Painting Blog

Last Minute Painting Before Winter


At Sharper Impressions Painting, naturally business slows down over the holiday season - after all, most folks’ thoughts turn to the festivities, fun, family and food that accompany Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year, rather than to decorating. But what if you’re desperate to have the exterior of your home painted before winter really sets in? Is it even possible to paint during the colder, darker months?

Well, the answer is “yes” and also “no”. Obviously it all comes down to the weather during the days that your paint job is scheduled - it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that painting while it’s raining or snowing is not a very good idea, to put it mildly! And while you might protest that you can handle inclement weather and don’t mind painting in sub-zero temperatures (the hard work will keep you warm, right?) the same can’t be said for your trusty tin of paint.

There are two things to bear in mind, whether you’re thinking about taking on the challenge of painting the exterior of your home yourself, or are considering hiring a professional such as Sharper Impressions Painting, and those are temperature and weather - or moisture to be more precise.

Let’s take a closer look at what you can get away with - and what will leave your paint job, and your home, in a sorry, soggy state over the winter holidays.


It goes without saying that paint should only be applied to a surface that is completely dry; it simply won’t adhere to the surface you are painting otherwise - whether that’s the exterior of your property, or a kitchen cabinet. And just because you woke up and the sky is blue (or more likely, gray) that doesn’t mean that you - or your painter - are in the clear. During winter, the air is naturally damper, and even humidity can have an adverse affect on your finished result.

If it has rained, hailed, sleeted or snowed, the general rule of thumb is to wait a day before painting - although don’t forget that, just because a surface may feel dry to the touch, a porous material such as untreated wood or concrete may still be damp inside. Another thing to remember is that while you may have packed up your ladder and brushes for the day, your paint will still be drying overnight - and that means it could be affected by that evening’s low. The key here is to check weather reports, compare that night’s low with the previous evening’s, and of course look out for any mention of snow or rain.


Paint brands come with a minimum and maximum ideal temperature range in which they can be used. Good quality paints that are recommended for outdoor use can come with a minimum temperature point as low as 35 degrees Fahrenheit (approximately 1.6 degrees Celsius). While this is good news for anyone who wants the outside of their house painted regardless of the biting cold, slow down before you grab your paintbrush and thermals because you also need to take into consideration that paint really doesn’t like sharp or sudden changes in temperature - whether hot or cold. You might be lucky and catch one of those mild winter days where the temperatures are in the low sixties - but how far is that going to drop come nightfall? Think of your poor paintwork as it clings to the side of your home, desperately trying to dry!


Well we told you “yes and no” earlier when it comes to the question of being able to paint your home during the winter, and while you might just be lucky enough to get away with it - providing the temperature and climate are aligned in perfect harmony - there is a good chance that you might be left waiting until spring starts to bloom.

Of course, in a country as vast as the US, location plays a huge part in a successful outcome too. Painting your cabin in Upstate New York in the middle of January? Probably not going to happen. Painting your vacation home in the Florida Keys in December? You might stand a decent shot at it.

No matter where you are, the sooner you decide to paint your home before winter is upon us, the better. And if all the consulting of weather charts, picking the perfect day, and testing wood for dampness sounds like too much hard work (and that’s without the painting itself!) why not give the team at Sharper Impressions Painting a call? We’ll be happy to ensure that your home’s exterior is picture perfect before the holiday season rolls around.

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Tips for Choosing the Right Paint Colors for Your Home


Deciding that your home needs a makeover and actually getting around to the task in hand can be two very different things. And if you’re slightly prone to procrastination, choosing which paint colors to use can morph into a daunting task if you’re not sure which hues will work best in your rooms.

With that in mind, Sharper Impressions Painting present these tried-and-tested tricks to help you select the perfect paint palette for your home’s interior.

Dip your toe into the paint pot

If you’re not accustomed to living in a brightly colored home and you’ve decided you want to dial your beige rooms up a notch, but you’re a little afraid of going all out and finding out that the color you’ve chosen isn’t for you, try starting small. The best way of doing this is to play around with color in a small room or area: a walk-in closet, an en-suite bathroom, a utility room, or even a small hallway. If you don’t instantly love the finished result, give it a period of grace so that you can decide whether or not it grows on you. Then if you decide that you do want to switch back to basics, you haven’t spent too much time, effort or money on the project.

