Painting Blog

Reasons Why You Should NOT Paint Your Vinyl Windows


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Like many a homeowner who takes pride in the appearance of their property, at this time of year your thoughts may have turned to home improvements. After all, the sun is shining, the temperatures are rising and what could be more satisfying than spending a couple of days outside in the fresh air making your home look beautiful? Well, we might be biased but we don’t think there are many things that can top that!

If you’re in agreement, something you may be considering is whether or not to paint your vinyl windows or door frames. After all, this should be a quick and easy way of refreshing the exterior of your home without spending too much time, money or effort, right? Wrong. No matter what the friendly guy at your local paint store, or the myriad of well meaning but amateur home improvement enthusiasts on internet decorating forums say, the majority of professionals will tell you that painting vinyl windows is not advised.

We know that on the surface this looks like it should be a quick and simple task, but believe us when we say that taking a brush to your window frames could end up costing you dearly in the long run. So with that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the reasons why we are saying “put down the brush and step away from the vinyl.”

Paint does not adhere well to vinyl
It’s as simple as that. By their very nature, vinyl surfaces are not conducive to painting and the likelihood is that you’ll simply turn your window or door frames into smeared and streaky abominations that look like a three-year old has been let loose on them. Even using the so-called prepping methods that you’ll see homeowners swearing by online, you have no guarantee of success. Painting vinyl is extremely difficult and chances are you’ll simply ruin your expensive vinyl windows and end up having to pay a professional to try and restore them or, even worse, replace them.

And talking of prepping windows for painting...
If you’re finding yourself swayed by people who confidently tell you that all you need to do is to clean the vinyl then apply a primer that lets the coat of paint stick to it, we have a warning for you. In theory prepping and priming sounds fine, however primers contain chemicals which can soften vinyl, leading to alterations in the frame’s structure. And you don’t need us to tell you what problems an ill-fitting window or door can cause; but suffice to say if you want to properly insulate your home - and keep it safe from intruders - you need doors and windows to close properly.

Paint can cause your frames to overheat
Your vinyl windows are most likely to be white. When you paint them you are adding a layer of color - no matter how pale - that makes them darker. When the weather is warm and the sun is strong there is the possibility of the vinyl overheating, leading to a warping of the frame. Again, a warped frame means that you are now left with an window or door that won’t close properly - and in the worst case scenario, severe warping can cause glass to shatter.

You may invalidate your warranty
If you have recently had your vinyl windows or doors installed and you paint the frames, you could render any manufacturer’s guarantee null and void. This will be especially true if you try and make a claim for damage that was caused by paint or primer.

Vinyl windows should be maintenance-free
Finally, by painting your vinyl windows, you are taking something that is extremely easy to look after and turning it into something which needs to be added to your household maintenance to-do list. Like any painted surface or structure, your frames will need to be cared for and regularly repainted to maintain their appearance. In effect, all you are doing is creating more hassle and expense for yourself further down the line.

If you’re looking for ways to update your home, rather than potentially ruining your vinyl windows, why not talk to the team at Sharper Impressions Painting about some more effective methods to add style and color to your property?

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Everything You Need to Know About Staining Your Fence


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Let’s be honest, although your fence is an important aspect of your home or property, it’s not one of the most exciting, which is why fences are often neglected by their owners. So if your fence is looking less than lovely, it’s time to think about treating it to a couple of coats of wood stain.

Take a moment to think of the benefits that your fence provides: it offers you privacy from the outside world, it helps keep your home or business secure and, when looked after, it can add an attractive finishing touch to the exterior of your property and to your neighborhood in general.

Because most fences are made of wood, they are vulnerable to damage by pests, bugs and birds. And of course, all year they are exposed to whatever the elements wish to throw at them. That’s why it’s important that you establish a maintenance routine and get into the habit of periodically checking your fence for signs of wear and tear. By proactively looking after your fence you will ensure that it not only looks good, but serves its purpose too.

