Critical Considerations When Choosing A Contractor

The initial feeling of excitement when you decide to have your house painted is a rush for sure! Buuuuut it can wear off quickly. You begin to realize how many things need to be done between the moment you decide to paint and the moment the painting is completed. Fantasizing all the different color options is only one task on the list, and not the first! So first things first! You need to decide WHO will be handling your paint work for you. Step 1 is a huge decision! It will impact the whole process, so here are some helpful things to consider when you choose your contractor! 

Which Contractor Should I Choose ??? 😉 *** Photo by Juan Rumimpunu on Unsplash

Reputation and Stability

Most of us take the time to look at online reputation before we call for an estimate in the first place… but is that enough? The crucial question is “Which business page has the most Facebook likes?!?” Winner! Done! 😉 Kidding… If only it were that simple! While you can put some weight into the way a business interacts with the social community; it is much more important to see if they have actual references and reviews about the experience they provide to their customers. If they do not have online reviews; can they give you references in another format? 

Even a well liked business with lots of good reviews can be irresponsible though… And just because something bad hasn’t happened yet doesn’t necessarily mean they are prepared for it. Make sure the contractor you want to hire has a good business insurance policy and worker’s comp for all employees. If the contractor you want to hire uses sub-contractors; make sure they have these things too! A contractor whose stability is based off of more than social perception is critical!

Experience and Service

When we think of “experience”, we tend to just think of “how long” the contractor has been in business for. That is not the best way to look at it. Someone could be running a painting business for 50 years and only paint one house a month. On the flip side: Another contractor could be 5 years into their business, but have experience running 4 jobs a week. While you want to be sure that your contractor knows what they are doing, it is also important to ask about the “experience” they offer. 

Does the contractor provide a clear outline for the services they will provide for you? Do they have a warranty on their work or materials? To find out how to spot a good warranty; click here!  Is their communication with you going to make you confident that you are a part of the plan? Or will you be left in the dark, hoping they don’t finally show up for the project  when you’re in the bathroom. 😉 (A personal fear of mine haha!) The quality of your experience depends greatly on the quality of your contractor’s service and communication. 

Follow Up

It is pretty common in the trades for a contractor to come and go as they please. Everything happens on their time, with very short notice for you, in most cases. This can leave you under-prepared for the conversations you want to have with them, and frustrated with poor communication. They can leave just as quickly as they came and not really care either way whether you are satisfied with the service you paid for or not. The final bill can be hugely different from the quote you received, and you can’t expect communication to improve at this point.

Now not all contractors behave this way! But you definitely want to have a conversation with your contractor about what you can expect during the process; from the first estimate to the final bill. 

Click Here for our handy list: 17 Critical Questions for Your Contractor!

Thank you for your time! To schedule an estimate with Sir Paints A Lot, click here! Have an Amazing Day!

5 Autumn Decor Ideas To Fall For

You already fell for my cheesy title, so why stop there! We all know there are literally thousands of crafts and DIY projects you can do to help bring in the season. Stores are overflowing with things colored yellow and orange and rusty red. Throw-pillows and gourds and fake leaves abound! There are Soooooo many things you can make and buy and thoughtfully place in your home…annnnd then put into storage in 2 months….It is a bit overwhelming to some of us. These 5 ideas you can just throw away when the snow comes! You can watch them Fall right into the trash can alongside your moldy carved pumpkin that withered away by the front door…Ahhh I can smell it already 😉

1. Dried Corn Stalks

Fall Decor -Dried Corn Stalks www.homedit.com

Dried Corn Stalks are the perfect way to bring some fall feels to your front entry! If you grow your own corn, all you need to do is remove the corn from the plant and then cut the stalks at the base about 5 days before you decorate. Hang them upside down in the sun to dry until they are a nice golden brown! If you do not grow your own corn, you can usually find stalks at farmers markets. Sometimes they will even be dried already!

5 Creative ways to use for fall

  • 1. Add Sunflowers or Cat- Tails or anything you like and place next to the front door!
  • 2. Place inside in a tall, narrow planter pot and keep inside.
  • 3. Use pieces of the dried leaves from the stalks to accent a wreath.
  • 4. Decorate fence posts!
  • 5. Use as kindling for Bonfire …saved the best for last 😉 Bonfires are Superior to trash cans. Tis the Season!

2. Mini Pumpkins

Fall Decor – Mini Pumpkins

These little guys are just required. You can put them anywhere and it just works. On the table, in the windowsill, even on the back of the toilet! Anywhere you can think of- it works!

