Painting Blog

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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!

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

Exterior painting - How hot is too hot to paint?

Summer has arrived and this means that many of us are spending more time outside and naturally our thoughts turn to getting jobs done, in the yard or on the house perhaps. Summer is hot and dry and a great time to paint but before you pick up that paintbrush, check the nearest thermometer. Because while the bright sunshine highlights dirt or damp stains on outside walls left by the long winter, the summer heat can also affect your paint and the finished result of paint work.

If you're not making sure to paint in the shade on hot days, the high temperatures stop the paint from binding properly, which means it can peel or crack much more easily and you'll find you need to do the job again in a short time. In really extreme heats, the paint can even blister. This is why the painters at Sharper start early once the morning dew has evaporated.

We also take into account the drying process, which means taking humidity into account. Of course, this varies depending on which part of the country we are in, but humidity levels of 40%-50% tend to be ideal. Levels over 70% will slow the drying and curing process but we always take into account the humidity levels before we start, so as to leave enough drying time for a perfect finish.

At Sharper, we also prefer to work when there is a gentle breeze to aid the drying process, but we avoid strong winds. They cause the paint to dry too fast and stop a good film from forming. This being said, warm days are preferable to cold ones when it comes to painting the exterior of a building. In the cold, walls retain more moisture and natural pores in the wood or stone contract, meaning the paint is not absorbed so easily.

If you are not too sure about the ideal conditions to paint, it is worth checking the labels on the cans of paint you're planning to use. Many manufacturers are now making paints that can be used in a wider range of temperatures. Alternatively you can turn to experts like the painters at Sharper Impressions. We'll be in the shade taking care of your paint job for you while you enjoy the lovely summer sunshine and we enjoy the perfect condition of the shade to work our paint magic.

Read more

Everything you'll ever need to know about preparing your home for painting

Everything you'll ever need to know about preparing your home for painting

If you’ve decided your home could use a lick of paint and want to tackle the job yourself, there are a number of ways to make redecorating a smooth process. As with all home improvement tasks, being fully prepared will go a very long way to creating a far more professional-looking end result.

So what do you need to do before you assemble your arsenal of paintbrushes and rollers and crack open that fresh can of paint? Below are some tips from the experts:

  1. The first thing you need to do is to move all of your furniture away from the walls so you can easily access all of the areas to be painted and ensure that your belongings do not become ruined. We suggest placing smaller pieces and anything fragile in another room, and moving heavy, or bulky pieces of furniture to the middle of the room. Anything that does remain in the room should be covered up with a drop cloth.
  2. Of course your floor needs to be covered, too - but don’t cut corners by thinking that a few sheets of newspaper laid along the baseboards will suffice! Again, use a drop cloth and carefully tape it to the walls so that it doesn’t move and expose the flooring. You can buy specialist painter’s tape from your hardware store which is easy to remove and won’t leave a sticky goo on your walls afterwards.
  3. Next, it’s time to pay attention to your walls. Tempting as it may be to paint over marks, smudges and fingerprints, this is not advisable. Paint sticks far better to clean surfaces and you will not obtain even coverage if you’re painting over dirt and stains. Not only that, but heavier markings, such as felt tip pen or scuff marks, may well show through even a couple of coats of paint, meaning you could be doubling or even tripling the amount of work you create for yourself. Most marks are easily removable with normal household cleaners and a damp cloth - just make sure you completely wipe away any residue left by the cleaning product.
  4. If your walls are badly stained, covered in grease (as in a kitchen), or you want to paint over a surface that is painted with gloss, you’ll need to invest some more time and energy. Trisodium Phosphate is necessary for this - or TSP - which, when mixed with water, will remove the shine factor from gloss, as well as cut through heavy grime and grease, allowing your base coat to adhere to the surface more effectively. You’ll find the full instructions on the package, and you’ll be able to find TSP at any hardware store.
  5. If you have mildew on your walls, now is the time to deal with it. While you’re at the hardware store, pick up some mildew remover, which you will need for wiping down any damp or mildewed patches. You can also use warm water and household bleach for this - the solution should be three parts water to one part bleach. Wipe down walls thoroughly with clean water after removing the mildew, too.
  6. Now it's time for the part that many home improvement fans dislike the most: filling in cracks, or holes. It's not difficult, but it does take some time and needs to be done properly. For this you will need a putty knife and some light weight spackle. Load up your knife with an even layer of the spackle and smear it across cracks or dab it into holes. Create a smooth finish by scraping excess product away before it dries.
  7. Once the spackle has completely dried, rub it down with a sheet of fine sandpaper to make sure the wall is smooth and the spackle won't be visible when painted. Once you've eliminated bumps, give the spackled area a quick wipe over with a damp cloth to get rid of any dust.
  8. Now, give your walls one last rinse by wiping them down with a damp cloth to remove any dust or dirt that may end up mixed in with the paint that could tarnish your end result. Don’t forget woodwork, including baseboards, window and door frames. Check the corners of the room and around light fittings for cobwebs too! The damp walls must be left to dry for a minimum of eight hours to ensure that your primer will bond properly.
  9. Yes - we said primer. Sorry, but you’re not quite there yet! A coat of primer will ensure walls are perfectly prepared to receive their first coat of paint. After all, as the old saying goes, if a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing well and, once you’ve come this far, you don’t want to gamble your end result by skipping the last step.

If all of this sounds a bit too much like hard work and you’d rather hand over the responsibility to someone else, why not give Sharper Impressions Painting a call? That way, all you have to worry about is the fun part - picking the perfect color!

Read more

Reasons Why You Should NOT Paint Your Vinyl Windows


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?

Read more

Everything You Need to Know About Staining Your Fence


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!

Read more