Passion and drama or chilled-out bliss?

Once you’re ready to move on to painting a larger area or room, to help you choose the right color it is helpful to start off by considering your end goal. Do you want your family room to be a chilled-out zone where you can gather as a group to sit and read, or do you want it to be a fun place where you play games and hold impromptu parties? If it’s the former you will probably want to opt for softer neutrals such as a warm shade of brown, and if it’s the latter you may decide zesty orange is more for you. The same goes for bedrooms: do you want a relaxing and restful atmosphere - perhaps in lilac or blue - or a passionate and sensual, deep red boudoir?

Creating a cohesive connection

Another factor to take into consideration is whether or not your rooms are connecting. There’s probably not too much point getting hung up on whether your lime green dining room clashes with your bright red kitchen if they are in different areas of your home, or if they connect by a door. However, if you have an open-plan kitchen-diner, this is something that needs to be carefully thought through. Of course, you can divide designated areas by painting them different hues, but make sure the end result is coherent. Even if your rooms aren’t open plan, if you can see into one room from another, through an open archway for example, try and make sure your colors flow.

No need to reinvent the wheel

Now you’re really sold on the idea of using color in your home, you may decide that you want to try combining two or more colors in a single room. But how do you know what will work? If you’ve always loved hot pink and primrose yellow but you’re not entirely convinced they’ll make a perfect match in a single room (tip: they probably won’t!), using a color wheel is a great way to find out - without making a costly and headache-inducing error of judgement. The wheel will show you which colors are opposite to - and complement - one another, for example orange and blue, and which are too close on the spectrum to really work together, such as red and purple. This is a great way of not only finding out if your two favorite hues work together, but also discovering new, hitherto-unthought-of color combinations.

It’s time to see the light

It’s important to factor in the lighting in a room when deciding which color or colors to paint it. If the room has an abundance of natural daylight, painting all the walls a deep red might be too intense, as natural light shows a color at its ‘truest’. Bear in mind that artificial lighting will bring out warm tones such as orange and yellow so, if you are really in love with that dark red paint swatch, it might be best employed on an accent wall, or in an alcove where you can highlight it with a carefully positioned lamp or spotlight. On a similar note, be careful when painting a small space in a very overpowering color, as this could appear to shrink the room quite drastically.

Once you’ve decided on your home’s color palette, why not pick up the phone and give the team at Sharper Impressions Painting a call? We have years of experience decorating homes of all shapes and sizes, and will be happy to quote you for turning your color scheme dreams into rainbow reality.

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Repainting Versus Residing your Hardie Board Siding


If you have a home covered in hardie board siding, you may have reached a point in its lifecycle where you’re wondering whether or not to replace it completely, or simply repaint over it. Thanks to its cement fiber and sand construction, hardie board siding is especially popular in regions that experience extreme weather conditions. But although it is much loved for its rugged defiance in the face of inclement conditions, that does not mean that it has an infinite life span.

Hardie siding is increasingly popular at the moment for a number of reasons, its hardiness - excuse the pun - being just one of them. Also loved for its wide range of colors and textures, if you have been won over by hardie siding and its ability to recreate the look and grain of wood, albeit in a tougher package than the real deal, chances are you won’t want to be swapping it out for a different type of siding anytime soon.

So where does that leave you if you own an older home and it’s time for an upgrade? As most types of hardie board siding come with a 50-year warranty, the good news is that it is not something that you will need to worry about replacing too many times in your lifetime. The finish, however, is a different matter, as most color options come with a warranty that lasts only around 10 to 15 years.

Hardie board siding: to repaint or to reside?

It is precisely due to its durable nature and ultra-rugged construction that hardie board siding is a good candidate for a simple repaint job. Bad weather conditions, no matter how extreme, will not chip, swell, or rot the siding, regardless of how much rain, hail, snow, strong sunshine, or humidity Mother Nature throws at it. Even airborne detritus such as twigs or branches would be hard-pressed to damage this super strong siding. In a similar vein, termites and other insects will have no effect on hardie board: those tiny teeth that can nibble away at wooden sidings and cause so much damage will not make a mark on hardie. In fact, even if you are unlucky enough to experience a house fire, due to the concrete construction, it is fire-resistant too.

