Painting Blog

Benefits of using a color consultant when choosing colors

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We've all had that feeling of envy when perusing a magazine or watching a movie and seeing a fabulous space or home. "I wish I could make my hall or living space look like that," you say to yourself. You may even go down to the local hardware store, grab some paint and accessories and try to recreate these sumptuous spaces yourself. Well the chances are you won't get the effects you're looking for. The truth is, transforming a space isn't just a case of throwing up a coat of paint and hoping for the best. What you need is the professional touch - in most cases this means taking on a color consultant.

So what does a color consultant do?

Sounds like an easy job doesn't it. Just picking out colors. But the truth is there's quite a lot of skill involved. A talented consultant will understand the often complex effects of color can have and ensure you get the result you want. This involves taking into account how color engages us mentally and physiologically and the effects of light and darkness. A consultant will also need to have an in-depth knowledge of modern paint colors and decorative finishes, the current trends and accessories, as well as flooring, furnishings and drapery. This means they can give you great decorating ideas for any place and teach you how to "dress" your home inside and out.

And how do they help?

Have you ever had that feeling of walking into a room in your home and felt that something's just not right? You might put it down to poor lighting, or bad feng shui. But nine times out of ten a bad feeling in a room comes down to the colors of the walls and ceilings. Color is the most important visual element of design in any room, it makes sense that you choose carefully. But these days there are so many paint colors and finishes on the market, it can be a daunting task to pick the right one. Get it wrong and not only have you wasted money and time, you have to start again from scratch.

When a color consultant works with you, you’re able to avoid this guesswork. A professional will understand the effects you're seeking and create a color palette that is right for your walls and your space, not to mention the furniture and lighting you already have. They will also take into account your trim, ceiling, floors and any other architectural features.

It is also important to remember you're working with an expert who does this job for a living. You may have strong feelings about wanting the color purple, for example, in your bathroom. Well unless you're the legendary singer Prince, this could be a disaster and a good color consultant will tell you so. They understand that all colors have undertones that may not be apparent to some people. They will know which undertones are compatible and how they can really change a space. They also understand how colors will change in different lighting conditions and throughout the day. For example you may adore a certain shade of red but your consultant will know that when it absorbs light, it can end up looking orange and will clash with the sofa. This sort of knowledge requires training and experience and can make all the difference when it comes to giving your home the right feel.

In commercial properties

If you are looking for a color scheme for a commercial property or office, the help of a color consultant can be invaluable. The right color can reinforce your brand or message, help you appeal to a certain demographic, age group or gender. People tend to have very strong feelings about certain colors and they may be turned away from your business if you use the wrong ones. A consultant can give you good directions and provide an objective assessment of colors for a workspace or store.

Finally, it's worth saying that working with a color consultant can be fun and will make you appreciate your home more. You'll certainly learn about the amazing difference colors can make to rooms and the experience may drive you to make further improvements that add value to you home and make it even more inviting.

We have some of the best color consultants in the business here at Sharper Impressions. So if you're seeking to get the right feel in your home, why not get in touch? Our expertise will transform your home.

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The benefits of hiring a professional painter

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There are certain tasks and chores in life that few of us would think about carrying out on our own - fitting a new engine into the car, re-wiring your home's electrical system, cutting down a 60-foot tree in the garden or tiling the roof. When such jobs need doing, we tend to call a professional, knowing they've got the tools and experience to do the job properly, safely and efficiently. So it seems strange that so many people think that house painting and home decorating is something they can do themselves and expect a good result, even if the last time they painted something was in a high school art class.

The truth is that painting is actually a highly-skilled job, and getting a professional, long-lasting finish on your internal and external walls, only comes with experience and insider knowledge - of paints, techniques, color management and preparation. So if you're thinking about painting your house, here are some reasons why you should bring in a pro.

A better quality finish

The main benefit of hiring a professional painter is the quality of the end result. While anyone can splash some paint on the walls, doing a proper job requires expertise and preparation. A professional painter will take time to prepare surfaces, so that paint adheres properly and there results will be smooth and long lasting. This may involve stripping old paint, filling in holes, sandpapering rough areas and then masking fixtures, furnishing and fittings that need to be protected from splashes. A professional also knows what primer is best for walls, and what type of paint is right for each surface and type of room.

Safety comes first

Some paints can put out dangerous fumes that could potentially harm your pets and family. A professional painter will have precautions in place when applying or removing such paints. It can be physically risky too. When you're painting outside, you have to be careful as two or three story buildings will require the use of ladders. It takes experience to not only secure these safely but also to be able to concentrate and do a good job when you're perched 30 feet above the ground. As well as ladders, professional painters also make use of scaffolding and harnesses if needed - something that your everyday joe probably has little experience with.