Your fence doesn't have to suffer this constant barrage from wind, rain and snow, or come under constant attack by carpenter ants and termites, because painting or staining can offer a great deal of protection. When a fence is properly stained (or painted), the coating creates an effective barrier against Enemy Number One: moisture. But how often do you need to stain your fence? That really depends on where you are located, and your local climate. It is safe to say that if you live in a dry region you’ll be able to get away with less frequent maintenance, but if your area experiences a lot of rainfall throughout the year then your fence will need to be coated on a more regular basis. To determine whether your fence is in need of a staining, try checking for beading - this is when rainwater soaks into the wood, instead of forming droplets on the surface.

Whether you’ve decided that your fence needs to be re-stained, or you just fancy giving it a fresh new look, there are a few things to consider. Firstly will you choose to stain or paint your fence? To learn more about the pros and cons of each, read our blog post about Paint versus Stain here.

Next you need to decide what color you’re going for. If you want to choose something bright and bold, do bear in mind the local laws that govern exterior decoration. The last thing you want is to have your heart set on your favorite shade of sunshine yellow, only to have it vetoed by the powers that be. The good news for lovers of wood stain is that there is a wide range of color options; standard wood brown is no longer your only choice. You’ll find shades of everything from the lightest sand to the darkest oak, and everything from pale gray to deep sea blue.

Picking a hue based on your personal preferences is, of course, important, but you also need to take into consideration the style and color palette of your property. Look at the color of your brickwork, roof and/or sidings, as well as woodwork. Achieving an overall harmonious effect may be a little more difficult than you initially think.

One other thing that you must take into account is whether you share any of the fence with a neighbor. Of course, you are free to paint your side of a dividing fence any color you like but, if the fence shares any surface area with an adjoining property, you will need to be careful. Obviously you don’t want to upset the people next door by making decorative decisions on their behalf, but nor do you probably want to create a jarring impression by staining your half of the fence deep navy blue while your neighbor’s side is bright white.

Staining your fence is something that will add real curb appeal to your home and create a more favorable impression of your home in general. Plus proactively maintaining fences, and other wooden structures, will give them greater longevity and protect your investment for years to come.

If you have any questions about local laws governing the use of color in a public space, or would like advice on choosing the perfect stain for your fence, talk to the team at Sharper Impressions Painting today. We’re always happy to help!

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How to Hire a Reputable Painting Contractor in your Town


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While it may be tempting to undertake a painting project yourself, the likelihood of you fervently wishing that you’d hired a professional contractor almost immediately is actually pretty high! Whether you decide to paint your own home simply because you think it will be fun or you are looking to save money, chances are that the novelty will quickly wear off, and your project may even end up costing you more than you expected through your lack of experience.

Choosing to hire a painting contractor is almost certainly guaranteed to save you not only money, but a great deal of time and hassle too. But before you take that step and find someone who fully understands and meets your needs, there are a few things to consider.

