. Moisture can build up in siding for many different reasons, most commonly:

  1. Heat transference
  2. Lack of moisture barrier
  3. Siding which has not been properly primed or protected on the underside
  4. Paint layer film build
  5. Pipes that form condensation in the walls.
  6. Improper construction so the house is not breathing properly
  7. Water leaks

Of all the reasons listed above, the most common problem is heat transference.  Have you ever seen your windows steam up on a cold winter day?  That condensation is not only building up on your windows, it’s also building up inside your walls.  The science behind this can be explained by the temperature variance between the inside and outside of the house.  The space between the wallboard and the siding is the perfect place for the cold air and the warm air to collide and form moisture.

This condensation is what builds up in the siding and causes moisture. Under ideal circumstances, the condensation will evaporate and dry out and you would be none the wiser. Unfortunately, ideal circumstances don’t allow for extremes in temperature, and it can be difficult to protect your house, especially if you live in an older house, from the elements and keep temperatures steady.

Turning up the heat increases inside temperatures, and increases condensation. When the sun comes out and warms up outside temperatures, any condensation in the wall is converted to steam and, voila! This can create a perfect scenario for exterior paint failure. This problem is most commonly seen on the south side of the home; I see it often on some of the most beautiful old Portland Craftsman style homes. When I go out to inspect a property, checking the south side for paint failure is the first clue to discovering a moisture issue.

Here’s what can be done:

Unfortunately, this is a problem that cannot be simply addressed with a good paint job. However, there are some remedies I can suggest.

SIDING REPLACEMENT: If your house has severe blistering and peeling, siding replacement may be the only viable solution. No amount of prepping, painting, priming, sanding or stripping will resolve this issue. The siding needs to come off and a moisture barrier needs to be installed. There may be other structural defects that need to be repaired. This is the best option if you never want to be bothered with this issue again.

SIDING REMOVAL AND RE-INSTALL OF ORIGINAL SIDING: If you have a historical home and you wish to preserve the siding, you could remove the siding, install the moisture barrier, prime the undersides of the siding, repair defects in construction, then re-install the old siding. This option may work best for cedar lap siding. Other sidings might not hold up to this kind of process. Additionally, if there is a buildup of film (many layers of paint), stripping off the old layers of paint may be necessary. This can be a very extensive and expensive process and you will definitely want to hire the right professional for the job.

STRIPPING: Another option is stripping the siding. Your house needs to breathe properly in order for the condensation to evaporate. Multiple layers of paint could be preventing proper ventilation. Stripping will work in some cases; however, it does not address the lack of moisture barrier or the fact that the siding is not primed on the back side. So, stripping the paint, while helpful, does not guarantee that you won’t have future paint failure issues.
Recently, I was called out to look at a house where the customers paid over thirty thousand dollars to strip and paint, yet it was failing within a few years because the stripping process did not resolve the moisture issue. This is a heart breaking situation. After seeing this, I’ve become wary about recommending stripping as a solution to blistering and peeling caused by moisture.

THE MAINTENANCE PLAN: After reading all this information, you might be panicked at the thought that you can’t possibly afford any of these solutions.   Fortunately, there is good news and another option to consider: The Maintenance Plan.

The maintenance portion comes AFTER the paint job is completed.  As long as you are prepared, you won’t be shocked to see bubbles appearing, especially after a good cold, wet period.  Spring time is a great time for bubbles to make their appearance.  Our warranty does not cover paint failure due to moisture, but we do offer maintenance painting as a service.

The maintenance plan consists of:

  1. Scraping off the loose paint (contractors must use EPA approved lead safe practices if the house contains lead paint)
  2. Apply a thick coat of XIM Peel Bond or similar water based high build primer that contains glue; back roll if applied by airless sprayer
  3. Apply two coats of paint specifically formulated for blistering and peeling
  4. Inspect the paint job regularly to watch for blistering and address the problem in a timely manner by scraping the bubbles and loose paint, spot prime with Peel Bond, then touch up paint to match.