Specialist knowledge and vendor benefits

Do you know about the local building codes and regulations and how they could affect your new paint job? Do you know where you can buy the best quality paint at the cheapest prices? The chances are you would have to answer "no" to these questions. But a professional painter will know about any rules regarding painting in the locality and will have long working relationships with paint and home improvement merchants. They’ll also be able to get a better range of paint so you don't have to pay high markup prices.

The tools to do the job

A professional painting company owns equipment that many homeowners will have never even heard of, let alone know how to use. These include paint sprayers, scaffolding, speciality rollers, pipe painters and much more. Of course, it's possible for homeowners to hire such things but they don't generally have the expertise to use them. And contractors don't just have the tools, they work together with professional team members who can help them get a job done quickly and efficiently.

Save your valuable time

We all have jobs and responsibilities, and at the end of a long day, or at the weekend, when time is precious and you have other people calling on your time, the last thing you want to do is change into your overalls and start painting. By contracting this work out to a professional, you save this time for yourself and your family. And this doesn't just include just the painting time, but also the preparation work and cleanup. Of course, hiring a contractor will be more expensive than doing it for yourself, but as you will end up with a professional finish, that lasts longer, you may end up saving money in the long run. Especially, if when doing it yourself, you end up having to do touch up and make overs or clean up splashes and spillages.

Licence and insurance

Professional painting contractors such as Sharper Impressions, are fully licensed and insured and bonded. So in the unlikely event of there being an accident in your home, you'll be covered. You know that a professional painter will work to the terms of your contract and carry out work you've asked for and in a timescale you ask for. Contractors will also have completed programs relating to environmental, the handling of certain chemicals and paints.

To learn more about the many benefits of hiring a professional painting company like Sharper Impressions, contact us today. We'd be happy to give you a quote or answer any questions you have.

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How to properly prep for interior painting

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We all want a nice finish when we paint our living spaces, but the secret to getting this, has less to do with the painting and more to do with the preparation.

Yes, it seems that the more thorough you are before you get out the brushes and rollers, the better the result you get. So let's look at how you should be prepping your walls for painting, if you're seeking a gorgeous and long-lasting result.

First, get the room ready

One of the first things to do as you prepare to paint is to move as much large furniture out of the room as you can. Obviously some of the larger items can't be shifted. You need to move them to the center of the room and cover them so they don't get splashed or spattered with drops of paint. You will also want to cover your carpets and floorboards with cloth drops. The best material for this is canvass which is able to absorb paint and lie flat on the ground. Canvas can also be folded around corners and doors. Plastic can be used but it tends to move about more or can get slippery.

Obviously you'll move any pictures, clocks and mirrors that are on your wall, but many people forget that it's equally important to take off switches, or loosen the ceiling plates of light fixtures etc. If this isn't possible, you'll have to cover them with painter's tape. This masking process protects your fixtures from your paint brushes but can also be used on ceiling edges and around trim and mouldings to ensure you have clean sharp lines. Masking can take quite a while to do, but it's worth doing well if you want a professional, and spatter free finish - the hallmarks of a professional job.

Clean the walls

All walls pick up dirt, dust and fingermarks over time, and this surface dirt and grease can result in your paint not adhering to the wall properly. So prior to painting, walls should be cleaned with damp cloths soaked in a light detergent or trisodium phosphate. Pay attention to doors and trim in particular, as these are areas that come into contact with people's hands the most, and make sure that you remove any residue of detergent and allow the walls to dry before you start to paint.

Fill the holes

You're not quite at the painting stage just yet. Now it's time to look over your walls and surfaces to find any cracks, nail or screw holes and dents because these need filling. Rake out any loose particles or lumps of plaster first. Then get a good quality spackling paste or wall filler and press this into cracks and holes with a putty knife. Make sure it is flush with the surface of the wall by sanding it down when it's dry. There are often gaps and cracks where door and window trim meets the walls; fill these in the same way. Some types of wall filler can shrink as it dries out, so you may have to apply it again after you've completed your first coat of paint.

Scrape away bumps

You will also need to scrape any cracked or flaking paint with a scraper or smooth away lumps with sandpaper. If you do have to remove any old paint, sandpaper the edges to ensure a smooth surface, so that when your new coat goes on, the edges won't be noticed. If it's a particularly bumpy wall, it could be worth getting the electric sander out. But make sure you wipe away any dust afterwards.

Prepare your equipment

Are you ready to paint yet? Well not quite. We told you it pays to do a thorough job. You now need to get all the painting materials together. This means the paint, obviously, but also primer, can openers, stirring sticks, brushes, (separate ones for latex paints and oil-based paint) your rollers, (with extension if needed) paint trays and cloths. It's also a good idea to have a hot pot of coffee ready and a plate of cookies at hand.