So if there is precious little that can do your hardie board siding any real harm, it seems to make sense that repainting it, as opposed to reinstalling it, is the way to go. But what about when seen from a cost perspective? Does hardie siding’s unique nature make it prohibitively expensive to repaint? Would it just be cheaper in the long run to replace it?

Well, while hardie board siding might possess almost supernatural powers of impenetrability, the fact is that it is no more or less costly than the other types of siding on the market. However, because it needs barely a shred of maintenance apart from painting, it is a great long-term choice.

The other thing to note is that, because hardie board siding is considerably heavier than wood, aluminum, or vinyl sidings, it is more difficult - and more time-consuming - to install. Your property needs to be suitable, for one thing, and more manpower will be needed too. If you take into consideration that 100 square feet of vinyl siding weighs approximately 65 pounds, and hardie board siding weighs around 300 pounds, you can see how the cost of labor and installation are bound to increase for the latter. And that’s looking at it from the point of view from a new installation; if you are in the position of wondering whether to repaint or replace your hardie sidings, you will also need to factor in the not-inconsiderable cost of removing the old sidings in the first place.

The conclusion

If you are lucky enough to have this eminently durable type of siding protecting your home and it’s looking a little under the weather then, unless yours is an extreme case, we would definitely recommend repainting your hardie board siding rather than replacing it. Reinstalling it will be a large, costly job, whereas a professional exterior decorator will be able to restore your home to its former glory for a far lower price and much more quickly.

If your property has hardie board sidings and you’d like to know how a new coat of paint could give your exterior a new lease of life, get in touch with the experts at Sharper Impressions Painting today.

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Why You Should Caulk Your Home


Caulking your home is a must for a number of reasons: it keeps water and cold weather out, helps stop rot, mold and fungus from forming, keeps your heating and maintenance costs down, makes your home look more attractive and better cared for, and even helps paintwork to last longer.

So, given all of the above it becomes clear that the humble tube of caulk that you have sitting in your toolbox or in the cupboard under the sink is actually something of an unsung hero in the world of home improvements. The basic function of caulk is to fill in the gaps between different building materials - such as the tiles around your bathtub and the tub itself. Put simply, air and water are kept in their respective places, eliminating problems such as higher energy costs, and mold and rot.

However, with so many different types of caulk lining the shelves in your local hardware store, and with so many suitable applications, there are a few things you need to know before you grab your caulking gun and start squeezing the trigger!

Choose the right caulk for the right job

The caulk that you choose really depends on the materials you are working with and whether you are caulking the interior or exterior of your home. You should take into consideration the presence of moisture, the elements and range of temperature, whether you can paint over the caulk after it has dried, and whether or not it needs a degree of flexibility to be used between surfaced that move in response to weather or temperature.

You’ll likely find a bewildering range of caulk in your hardware store although it’s worth noting that many of these are highly specialized. For jobs around your home, you will probably find one of the following suitable for your needs:

  • Kitchen and Bathroom Caulk - for use in the spaces around sinks, showers and tubs, this type of caulk is highly resistant to water, and helps prevent mildew and mold from growing.
  • Butyl Rubber Caulk - this highly flexible caulk is mostly used for sealing brick, concrete or metal surfaces such as roof flashing and gutters. It can be painted when dry.
  • Acrylic Latex Caulk - can be painted over, can be used both indoors and out, and comes in different colors, which makes it ideal for caulking around doors, window frames and moldings.
  • Silicone Caulk - used for non-porous surfaces such as ceramic tiles, glass and metal. It is not usually possible to paint over silicone caulk, although it is flexible and comes in clear and other color options.

Caulking applications in the home

Once you’ve selected the right type of caulk for the job, you’re ready to get sealing, and it’s highly likely that once you’ve started looking you’ll find any number of areas that are ready and waiting to be caulked. Here are the main areas that you should take care to inspect:

  • Doors - your exterior doors are a prime target for caulking. Moisture and even dampness from cold concrete floors, such as those found in garages, can cause wood to rot and will damage paintwork. Seal around the trim and the door frame or siding, as well as the frame and threshold.
  • Windows - if your window has a trim, apply caulk to the top and sides of the frame only. If your window doesn’t have a trim, apply caulk to all sides, including the bottom. Wooden window frames usually need more caulk, both where the glass and wood meet, and around the trim, siding and sill.
  • Fascia Boards and Soffits - applying caulk behind fascia and soffit boards is a surefire way to increase their longevity, leading to less maintenance and expense. Not sure what a ‘soffit’ is? It’s the name given to the underside of your roof’s overhang.
  • Bathtubs, Showers and Sinks - choose a caulk that has been designed specifically for use in kitchens and bathrooms, as these contain mold and mildew preventing agents. Caulk in the space where your tub, sink or shower tray and/or doors meet the walls. Remember that you will need to let the caulk dry for the length of time stated in the instructions before exposing it to water.