Here’s how the maintenance process works:

  1. By scraping, any loose paint (only that which is currently failing) is removed. The paint that is intact may fail down the road and it’s even possible that it will bubble right after or during painting.  This happens because the old paint absorbs moisture from the wet paint which can loosen the old paint that was intact.  Additionally, the fresh layers of paint can add enough weight to pull even more paint off. If this happens during the painting process, the painters will address the problem.  Unfortunately, this can continue to be a recurring problem.  Moisture may blister off more paint as time goes by, but regular maintenance will maintain your property (and save you lots of money).
  2. After scraping, Peel Bond is applied.  Peel Bond is a water-based, high build bonding primer that contains glue.  During application it goes on opaque and dries clear. We use this product because of its incredible bonding properties and because it applies thicker than regular exterior primer.  The only way to get the look of brand new siding is to install brand new siding.  Peel Bond is limited in how much it will improve the appearance; however, it will fare better than regular primer. The high build properties can smooth out some of the roughness in the substrate, but it won’t make it look brand new or “fix” your siding.  We apply this with an airless sprayer, brush or roller.  When spot priming, we use brushes and rollers; when applications are over a large area, we use an airless sprayer and back roll when the product is applied.  The back rolling is a critical piece of the prep.  Using a roller to work the product into the substrate helps the product adhere and fills in minor cracks and raised grain, which improves appearance. Generally, only the areas that have paint failure need the Peel Bond, so spot priming these areas with brushes and rollers is recommended.  If the area is large, such as with massive paint failure, we recommend using an airless sprayer for application (the sprayer has to be powerful enough to push the thick product), and back rolling. Important Note:  Never use oil based primers on substrates where there are moisture issues.  You need the siding to breathe as much as possible so you will get better results with a water based product.  One concern is tannin bleed, but if the siding has aged long enough, this will not be an issue and a coat of Peel Bond with two coats of paint will suffice to block any tannins. If tannins are an issue, a water based solid color stain will work to block the bleed.
  3. Next, two coats of paint are applied, per manufacturer specifications.  It’s important to follow recommended drying times before coats, apply the recommended coats and back roll/brush between coats.  Benjamin Moore’s Ben and Sherwin William’s Resilience are both formulated for blistering and peeling substrates and therefore, recommended by Sisu Painting, Inc.

By putting a maintenance plan in place, you shouldn’t have to deal with massive paint failure again in the future.  Grab a scraper, remove the bubbles, apply a bit of Peel Bond and touch it up.  It’s really that simple.  Easier yet, hire a professional to do it for you.  The paint on the house can fade and the touch up may be slightly visible, but it will protect your house and your investment until you can replace the siding or move.

It’s important to be realistic about how your house is going to look after a paint job.  The process of painting does not smooth out the substrate sufficiently to make it look new and depending on the extent of damage, you may have to accept that your house is going to be less than perfect, although it will be protected.  If you are able to accept the imperfections, then you will appreciate the charm of owning and maintaining and older home, but it all depends upon your perspective.

Interior paint failure

Blistering and peeling paint on the interior of your home is also likely to be caused by moisture. This is a serious issue, especially if it’s accompanied by mold.  If you have a problem on the inside of your house, it would serve you best to call in a general contractor that deals with water intrusion.

While the problem of blistering and peeling paint is a serious issue, it does not have to ruin your life.  Accept the fact that your house needs a little TLC and turn it into the charmer that you always knew it would be.  As always, we are here to answer your questions and to help you take the next step in protecting your home and making it beautiful along the way.

Good luck with your project – and let us know how we can help!

Sheen – Choose the Correct One for Your Project

Sheen – Choose the Correct One for Your Project

Exterior Painting Home 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.

Kitchen, bath and high traffic areas

Picture of Benjamin Moore sheen chartI 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,


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.


Tips for Choosing Exterior Paint Colors

Tips for Choosing Exterior Paint Colors

Exterior Painting Home Painting Paint color

I love this time of year! The sun is shining, the neighbors are barbecuing and I’m doing what I love best – helping clients choose colors for their homes. With every paint contract, I offer a complimentary color consultation. I have to admit this is the part of my job that I enjoy the most. It gives me a little extra time to build a relationship with my clients. And, I learned early on that no matter how expertly we’ve applied the paint, the client gets the most enjoyment when the color is perfectly suited to their taste and lifestyle.