5 Creative ways to use for fall

  • 1. Make a centerpiece on your kitchen table using a variety of mini gourds and pumpkins and leaves.
  • 2. Use outside on front steps or on hay bales.. The more the merrier!
  • 3. Place on top of candle holders- You can spray paint them gold, black, and white for a different fall feel
  • 4. Fill a large lantern, glass jar, or see through wire basket.
  • 5. Make a fall game for trick or treaters and use them to hit targets/make baskets!

3. Hay Bales

Fall Decor- Hay Bales www.wayfair.ca

You probably don’t want to use these Indoors…but they provide a lot of character for your outdoor decor! I am pretty sure you can order fake hay bales online if you have an allergy, however that defeats the simplistic purpose of this article… But as someone who suffers from allergies- I won’t hold it against you 😉

5 Creative ways to use for fall

  • 1. Use to add height near entry to emphasize other decorations such as pumpkins, lanterns, and wooden signs.
  • 2. Place loose hay underneath pumpkin centerpiece. Use a large tray or bowl for less mess!
  • 3. Make Scarecrows or shabby brooms.
  • 4. Set up an outdoor seat/ photo area!
  • 5. Also excellent kindling for a bonfire 🙂

4. Pine Cones

decorextra.com
Fall Decor – Pine Cones www.decorextra.com

Personally, I always use pine cones in my decor. I just love them! But the best thing about them is that they can make the transition into winter decor no problem! That saves you having to think twice!

5 Creative ways to use for fall

  • 1. A table centerpiece is a going theme for this blog.. what can I say!
  • 2. Glue onto door wreath with sticks and herbs for a multi-seasonal effect.
  • 3. Place near pumpkins, apples, sunflowers or hay bales for contrast and detail.
  • 4. Dip in melted wax of any color and add glitter! (My grandmother’s project!)
  • 5. Make Cinnamon Pine Cones!

5. Wheat

Fall Decor – Wheat

Wheat is an excellent way to bring a little bit of fall around without clashing with what you already have! This is probably the most versatile fall decoration of them all!

5 Creative ways to use for fall

  • 1. Cut off the top of a pumpkin and use it as a vase for the wheat.
  • 2. Make bundles of wheat and wrap a fall colored ribbon around them and put them anywhere!
  • 3. Another easy way to make a wreath: glue on some leaves and flowers and wah-la!
  • 4. Add Cat-tails to your arrangement for added interest!
  • 5. Another excellent addition to the Bonfire!!!

Hopefully this article helps you find some fall decorations that don’t break the bank! That way you can spend more on Salted Caramel Lattes! 😉 Enjoy your Bonfire!!! (One more thing you can add to the bonfire is a Pumpkin Spice Latte! Bleh! 😉 )

If you have any house painting questions or needs please give us a call at 541-600-2025 or click here to book an estimate now!

Pros and Cons of a Color Consult

So many colors to explore during a color consult!

They really should call it a color Prosult because there are a lot more Pros than Cons…despite “cons” being right there in the word itself 😉 . Advanced English aside… What even is a Color Consult? The definition of consult is “to seek information or advice from some with expertise in a given area”. A color consultant is someone with expertise in color and design. For many of us, choosing the color for our home is a big decision. We only want to pay for that decision once, so we really want to get it right the first time. A color consult can help you consider things that maybe you hadn’t thought of to make sure you’ll be happy with your choice! So let’s jump into some of those!

Pros of Color Consult

1. Color Consults Help Us Understand Color

Color may not seem that difficult to understand…But in fact, colors are perceived differently based on other colors around them. Its all fun and dandy to flip through the paint swatches and snatch out the colors you like best..but will they look that way in your space? A color consultant will be able to tell you! They will know if the color of your cabinets or your roof (or something else in your space) will make your chosen color appear warmer or cooler in contrast. And they will have alternative suggestions based on what you like that might just fit your space better! Its easy to say “Just pick the color you like!”. But there are a lot of variables that might make the color you like on the swatch appear as a color you don’t actually like. They will show you!

2. Color Consults Remind Us To Consider Light

Again; this seems like something the average person can understand also… But most of the time we forget to take it into consideration at all beyond simple things like “This room feels dark so I want to paint it a brighter color”. The particular kind of light is another thing that will affect the color we choose! Soft light casts a subtle warm hue over the room, and bright light casts a sharper cool hue over the room. Daylight is another factor to consider. Paint colors look very different with direct sunlight on them, especially with certain sheens! A color consultant will take all of this into account to help you meet your color goals. A color that doesn’t even stand out to you in the paint swatch book might be the color that will get you the look you are trying to achieve!

3. Samples and Examples

A color consultant often has larger paint swatches to hold up in your space. This helps to give you a better idea of how a color will actually appear. Sometimes they even will do a limited amount of paint samples. This allows you to see a large section of wall with the color you are considering. They have experience with many other customers and the specific paint they are consulting with you about. They can also show you real examples of how a paint color looked in a certain environment.

