8 Questions to Ask When Hiring an Exterior Painter

exterior painting blue house

One of the largest expenses in home maintenance is exterior house painting. Unless you have a long-term relationship with a trusted painting contractor, you will be in the market to hire someone. Pricing from painting contractors can vary widely, depending upon the experience and business model of the contractor. A contractor not paying insurance and hiring illegal workers on a cash basis will cost significantly less than a contractor who has a long track record, insurance, and paying legally required taxes. A company who prioritizes production will likely cost less than a company that prioritizes quality. The discerning consumer doesn’t expect to purchase a BMW for the price of a Kia, nor should a high-end paint contactor cost the same as a fly-by night contractor. Where does the homeowner begin? One good source is getting a referral from a friend or associate who knows a reputable company. Another is a trusted building contractor. Read more


A Brief History of House Paint

House Paint 1920s

Lead paint had widespread usage in the colonial days. In 1786 Ben Franklin wrote a letter to a friend warning of the health dangers of lead paint. In America lead paint’s usage peaked in the 1920s. In those days the painters took a bag of lead powder and mixed it into the solvents and pigments while inhaling clouds of lead dust. Many painters died young from unknown illnesses known in the trades as “Painter’s disease.” It took many years of knowing the hazards of lead, before science and the political will overcame the lead paint manufacturer’s lobby, when in 1978 the government finally outlawed the use of lead paint completely. Now many of the old historic homes are still caked with layers of lead, it was a very tough and durable coating: Lead paint jobs were known to last twenty years. Read more


How Long will the Paint Job Last?

house wood rot

As a painting contractor one of the most frequently asked questions is: how long will the paint job last? My stock answer is, it depends on a lot of variable factors. I suppose the average number of years is around five. Some of the factors determining the length of a paint job are the types of wood used by the builder and environmental conditions. For instance, a waterfront home is challenged by the worst of conditions, and it’s not uncommon for the side facing the water to need a maintenance coat within three years or less. On the North Shore most homes are affected by the ocean’s moisture, even if you live a quarter mile away. Read more


Curing Those Winter Blues

interior painted living room

Congress and Washington are in gridlock, the Patriots have once again failed in their quest for another Super Bowl, and though it is freezing out the ice caps are melting. It’s winter in New England, that limbo between Thanksgiving and Easter; it is time to keep warm, maybe catch up on some reading, or perhaps working on the house. Most people are too busy to keep up with their household chores: clutter gathers in the closets, there’s expired food in the refrigerator, and that damned basement seems to be filling up with every unwanted article. Home projects can leave many homeowners in paralysis; you take care of the emergencies like the water heater flooding the basement and that broken light by the front door. Painting may be the last thing on your mind. Read more


Solving Paint Failure

Three summers ago, I got a call from Bruce Irving the former producer of WGBHʼs This Old House who had remembered me from the days my company had worked on “The Salem House” in 1995. He was at wits end with a clientʼs exterior cedar siding that didnʼt hold paint. Recently, the house had an extensive renovation that included new exterior siding and had been painted twice in the past four years by two different painting contractors and each time catastrophic paint failure occurred within the first year. I visited the site and witnessed the paint lifting and peeling from the siding like birch bark as if the house hadn’t been painted in decades. Read more


The Truth About Wooden Decks

outdoor deck painting staining

Of all the surfaces decks require the greatest maintenance, but they can have the greatest beauty and and offer the most satisfaction to the home owner. Being a flat surface decks are blanketed with snow and ice in the winter and in the remaining months water sits on top as they often bake in the sun and suffer the wear of furniture and human traffic grinding grit into the surface. Condensation also gathers on decks, making them prone to mildew, and the constant wet/dry cycle shortens the life of the application. Read more