Choosing the right paint for a busy veterinary office

Last Fall, the Laytonsville Veterinary Practice contracted O’Connor’s Painting to re-paint the interior of their offices and exam rooms. Off I went in search to find the best paint product to use for the project. I needed something that offered durability, good coverage, was easy to wash and had a low odor.  What I found was was Sherwin Williams Pro Industrial Zero VOC Catalyzed Epoxy commercial coating which had all the benefits I was looking for in a paint product for the veterinary practice.

  1. Zero VOC’s

    Commercial Interior Painting by O'Connor's Painting Service
    Interior rooms painted by O’Connor’s Painting Service
  2. Extremely Durable
  3. Created a hard, tough coating that is super washable
  4. Superior resistance to abrasion, corrosion, chemicals, stains… all things that can occur in a heavily used exam room that has high maintenance
  5. Flowed and leveled to a smooth finish
  6. Comes in egg-shell and semi-gloss sheens

When applying the first coat, it was dry to the touch after one hour. However we did not apply a second coat immediately. According to Sherwin Williams we waited the required 8 hours before applying the second coat. In a busy vets office with animals that can scratch the walls, you definitely want the product to cure properly which takes between 5-7 days before the rooms are put into heavy use.

The only problem I found with this product is that if you let it dry longer than 72 hours before re-coating, you have to sand the surface again.

More sanding, less dust

This past month I made the decision to upgrade our sanding system here at O’Connor’s Removing old paint from home exteriorPainting Service. It was a major investment, but I think a wise one that will help my painting customers and employees. After researching for months and asking all my fellow painting contractors what they recommended, I settled on purchasing a dustless sanding system made by Festool. If you own a house that was built prior to 1978, there is a chance that your exterior paint might be lead-based. Before I purchased the new Festool Hepa dust extracting sanding system, my guys would have to wet sand by hand. Now with the Hepa dust extractor, the dust created by sanding is instantaneously sucked up by the attached vacuum that collects the dust. This system meets EPA Lead Safe guidelines. In areas we can use this new tool, the wood turns out better and our customers and employees are protected. If your looking to get the exterior of your home painted in the future and you are concerned about lead paint removal, know that O’Connor’s Painting Service an EPA Lead Safe Certified company and with our new Festool dustless sanding system, you can’t go wrong.

Cold Weather Painting Primer

It's cold outside
It’s cold outside

Brr…. it’s cold here in Maryland this week. It sent my painting crews back inside for interior painting after last week being warm enough to paint outside. Now I know it is winter and I shouldn’t expect to be painting outdoors much in January. All those exterior clients will just have to sit tight for a while.

When O’Connor’s Painting Service does get the opportunity of nice weather in cold temperature months, I like to use a Sherwin Williams Multi-Purpose Zero VOC Latex Primer Sealer. We started to use this product in the Fall of 2012. It can applied at low temperatures down to 35 degrees farenheit and dries fast in 30 minutes so that it can be re-coated in about an hour.  It’s great for exterior painting and interior painting and can be applied to a variety of surfaces from wood, plastics, laminate, ceramic, cabinets, aluminum, metal, concrete and masonry. I really like this Multi-Purpose Sherwin Williams Primer because of all these factors. At O’Connor’s we have used it personally on block, pvc and wood with excellent results. I will keep you posted on my experience applying it to other surfaces.

A Trick for Priming PVC

Sherwin Williams makes an exterior/interior bonding primer that I used the other day at mpaint_template-1y own home in Laytonsville, Maryland to prime PVC. Being a very slick surface, PVC can be tricky to paint and have last a long time without peeling. As I was working with the Sherwin Williams bonding primer, I got a little on my hands. What a time I had trying to wash it off my hands after I had completed the work. Good thing I didn’t have the primer on my hands all day or it would have never come off! One thing this taught me is that this product is a superior bonding primer and since then I’ve used that same product at O’Connor’s Painting Service to not only prime PVC boards but also aluminum siding and any other slick surfaces.

Old paint cans hanging about that you want to get rid of in a responsible manner?