4. Timeless or Trendy

Many of us don’t actually want to choose our favorite color at all. We just want a color that’s going to live its life to the max and work well with changing decor. Color consultants can usually tell if that trendy color you saw on pinterest is going to stick around a couple more years or not. They also know by experience which colors get chosen over and over and are well loved by their choosers. During a color consult, they will find out what you, specifically, are hoping for as a result, and help you get there.

5. Personality

Another thing a color consultant is very aware of is your personality! Ultimately, they want YOU to be happy with your choice so they’re going to be paying attention to whether you are bold or reserved, creative or simplistic, extravagant or minimalist 😉 . If they know you want to sell the house, they might talk you down from your extravagance a little towards something that might fit most buyers. You might say that you wanted to make your color scheme more exciting even though you’re scared of everything that isn’t white. You name it- they have an idea and advice for you! They’ll help you choose a color and feel confident with it!

Cons of Color Consult

1. You Don’t Agree

This really isn’t a real problem because ultimately you get to choose the colors for your home. Sometimes we can hear all the logic and we still want the color we wanted. Except now we know that the expert doesn’t think it will work well. 🙁 I’ve been there.

I learned during my color consult that the name of a color could be enough to turn me off to it…which is ridiculous! I was attracted to names like “Rock Garden” and “Succulent” and “Sea Serpent“… But after painting samples and realizing they were way more intense than I actually wanted… I ended up with colors named “Filmy Green” (ew?) and “Pewter Green” and “Black Emerald“…(just want to state that these are not all in the same area!) I genuinely did like the colors of the ones with pretty names… buuut they were not the right fit at all for the look I actually wanted. And I like to think I understand color pretty well!

The point is- even if you don’t like everything you hear during the color consult, and they don’t give you a suggestion you actually like… Chances are you still learned something that will help you out moving forward! At Sir Paints A Lot- you literally have NOTHING to lose! We include a color consult in your project with us! If that sounds as cool to you as it does to me…why don’t you go ahead and book an estimate with us by clicking here! 🙂

What’s In Your Warranty?

Oh I wonder, wonder What’s in a warranty! Who knows what surprises a warranty can hide! Yummy nestle chocolate with candy shapes inside!… Wait that’s a wonderball…. 😉 If you don’t remember wonderballs- just ignore this part. In all seriousness though, sometimes the warranty we pay for with our paint job can be full of surprises too! I’m here to show you what to look for before you sign that contract… Not all warranties are created equal and a good one can add significant value to your paint job. Let’s go over the two main types of warranties you will see.

Manufacturer’s Warranty

Many paint contractors will not have their own warranty. Instead, they will just advertise the 12-15 (ish) year warranty on the paint itself that comes from the paint manufacturer. This only means that if the paint on your house fails within that time period (for a reason that can be clearly defined as an issue with the paint itself and not the application, weather, etc… )that the cost of new paint will be covered. This does not mean the cost of labor to repaint the house will be covered. Different paint manufacturers have different lengths on their warranties, but for the most part, they aren’t adding any Real value to your paint job.

Lazy Contractor’s Warranty

You might also see this manufacturer’s warranty being used as a selling point by the contractor. They just slap their name on the manufacturer’s paperwork instead… Here is what to look for when you see something resembling “12-15 year warranty” from a contractor.

  • Does it say anywhere that it covers workmanship?
  • If it does cover workmanship, how long exactly? (Surprise! Probably not 15 years!)
  • Does it define what is a defect?
  • Does it have exclusions? What are they?
  • Are there extra stipulations? ex: proof of maintenance like pressure washing to remove mildew and residue OR specific paint that must be used etc…

Most of the time, contractors who offer an unclear warranty for an absurd length of time (such as 12-15 years along with the paint) will not have any of the detail above, and likely will not honor anything if they failed to word it well. After this much time has passed it is easy to say that the paint failure is not due to workmanship or product defect… so there is no real value added. 15 years of nothing! What a Deal!

Contractor’s Warranty

There are many contractors who take the time to put together a comprehensive warranty that adds real value. Usually, they will have different warranties for interiors than exteriors (as is only logical), and the duration of time will be much more reasonable. A 5 year warranty for an exterior paint job is very reasonable, but 15 years is just unrealistic. On an opposite note; sometimes a 1 year warranty gets some glory but in truth, it hardly allows for anything to need warrantied.

Some contractors will be basic and only cover defects in their workmanship, while others will cover scratches from your pets and normal wear and tear. These details make all the difference. The more that is offered that is within reasonable bounds, the better the warranty! To further explain that; things that would be unreasonable for a contractor to cover would be things like fires and hail and more intensive things that your home insurance should cover. If the painter offers Too much, it is probably too good to be true.