Caulking might not be the most fun job on your home improvement to-do list, but it is a crucial one if you want your home to look better and be safer, more energy efficient and less expensive to run and maintain.

If you’d rather save your precious leisure time for something a little more exciting than caulking your home, talk to the team at Sharper Impressions Painting - we offer caulking and sealing services that will ensure your home is properly protected against the elements.

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Why You Should Regularly Repaint Your Front Door


Your home’s front door, as well as other entry doors, face a great deal of abuse from the elements. Whether they’re being attacked by winter’s harsher climate and are subjected to a battering from rain, hail, snow and sleet, or the scorching summer sun has faded them to a shadow of their former selves, repainting your door is essential if you want to maintain the appearance of your property.

The front door is one of the first things that passersby and visitors to your home notice. It’s the focal point of your property’s facade and speaks volumes about how well you take care of your investment. Of course this becomes of paramount importance if you are thinking of putting your property on the market. Research has shown that buyers take between just 25 and 38 minutes when deciding whether or not they want to buy a new home - a surprisingly short amount of time when you consider it is one of the largest investments most of us will ever make. But that means that the decision is formed quickly - pretty much from the minute a potential buyer pulls up in their car outside your property. And it doesn’t take a real estate tycoon to work out that the more neat and tidy the exterior of your home is, the higher the likelihood is that someone will put in an offer.

Whether you want to sell your property or not, presenting your best face to the world - or at least to your neighborhood - is something every owner who takes pride in their home and who wants to protect their investment should do. Wooden front and entry doors can look stunning when they are properly cared for but it doesn’t take much for them to fall into a less than attractive, or even shabby, state of disrepair.

Of course, the other reason why you should consider repainting your front door is that it can give the outside of your home a fresh new look. If you don’t have the budget to get the exterior of your house painted, simply choosing a fresh color for your door will give your property a whole new lease of life.

The good news is that by simply repainting your front and other entry doors you’ll be able to upgrade your home’s appearance quickly and inexpensively. If you’re thinking of undertaking the challenge yourself, read on for a few helpful hints.

How to repaint your wooden front and exterior entry doors

  • You can leave your door hanging, but if you want the best possible result, you will need to remove your door from its hinges. After all, if a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well as the saying goes! Once the door is off its hinges carefully lay it on a pair of sawhorses in your yard or in a space that has plenty of ventilation.
  • Likewise, you could, at a pinch, leave the hardware attached but to achieve a professional finish, you should remove it all: knockers, hinges, letterbox, bell, knob, numbers etc. Then use painter’s tape to mask any glass or windows.
  • You now need to clean your door. Use a wet sponge to do this and make sure it is done thoroughly. Once you’re happy with the state of your door, lightly sand the surface. Wipe again to remove sanding dust and let dry.
  • Next up is priming. Don’t be tempted to skip this crucial stage - after all you’ve come this far, and primer really will help the paint adhere better to the surface of the door.
  • It’s finally time to start painting! If your door has large flat areas, you can use a roller to paint these. For anything else, such as paneling, use an adequately sized brush.
  • Once you’ve completed your first coat you’ll need to let the paint completely dry before adding a second. Again, this is not a step to gloss over, if you excuse the pun! A top coat will not only give you a far better finish but will protect your door against the elements for longer - therefore reducing the chances of you needing to go through the whole procedure again soon. Don’t forget that if you need to let the paint dry overnight (according to the time you started painting and the paint manufacturer’s instructions) you will need to secure your home. You can do this by screwing a cut-to-fit piece of plywood in your original door’s place.
  • Once your second coat is completely dry you can remove the masking tape, replace all the hardware and rehang your brand new door.

