Saturday, February 25, 2017

Proper expectations or painting your cabinets

Proper expectations when deciding to paint your cabinets

Deciding to paint your kitchen cabinets is a huge decision and one usually based on saving money from replacing them totally or refacing them. 

No question painting your cabinets will save you a ton of money but with that does come some maintenance on your end occasionally as with any painted surface.

Even when doing the proper prep and using the top of the line materials as most professional companies use any surface rubbing against each other or getting hit will be a weak link and you could see some chipping, scratches, and marring. 

The great thing now that they are painted is you can easily touch them up when needed. We are not talking about paint failure here or anything the painting contractor did wrong. As with any painted surface, there is maintenance such as decks, walls, all exterior painted surfaces. Heck with decks we tell people to expect to do the floor and horizontal surfaces each year.

I know when deciding to paint the cabinets no one wants to hear they may chip but even with your unpainted ones they will scuff, scratch and nick when hit or bumped, paint is no different. No matter how many coats or thickness put on.

To have the expectation once they are painted they will last forever is a wrong one and one that will bring feelings of disappointment and unhappiness with the project.

Painting your cabinets can make a dramatic difference no doubt and will totally change the look of a room, remember painting is one of the cheapest investments that can bring the most value back into your home.

Now that we have that understood let's talk about application

To spray or not to spray that is the question

Spraying can be great for many reasons such as 
  • It is usually more productive
  • Smoother finish
  • Works great for solvent based material
Some cons of spraying in your home

  • It will atomize the paint much more making the smell much worse
  • Heavy covering of surfaces and may not have access to the kitchen for a few days
  • Harder to touch up
  • Requires more product
  • Produces dust and requires more cleanup
  • More costly 
Brush and rolling cabinets can easily achieve the finish your looking for at less of a cost and less mess if any

Some pro's

  • Less covering up and prep
  • Less equipment needed
  • Less material used
  • Fewer fumes and particles in the air
  • Easier in an occupied home
  • Faster return to service

  • May see brush marks, this is hand workmanship 
  • Does not work with all paints
  • Will not be the ultra smooth look as sprayed
As you can see there is a decision to be made, we have done many both ways and honestly, for me, it is hard to tell the difference with the products we use when brushing and rolling and sometimes that helps to get the price within the budget of the customer

Also keep in mind the touch-up factor, when spraying a surface you will need to touch it up eventually and it will be a bit harder but not impossible

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Proper expectations for your deck staining