  1. First of all, how long have the contractors you are considering working with been in business? Virtually anyone can set themselves up as a painter and, to avoid hiring a fly-by-night cowboy who will not only do a shoddy job but may very well overcharge, you need to take a good look at their credentials. Have they been operating for a minimum of three years? Do they have a good reputation in your local area? Don’t be afraid to ask around - especially if you see the company is displaying their sign outside a home or workplace where there is work in progress.
  2. Are they industry certified? Do they hold a license issued by your state to say that they are a legal operation? How about workers’ compensation and general liability insurance? If your contractor doesn’t hold the correct documentation, don’t even consider working with them. If they care about you, your home or property, their reputation and their workers, they will have taken the necessary measures to prove it.
  3. Do they employ their own people or do they sub-contract? Does the subcontractor outsource work too? If the company you are entrusting your paint job to can’t vouch for each and every one of the team members working on your project, are you really sure you want to place your home in their hands? Not only that but how can you be sure that every worker is certified and has the correct insurance?
  4. What kind of quote do they give you? You are well within your rights to receive a formal, accurate estimate that includes all aspects of your project - from start to finish. Is the quote detailed? Do you suspect there may be hidden extras that will be added on once the job is completed? Watch how your contractor behaves and how they undertake the quote process. A scrawled ‘guestimate’ pencilled on the back of an old envelope is a warning sign that they’re probably not so reliable. A detailed, computer-generated quote delivered in a timely fashion indicates the contractor is serious about their business - and the work they produce for you.
  5. Does your contractor appear to know what they’re talking about? Can they offer you advice on the types of paint needed for different surfaces or climates? Do they appear up-to-date and knowledgeable about the latest techniques and trends? Are they happy to offer you some great advice about color combinations that you may not have thought of? If your contractor is switched on and engaged, it’s a good sign. Vague answers and advice to paint everything in the same shade of purple suggests they don’t know what they’re talking about and/or they have a job lot of lilac paint to get rid of!
  6. References and affiliations. If your contractor can’t provide references from happy customers, a portfolio of work or ‘before and after’ pictures, it’s time to start looking elsewhere. If they are accredited by painting and decorating organizations or the Better Business Bureau, you know you are likely to be in safe hands. And if they follow green initiatives and use environmentally responsible paint and other materials, so much the better!
  7. Does your contractor offer a guarantee or warranty? Reputable paint manufacturers offer warranties but so too do painting contractors who are happy and proud to stand by their finished work. A first-rate contractor will offer you a written warranty as a mark of confidence in their abilities.

Finally, it all comes down to what is often the deciding factor: cold hard cash. Of course you want to know that you are getting value for money, but opting for the absolute rock bottom quote is not the right approach. Not if you want to be sure of hiring someone with the right skills, a depth of experience, the correct licensing and insurance, and a commitment to delivering an end result you will be delighted with. It’s probable that this company will not be the one with the lowest bid but likewise, they do not have to be the firm coming in with the highest price either.

Don’t let price be your only guiding light but take a look at the overall picture: do you get a good vibe from the company representative you are talking to? Have you seen samples of earlier work? Are they forthcoming with references? Take into consideration all the above pointers and you should have no problem finding a local painting contractor who will do your home or commercial project proud.

Whether you’d like more advice about finding a professional painting contractor in your area, or you’re interested in getting a quote for an interior or exterior paint job, talk to the team at Sharper Impressions Painting today.

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Tips for creating color flow in your home


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We’d be lying if we said that choosing a color palette that creates flow throughout your entire home is as easy as ABC. After all, deciding on a scheme for just one room can be tricky enough, so ensuring that all the rooms and connecting spaces in your home work together in a cohesive manner can be a daunting task.

However, it is well worth sitting down and taking the time to think about how to create color flow that connects the different parts of your property as this is the key to ensuring that your home is a welcoming sanctuary, and not somewhere that jars the senses and creates a disjointed feeling as you move from room to room.

Your color scheme should be balanced and work harmoniously so that no matter whether you love bright, bold energizing colors or more muted, subtle hues, when you move around you are equally comfortable whether you’re in the kitchen, home office or bathroom.

So with that in mind, here are some tips for selecting a color palette that works for you and your living space.