If all of this sounds like a little bit like too much hard work and you’d prefer to spend your weekend doing something a little more relaxing - or fun - get in touch with Sharper Impressions Painting today and our team will be more than happy to give you a quote for repainting your external doors.

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How to Protect your Home During Winter


Harsh winters can really take their toll on your home, especially on its exterior. The good news is that there are a number of steps you can take to limit damage and ensure that your property makes it through to spring as unscathed as possible. So, read on as we take a look at some of the things you can do to protect your home during the winter months.

While the weather is still clement, carrying out an inspection of your home is the first step towards battening down the hatches in preparation for those long windy, rainy, and snowy days ahead. Start from the top by checking your roof for any signs of damage - and make sure you carry out any repairs sooner rather than later as problems could become significantly worse over the winter. Loose, damaged or missing shingles will leak and allow rain, sleet and melting snow to drip through into your attic.

While you have your ladder out now is also the time to clean your guttering and downspouts. Gutters that are full of leaves and other debris can cause water, ice or snow to collect, resulting in damage to your roof and sidings. It may also be worth looking into downspout extensions which will direct water away from the foundations of your home. You should have air leaks fixed and may also want to consider insulating (or re-insulating) your attic, especially if you were plagued by ice dams and icicles in previous winters.

Take a look at the exterior walls of your home too and caulk any cracks or holes to prevent the problems worsening as well as warm air escaping and cold air from infiltrating your home. In a similar vein, you should also repair or replace weather stripping and thresholds around your windows and exterior doors.

It is also worth considering painting the exterior of your home now too, as besides making your home look more attractive - an added bonus if you have guests over the holidays - it will add an extra layer of protection against the elements.

Something to bear in mind for a later date just prior to the really cold weather hitting, bring plants in pots or containers indoors, place covers over plants that are susceptible to frost damage and spread mulch around other plants. This is also a good time to drain the water from fountains, water features, birdbaths, and lawn irrigation systems, if you have them. Don’t forget to drain water from outside faucets too - water left in the pipes can freeze, leading to the dreaded burst pipe scenario when ice causes the pipes to expand.

If they are not already, you might also want to pad your pipes so that in the unfortunate event one does burst, any flooding will be better contained. Your local hardware store should sell insulation sleeves which are easily placed over exposed and unheated pipes such as those found in attics, basements, crawl spaces and cabinets like the one under your kitchen sink.

Whether you have a real fireplace or any other type of gas, oil, coal or wood burning stove contact a chimney sweep who will come out and check that your chimney and vents are clean and in good working order so you don’t experience a chimney fire or worse, carbon monoxide poisoning. Now is also the time to check the batteries in your smoke or carbon monoxide detectors just in case your heating appliances are overworking. After all, you want to be warm, safe and sound when you’re burning your yule log or roasting chestnuts over an open fire!

There are plenty of qualified professionals who can help you winter-proof your home against the elements and if you are thinking about painting the exterior of your home, get in touch with the team at Sharper Impressions Painting and we’ll be more than happy to provide you with an affordable quote.

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Do I Really Need Two Coats of Paint?


It’s one of the oldest questions in the painting book, and if you’re thinking about embarking upon a paint job and are considering cutting corners and costs by only applying one coat of paint, we urge you to read the rest of this post before making your decision!

While it is certainly true that some paints are (slightly) thicker than others and state on the can that only one coat is needed, generally speaking, skimping and only painting the majority of surfaces once won't give you the desired effect. Regardless of the paint type or the surface, you will only get that lush, deep finish if you opt for two coats. And looks aren’t the only thing to take into consideration; you don’t need a degree in rocket science to work out that two coats of paint are far more durable than one. A wall, whether interior or exterior, will also normally be easier to clean if it has been coated twice.

In addition to this, and contrary to popular belief, don’t be fooled into thinking you can get away with only one coat of a darker colored paint. These actually have less ‘body’ and will need two - if not three - coats so that the rich color is able to develop properly.

Don’t limit your color choices

If you take the ‘easy’ way out, be warned that you’ll be facing a less-than-stellar finish if you are painting one color over another - especially if the new color is paler than the existing one. In reality, one coat may be sufficient if the two colors are similar, but if not - or if you are painting over white - you will need a second coat to stop the base color from either showing through or altering the real shade of your new paint. This might sound like a pain but it gives you a far greater choice when it comes to picking a color because, if you commit to two coats, you’ll be able to choose from any color out there, not just limit yourself to shades that are similar to your existing one.