Whenever O’Connor’s Painting Service completes a job, any unused paint we leave with the customer with a description of where the paint was used in the house written on the can. These paints come in handy if there is ever a need for the homeowner to touch up a spot here or there years later. A quick tip, be sure to store your paint in a warm area like your basement or laundry room to make sure the paint remains stable.

After awhile, you might want to eventually dispose of old cans of paint you no longer need. You just can’t throw them in your garbage “as is”. To dispose of paint in a environmentally responsible manner. There are a few steps you should follow.

First, I recommend keeping a log of the paint brand (Sherwin Williams/Behr), type (interior/exterior), sheen (flat/satin), color name, color number and the formula if a custom blend.  You never know when you might need to reference this information later.

Second, check with our local county waste authority for there rules on disposing of paint waste. For example in Montgomery County, Maryland if you are a resident, you can go to the dump and they have a special area set up to accept your old paint along with other household hazardous waste.

Finally, dry your waste paint with a product such as Krud Kutter Waste Paint/Colorant Hardener. It’s great for latex and oil-based paints.  You can find the product at most home improvement stores. Add the crystals to the paint can. Stir paint til it thickens, then let dry hard. You can now dispose of your old paint. Some municipalities will let you dispose of this hardened paint right in you garbage can but call first to make sure.

Why Consumer’s Checkbook in the Washington DC Area is a Great Way to find a Painting Contractor

Locating a competent professional for your home improvement project can be a shot in the dark. You might call a few listings in the phone book, randomly picking names, hoping you are choosing a reputable company. There are plenty of “so-called” professional painters out there that are more than happy to take your money and run and if you have problems with the job, you can never find them again.

A good way to start your hunt for a trustworthy interior or exterior painter is to join Consumers’ Checkbook, a non-profit organization that ranks service providers. Go to  It cost $34 basic subscription to join for two years.  If you have home improvement projects and you need to check on the reputation of a contractor you can search companies by trade at their website to see how each are rated by other Checkbook members. Consumers’ Checkbook is like asking your friends and neighbors for referrals.

Our company, O’Connor’s Painting Service, Inc. has a 95% approval rating by Consumer Checkbook members.  We provide quality work, dependable service and a fair price.  Over the long run, you end up paying less because our jobs outlast most standard paint jobs.

I do caution you to always call the Maryland Home Improvement Commission at 410-230-6309 to be sure the contractor you are looking to hire is fully insured with workers compensation and liability insurance.  Be sure to meet with the contractor in person to get a sense of who you are working with.  Is this someone you would trust in your home? At O’Connor’s Painting Service, all of our employees have been background checked and drug tested.

Painting Cabinets

Often a stain on older cabinets can start to look dirty and grungy. In an attempt to freshen older cabinetry, customers often ask me what it would take to paint over the existing surface. Here is a step by step explanation of the process O’Connor’s Painting Service uses to paint cabinetry.

  1. Remove old hardware. Note: if customer wants to replace the old hardware with new, be sure to choose hardware that matches the existing screw holes to avoid a lot of putty work to fill existing holes.

    Painting Cabinets for a Fresh Look
  2. Sand cabinets well with very sandpaper to remove old varnish or polyurethane.
  3. Wipe the surface with mineral spirits then follow by also wiping the cabinets down with a cleaning solution such as 50% water and 50% ammonia.
  4. Apply one coat primer of Zinsser Cover Stain Oil. We normally paint the exterior of the cabinetry then both sides any doors.
  5. Apply two top coats of latex or oil semi-gloss paint, whichever color a homeowner picks. We suggest picking a Sherwin Williams or Benjamin Moore product that has a oil base finish for a harder surface.

The real key to success in painting cabinets is in the preparation. Sand extremely well with sandpaper and clean all surfaces using a clean cloth saturated with mineral spirits in order to remove all surface dirt, greasy spots and contamination. If the surface is excessively dirty, you may have to go over the areas multiple times with the mineral spirits and the 50/50 ammonia water mixture.