Use a primer

A good primer will help to disguise any imperfections in the wall surface. It can also block stains and knots from bleeding through your paint, improve adhesion and reduce the chance of your paint blistering. Best of all, a good primer can extend the lifetime of your top coat. If you have new drywall, you will want to use a water based primer. If your walls have water or smoke damage, an oil-based primer is a better option. Here's a good tip for you, put a little of the topcoat paint into your primer, this enhances the look of the top coat, especially if you're using a lighter paint over an existing dark color.

Okay now you're ready to paint

If you want a truly professional finish of course, you need to hire a professional team, like the experts at Sharper Impressions. If you're planning to paint, why not get in touch and we can do the job for you.

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Why it is important to paint before selling your home

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If you're moving houses, you'll want to make a great impression on potential buyers. This is why most people spend weeks cleaning out all the nooks and crannies, sweeping away spider webs, buying cushions and plants to add a welcoming touch, and making sure their pets stay off the furniture. After all, once you've put your property on the market, you want to sell quickly and get the best price you can for your old home.

Of course, buyers look for many things in a new house - large gardens, good location, spacious rooms, well-maintained infrastructure etc. But what will make the biggest impression, inside and out are the walls. After all, these make up the most visible parts of the house. If the paint is peeling, discolored or shows dirt and damp spots, it really won't make a very good impression. Inside walls too can become scuffed, show stains or fingerprints (especially if there are children in the house) and these can't all be hidden easily.

As painting experts, we do recommend painting your house if you're putting it on the market. It may seem like you're paying out quite a large sum for something you won't get to enjoy for yourself, but how your house looks can make the difference between you getting your asking price and fair market value, and a prospective buyer beating you down on price as they think you've not kept the home in a good state of repair.

Painting the exterior before selling

First impressions last, and it's your home's exterior that potential buyers will be examining in detail as they approach your house - they'll be looking at the window frames, the walls, guttering, and of course your front door. So these are the parts of your exterior you want to ensure are well presented. This is what we call, "curb appeal" in the trade and if the exterior of your house seems badly maintained, buyers will be immediately put off. So if it's been awhile since you've given the old homestead a new lick of paint, it's time to get the brushes out, or drop a line to the experts here at Sharper and we can transform your facade for you. A newly painted house will stand out from the neighbor's homes and make a positive impression. But it's important to choose a neutral color, as this is will more likely to appeal to a wide range of tastes - increasing your chances of making a sale. You may love the idea of a bright pink house and dayglo orange garage door - but this isn't likely to appeal to the mainstream. Bold colors can fall out of fashion so if you must use them, maybe limit them to areas like the trim or window frames.

Make an impression with your interiors

It is probably the interior of your house that most reflects your personality - here you can display the colors you love, and the paintings and ornaments you cherish. The problem here is that people's tastes vary greatly. You are not trying to sell your outlook on life, you want to sell your home. So it's well worth taking out the paint brushes and giving potential buyers a bit of a blank canvas. If your walls are of a neutral shade, people looking round will be able to picture how they would live there. They can visualize how their furniture would look in place and imagine what they would do to decorate the place. White, or bright creamy colors like ivory or beige also can open up the smaller rooms of your house, making them look larger and brighter. A lick of paint also eliminates dirty marks, scratches and peeling paint that can lead to buyers thinking that your home hasn't been taken care of, or that larger issues may be found below the surface. You might also think about getting rid of wallpaper. Wallpaper choice can be highly personal and can turn buyers off. It also tends to make a house feel outdated rather quickly. We all remember those bright and zany 70s wallpapers that were once seen everywhere but now seem irredeemably kitch. What's more, people hate removing wallpaper and if they suspect they may have to spend their first few months in a new home, stripping paper off the walls, they may think twice about buying.

Other tips

  • If you are going to give your house a lick of paint before you put it on the market, make sure that you get the job finished before you have the photographer come round to take pictures.
  • If you really don't have the time or inclination to do the whole house, consider a fresh coat of paint for your front door, or just touch up areas like the windowsills and trimming, which can take a battering from the elements.
  • If you're giving your bathroom a fresh coat of paint, maybe take some time to regrout tiles and caulk the tub to give a finishing touch.

If you are planning to sell your house in the next few months, why not leave it up to the professionals at Sharper Impressions. We can give your home that "must-buy" look, while you get more time to dedicate to the big move.

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Color Mistakes To Avoid

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In previous posts on this blog, we’ve covered numerous color combinations that can make your home sparkle, as well as ways in which you can carefully plan your decorative choices to ensure that different colors flow seamlessly between rooms. But just as important, or perhaps even more crucial, is knowing which color mistakes should be avoided, unless you want your design project to go from effortlessly artistic to a downright fail.

Here are some common mistakes people make when they try to be colorful and exciting with their interior home design projects but forget to consider some knowledge about color theory.

