Getting Better with Time: Painting Tips for Older and Historic Home Restoration Projects 2

Clyde and his younger sister Ellie grew up in Taylor, Texas. The town had changed a lot in the last fifty years, but one constant was the ante-bellum mansion just off the main street in town. The lady that lived in the house since the early sixties had passed away and the house was put up for sale. The city discussed purchasing the house and making it a museum celebrating the county’s history but ultimately couldn’t find the money in their budget. The home sat vacant for months with a for sale sign in the yard.

One evening while Ellie was over for dinner, Clyde had a wild idea. “Let’s do it. Let’s buy the place and fix it up. Why not? It’s part of our history and the price is right. I’m sure it will be a lot of work, but can you imagine the pride we would feel, the pride the whole town would feel for the house to be restored?” Ellie didn’t take much convincing: “That’s a great idea.”

The next morning Clyde made a call to the bank, the county courthouse, and the realtor on the sign. Three weeks later, he and Ellie owned the place and they were ready to start the work of restoring the home to its previous condition. But restoring a historic home is far from an easy task…


Brighten Up Your Work Space: Office Paint Selection in the Modern World 1

Beige. Taupe. Ivory. Pearl. Khaki. Canvas. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of ways to describe paint that isn’t white, but which isn’t quite committed enough to a specific color to be described as anything other than “neutral.” If you work in an office, you probably know exactly what we’re talking about. These paint colors are used in offices around the world and represent the nondescript middle ground between actual decoration and a disregard for appearance. However, if you’re a business owner, you no doubt care a great deal about your business and the space in which you work, so why would you succumb to the cliche of boring paint on the walls? What does that say about you? Your business? Your office?

Choosing paint for your office isn’t just about color. Depending on the work being done in the office, a paint selection can drastically affect productivity and morale. Furthermore, different work spaces demand different levels of durability when it comes to paint. Is your office a high traffic area where employees, carts, and deliveries may graze or brush walls on a regular bases? Or is it a large, open space with fewer surfaces needing to be painted? Is your office space energetic and busy or quiet and subdued on a daily basis? Here are some suggestions for choosing not just paint color, but gloss and quality as well, for your office space.


5 Steps for Exterior Painting, from Surface Preparation to Ongoing Maintenance 3

That the rig was still working was a miracle in itself. The rust, corrosion, and dirt had long since discolored and disfigured the massive steel structure over the years. The owners didn’t properly appreciate that the wear and tear on the pump was affecting the daily yield of the entire system. Maintenance costs were creeping up as more nuts and bolts and cables and panels needed to be replaced. Thankfully, a colleague in the business suggested that rather than continue replacing parts and pieces of the rig over and over, they try a different track and try to protect the rig in the first place. After finding a reputable painter, they job began. It took some time to do it right, but in the end the humble oil rig in South Texas looked as good as new. More importantly, the rig was ready to withstand the heat and dirt and sun for the coming years.


Out With the Old: Tips for Color Matching Old Paint 1

After six years of home ownership, my hallways and living room needed some touching up. We host parties with lots of guests. Our daughter plays with her toys. Two dogs run and play all day. It seems that “everyday living” in our home takes a toll on the walls, just as it does in homes all around the world. Over time, various nicks and spots and scuffs and streaks make their way onto the walls. The easiest fix is to simply paint over the imperfections and start the clock over until it’s time to touch up the walls again a few years down the line.

The records we kept when the home was built indicated the name of the paint manufacturer and listed the color as “Canvas.” Simple enough…away I went to the paint store to order a gallon of “Canvas” in a flat finish. An hour later I was back home and ready to work. With brush in hand, I addressed all the hallmarks of a home well-loved and lived in. There were scuffs left by tricycle tires against the hallway walls when our daughter was learning to ride. A chip where I’d bumped the wall while moving a coffee table years ago. One after another, I touched up and repainted all the little spots that add up over time. And in a few places that were simply dirty, I cheated and painted over that as well (even though I know better). Content with my work, I left the paint to dry for a few hours before checking on each spot.


Keep It Clean: Understanding Paint Surface Preparation in Professional Painting 1

Justin saw the problem right away. The new member of his paint team had done a great job on the entire room….except for a spot the size of a dinner plate that looked terrible.