  1. The most obvious way to create color flow is to opt for similar hues throughout all of the spaces in your home. However, simply painting every room the same shade of ecru is not going to make for a very stimulating or interesting environment, so don’t be tempted to take the easy way out! Use paint cards to help you choose different shades. For example, consider painting dining room walls in dramatic navy, bedrooms in relaxing duck egg or periwinkle blue, and giving a bathroom an aquatic vibe with a vibrant teal.
  2. However, you want to avoid your home looking too ‘matchy matchy’ or overwhelming the senses with only one color, so choose another two or three colors that not only complement your initial shade and each other but that also work well with your furnishings. Play around with each room’s main color too; if you have also selected brown and beige as two of your colors, you could use brown as the primary focus in your lounge, and a shade of blue for the ceiling, an alcove or even the drapes. Ensuring that all of your rooms share one or two colors is a stylish way to create a balanced interior.
  3. You can also create cohesion by choosing colors that have similar undertones. For example, if you have decided that you really want to paint your family room a shade of grey that has purple undertones, explore other hues that also have a purple undertone.
  4. If you’re struggling to find a starting point and don’t know which direction to take, try taking a look at the soft furnishings, accessories or artwork that you already own. Do the zesty yellow drapes in your guest room make you feel happy? Perhaps the pastel lilac throws and cushions in your master bedroom are calling to you. Or how about using the fresh Kelly green blinds in your kitchen as a starting point? Take inspiration from your favorite pieces, whether it’s something large like that oh-so-comfy brown leather sofa or a splash of scarlet in a painting that’s been handed down for generations. Pinpointing these colors will get you on track and could end up giving you the base color that you use to tie your rooms together.

Finally, a word of warning. It can be tempting to get carried away and choose so many colors that the interior of your home ends up looking more like an explosion in a paint factory than a cohesive and well thought out design. Work out a plan and stick to it. We suggest that you limit yourself to three colors, either for your entire home or for each floor. There are no hard and fast rules so if you want a peaceful, zen like space downstairs in your living and communal areas and something a little more energetic for bedrooms and bathrooms upstairs, that’s fine. Just make sure the connecting areas such as hallways maintain the flow as they run from room to room.

Still not sure where to get started? Worried about creating a home that is either too busy or too bland? Sharper Impressions Painting can help. Our experienced decorators have been inspired by numerous fabulous home interiors and have completed a myriad of paint jobs using color palettes that create flow - and we are always happy to help you take the next step towards designing your ideal home.

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How to Check for Wood Rot in your Home


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We know you’re busy and sometimes it can seem as if there are a million and one little jobs to do around the home. However, while it’s one thing to think “I’ll get around to clearing out the basement next month” or “I really must spray some WD40 on that squeaky gate hinge this weekend”, one thing you really should not be putting off is checking for wood rot. Left unchecked, rotten wood can cause untold damage to your home and, it goes without saying, to your bank balance too.

So what are the rules when it comes to checking for dry wood rot in your home? How often should you be conducting spot checks and, crucially, where should you be looking for the tell-tale signs that you have a problem? After all, dry rot isn’t as immediately noticeable as loose roof tiles or peeling paintwork - and that’s exactly what makes it such a nightmare, especially if you’ve let it get out of control.

What causes wood rot?

In a word: moisture. If there is any point in or around your home where wood and damp meet, you need to be on red alert and check regularly for rot. Dry rot (Serpula lacrymans) is a type of fungus that thrives in damp environments, using moisture to slowly erode wooden timbers, frames and structures.

Where might wood rot be hiding in my home?

There are a number of places where dry wood rot is prone to lurk and you should get into the habit of regularly checking the following:

  • Window frames and sills
  • Exterior door frames, bases and vertical boards
  • Window, door and corner trims
  • Behind guttering and downspouts
  • Decking

How often should I be checking my home for wood rot?
You really need to be checking wooden windows, doors, exteriors, gutters and decks every two or three months. Stay on top of wood rot and you stay one step ahead of having to deal with a potentially budget-busting repair job.

How do I know if I have wood rot?
There are two main varieties of wood rot to look out for. Brown rot (also known as dry rot) is dry and either crumbling with a powder-like consistency, or with the appearance of being split into cubes across the wood’s grain. White rot (which may be white or yellow in color) is softer to the touch and almost sponge like.

I have wood rot. What should I do?
Taking action is paramount; this really is one area of home improvement that you cannot afford to ignore. Rotten wood is not something that will go away of its own accord; in fact it will only get worse - far worse. Never mind the expense of having to replace your front door or window frames, imagine the injuries - or worse - that a rotting deck could inflict.

