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.


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.

Join us at Olney Community Night

O’Connor’s Painting Service will be exhibiting at the 30th Annual Olney Community Night to be held at Longwood Community Center on October 7th, 2009 from 5:00 pm to 8:30 pm. Come by and visit us in the exhibit hall. There will be silent auctions, raffles and seven area restaurants will be there serving local cooking. We are looking forward to being a part of this event and getting to meet a lot of our neighbors. So come out and support your local businesses. We at O’Connor’s Painting Service hope to see you there!