“You didn’t clean the wall, did you?” he asked. The new member of the team looked dumbfounded. Justin continued, “That area on the wall was dirty before you started. And now the paint is different on that spot because you tried to paint over something that wasn’t supposed to be there. My guess is that it’s some old glue or grease that the builder didn’t see on the sheetrock.”

It didn’t matter to Justin or the client that the rest of the room looked great. That one spot was an eye-sore and would have to be addressed right away.


Getting Ready to Work: Creating Your “Professional Painter’s Checklist” Reply

Jesse saw the high ceilings as soon as the client opened the door. They were at least fourteen feet high, probably closer to sixteen. It was a beautiful entryway for a beautiful home with a chandelier and moldings. The new coat of paint was going to look sensational… a mild beige for the walls and a glossy ivory for the trim.

Jesse stole a look out the door to his truck parked in front of the client’s house. The ladder strapped to the roof was only eight feet tall. He could probably manage to get the walls painted using the extension handle on his roller, but the trim was an entirely different matter. After reviewing the rest of the rooms he would be painting, Jesse excused himself to go back to the truck and gather his materials. As he walked down the driveway, he made a quick call back to the office: “My work sheet doesn’t say anything about high ceilings and trim….we’re going to need scaffolding out here…”


Breaking Into the Paint Industry: An Interview with a Dedicated Professional Painter Reply

In our previous post, you were introduced to a young man who sought to take over his father’s paint business. Little did Jason know, the work would not be easy and success wouldn’t happen overnight. Jason agreed to answer a few questions about how he learned to be a great painter and what it means to carry on his family’s paint business.

Gardner Laboratories:  When did it ‘click’ for you that being a professional painter required more than simply showing up for the job?

Jason S.: It came from a desire to show my father, who founded the business, that I could do the work. He challenged me to actually apply myself and try to be good at something. I took for granted that he’d just give me the business eventually. He always said he had three children…my sister, me, and the business. He wasn’t going to give me anything I didn’t earn.


Mastering Techniques from Draw Down Cards to Brushes: Making a Great Professional Painter 1

Jason was about to join the business his father, Wesley, owned. For twenty five years – since before Jason was born – the company had offered interior painting services to homes and offices around the Topeka area. For the first few years, Wesley worked on all the jobs himself. But in the last two decades, he had carefully added new employees both in the field performing paint work and also in the office to make sure that everything ran smoothly. The plan was for Jason to spend time with each department, learning the ins-and-outs of the business so that one day, when Wesley retired, Jason could take over the family business.

The first job Wesley wanted Jason exposed to was the paint work itself. “Son,” he said, “the business end of things might be more interesting to you, but the core of what we do revolves around painting walls and making people happy. Get used to it, because you’re not going to do anything else around here until you prove to me that you know the paint work inside and out. Our team follows my lead and they all know that I can grab a brush and get to work if I have to.”


Stick to It! Three Methods of Paint Adhesion Testing Reply

Eloy was renovating a condo outside of Orlando. The rental market was hot and he thought the unit would be a great side-project and investment for the long term. He even had a tenant ready to rent as soon as things were ready. At the last minute, he decided the color of the entryway was far too muted and boring for the sunny community around the condo. He went to a hardware store and bought a glossy, citrus-colored paint. “It’s perfect,” Eloy thought. He went home and painted the entryway walls before walking outside for a glass of iced tea while he waited for the paint to dry.

Only it wasn’t drying. It was just sitting on the original wall paint, still wet to the touch.

Eloy called the hardware store in a panic, “I don’t understand what’s happening. It’s like the paint isn’t sticking to the walls. Is that possible?”

The paint professional on the other end of the line was quick to reply, “Of course it’s possible. In fact, I’d guess that is exactly what is happening.”


“That’s Good Enough” Rarely Is: Drawdown Cards in Everyday Use for Better Color Accuracy 2

Last night I was watching a home improvement show on cable television. The show featured a famous former athlete renovating a farmhouse in Italy. It was part of a series, as the renovation of an entire home in another country clearly takes some time. Along the way, the show’s featured star visited street markets to find accent pieces and rustic antique shops to find the furniture pieces that would decorate his renovated home. At one point, he purchased eight dinner chairs for his dining room with the intention of sanding them down and repainting them a flat, sage green color. So far, so good.

But when he went to choose the paint color, I nearly fell over in shock.