Using flat white for your ceiling or the walls of every room

White paint has a bit of gray in it, so when you paint your ceiling (the largest wall in the room) with this color, it takes the room down. The same goes when settling for stark white walls - it can make your home feel cold and clinical like a hospital. Your goal is to create a warm and welcoming environment. Opt for a warm tone instead like the color beige.

Overdoing color schemes from room to room

Walls covered with too many colors are distracting and create visual tension. If you want to use different color schemes for every room of your house, make sure to maintain a connection between them. Try choosing colors that jibe with each other in some way and use furnishings and accessories to bring these spaces together. Read our Tips for creating color flow in your home for more ideas.

Neglecting to balance a strong color

A color like bright orange is very taste-specific, while yellow tends to bonce off light and is uncomfortable on the eyes. If your walls are going to be screaming with a bright color, you may want to consider wrapping the rest of your furnishings in neutral tones like using a few grey throws or white architectural elements to give the eyes a place to rest. Decide what your focal point is - if it’s the wall color, then make sure everything else supports it.

Playing it “too safe” with neutral hues

A neutral color scheme can give a broader appeal to your home, but it’s a common mistake to forget to add just enough contrast, which then makes a room look dull and boring. When using a palette of neutrals tones on your walls, don’t forget to add a few strong colors and interject some elements with intense personality to give the room some needed life.

Forgetting to consider how lighting affects color choices

Paint colors can change under different lighting situations. Some colors that look great under natural light may look washed out at night under artificial lighting. This is why you shouldn’t be too eager to pick up colors at the store without first trying out paint samples on your walls. Be strategic in testing them out at various areas of the room and at times of the day when the light changes. This will help you obtain a better idea of just how the paint will look at all times.

Ignoring the 60-30-10

When trying to put a color scheme together, some people tend to use too many colors. The 60-30-10 color principal is a good guide to keep in mind to create an aesthetically pleasing color scheme and help you achieve balance in any space. Simply divide your color choices into percentages: 60% for the dominant color, 30% for the secondary color, and 10% for the accent color.

These color mistakes are just a few things that can go wrong with a paint project. No doubt, the very best way to avoid them is to leave your home’s interior or exterior painting project to a professional. Our team at Sharper Impressions Painting is happy to assist you with choosing the right colors for your rooms and we can even do the painting for you. Schedule a FREE painting quote or inquire by calling us at (877) 665-5566.

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Top Five Home Interior Design Trends For 2016

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2016 is fast approaching - will redecorating your home’s interior be one of the resolutions you set yourself as you welcome in the new year? If so, these five major interior design trends for the coming twelve months will help you in rejuvenating and upgrading your living space. Enjoy the journey of redecorating anew, but don’t forget to embrace your home’s quirks while incorporating one or a few of these definitive styles to maintain a lively home balance.

Artisan accent pieces

It’s the year to start finding inspiration in locally made goods, and those from further afield but crafted by small-scale artisans. If you can manage both, by patronizing individual craftsmen and women in your own area, then so much the better! Nubby wool, natural fibers, organic shapes, and neutral hues will be the go-to textures, designs and colors for home interiors in 2016. Those handcrafted and vintage finds you picked up while traveling or browsing local shops and flea markets are set to take center stage. Don’t be afraid to mix these unique pieces, and their personal stories about your life, with big-box store furniture or even high-end interiors - they can be a great way to soften out bold colors and dramatic statement pieces.

Mixed metallics

One major trend foreseen for the year is decorating with mixed metallics. Just a touch of these metals can instantly make your space more infinitely glamorous. Both glimmering and warm metals - such as silver, platinum, brass, gold, copper, and those in rose tones - have the power to give a mid-century retro nod to otherwise dull areas of a room. Make sure you mix your assortment of metallic pieces with different, softer textures like mohair, velvet and wool, in order to balance them out and avoid going overboard on the bling-bling.

Eco and sustainable

A lush green and natural presence is coming in strong, bringing the outdoors indoors. As this trend progresses, we expect to see more greenery and other environmentally friendly design choices being injected into homes, even in less obvious spaces like the bathroom or kitchen. Aside from the obvious opportunities to build plant life and garden elements into home interiors, sustainability will also be at the heart of design choices next year. We’ve seen the popularity of upcycling grow in recent times, and recycling, repurposing, reinventing, and reusing will be buzzwords for both homeowners and furniture designers in 2016.

Art Deco inspiration

‘Farmhouse chic’ is officially on its way out, as Art Deco-inspired patterns are among some of the biggest design trends set to take center stage 2016. Natural colors and textures will be contrasted by retro Art Deco statement pieces, as the style makes a bold comeback with its trademark geometric patterns and honeycomb shapes woven into everything from wallpaper to artwork. Fluid geometry is on the up more widely, too. Wax-based encaustic-painted tiles will also be popping up on kitchen backsplashes, floors and countertops, bathroom showers, and even on fireplace mantles.