Along the way, I’ve learned some tried and true tips for choosing exterior paint colors. Here we go…

Be a pioneer – think outside the box

Occasionally, I check in on the big-name painting sites to see what they’re saying about the latest color trends. On one such recent visit, I read some really poor advice: consider your neighbor’s house and make sure your color selection doesn’t clash.

I couldn’t disagree more! In my experience, when the time comes to update your exterior paint colors, chances are the majority of homes in the neighborhood are also using outdated colors. Painting provides a great opportunity to make a bold move and bring in some contemporary colors… or select a color scheme that you just love, regardless of what the neighbors are up to.  Don’t let the fact that so many people choose run-of-the-mill beige stop you from moving into a more interesting or vibrant palette. With a little guidance and reassurance, we can bring in an improved palette with current colors to set a new and refreshing trend in the neighborhood.  Chances are, the neighbors will appreciate it as much as you do!

How to choose colors – look for inspiration – it’s all around you

Does the house have a brick or stone facade? Consider the landscaping features and the roof color. Look at pictures in magazines, online or in brochures provided by the paint stores; these are great resources for paint colors. I often ask my clients to take pictures of houses they like when they are out and about. The website is another great place to collect ideas and inspiration.

When choosing exterior colors go darker – don’t be afraid

Natural lighting washes out color, so you can hardly go wrong by going darker. I can’t remember a client ever saying they wish they had chosen a lighter color, but I’ve heard many remarks about wishing for a darker palate. When selecting colors, even in the darker palettes, it pays to consult with a professional who understands which colors are best with regard to fading.

 Add emphasis and accent to your exterior

The house will look bigger if the garage door is painted the same color as the main color on the house. This strategy works great, unless you have a custom, fancy garage door that is a beautiful accent all by itself.

 Give your front door a pop of color

I love red doors; they are just so Portland!

Black doors are classic, but there’s risk of blistering if the door gets too many hours of full sun. There is an endless selection of fun colors and palettes to match or compliment your house color, which can create a unique and beautiful focal point.

 A little is enough – don’t overdo

It’s tempting to add splashes of color here, there and everywhere, but this approach is only really effective with certain architectural styles such as Victorian, craftsman or bungalow. The most common and best combination for most homes is 1) a base color, 2) a trim color and 3) a door accent color.Exterior of house showing base color, trim color, and front door color

When in doubt, call in a professional to consult. Most of all, remember that the colors you choose say a lot about you… so don’t be afraid to let your style and preferences show!

You never need to go it alone. Give me a call and I’ll bring my color swatches over.


Until next time,


Two Coats are Better than One – Here’s Why

Two Coats are Better than One – Here’s Why

Home Painting Interior Painting Paint color

It’s a gloomy Portland day. You’re stuck inside looking at your walls, which have been the same color for years. You think – I could paint over that. I could have a fresh start; I could transform my whole world with just one coat of paint! You daydream, plan, plot. Your interior paint job will be the envy of the neighborhood. But then the anxiety sets in, and you read the label on the paint can: two coats?!?! And your world comes crashing down around you.

While this may be overly dramatic, when it comes to tackling a wall or trim painting job on your own, switching from a one coat plan to a two coat plan has some serious consequences (and some serious consequences if you don’t!). Not only does the extra coat add extra materials, it adds extra drying time. Let’s be honest, it’s easier to only do one coat.

Easier is not always better—often it’s worse. As professionals, we get to do all the worrying for you. We worry about the perfect coverage and finish, we worry about making sure that your paint is covered under the manufacturer’s warranty, and we worry about getting the most bang for your buck. If you haven’t hired us to worry for you, you should be thinking about these things too.

Our rule of thumb: if the can says use two, we do

“But Nancy,” I can hear you protest. “The shampoo bottle says wash, rinse and repeat and I never do that. Surely this manufacturer warning is just shampoo paranoia.” Let me explain why it isn’t.