And let’s not forget that by painting your wall or other surface twice, you will also reduce the chances of anyone telling you “you’ve missed a bit!”

Another thing to take into consideration is the type of paint you are using. Opt for satin or gloss and the chances are low that you’ll get a perfect finish the first time. The problem is that glossy sheens do not always adhere to a surface well and can leave brush or roller marks, which you’ll only be able to cover with a second coat.

Why one coat of paint is a false economy

Maybe you have all the time in the world to complete your project and you’re not bothered about the work involved, but you are concerned about saving money on actual paint. If so, let’s take a closer look at the costs involved.

Generally speaking, the lifespan of a one-coat paint job is as little as three years. Compare that to the same surface which has been properly prepared and given two coats of paint and, depending on external factors such as the elements, that lifespan increases dramatically to ten years. This might not be such a major factor when it comes to the rooms you use most in your home - chances are you will change your bedroom or lounge color scheme before the ten years are up anyway. But when it comes to large spaces such as stairwells and hallways, or your property’s exterior, it can mean the difference between doing the job right the first time and not having to worry about repainting for a decade - or cutting costs and corners and creating a rod for your own back by needing to do (and pay for) the entire job all over again in just a few years.

And while we’re doing the math bear in mind that, because the second coat is a lot easier and quicker to apply than the first (since the prep work has been done, and the paint adheres better the second time around), a reputable painting contractor will only charge you a nominal amount for the second coat. So when you know the professionals are willing to go the extra mile and add two coats, even if they don’t stand to gain much financially, you can be pretty sure that two coats, not one, are going to give you a far superior finished result.

Whether you need advice about painting techniques or you’d like to entrust the painting of your home to the professionals, get in touch with Sharper Impressions Painting today - we’re here and we’re ready to help!

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Should I Paint or Replace my Aluminum Siding?


When it was first introduced in the 1940s, it didn’t take long for aluminum to replace wood as the go-to siding material of choice for builders and homeowners across the United States. While traditionalists may have turned their noses up, aluminum had several benefits that, at the time, made it an obvious choice for new home builds as well as for replacing old, tired wooden sidings.

First and foremost, aluminum is considerably lighter than wood, making the sidings easier to install. It is also lower maintenance due to the fact that, unlike painted wood, a coating of paint is baked on to aluminum, reducing the need for frequent cleaning and repainting - this of course also considerably lowers the cost of maintenance.

However, aluminum’s reign over the world of sidings was to be relatively short lived when approximately thirty years later it was usurped by vinyl - an even cheaper and lower maintenance option. But that means anyone who owns a home that was built at some point during the aluminum siding’s heyday may have ample reason to ponder the conundrum: should I paint or replace my aluminum siding?

The problem with aluminum siding

Full disclosure: we said aluminum was low maintenance; however, it does still require some maintenance. After all, there are precious few construction materials that allow you to simply forget about them while they continue to look as good as they did on the day they were manufactured.

The main issue with aluminum siding is that the paint becomes chalky and will fade - a lot. You’ve probably noticed this on your own home if you have aluminum sidings. But what should you do to restore your property to its former glory? Does this mean you are trapped into a Golden Gate Bridge-esque cycle of having to continually give your aluminum sidings a fresh lick of paint in order to maintain the appearance of your home - or should you just hire a contractor to rip them out and replace them with vinyl?

Replacing your sidings completely may seem a bit drastic - and it will certainly cost you a lot more, at least in the short term. For many homeowners, painting is a far more viable option, particularly if you don’t have the funds to completely replace your sidings. You might also be considering selling your home, in which case painting, not replacing, is clearly the smartest move. Finally, many people want to stay true to the heritage of their home and, whether your property was built in 1940 or 1975, isn’t it nicer to retain and maintain the existing design and construction?

Painting your aluminum siding

It may have a tendency to chalk and fade, but the good news is that, provided you prepare your siding properly, paint adheres to it very nicely. However, there is a little more to embarking on your paint job than simply donning your overalls and cracking open a can of paint so, if you are going to attempt the project yourself, read on and we’ll give you the lowdown.