Color drama

With Art Deco seeing a resurgence in 2016, so will dramatic use of color. Bold, statement hues can be put to great effect on almost anything, from tropical motifs on wallpaper, trays and vases, to ethnic or tribal prints and patterns on furniture, walls, and pillow cases. These motifs are already somewhat of a standard in the world of design but, for an idea of what to expect next year, think ‘new interpretations’ in color. That means bold reds, vibrant oranges, mustard yellows and natural greens, mixed with a traditional palette of blacks, browns, grays, and creams. When incorporating bold color into a space, make sure you focus on an overall dramatic theme. You can do this by using a thread of a color or strong shade that is continued from room to room, creating fluid movement and visual harmony.

What should you expect overall from the world of interior design in 2016? And how should you go about bringing these trends into your own home? Be brave in creating truly custom looks by showcasing artisan pieces, mixing metallics, bringing nature indoors, injecting geometric patterns, and using bold color - all in a harmonious fashion. You don’t need to follow these trends word for word but, by keeping them in mind as you consider which redecoration and renovation projects to tackle in the year ahead, you’ll keep your home updated and on-trend, as well as providing a fresh look for you and your family to enjoy all year.

Want to entrust your home interior dilemmas to the professionals, while you focus on relaxing with friends and family, starting the new year as you mean to go on? Turn to Sharper Impressions Painting, and we’ll make sure your home is always on-trend and looking its best - just give our helpful team a call and see what we can do to help.

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What To Know About Painting Exteriors In Cold Weather

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In a country as vast as the United States, weather patterns vary wildly. As we write this, chilly Chicago is buckling down for a chilly winter, and the mercury has already dropped below freezing. Yet, down in the Sunshine State, Florida is still basking in the pleasant high seventies. There’s even a significant difference in temperature between some of Sharper Impressions’ numerous locations. But if you’re facing a cold spell this holiday season and are considering getting some exterior painting done, know that the weather outside can have a big effect on the end result.

The optimum temperature for outdoor painting is anywhere between 50 and 85 degrees but, while the recommended minimum and maximum temperatures vary depending on the type and even on the specific brand of paint you’re using, you don’t want to be painting at much below 40 degrees. Oil-based paints tend to leave you with a little more wriggle room than water- or latex-based paints but, as things cool down past 50 degrees, you’re likely to find that your paint begins to thicken and becomes more difficult to apply. Be sure to consult the directions on the paint tin in order to be sure how well you can expect it to perform in the temperatures in which you are working.

The real issue when painting outside is that the colder it gets, the longer the paint takes to dry. This in turn leaves the wet paint more susceptible to contamination from dirt, insects and pollen, which has the potential to spoil your perfect finish. Aside from the fact that you’ll get cold yourself while you’re perched up a ladder in the bitter winter weather, you’ll also find that actually applying your paint to the surface is more difficult when it’s cold.

A word of warning, too, when considering the optimum temperature at which to paint your exterior surfaces. Don’t forget that just because the air temperature outside your home is up in the mid forties, the wall you’re painting isn’t necessarily as warm. Just as the ground is several degrees cooler than the air during a ground frost, it’s possible for your walls to be colder than the air - and those couple of degrees could make the difference between your fresh new coat of paint adhering and not. It’s not unknown, even, for the temperature of different areas of the same surface to vary a little. There are electronic non-contact infrared thermometers you can use to accurately gauge the temperature of your wall, and which will allow you to judge whether it’s worth going ahead with the paint job or holding off for a warmer spell.

Remember that temperatures change through the course of the day, too. It’s important to keep a close eye on the weather forecast before getting started and while you’re painting - to be safe, you should ensure that the air temperature is predicted to remain above your paint’s recommended minimum for at least 36 hours. This will give you plenty of time both for the paint to dry and for you to do any necessary touch-ups to the finished job, as well as to accommodate for any unforeseen weather changes that might bring on a cold snap sooner than expected.

Of course, paint isn’t the only thing you’ll be using for your exterior decoration job. Doing things properly will likely involve a variety of materials in addition to the paint itself - and products like fillers, primers and caulking may not be suitable for use in lower temperatures, even if you’ve managed to track down one of the magic paint brands now on the market that can be used at temperatures as low as 35 degrees. Be sure to check the recommended minimum temperature for applying each component involved in the painting process, in addition to verifying that you are using types of brushes, rollers and other tools that are suited to the temperature and the resulting thickness of your paint, which may be different than it would be on a warmer day.

It’s a good idea to start as early in the day as you can, giving yourself plenty of time in the morning for preparation and beginning the actual painting from around 10am. This way, the surfaces you are painting will have had a chance to warm up from the previous evening’s chill. Ideally you want to be finished by mid-afternoon at the latest, so that your paint is at least well on the way to being dry by the time night falls, temperatures drop, and dew begins to accumulate and cause trouble for the paint’s adhesion.