Wood rot, if left untreated, can cause widespread structural damage to your home so, even if you’re not 100% sure whether what you’re seeing really is wood rot, you should call for a second opinion, - preferably from a professional like Sharper Impressions Painting.

Our team will carry out a survey that will identify areas of wood rot (if any), assess the level of damage and make recommendations for repair or replacement. Don’t let wood rot get your home in its grip, check now before it’s too late.

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How to Prepare your Room for Interior Painting


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So you’ve decided to have your rooms painted to liven up your home. The budget and schedule are planned, and you’ve hand-picked your favorite paint colors and bought some paint rollers and brushes. But before you jump in and start slapping paint on the walls of your home, spare some time to prepare your room. When it comes to interior painting, preparation is one of the most important steps that can make the difference between a well-polished, professional-looking wall or one that ends up blotchy, uneven, or even peeling.

Interior painting is no walk in the park, and preparing your room can be a time-consuming task. Yet it’s definitely worth the effort, because a painting job done right the first time saves costs in the long run, and you’ll have great-looking walls with an even coat that will last for years.

So let’s take a look at some of the things you’ll need to prepare your room for interior painting:

Equipment

  • Drop cloths - a canvas used to protect the floor from paint
  • Spackling paste - a putty used to fill holes and minor surface defects in walls
  • Sandpaper - abrasive papers used to remove small amounts of material from surfaces in order to make them smoother
  • Primer - a formulated coating to prepare a surface for painting. It also increases the top coat's durability
  • Painter’s tape - specially designed tape for paintwork, used to protect adjacent surfaces and light switches on the wall from paint splashes

Steps to prepare your room for interior painting

Remove furniture from room - The more furniture you can move out of the room, the better. Pushing everything to the middle of the room and covering them with cloth is simply not good enough. You’ll need all the space you can get while painting, and emptying the room allows you to move around more freely. And since you’re painting the walls, don’t forget to take off wall hangings as well.

  1. Cover floors - Painting jobs can be messy, so you need to protect the floor from paint splatters. Covering the floors with newspapers or plastic sheets won’t do the trick: they’re easily punctured and can shift while you work. Instead, invest in hard canvas drop cloths to protect against paint spills. With thick drop cloths in place, you can rest assured that your floors will remain spotless after you’re done with the paintwork.
  2. Fill in holes and dents - The next step is to inspect the walls for cracks and holes. If you need to remove wall hangings, chances are there will be nail holes. Fill them with a small amount of spackling compound, and wait for it to dry. You can make the spackled areas smooth by rubbing them down with sandpaper. Run your hand over each area to check that it's even and flush with the rest of the wall.
  3. Clean the walls - It’s important to clean the walls that are to be painted. Dust, dirt, cobwebs, or any other residue can compromise the life of your paint, and therefore must be washed away for perfect results. Simply mix a mild detergent with water, and use a sponge to scrub the entire wall. Make sure the walls are dry before you proceed. If you’re in a rush, using a fan to speed the drying process is a good idea.
  4. Taping - This is one of the most time-consuming processes, but it will ensure a professional finish to your interior painting. When the walls are completely dry, use painter’s tape to cover areas such as windowsills, light switches, and cabinets. But make sure that none of your tape is on the wall to be painted, or else your old wall color will appear in the new room when the tape is lifted.
  5. Priming - Now it’s time to use a primer to coat the walls. Primers provide a layer that paint can stick to, and can increase the adhesion of your paint to the wall. Consider priming over the whole wall to ensure proper consistency, especially at the spackled areas.

Removing furniture and protecting surfaces will spare you the trouble of cleaning up afterwards. Washing and priming the walls will ensure your paint’s durability for many years to come. Once the preparation is done, you’re all set to open the paint tins!

