If I had to sum up the painting profession as succinctly as possible, I would break it down to 3 words: Restoration, Preservation, and Beautification. Professional painting is always at least 2 of the three, and often all three. Let’s explore each category, as it relates to repainting the surfaces of your home.
Restoration is preparation in that it restores the surfaces of your home to make them paintable. It all begins with pressure washing to remove any dirt that will inhibit the adhesion of the primer and/or paint to be applied. All loose paint and/or stucco must then be scraped, and the raw surfaces should then be primed. The blemished surface must be repaired with spackle (for wood) and stucco compound (for various stucco finishes).
Exposed joints should be caulked. Are the joints large? Install backer-rod to prevent separation and cracking. The freshly repaired surfaces should then be spot-primed once more to prepare for the finish paint. The number one cause of paint failure is because no primer was applied (more on this later). Preparation is the most important part of restoring your home, and if you are hiring a contractor, this is what separates the pros from the hacks; those who want to make painting a career and those who are in it for a quick buck. You’ll know them when you meet them.
Before paint beautifies, it preserves; it protects. Unpainted stucco is porous (yes, even color-coated stucco) and absorbs water with all of its particulates. This puts any home in a precarious position if there are adjacent soil beds, if sprinklers are nearby, and/or once a good rain comes through–the stucco is stained and compromised. Raw materials — such as stucco and wood — must be primed and painted to protect those surfaces from the elements.
The most crucial part of protecting any surface is making sure it is primed. Like I previously mentioned, the number one cause of paint failure is due to skimping out on the primer and heading straight for the paint. Don’t make this mistake. Quiz your contractor on the type of primer they are using, and make sure it is in the contract. Heck, have inspection requests where you sign off for each step of the painting process. A professional painting contractor will welcome the accountability.
The next most crucial component in the protection of the surfaces of your home is choosing a quality paint. Being in Los Angeles, my preference is Dunn-Edwards for exteriors. They sell their products primarily in the Southwest, so their paints are designed to perform best in desert and semi-arid climates; and believe it or not, Los Angeles is a semi-arid desert.
Dunn-Edwards’ slogan is “The Paint that Protects.” I’ve used their products since I started my business (and so did my father many years before that) and the client’s whose homes we have painted 10 plus years ago have homes whose surfaces that are still in good condition. Remember, primer and quality paint preserves your investment.
Quality paint, and its application by qualified craftsmen, provides an added benefit, and perhaps the most important of them all–paint beautifies. Paint changes a space dramatically, and in a short period of time, and choosing the right color is what changes the space for the better. Color is incredibly influential. For instance, blues are cool and calming, which would be practical to use in an office where stress levels tend to be high. Reds attract attention and encourages appetite, and is often appropriately used in dining rooms (I recommend a deep crimson or aged desert rose).
The right combination of colors to an interior or exterior of a home allows the homeowner to express his/her own creative vision, but choosing the right color(s) could prove to be a tedious. A professional painting company will be able to help, and should be familiar with tinting their own paint as a way to adjust colors when sampling. Oh yeah, always, ALWAYS sample. The color on the chip will look different than it does on the wall.
Or better yet, hire a qualified company to sample colors for you. I know a guy who is willing to help out…