 Deck staining Understanding what you can expect after you have your painting contractor stain or re-stain a deck can resolve many issues before that first complaint calls comes in. Trust me every contractor wants to offer a lifelong job but that expectation for the contractor and the customer is not possible especially for surfaces such as decks where moisture, weather, ice and daily abuse take a toll on the surface. We at Amato Painting like to be upfront with every customer and let them know like almost anything on your home a deck will require the utmost care and yearly maintenance. If you use a solid acrylic stain you can rest assured most likely you will be recoating the floor boards and the rails every year.
Decks in Harsh Climates such as ours in the Northeast require constant on-going Maintenance and will often have to be re-done on a yearly or bi-yearly basis depending on elevation, exposure, previous condition, prep and type of Coating applied.
Preparing the surfaceLet’s examine the challenges facing all Contractors when looking to Refurbish or Re-coat a Deck. The biggest challenge of all is trying to meet elevated expectations that homeowners often have as to final finish appearance and ongoing durability of their newly coated Deck. Very often, the larger task of painting the actual home itself will be overridden by scrutiny to an attached deck project.
1) What type of Coating is on the Deck now?
If you have a Semi-trans Oil Toner Base product on a Deck now where you have a basic wood tone type color, like redwood to cedar, stick with it. If you have a Solid color or Semi-Solid Oil Stain on the Deck where the Color is more solid in nature but grain of the wood still is quite prevalent, stick with that as well. Why? Oil Products will more so fade and chalk and will just require less maintenance in regards to peeling. They just naturally wear better in my opinion and keep wood “oiled”, preserving it better in this dry climate. If you have a Solid Color Acrylic Stain on a Deck, you will need to re-coat the Deck with the same as sanding this coating out of the Grain of the Wood is effectively really difficult in order to convert it to the Semi-trans. Oil. You could also have issues with proper penetration and compatibility of Coating as you attempt to apply the Oil over any measure of residual acrylic coating that may still exist. If the existing Deck has a had a oil product on it previously & have turned black due to years of neglect and effectively sanding the horizontals and the pickets would be difficult to do consistently, the Acrylic Stain option may be viable to achieve a better cosmetic final product. Once the oil has evaporated out of the wood thru the years you will not have a compatibility issue here in that regard. If Acrylic Paint has been applied to the deck it will need to be scraped and sanded off as paint is not designed for decks and lacks proper penetration and will most often peel off in sheets and be an ongoing nightmare to deal with. NEVER apply Paint to a Deck especially to the bottom Support Structure. Paint is intended and designed to adhere to a primed and sealed surface. It is NOT DESIGNED TO BE A PENETRATOR like an acrylic or oil stain! This is less critical with Hand Rails as they are principally vertical in nature but make sure primer is applied first under the Paint. Regardless, top horizontal hand rail surfaces will peel and require regular maintenance whether paint is applied or acrylic stain. They cannot and will not withstand harsh weather conditions.
2) Pre-existing Condition of the Deck- How old is the Deck? When was it last Coated? What Elevation does it face? South and West Exposures are brutal on Deck Life. They are super hot & lend themselves to more fractured and cracked horizontal surfaces. They allow more natural penetration of moisture which makes these cracks larger providing for constant expansion and contraction and ongoing peeling as moisture/vapor moves out of the wood into the atmosphere. The older the deck, the more you will have to simply maintain it. Typically, areas of the deck, especially hi traffic areas, will need to be re-rolled or brushed every spring for sure. This goes for either a Semi-trans oil product or a Solid Color acrylic product. Areas of Dry Rot where a Fungus has set in and is eroding the surface of the Wood or to some depth of the Wood need to be removed. Not to do so would only make these areas worse and coatings do not adhere or penetrate into dry rot appropriately.
3) Shiners- Let’s talk about what to expect once a coating is applied, especially a Wood Toner oil based Semi-Trans. type product. Wood, especially weathered wood, has different grains, existing cracking/fissures and absorption rates. No particular area on a horizontal deck or a vertical hand rail corner to corner will absorb a coating exactly the same. This is just the nature of wood, period. In arid climates like Colorado most often a 2 coat application of a Semi-trans. or a Solid Color Stain will be needed to properly protect the Deck. The 1st Coat will seal the porosity and left alone will not typically be cosmetically pleasing to the eye and will not weather well. The 2nd Coat will effectively seal the deck; provide better water resistance and longer life. The second coat is typically back brushed or rolled out to areas that will pool up due to these different absorption rates of wood mentioned above. The end result typically will be what can best be described as areas of variable look or sheen or better described as “Shiners. This is just the consequences of sealing most any deck with most any coating. To expect a uniform look corner to corner is going to be unrealistic and unfair to your Contractor as is expecting these same horizontal surfaces not to have some sort of failure or maintenance even within the 1st year. Intense moisture in the form of ice, snow, sleet, hail & rain along with 80-100 degree Sun, heat and UV is simply not going to allow a protective liquid to not have issues sooner than later. However, these “Shiners” will settle down as the UV and sun starts the natural weathering process.
4) Sand or not to Sand? For Acrylic Coated Decks Scraping and Power washing loose coating is usually sufficient. If the Deck has been painted inappropriately, then it will need to be sanded off as much as is possible followed behind with a quality penetrating ACRYLIC STAIN, again NOT PAINT! Once you have an acrylic stain product on your deck, you are pretty committed to it. Again, really tough and expensive to convert to oil and you will experience varied results for sure. In regards to the Wood Toner base Stains and products better overall results can be achieved with Sanding. This also assists in removing Blemishes and Circle patterns due to Umbrella Stands, etc. Once again, it may not eliminate the blemishes completely but will improve overall appearance. Keep in mind that as these Horizontal Surfaces are sanded that it may open up the grain differently from plank to plank or area to area again affecting absorption rates and final finish as described above. Areas of the Deck that have more protection than others will also likely sand differently and provide for varied finish as well. Understanding the varied and different nature of wood will assist you in accepting more so that decks are just going to lend themselves to a improved, pretty but overall varied and sometimes rugged final appearance. Sanding is less critical with Solid or Semi-Solid(Sometimes described as Semi-Trans in Product Lit.- talk to the Paint store personnel to seek clarification as to final finish and look ), as they will be more solid in nature when re-applied. Vertical Hand Rails, posts and Pickets typically do not need to be sanded. However, once sanding to a vertical picket or post is started, it must be done so top to bottom as it will surely stain differently to the sanded area vs. an un-sanded area.
In the End, A deck takes a ton of abuse just from everyday life, from walking on it, shoveling it in winter, dogs nails. You cannot expect a coating to survive this type of abuse, wood is always contracting and expanding as well as the coating. Guess what will give first? Yes the coating, the stain

Have legitimate expectations you will be coating it every year,
anyone who says otherwise is not being honest

Sunday, February 5, 2017

You can always find someone cheaper

You can always find someone cheaper but at what cost?
You  do your due diligence and get three estimates
One is high or so you think, one in the middle and one very low.
They all seem to have the same things, paint walls, patch holes. You didn’t ask a lot of questions or really explain your expectations but shouldn’t be a problem they are all painters and should know how to do this right?

Did you ask is what type of experience do they have on work like yours
Do they carry full liability insurance AND WORKMAN'S COMP?  if they have other painters on your site and you haven’t gotten their workman's comp cert your at a huge risk (bet not many have it

What is their reputation with customers and the paint stores they use?
What type of training do they offer their painters (bet not many have an answer here either)
SO that high price or so it seemed,  in the end may be the best one, trained painters who have health insurance, workman's comp and know what they are doing.

The low priced one has no insurance, spilled paint (it happens) but cant pay to replace it and you already gave them your deposit

Your gambling on your home, who is in it and what they may damage or not.
At Amato Painting we can with certainty know the results you will get as we have done the same type of work over and over. We train our painters from start of the job to the last day.
No worries when you handle a job or project over to us. We will take care of all the little details.

Sorry Is For Suckers

Sorry is for suckers

I'm sorry, sorry for that, I apologize, my fault is one of my biggest pet peeves and something I correct and do not allow around the office.
Not that we do not want to be polite or the customer isn't always right but as soon as you say any of those words you have lowered yourself and gave the other person the thought they were correct and you will back down whether right or wrong.

Once you say those words you mise well have said your right even if your wrong and I will do anything you say
Sorry is self-demeaning and if you cannot lift yourself up you are going to be taken full advantage of by others
Sorry makes you seem unfit for leadership roles in some eyes

 It also sends a message that you would rather agree then be honest, over times your apologies will come across as submissive and make you a pushover for others to take advantage of. Over apologizing creates guilt and undermines your own self-esteem.
Instead of I'm sorry, say thank you for bringing that to my attention

"Just" is another one of those words,
I just wanted to reach out, I just have a few things to go over, sorry for calling but I just have a few things to talk about. If they were truly sorry they wouldn’t call knowing it is a bother. Get right to the point of the call.

Business and life can be tough enough without you purposely making it harder for yourself