However, the prospect of preparing for interior painting can be overwhelming for first-timers. If that’s the case, get in touch with our professional team at Sharper Impressions Painting, and we’ll bring new life to your walls.

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Paint Versus Stain: Which Should You Choose?


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Deciding to paint the outside of your home, or elements in your yard such as decking, fencing or pathways, throws up enough questions of its own. Aside from simply choosing your color palette, you also need to consider the finish you would like, and the suitability of the paint you choose in regards to the surfaces being painted. However, throw the option of staining into the mix and you might feel a little like you’re making life even harder for yourself. But it doesn’t have to be complicated, and when you know the pros and cons of both paint and stain you’ll be far better equipped to make a more informed decision that will leave you as pleased as punch with your newly decorated home or garden.

Paint and stain have one thing in common: both consist of the same ‘ingredients’ - pigments and a vehicle - that coat a surface in a protective layer of color. However, there are a number of intrinsic differences, the main one being that paint lies on the surface of the item being painted, whereas stain is absorbed into it.

Here we take a look at the pros and cons of both paint and stain:

The pros of using paint to decorate your home

  • Paint is thicker than stain, so generally needs fewer coats. Stain can be deceptive, and you may need to use a lot more than planned if a surface is particularly absorbent.
  • Paint also comes in far more color options than stain.
  • Paint is more uniform in its covering.
  • There are also more sheens and finishes available in paint.
  • You can paint over previously painted surfaces (after preparation) whereas you cannot use stain over paint.

The pros of using stain to decorate your home

  • Stain is normally cheaper to purchase than paint.
  • It is easier to apply stain, as well as to re-coat surfaces that need a touch up.
  • Stain is quicker to apply than paint, because you don’t always need to prime surfaces first. It also only usually needs one coat.
  • Wood surfaces are enhanced, rather than covered up, by stain. Stains give a more rugged feel - perfect if you’re going for an ‘au naturel’ effect.
  • Paint is liable to peel, crack or flake, whereas stain is more resistant to chipping.

Which should you choose: paint or stain?

If you’re covering concrete or raw wood surfaces, such as shingles and sidings, stain can provide a complementary warm, rustic and natural finish. You can also choose whether to use a stain that is close to (or an exact match with) the natural surface, or to enhance it by using a tinted stain.

If a bolder, more dramatic look is more to your taste, then you may well prefer to take the paint route. Remember, though, if you are choosing to paint the outside of your home and are thinking of opting for an ‘unusual’ color, check with local authorities to ensure you’re not infringing any local bylaws.

Ultimately, deciding whether to use paint or stain to decorate your home comes down to personal taste and the suitability of the surfaces you are covering. Talk to the team at Sharper Impressions Painting and we’ll be more than happy to help you find the perfect option for your home.

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What You Need to Know About Refinishing Your Wooden Front Door


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Your front door speaks volumes about your home and about the amount of care and attention that you spend on it. It’s all very well having a neatly mown lawn and stylish curtains hanging in the windows, but if your door is looking less than stellar then it’s letting down your home as a whole. So how do you elevate your front door style from shabby and not-so-chic to smart and inviting? Read on and Sharper Impressions Painting will enlighten you.

Your front door takes a real battering from the elements, and it’s not just rain, hail, sleet or snow that can take their toll on your exterior woodwork. The sun, and even wind, can have a detrimental effect on both finishes and the wood itself too, with fading and cracking occurring and leaving your door looking dull, dated and downright dismal.

Take a quick look at your own wooden front door now, or when you get home from work. (If you are at work - why are you reading blog posts about refinishing your wooden front door on company time?!) Be honest with yourself, has your door seen better days? Would refinishing it improve the appearance of your home? Coming home to a house that is cared for from tip to toe is nicer for you, more welcoming for your visitors, appreciated by your neighbors, and of course boosts your curb appeal if you’re trying to sell your property.