Two coats assure better coverage

Unless you are painting with the same color as was already on your walls, you’ll need two to make sure that no nasty undertones pop through your new color.

The manufacturer’s warranty won’t cover your paint

unless you follow the specifications as listed on the can. For most paint, this means using two coats. The warranty makes sure you’re covered in case of a bad batch of paint or some sort of failure down the road. Having the warranty makes sure your job doesn’t get unexpectedly more expensive because of issues with your paint. There are some exceptions to the two “coats = manufacturer’s” warranty rule. For example, Benjamin Moore’s Aura honors their warranty with only one coat as far as product failure goes. They don’t, however, guarantee coverage with only one coat.

Two coats are always more durable than one

Paint durability is dependent on the thickness with which it is applied (or its level of film). But there’s a catch 22, in order for paint to spread evenly, it requires thin coats. If you try to get a thick coat in one go at it your paint might end up looking like a hot mess; dripping, running and sagging all over the place. The best way to get an even, thick coverage is to do two thin layers. It’ll be worth your time!

Two coats touch up better than one

Because of the coverage issues we’ve already talked about, touching up one coat can be dangerous. If your first coat did not achieve full coverage, a touch up will stand out loud and proud with full, mismatching coverage as compared to the rest of the wall.

So, whether you’re giving your walls a face lift or painstakingly painting your trim, two coats is generally the way to go. You’ll have a beautiful, lasting finish that will make you sigh with joy not pull your hair in frustration—at least until the next time you decide to change it up.

Analogous Color Schemes – Decorate in Perfect Harmony

Analogous Color Schemes – Decorate in Perfect Harmony

Home Painting Interior Painting Paint color

Make the right choice

Choosing the perfect color scheme can feel overwhelming. What if, once it’s on the wall, you don’t like it? What if, after a year, you’re tired of looking it?

Reflect your personality

If you’re like me, it’s important that your style of décor and color schemes reflect your personality – although, in my case, I really don’t want the scatterbrained, distracted and flighty part of my personality to come through! I look for the sophisticated and subtle parts of me hidden deep down inside. What better way to draw them out than with the colors and décor I choose for my home? When choosing colors for a client, I rely heavily on intuition and experience. When it comes right down to it, some colors just pop and feel “right” in a given space. And, I also consider how it all comes together, which is my way of saying it’s important to select colors that are analogous.

What is analogous?

Choosing analogous colors from paint paletteAnalogous is just another way to say similar or comparable. Analogous colors are the colors that correspond to each other on the color wheel. When you look at the colors splayed out on the wheel, the color on either side of your dominant color is analogous. The best part about analogous color schemes is that they flow nicely. Unless you are specifically trained or gifted with color, picking colors around the wheel can end up looking like a mess. If you pick colors next to each other, you have a much better chance of getting it right.

Create an impact with comparable colors

The wonderful thing about color is that a little change can make a big impact. You don’t need to pick green in one room and red in another to give your house interest. Picking green in one room and blue-green in the next can be just as striking with a much better flow. The rooms will feel like they are related to each other, in a sense connected, and the style theme will carry from one room to the next.

When selecting colors, it should be a goal that your space appears as though it was completely decorated all at the same time and in the same style. That doesn’t mean you can’t mix up styles; however, if you do, try to carry that theme from room to room. In this way you avoid the perception that every room represents a different stage of your life.

Need a little inspiration? Invite me over and I’ll bring my color wheel. Choosing the theme for your home can be both fun and inspiring.

Until next time,


Ceilings – Sisu’s Six Essential Painting Tips

Ceilings – Sisu’s Six Essential Painting Tips

Home Painting Interior Painting

De-stress the idea

Make sure that the ceiling needs to be painted in the first place.

Are you painting your walls?

If so, I definitely recommend painting your ceiling. Think of your ceiling as another wall in the room. Would you skip painting any other walls? Of course not. And, once you get that fresh coat of paint on your walls, I guarantee you will not want to revisit the project by attempting to paint the ceilings later on down the road. Taping off walls and protecting them from splatter is a chore in and of itself.