Prepping and cleaning

Before you even touch a paint brush you need to prep your siding to ensure a smooth coverage of paint, and that means getting rid of any chalking. How do you know if you have chalking? Once you’re up the ladder and up close to the siding you’ll probably be able to tell on sight, but to make sure, swipe your hand across it. Left with a chalky residue on the palm of your hand? Sorry, but you need to remove this before you start painting.

Removing chalking

Your local home improvement store should sell a product made specifically for the purpose of cleaning aluminum siding. Grab this along with a scrubbing brush or abrasive sponge, follow the instructions on the packaging and get scrubbing! In the event that you can’t find specialist cleaner, you can use a trisodium phosphate (TSP) and water solution which works equally well, and is often easier to get hold of.

After you’ve removed the chalking

Once you’ve cleaned the entire siding area and are confident you have gotten rid of all that nasty chalking, it is important that you rinse with plain water to remove any traces of the chemicals in the cleaning agent. Now you need to wait until your siding is completely dry. Again, you can conduct the quick palm test by wiping your hand over the siding. If there’s the slightest trace of moisture, you need to wait a while longer. Your palm should also be free of chalk.

Removing paint

If you’re lucky and you still have the original baked-on coating you probably won’t have to concern yourself with flaking paint, but should it have been painted over you’ll need to eliminate any peeling patches. Once done, lightly run a piece of fine grit sandpaper around the edges of the peeling, rinse off the dust, and then leave to dry.

Paint your siding

If you’re using a decent brand of paint - and the right type of paint for the job - you probably won’t have to use a primer. However, make sure you read the manufacturer’s instructions first and if they do recommend using one, make sure you comply - even if it means going back to the store! (Better still, check the can before you buy it…) You should also follow their guidelines as to how many coats to apply, although two is normally best.

If all of the above sounds a little too much like hard work, then why not talk to the experts at Sharper Impressions Painting? We have experience in painting aluminum sidings and will be more than happy to provide a quote for your project.

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How to Choose the Right Sheen of Paint


While choosing the colors that you’re going to paint your interior or exterior is often the fun part, there is still one other thing to take into consideration when you’re buying paint, and that is the finish that you choose. It might seem somewhat irrelevant compared to choosing the actual shades but trust us, you really do need to pay attention to the finish as it can have a massive effect on your finished result.

Having said that, before you start panicking, deciding which finish will suit your space is not actually that difficult. And to make sure that the process is even easier, we’ve written this blog post to help you!

While you need to pay attention to the finish of paint for both indoor and outdoor projects, and although the types of paint are different, the finishes will be very similar. The only thing that may cause a little confusion initially is that paint companies describe their finishes or sheens slightly differently, so you’ll need to pay attention to what’s on offer. A normal range will run from matte to gloss with a couple of levels in between. Matte or dull paints (i.e. the first two levels) are normally best used on walls, while the two glossier sheens are more suited to woodwork, including doors, windows and baseboards, as well as furniture such as built-in cabinets.

Let’s take a look at the different paint finishes, what they’re best used for, and their pros and cons.

Matte finish paints

Matte, or flat, finishes are great for hiding grubby marks and slight surface damage. However, due to the porous nature of matte paint, it is harder to clean if it gets marked further down the line. On the plus side, it is easy to quickly paint over and hide any subsequent smudges or stains - it just means you’ll need to get your paint and roller out rather than a damp cloth!

So where is matte paint put to good use? Use it to paint ceilings and rooms that don’t see too much activity. Thanks to its ability to absorb dirt, it’s best not to paint children’s rooms with matte paint - unless you want to be constantly painting over pen marks and sticky fingerprints! Outdoors, a coat of matte paint will give scuffed or dirty wooden sidings a new lease of life.

Low sheen paints

Back to those children’s bedrooms, and other rooms in the home that see a good deal of foot traffic. Low sheen (also called eggshell, satin or silk) paint finishes are easier to keep clean. Most marks, smudges and scuffs can be removed with a damp cloth, saving the need to repaint every time they get knocked or accidently marked. Its low maintenance qualities also make low lustre paint good for outside walls and sidings. The only real downside to this all-rounder is that you may be able to see brush strokes or roller marks when looking closely at walls and other large surface areas.