So what does refinishing a wood door actually entail? Well, it’s not quite as simple as slapping on a coat of varnish because, if you want to do a thorough job that does justice to the amount of time and money you’ve spent on the project, there are a number of steps you need to take.

Probably the number one sticking point for most people when they think about giving their front door a new lease of life is the fact that, in order to do the job properly, you really do need to take it off its hinges. This will make sanding the door down and refinishing it much easier - after all, it stands to reason that a door laid flat is easier to work on than one that is swinging on its hinges. And no, refinishing your door while it’s closed doesn’t count - you won’t be able to treat its edges properly, let alone the sides.

So we’ve established that you really do need to unhang your door. Once it’s off its hinges you’ll need to carefully move it to your workshop or garage, and place it on sawhorses ready for sanding. (Don’t forget to secure your home while your front door is being worked on! If you don’t have a storm door you could use a large sheet of plywood, cut to the specifications of your door frame.)

The next step is to remove the hardware: the door handle or knob, lockset and deadbolt plus knocker and numbers, and letter box if you have one. Don’t forget to take note of how the locks and bolts were fitted in the first place!

Now it’s time to remove the door’s old finish. The good news is you can use an orbital sander for the bulk of this. The bad news is that moldings, window trims and other awkward-to-get-to parts will need to be sanded by hand. When you’ve finished sanding, you will need to remove the dust before staining and/or finishing the door. Once the first coat of finish is dry, the door will need to be lightly sanded again and a second coat applied. When the second coat is completely dry, replace hardware such as handles, knockers and numbers, and then carry your door back to your house for rehanging. Only once the door is rehung can you then replace your lockset and deadbolt - this needs to be done with absolute precision to ensure that both sides match exactly.

Refinishing your wooden front door will make all the difference to the exterior of your home and the first impression it creates on visitors. However, it is a surprisingly convoluted and time consuming task, especially when it comes to the rehanging and sanding steps in the process.

If your wooden front door would benefit from a little care and attention but you don’t have the tools, time or energy to devote to the job, talk to the team at Sharper Impressions Painting and we’ll be happy to take care of it for you.

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Why You Should Have Your Home Power Washed


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Whether you’re planning on scheduling a paint job in the near future or your home has made it through the winter only to be looking a little worse for wear, power washing is your go-to solution. For starters, if you’re considering a paint job, then you will need to have your home power washed so that new paint will stick to the surfaces. Dirty surfaces (even ones that don’t look particularly grimy) won’t hold the paint securely, and it’s highly likely that all you’ll end up with is a nasty case of mass peeling. It’s important to note that any reputable painter will offer prepping and power washing as standard practice before painting.

Even if you’re not considering painting your home at the moment, having your house power washed at least once a year will give your exterior a whole new lease of life. Power washing blasts away dirt, leaves, mildew, mold, cobwebs and all the other tell-tale signs that your home is constantly exposed to adverse weather and environmental conditions.

Improve the appearance of your home
On a purely cosmetic front, power washing makes your home appear more inviting. A well cared-for home and yard is a far more pleasant environment in which to live, spend your leisure time or raise your family. Not only that, but your neighbors will thank you too. Shabby houses that don’t appear to be tended to not only have a detrimental affect on property prices, but can negatively impact on the neighborhood as a whole. In a worst-case scenario, a perceived lack of community pride can even encourage anti-social behavior and lead to a rise in crime.

Enhance your curb appeal
If you’re considering moving home, hiring a professional power washer before you start scheduling viewings is a great idea. It goes without saying that the better condition of your property and the more care it receives, the more impressed potential buyers will be. And that makes it all the more likely that you’ll get a quick sale - and one that is closer to your asking price.

Other outside areas
While you’re having the exterior of your home power washed, you may want to consider including other parts of your property too. Gutters and roofing also benefit from periodic washes, as do driveways, decking, walkways, fencing and standalone buildings such as sheds. A professional wash will rid paving, concrete, decks and other wooden structures of dirt, debris and grime that has infiltrated cracks, giving a cleaner appearance to the entire outside of your property.