Should you skip painting it?

The only time I recommend skipping the ceilings is if they have been recently painted AND the wall color will flow with the existing ceiling color. If the ceiling color does not match the new wall colors, I recommend painting the ceiling.

If you have a water leak or other damage you need to paint over, you may not need to paint the walls. In this case, you will have to cover all your walls with plastic to protect from splatter.

Get awesome results

Use the right equipment:

I can’t stress this enough. You need the correct size extension pole to attach to your roller handle. This will make life so much easier. This will also keep you off the ladder because you can paint the ceiling from the floor (unless you have really tall ceilings). You also need the proper ladder.Choose the right ladder with help from Sherwin WilliamsMake sure it’s the correct height for the job and that it’s sturdy and set up properly. I recommend a good quality brush and rollers as well.



Completely cover the floor (and all belongings) with drop cloths, paper or plastic:

Save yourself the hassle from having to move around drop cloths by covering the entire floor and furniture before you open the can of paint. The centrifugal force of the roller will throw tiny droplets of paint that will splatter everywhere. Think ahead and cover all exposed surfaces. 

Use a high-quality ceiling paint:

You don’t need the most expensive paint, but if you go too cheap, you might not get the coverage you need. I recommend Benjamin Moore’s Ceiling Paint.

Cut in first:

Sisu painter cutting inUse a brush to cut in the edges, the corners and around light fixtures or other hardware. Choose a container that will fit comfortably in your hand. Pour paint off from your gallon into your container but only fill about 1/3 full. Dip your brush into the container, covering just the ends of the brush – only dip in about ½ inch or so. Don’t overload your brush. Apply the paint around the perimeter of the room with your brush and around any fixtures.

Roll out an even coat:

The best way to get an even coat is to evenly coat your roller when you are loading it up. Applying loaded-up roller in a W pattern on ceilingApply the loaded-up roller in an N or W pattern, then go back and roll over it to spread it out. Work your way from one side of the room to the other until your entire ceiling is covered. Do not worry if it looks uneven while it’s drying.  Once it’s dry, it’ll look much better.


Paint two coats:

After you’ve done all the work to get the first coat on, it might be tempting to say “done is better than perfect” but in this case, let’s just do it right. The second coat is half the work of the first coat and it’s the step that’s going to take your hard work to next level. I almost always recommend two coats. If you want a professional looking job, paint the second coat.

I hope these tips help you achieve the results you are looking for. And remember, we are always more than happy to bid the job for you!

Until next time,


Trim – Sisu’s Six Essential Painting Tips

Trim – Sisu’s Six Essential Painting Tips

Home Painting Interior Painting

Photo by RhondaK Native Florida Folk Artist on Unsplash

To get the best results

Whether you have recently installed new trim, or you are attempting to update your old wood work, these tips should help you achieve the results you are hoping for.

1. Choose the correct primer:

If you are painting trim that is bare wood or has been stained and clear coated, you will want an oil-based primer.  Check with your local paint store for the best recommendation.

2. Choose the correct trim paint:

For trim paint, you want a high-quality enamel.  I recommend Benjamin Moore’s Advance; a low VOC modified alkyd.  This is a waterborne paint with alkyd resins that slows down the drying process, so you get a better “float”.  This simply means the paint levels better than traditional water-based paints (think less brush strokes or stipple).

3. Prep, prep and more prep:

Prep for Painting TrimYour paint job will only look as good as your prep.  You will need to fill holes and caulk in your wood work.  You also need to de-gloss the wood work, if it has been previously painted or clear coated.  I recommend sanding the trim or wiping down with a chemical de-glosser.  On especially glossy substrates, I recommend both.



4. Take your time:

Painting is not a job you want to rush. If you try to hurry your job along, you will get sloppy results. As a novice, it might be better to take on small chunks of the project rather than the whole house.  Think about just painting trim in one room at a time.  This will make the project more manageable and you won’t feel so much pressure to hurry.