As always, we recommend that you apply at least two coats of paint, so be sure to allow enough time for this - the winter weather makes for the perfect conditions to be caught out by bubbling and blistering between coats of paint applied too quickly after one another (don’t forget that, in cooler weather, the second coat will dry more slowly than usual, just as the first one does - expect four hours of drying time at 75 degrees to become six hours at 50 degrees).

When you’re painting, ignore the advice you’re given for summertime painting, which is to avoid direct sunlight and instead paint in the shade. In the winter, you want as much of the sun’s warmth as you can get, since it will help the paint to dry more quickly - so paint in direct light where you can, following the sun across your surfaces as it moves through the sky. Likewise, pay attention to what the wind is doing - this can have a heavy influence on the temperature of the surface you are painting and, if the wind is particularly strong, it can even swing things in the opposite direction and cause your paint to dry more quickly than is desirable.

It’s understandable that you want to keep your home looking fantastic both inside and out over the winter and, if you’re undertaking it at short notice, performing a paint job in cold weather might be unavoidable. But there’s plenty to keep in mind to ensure that it’s a success. If you would rather take it easy and curl up inside on those crisp winter mornings, talk to the Sharper Impressions Painting team, and we’ll take care of it all for you instead.

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How To Spruce Up Your Home’s Interiors For The Holidays

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The holiday season is upon us and, even if you’re not planning on a full home makeover, you might be considering some more minor repainting to give the interior of your property a fresh lease of life. A few quick changes can really make your home sparkle throughout the holidays, both creating a more pleasant environment for you and your family to live in and making a lasting impression on all those guests - both invited and unexpected - you’ll inevitably be hosting during the festive period.

Here are a few things to consider if you’re thinking about taking on a spot of home DIY over the holidays.

Take stock first

Before you make any firm plans, walk through your home to get an idea of what needs doing the most, and where low-effort jobs will have the greatest impact. Of course, it’s easy to miss things given that you spend every day in your home, so it can be a good idea to take a friend around with you - they’ll be able to point out things you might not have noticed. Focus on the areas around the entrance to your home before other rooms, since your main hallway will be the first interior space guests see and will influence how they see and experience your property while they are with you.

Dining rooms and bathrooms are other obvious spots to direct your refurbishment efforts - and don’t forget the kitchen, since friends and family are bound to socialize there during get-togethers. Write down the parts of your home you would like to work on - including what specifically you want to do, whether it’s touching up walls, doors or trim, or breathing new life into furnishings. Don’t forget to look up, either! Refreshing the color or design of your ceiling can drastically alter the appearance of a room. Next, rank your wish list in order of priority, so that you can make the most of limited time in a season when you’re bound to be preoccupied with other tasks like gift shopping and preparing your holiday meals. You might get to all the tasks on your list, but tackling the most important ones first will allow you to make the greatest impact.

Choosing colors

Whether you’re repainting entire walls or simply looking to add a little extra sparkle to a room’s accent piece, you will want to give careful consideration to the colors you bring into your rooms. It’s understandable to be overtaken by all the festive obsession with reds, greens, silvers and golds, but do remember to select colors that you’re comfortable living with for the rest of the year, too. Neutral shades like off-whites never go out of fashion, and have the added benefit of working well with whichever temporary holiday decorations you roll in while also feeling bright and breezy enough when summer comes around again.

Unless you’re up for redecorating your entire home every few months, it’s probably wise to avoid smothering entire rooms in deep, intimate shades of red and doing your trim in dark, moody wood. Color schemes like these will certainly feel warm, comforting and cozy in the winter months, but might not be quite what you’re looking for when the mercury begins to rebound outside. That said, if you do want to go down the traditional Christmas color route then, while crimsons and dark greens are seasonal favorites that work particularly well in dining rooms when complemented by hints of gold and silver, there are plenty of other possibilities and so there is no need to limit your imagination. One underrated way of dreaming up new festive color combinations is to look at those used on the gift bags that proliferate at this time of year - you’ll likely find inspiration here, whether it’s a simple variation on the traditional red-and-green blend, or something wildly different.

Don’t forget the trim

It’s easy to think that giving a room a new look for the holidays means a full-on job repainting every surface, but the truth is that even a new lick of paint on your wood trim can make a world of difference. You could make the switch between black, white or stained wood trim, or simply bring tired-looking panels back to life with a fresh coat. Wood trim is the frame that surrounds everything else you do with the decor of your home, and its widespread surface creates much more of an impression than you might think. As a result, refinishing it is a relatively low-effort project that could pay big dividends in terms of your home’s holiday-readiness.

