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 www.checkbook.org.  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.

Deck Finish – Clear, Solid or Semi-Transparent Stain?

When I get a call to bid a deck staining job, often the homeowner asks me my expert opinion on whether to use a clear, solid or a clear semi-transparent stain. It all depends on the level of maintenance and investment you are prepared to commit to over the years.

Clear finish deck stains only last up to two years. In most cases your deck will look the same after power washing when you apply a clear finish. Some clear sealers may have a hint of color. The advantage of a clear stain is that after several years the sealer will be gone so prep and re-application is simple. Just power wash and apply clear again.

Semi-transparent deck stain can last about three years. When the semi-transparent stain wears off you must apply a stripper, then a cleaner before power washing the deck clean to prepare the surface. In most cases, a semi-transparent stain will give the wood deck color. This option is more costly to keep up due to the extra prep work needed.

Solid stain deck finishes will give you a solid color just like paint but with much less sheen. Solid stains last around five years. To re-do a deck with solid stain, manufacturers always recommend you completely remove or strip all stain first. If the solid is peeling, you will need a professional painter to determine the correct application process. Some times you may be able to avoid stripping the deck by power washing and re-coating with the solid stain. But in some cases for example, the deck floor may be peeling profusely so you will need to strip and apply penetrating oil, then re-coat with the solid stain. Decks stained with a solid experience more peeling than semi-transparent or clear stained decks thus requiring additional maintenance.

At O’Connor’s Painting Service we recommend products such as Cabots, Sherwin Williams, Benjamin Moore, Behr or McCormick stains. Your deck stain will last longer with a professional application with a top rated product.

Trying to Decide between Power Washing or Hand Cleaning Painted Surfaces?

Often it takes a trained professional painter to determine if the exterior paint of your house should be cleaned O'Connor's Painting Service in Montgomery County Maryland example of paint chalking.by hand or power washed and to what extent.

Scenario 1Your paint job was done about two years ago and you decide to change the color. If there is very little mildew, you may be able to just hand clean the dirty areas.

Scenario 2 – Your house has not been painted in 8 years. When you rub your hand across the surface it is covered with a powdered chalk. Also upon examination you also see black mildew spots. In this case O’Connor’s Painting Service would apply a cleaner for the chalk and mildew surfaces.O'Connor's Painting Service recommends Krud Kutter as an exterior painted surface cleaner We will then power wash the largest areas always using a low pressure. Around windows and doO'Connor's Painting Service recommends Jomax as an exterior painted surface cleanerors, we always clean by hand. Good quality cleaners like Krud Kutter or Jomax can be found at all paint stores, home Depot or Lowes.

Waterbased Alkyd Paints Replace Oil

In the good old days, people used oil or alkyds paint because they liked the smooth finish on wood trim inside their home. But over time, paint companies have fazed out oil paint to help protect the environment. Fortunately a few

Interior Waterbased Acrylic-Alkyd Semi-Gloss
Sherwin Williams ProClassic

paint companies are now carrying a waterborne alkyd enamel product. Here at O’Connor’s Painting Service, we have used this waterborne alkyd product on several jobs and can report back to our readers that we like the smooth finish and low odor these products provides.

One of those products is Sherwin Williams ProClassic Interior Waterbased Acrylic-Alkyd Semi-Gloss. It can be applied by brush, roller or sprayer on a clean, dry surface that has either been primed or dulled if previously painted with a gloss product. Drying time on the first coat takes 20-40 minutes and a second re-coat will take 3-4 hours to dry. This Sherwin Williams aklyd product can be used on block, drywall, masonry and plaster.

Benjamin Moore also has an alkyd product on the market called Advance Waterborne Interior Alkyd Satin or High Gloss.

Advance Waterborne Interior Alkyd Satin
Benjanin Moore Advance Satin

The biggest difference between the Benjamin Moore product and the Sherwin Williams product discussed above is the drying time. First coat will take 4-6 hours to dry with the second re-coat 16 hours to dry and be sure to wait the entire 16 hours drying time, this Benjamin Moore product can not be rushed.

O’Connor’s Painting Service can recommend both of these products for their excellent durability, leveling properties, ease of application and clean up.

Happy New Year

From our family at O’Connor’s  Painting Service to yours, we would like to wish everyone a prosperous 2011.