Semi gloss paints

While semi gloss paints are known for being durable and easy to clean, be careful if this is tempting you to paint your walls or sidings with them as brush strokes and roller marks will be even easier to spot than with a low sheen paint. In addition to this, any damage to the wall, such as dents or nicks will be highlighted due to the paint’s ability to reflect light. Having said that, this reflective nature does mean that semi gloss is great for accentuating woodwork. From interior and exterior doors to window frames and shutters to baseboards, guttering and other trims, semi gloss is an attractive choice.

High gloss paints

Not surprisingly, high gloss paints are the most durable making them extremely easy to wipe clean, in part thanks to the non-porous finish. Their extremely shiny finish makes high gloss paints fantastic if you want to create a statement and add some flair to a room, but they can be extremely hard work to paint with, which makes it best to stick to using them for doors, window frames, shutters and other interior and exterior woodwork.

Whether you have a large area to paint and are not sure if you should go for matte or eggshell, or you’re not convinced you could achieve a flawless finish when painting the front door of your home in an intensive, high gloss color, call Sharper Impressions Painting. We’re your local decorating team with the advice and help you need to achieve the home of your dreams.

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Painting your Home’s Stucco Exterior

There are a number of reasons why stucco makes such a great choice for the exterior of a building. For a start, it’s long-lasting and an excellent source of protection against the elements, and when properly cared for it is very attractive. But, on the flip side, like any coating, stucco can become dirty or faded over time, and in addition to this it’s also prone to chipping and cracking.

The good news is that stucco can easily be made to look as good as new by painting it. However there are a number of points you need to take into consideration as choosing the wrong type of paint or not preparing your surfaces correctly can do more harm - at least aesthetically - than good.

So what do you need to bear in mind if you’re thinking about repainting your stuccoed exterior? Read on and we will point you in the right direction.

Picking the perfect paint

When it comes to paint there’s more to think about than what color you’re going to choose for your home’s exterior: that’s the fun part! You also need to give some thought to the type of paint you are going to use. And in the case of stucco this means opting for a ‘flat’ paint, or one with no, or low, lustre. High gloss paints do not work well with stucco and are harder to keep in peak condition. Gloss also reflects more light which highlights any imperfections.

It’s all in the preparation

Now it’s time for precisely nobody’s favorite part of the painting process: prep. Using a pressure washer to get rid of mildew, dirt, light stains and loose existing coating is your first task. Once your home’s exterior is clean you’ll be able to tackle caulking - filling in any cracks and fractures. We suggest using a textured caulk as this works best with stucco. Once the caulk is dry it’s time to prime. It can be tempting to cut corners and skip this step, but priming before painting really does give you a far better end result. Ensure that the primer is completely dry before you even think about opening a can of paint!

Ready, set, paint…

Choosing a perfect day to embark on your paint job is important as weather that is too hot, too cold or too wet can seriously hamper both your ability to paint and your end result. Check the weather forecast before you get started. The ideal conditions for painting a stucco exterior are low to moderate humidity and a temperature that is somewhere in the region of 50 and 90 degrees fahrenheit.

You’re finally ready to get started but with such a large surface area to cover, it can feel a little daunting. However, don’t feel like you have to get as much paint on the wall as quickly as possible - try and exercise a little restraint for in order to achieve a polished result, you need to approach your home methodically. Using a brush, first paint around windows, doors and other trims. Once this is complete, you can then paint around the edges of your walls. Again, don’t be in too much of a rush; stucco is not a flat smooth surface and to create an even finish you will need to work the brush into the surface. To paint the walls themselves, divide your home into ‘sections’, and use a roller to fill in the remainder. When you’ve finished, take a good look at your work and make sure there are no gaps or rough edges where brushwork meets roller work or between the larger painted ‘sections’.

Now you can sit back and let the paint dry overnight before applying a second coat in the morning. The good news is that two coats should suffice, and you can use the roller for all surface areas this time round.

If you’d like to give your stuccoed home a facelift but you don’t have the time to spare, or are worried about creating a professional-looking end result, talk to the team at Sharper Impressions today. We have a wealth of experience in painting stucco exteriors: our experts know exactly what type of paint to use, can suggest the right colors to ensure a stylish finish, and always deliver a high quality result that you're sure to love.

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