Do the job properly

You want your home to look fantastic around the holidays, so there’s no point skimping by only doing a half-hearted job. That means not only seeking out high-quality paints and taking the time to pick out the finish that is best suited to the room in question, but also doing the proper preparatory work to clean, strip and prime your surfaces before you even get to the painting itself. Of course, it goes without saying that you should try to give your surfaces a number of coats. After all, you don’t want your beautiful new paint job to easily pick up scuffs and marks while your home is filled with family during holiday reunions, or for relatives to suddenly spot dodgy patches as they munch on their Christmas turkey.

Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize

A repainting job might be the ideal scenario, but there’s no denying that it takes time and effort. Careful and considered use of eye-catching accessories can be a great way to complement the more major work you manage to get done, or can even stand in its place to add elegance to your property if repainting ultimately has to wait until after the holidays. Seasonally inspired artworks, garlands or banners strung across mantel centerpieces, and traditional objects like candles and pine cones can all go great lengths to bringing the festive spirit into your home.

Are you dreaming of a freshened up holiday home, but would rather spend your time enjoying the festivities than stuck up a ladder painting your wood trim? Give the team at Sharper Impressions Painting a call and we’ll take the stress out of holiday decorating jobs, leaving you with the perfect home to spend quality time with your loved ones.

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Should You Repaint Your Front Door Or Buy A New One?

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Your front door is the face of your home. It’s among the first things visitors and passers-by see, and it has the ability to make more of an impression than any other element of your home’s frontage. An outdated front door can make a property look cheap, while one that is worn and lacking proper care can leave people with the same impression of the house as a whole. Keeping your front door in good condition is important to your own everyday enjoyment of and pride in your home, but it becomes even more vital if you’re thinking of selling. The sway that the front door holds over the wider appearance of the property means it can have a drastic impact on the price you end up getting for your home.

The replacement of a property’s front door consistently tops the National Association of Realtors’ annual survey assessing the return on investment of various home improvement projects. In fact, the association’s 2015 survey suggests that replacing your entry door generates an average 101.8% return on investment - in other words, you add more value to your property than it costs you to carry out the replacement in the first place. That’s not to say that replacing your front door isn’t expensive, though - or that there aren’t alternatives. The most appealing alternative is to simply repaint your door to give it a new lease of life. If you find yourself up against the dilemma of whether to repaint your door or just buy a new one altogether, here’s what you need to consider.

The benefits of replacing your front door

If your current door is in a particularly bad state, you might be tempted to go the whole hog and simply replace it. The cost is likely to be higher than a simple repainting job - the average cost of replacing a steel door across the United States is, again according to the National Association of Realtors, $1,230 - but you can expect to regain much of that, if not more than your original outlay, in increased home value. There’s also some truth to the idea that if you’re going to go to the effort of taking a door off its hinges to repaint it, you may as well replace it altogether.

If you opt to replace your front door entirely, you’ll be able to not only choose the color you like the most, but also to switch to a completely new material. Different materials can complement the wider design of your property in different ways, so you’ll want to take some time to think through your options and choose wisely. The main options include steel, wood and fiberglass. Of these, steel is the cheapest, wood can add charm and character - particularly to older homes - but is high-maintenance, and fiberglass is perhaps the most popular option, since it can offer the appearance of wood but with greater durability. On the durability front you should also keep in mind that, though steel doors may be the least expensive option, they are also particularly vulnerable to inclement weather conditions and so tend to have a shorter lifespan than other materials.

In the process of picking a new material for your front door, you have the chance to go for one that’s more energy efficient, allowing you to keep more heat inside and cut fuel bills. The energy efficiency of a door depends on more than the material alone - the construction of the frame and the presence of windows play a part, too - so you’ll want to consider an individual door’s Energy Star rating in your comparison. That said, when comparing like with like, fiberglass tends to be the most energy efficient of the three popular materials.

The benefits of repainting your front door

It goes without saying that the biggest advantage to repainting your front door, rather than completely replacing it, is that it helps keep the cost down. Even when you take into account the need to take the door off its hinges, and then wash and prime it before getting to the actual painting, it can still work out more economical to repaint rather than replace from scratch. That’s not to mention the fact that entry doors need regular refinishing anyway so, even if you opt to replace yours outright this time, it won’t be long until it once again needs repainting or otherwise touching up. Unless you’ve got cash to burn by replacing your doors every time they show a blemish, repainting what you already have would seem sensible.

While opting to simply repaint will of course deprive you of the chance to change the material of your door, this might in itself be desirable. For instance, if you have an old solid wood door that has plenty of charm and adds to the character of your period home, there are probably few things you would like to do less than trade it in for something more modern and infinitely less endearing. Even so, repainting an old door like this - whether in the same timeless shade, or in something bolder and more extravagant - will undoubtedly give it a brand new lease of life. If you are considering painting it in a shocking shade of pink, though, don’t forget to check for local regulations that might prevent you from doing so.