Increase the longevity of your property
Power washing is not just about looking good; it is also about keeping your home in prime physical condition too. A buildup of mold, mildew, bird or animal droppings, chalking or pollutants is not doing any favors for your brickwork, woodwork or any other aspect of your home’s construction. And if left unchecked, this gunk can begin to cause damage, discoloration, chalking, oxidization or decay.

How often should I have my home power washed?
It is recommended that you have your home’s exterior professionally power washed on an annual basis; however, this does depend on external factors such as the climate, recent weather conditions, and the location of your home - in particular your proximity to busy roads with high levels of exhaust fumes, industrial pollution, and even open fireplaces. If these things are taking a toll on your property’s appearance, it may be worth considering a bi-annual wash.

If your home is looking less than stellar, you’re preparing to sell up and relocate, or you want to know more about paint jobs and power washing, get in touch with your local Sharper Impressions team and we’ll be happy to advise you on your next course of action.

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How Working with a Color Consultant Can Enhance Your Home


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If there's one place where you can truly express your personality and taste, it is in your own home. So choosing colors, for both inside and out, is really something that you should take the time to think about. After all, colors can affect your mood - blues and greens are calming, reds are racy and passionate. Other colors are more associated with typically masculine or feminine traits, some are chosen purely because you love them, while others still are picked for more practical reasons. It all comes down to one simple fact: you need colors you love, that you can live with, and that present your home in its very best light.

There are so many factors involved in choosing colors, both for your rooms and for the exterior of your home, that it is well worth collaborating with an expert who can help create a pleasing palette for your property.

Working with a professional color consultant has a number of benefits; they will suggest not only colors that you like, but ones that work for the scale and shape of your rooms, as well as ones that complement nearby homes, and your neighborhood in general if you’re painting the outside of your house.

Here’s why you should think about working with a color consultant before decorating your home:

  1. A color consultant will evaluate the lighting in your home - both natural and artificial. Natural daylight shows colors at their most “real”. Incandescent lighting makes tones look warmer, and fluorescent lighting brings out the blue in a color. Your color consultant knows this, and can pick hues that will work equally well both during the day and at night.
  2. A professional consultant will know how to highlight a room’s best features while downplaying less desirable aspects. There’s a little more to it than just splashing a coat of paint on the walls; someone with an eye for both color and interior design will take into consideration architectural features such as windows, baseboards, dado rails, other molding or paneling, and the ceiling height.
  3. A color consultant will visualize your home not just as a collection of rooms, but as a single entity. They will be able to offer advice regarding the flow of colors throughout your home, creating an interior that is cohesive but that also works on a room-by-room basis.
  4. Understanding the psychology of colors is crucial, too. A survey conducted in the United Kingdom found that people with blue bedrooms typically had the best night’s sleep, while those who woke up in brown or gray hued bedrooms felt “emotionally isolated and uncomfortable” - resulting in consistently poor sleep. A color consultant will be fully conversant with the full spectrum of colors and be able to advise you accordingly.
  5. On a practical note, all paints are not created equal. A professional consultant will make sure that the right paints are chosen for the right job - something that’s crucial for long-lasting results that you can be proud of. Selecting the correct paint for an exterior paint job is especially important, and the type of paint used will need to take into consideration environmental factors such as typical weather conditions, proximity to industrial areas or busy roads, and the material of the surfaces that are to be painted. Local regulations must also be taken into account: you may have fallen in love with the idea of a bubblegum pink home, but your neighbors - and your local town council - may not be quite so keen.

Whether you’re planning to redecorate one room, your whole home or the outside of your property, talking to the color consultants at Sharper Impressions Painting will help you choose the right color palette that matches your tastes and complements your home. Get in touch and see how we can help you create the home of your dreams.

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