5. Use a good brush:

Purdy Brush Wood WorkUnless you are very experienced with an airless or HVLP sprayer, I recommend you brush your trim work.  This takes a little finesse, but with a little practice you can achieve great results. Buy your paint brush from a paint store.  A 2 or 2 ½ inch brush will probably be the easiest to handle. Go for the name brands, and do not pinch pennies when it comes to your purchase.  Remember to take good care of your brush by washing it after each use.  Keep the jacket the brush came in for storage. There is nothing more frustrating than painting with a brush that has bent bristles.

6. Thin your paint:

You can use a paint extender, such as Flotrol to extend the paint.  This extends the drying time and gives you a little extra time to work with the paint before it starts to skim over (the top surface dries quickly).  Quick drying paint can turn gummy on you, leaving behind unsightly brush strokes on your trim.

I hope these tips lead you to a successful trim painting project.  And, remember – we are only a phone call away.

Happy Painting!


Kitchen Cabinets – Replacement versus Painting

Kitchen Cabinets – Replacement versus Painting

Home Painting Interior Painting Paint color Uncategorized

Don’t let age get you downDated Kitchen Cabinets

Kitchen cabinets age no matter what. What was in vogue yesterday is out of style today. That’s pretty much a fact for any interior design element, but once your cabinets start to look dated, it makes the entire space seem like a bad scene out of the past.


If you are considering an update to your kitchen (or bathroom) by replacing your cabinets, you may experience a bit of sticker shock once you begin to add up the expenses. At first glance, tackling this project looks pretty doable. You stop by the big box store, price out a few cabinets and you think, “I got this”. But, after the measuring is all said and done and you decide you prefer an upgrade to real wood and you add in the costs of the hardware and installation plus factor in the down time for your kitchen, it all starts to get a little daunting. This, you realize, is not the simple update you were expecting. All of a sudden, this seemingly inexpensive project easily tops 10k, more often exceeding 15k or even 20k.  If you happen to have a large kitchen, the price just goes up from there.

If you are financially suited to take on the costs of new kitchen cabinets and you find a style that you are crazy about, then by all means, I recommend it.


However, if you want to keep within a certain budget or you simply prefer to preserve environmental resources, you may wish to consider painting your kitchen cabinets.

Wood cabinets are the best substrate for painting (verses MDF, laminates or melamine) and we can achieve impressive and durable results with our process. We offer options to paint or glaze, depending on your preference, with the costs ending up substantially less than replacement. You can also paint or glaze in just about any color, so your options are endless.

If you choose to paint, we will generally de-gloss, prime, prep and apply two coats of paint with an airless sprayer. The costs of painting are roughly 1/4 to 1/3 the cost of replacement. Glazing is a high-end finish and requires painting as described above, hand applied glaze and top coating with polyurethane. This finish is spectacular. I prefer my glazed oak cabinets over any new product on the market and the cost is roughly 1/3 to 1/2 of replacement – potentially saving you thousands of dollars! The clear coating over the top of the paint and glaze gives you an extremely durable end product as well.

I recommend that you hire only the most reputable companies to paint or glaze your cabinets. Cabinet painting requires special skills and products, and this is one project you will want to leave for the professionals.

Things to think about before painting starts

While painting your kitchen cabinets will update your home and improve your property value, it is also a detailed undertaking and can be disruptive. Here some ways to prepare for this type of painting project.

Kitchen cabinets

Be prepared to lose access to your kitchen for a few days. Please empty the drawers and remove just enough belongings from the boxes to allow enough wiggle room to tape off for painting. It’s a good idea to have your wine, coffee, and other small appliances that you’ll need moved to another space, so you’ll have access to these items for the duration of the project.Painting the boxes is our priority to get you back into your kitchen as soon as possible.

Oven use

Do not use your oven during the painting. This is dangerous and could cause a fire. Please make other arrangements for meal preparation.


We will make a tent to protect your house from excessive dust. However, the tent is not airtight, so please expect a little extra dusting after the project is completed. One of the reasons people hire us is because we are meticulous, but cabinets require a ton of sanding. There’s no efficient way to contain the dust 100 percent.