Finally, repainting a door that’s already in place and hanging on its hinges can simply make life a whole lot easier. If you go down the route of buying a brand new door, you’ll need to take care to make sure it’s the right size and shape, and then ensure you hang it properly so it’s both secure and attractive. if you’re doing the whole job yourself then, between trips hunting down and purchasing the new door, and actually putting it in place, this can extend the time involved far beyond that needed to merely repaint something you’ve already got sitting right under your nose. Even a well-planned and properly executed repainting makeover (remember that, just as with all painting, effective preparation is key to success!) can often be completed in a day, or perhaps just slightly longer if it’s a more complex job. Compare that to the time involved in procuring a new door and it’s easy to see why repainting might be the route for you.

Take a look at some of our previous blog posts for tips on refinishing your wooden front door, and some reminders as to why it’s so important to regularly repaint it. But if you want to repaint your door, yet can’t be bothered with all the legwork involved in a DIY job, give the Sharper Impressions Painting team a call and we’ll take care of everything for you.

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When And Why To Replace Rotten Wood

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The need for some home repair jobs is obvious. If your bathroom’s water system suddenly starts leaking gallons through your kitchen ceiling, you’ll know that something is wrong and needs fixing pronto. But, like a disease that displays no symptoms, rotting wood can lie unnoticed in your home for extended periods of time, only revealing itself when it’s too late. It’s also the kind of issue likely to cause extensive damage, spreading far, wide and quickly. And because your property is likely composed of plenty of wood, rot can even threaten its structural integrity - meaning it might literally destroy your house.

Do it quickly, and do it properly

For all these reasons, wood rot is the kind of home improvement job that should be given the highest priority, and undertaken with the utmost urgency. The easiest answer to when you should replace rotted wood is that it should be done as soon as possible after you detect its presence. Not only that, but it’s vital that you ensure the improvement job is a thorough one. If you do only a half-hearted job of resolving the effects of wood damage, you are simply creating a ticking time bomb that will one day explode with even more serious and costly consequences.

Check for rot on a regular basis

The best way to beat wood rot, before it has a chance of spreading, is to regularly check to see whether it has begun to appear around your home’s structure. Ideally you should be doing this every two to three months. Remember, the more often you check, the sooner you’ll identify any problems and the more quickly you’ll be able to put them right.

Rot is caused by moisture trapped inside wood, which creates the perfect environment for fungi to grow, so it’s important to look especially closely at damp- and moisture-prone areas like under the guttering and around window and door sills. While there may well be no obvious visible signs of rot - especially if it is hidden behind paint or sidings - wood that is rotten will give more easily when gently pressed against. But if you’re still not sure, you should assume the worst until proven otherwise - and engage the help of a professional like Sharper Impressions Painting to give you a proper diagnosis.

Don’t miss the less obvious rot spots

Just because your home isn’t built top to bottom from wood doesn’t mean that you’re not susceptible to rot, or that you can escape having to perform routine maintenance and inspection. Houses with surfaces made of other materials - whether vinyl, aluminum, or something else entirely - still contain plenty of wood within their structures. In these cases, pay particular attention to your home’s sidings, and other similar areas that present an opportunity for water to get beneath the surface.

Whatever your property is made of - and in addition to the guttering and sills we mentioned earlier - keep an eye on the various parts of your exterior doors; areas around heaters, sinks, toilets, bathtubs, washing machines, dishwashers, and the like; outdoor decked areas; and roofs. All of these places are less obvious but equally likely places for moisture to accumulate and damp to become a problem.

How to fix the wood rot you identify

If you do discover parts of your home’s wooden structure that are rotten, you’ll need to replace the planks or panels quickly in order to remove the damp from the environment. To be sure of its future durability, you are best off having this kind of work undertaken professionally - and make certain, too, that the new wood is promptly painted in order to prevent water from penetrating the surface again and causing further spread of rot.

Prevent rot from occurring in the first place

A few preventative measures can save you from having to frequently carry out corrective work to remove rotten planks and avoid the problem spreading. Regularly maintain gutters to keep them clear for rainwater to freely pass through, try to use alternatives to wood in your home’s structure, add covered entrances to your exterior doors, and ensure your home is well ventilated to prevent moisture from becoming trapped.

You should also regularly repair and refinish caulk and paint exteriors to your home, since cracks can provide a way in for moisture; likewise, be on guard at all times for the presence of even the smallest of water leaks, which can rapidly escalate into much more troubling issues.

Back to the original questions: when should you replace your rotten wood? If you discover your home is harboring some, then right now. And why should you replace it? Because, if you don’t, it will rapidly spread and infect the rest of your home, potentially causing its entire structure to crumble.

Delaying can only increase the cost of repairs, so take action. If you think you have a rot problem, call on the professionals at Sharper Impressions today - we’ll survey your property and make recommendations for prompt and cost-effective repairs or replacement.

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