Door painting

The system that we use to paint the doors requires us to drill holes in either the top or bottom of the door. We use these holes to install hooks, so we can hang the doors to paint all six sides at once. The holes will be filled and will not be visible once the doors are re-hung.


The cabinets will feel dry to the touch within hours; however, it can take a month or longer before they fully cure. No need to worry! Just take a little extra care and avoid chemicals when wiping up spills.

New hardware

If you are planning on installing new hinges or drilling new holes for handles, we recommended that they be fitted BEFORE painting. We can do the installation and charge time and material.

Most importantly, relax and enjoy the process!


Winter Paint Colors – Fresh Inspiration

Winter Paint Colors – Fresh Inspiration

Home Painting Interior Painting Paint color Uncategorized

Winter in Oregon is a pretty monochromatic affair; but, this year, when the temperatures dropped down below freezing, ice frosted the ground and snow flurries fell gently from the sky, we couldn’t help but be enchanted by the colors of winter. The cold, cold winter days bring to mind images of evergreens cloaked in snow, of holly berries and of shimmery blue icicles.

We love these chilly, winter colors and want to inspire you

Bring the best of winter into your home using color.

Wintery Whites
alabaster, winter, wintery white

Alabaster 7008

It would be silly to think of winter without thinking of snow, ice, and the color white. Although picking the right shade can be tricky, the perfect white can leave your spaces feeling crisp and clean. Most commonly, white is used on ceilings and trim. You can also use it on your walls for a modern look. Though most people think of white walls as boring, they can be useful in helping your unique furniture and artwork to stand out. Some of the whites we love are Sherwin William’s Dover White 638 or Alabaster 7008 and Benjamin Moore’s Super White (stock) or Cloud White OC-130.


Blustery Blues
palladian blue, blue, winter, wintery blue

Palladian Blue HC-144

This chilly, winter color has seen a comeback in recent years. While it experienced a decrease in popularity (perhaps clients were haunted by memories of their baby blue childhood bedrooms) for a while, blue has always been my favorite color and will feel fresh and relaxing, even in your most stressful spaces. Don’t be daunted by the variety of blues available, choose a softer blue for a wintery feel—we recommend Benjamin Moore’s Palladian Blue HC-144. Looking for something a little brighter? Avalon Teal CSP-645 from Benjamin Moore will be the crowning jewel in your winter color pallet.


Roaring Reds
pomegranate, winter color, winter red

Pomegranate AF-295

Snuggling up next to a warm fire is one of those winter time activities that we just can’t get enough of! Whether or not you have a fireplace in your home. adding some of the passion that red has to your space can make it feel a little less dismal this winter, and a lot cozier. Bring the heat to your walls using a deep red like Benjamin Moore’s Pomegranate AF-295 or its fiery counterpart, Chili Pepper 2004-20. Both colors are sure to warm up even the coldest of winter nights.



Gorgeous Greens
cascade green, winter green, cool green

Cascade Green 0066

Especially here in Oregon, where green could be the state color, winter is the season for greens! You can find it in holly leaves, in wreathes, in evergreens and, of course, in the Christmas tree. Green is earthy and calming and picking the best green for you could be the easiest paint choice you’ll ever make. Almost all greens can be used with great versatility in every room of your house. We’ve narrowed it down to just a couple of greens that will compliment your wintery décor. Feeling frosty? Check out Sherwin William’s Cascade Green 0066—this green pairs well with gray and is more of a neutral green. Our other, darker choice is Sherwin William’s Basil 6194.


Great Grays
light winter gray, cool gray, french gray

Light French Gray 0055

If green isn’t Oregon’s state color, gray might be. For us, one gray day after another might make you feel a little stir crazy by February; but, gray doesn’t always have to bring you down! Gray can lend sophistication and grace to your space, and gray is always in style. For us, Benjamin Moore’s Tranquility AF-490 is a great, wintery version of this color. Another option would be Sherwin William’s Light French Gray 0055. Both of these colors are great for the winter and all year round!


What colors inspire you? If you want one of these colors in your homes or are having trouble picking a color, let us know. After all paint is what we do!

Wishing you a great start to your year,