Basic Warranty vs Premium Warranty

The way to tell if you’re getting a run of the mill, mostly useless warranty vs a comprehensive and quality warranty is by looking for these details:

  • Will they touch up paint damages that were not their fault?
  • Is the duration of time covered reasonable?
  • Are their exclusions fair?
  • Are their requirements logical?
  • Is there any evidence that they honor this warranty?

Words are just words with no action! Here at Sir Paints A Lot; we take the extra steps to ensure you have a quality experience! Our exterior work is warrantied for 5 years and that includes 1 hour of touch-up each year. We contact you in the spring to schedule your touch-up work! We will do this for all 5 years so long as you can prove with a receipt that you’ve hired a contractor to pressure-wash mildew and debris off of your house once annually! (A good warranty should have some clear stipulations!)

Check out this quick video from just a tiny portion of last year’s paint touch-ups!

Warranty Touch Up!

Maintenance is the best defense to paint failure! This is why we also offer our Premium Home Care Package!

Premium Home Care Package

Sir Paints A Lot Premium Home Care Package extends exterior warranty to 9 years!

Hopefully now you know what to look for in a painter’s warranty and you don’t run into any unfortunate surprises down the road!

To schedule a paint estimate with Sir Paints A Lot, click HERE! Thank You! Have an Awesome Day! I’m going to go see if they still sell wonderballs…. 😉

When Should I Book My Paint Estimate?

When Should I Book My Paint Estimate?

Well first off- during business hours ;). This is a topic that has various answers in different parts of the country with different weather patterns and workforce balances; but here in the PNW we get so many calls for exterior work that people are hoping to get done sometime next week. They are very disappointed to discover that the soonest we can get them in is next summer.

Below I will cover some common misconceptions about when to book a paint estimate! Hopefully this will help you plan out your paint project without any major setbacks! Remember… These are misconceptions- the answer you seek is in the fine print 😉

1. I shouldn’t schedule an exterior paint estimate until my paint fails.

We all want to get the most life out of our paint jobs! (Unless the color is too hideous to behold 😉 ). However, if you wait until the paint is Already peeling, then you’re going to be paying extra anyway. The additional prep-work required to deal with peeling paint adds up! You’re also going to risk damaging your siding if you leave parts of it unfinished and exposed to the elements. (This also costs more…Especially if no one can fit you in until next summer). This is one of those situations where trying too hard to get the most bang for your buck can really backfire.

So how can you tell when your house needs repainted? In general, once your paint has begun to fade, the next thing that happens is it flakes or peels. This blog goes into more depth if you are curious!

2. I should schedule an exterior paint estimate right before I want it done.

In an ideal world, we could talk about painting on the weekend and start the very next week! However, reality is far from that. With all the shortages in our current economy; workers and materials are not so quick to come by. On a good year, exterior season runs from May through October. If you call anytime in that time-frame; expect that you might not get on the calendar until the next May-October. Exterior work books 6-12 months out right now, so it is important to choose a contractor whose business is likely to be around another year. (free tip 😉 )

Sometimes you can call during the winter months (Nov-April) and get in for the upcoming summer. Occasionally you might get lucky and be able to snag a spot even if you call in early summer! Just keep in mind that if you put it off too long; you’ll be stuck with whatever painter you can get and it probably won’t be the one you want! The same rule applies if you have a particular set of dates you want your painting to take place on. If you take too long to book your estimate, you’ll be stuck with whatever dates we can fit you in for! Plan 6-12 months ahead when it comes to scheduling your paint estimate so You can choose the painter you trust!

3. I can use my estimate from 3 years ago to get on the calendar now!

This goes hand in hand with the misconception before this… Say you got your estimate ahead of time just like I advised, but you weren’t quite ready to commit and get yourself on the calendar… So you held onto it a couple years until you were sure you were ready! You call to get on the books annnnnd the unfortunate news is that 3 years is a long time for a paint job. The estimator will likely have to come back and assess the current condition of your paint. If your paint has worn down considerably, extra cost might need to be added for additional prep-work.

Not to mention all the rapid changes in our economy. Everything from wages we pay employees to the cost of our masking tape has gone up. Whatever your estimate had written down for cost of labor and materials is likely not the same. When you schedule your estimate you should be ready to commit to a project in the near future, but also be aware that it might not begin for 6-12 months. If you Are still holding onto an old estimate and you would like to work with that painter still; give them a call! Just remember that the estimate will need adjusted!

4. Interior work doesn’t have a long wait time!

While this is usually true, if you call in the wrong season it is a different story! Here in the PNW a good rule of thumb for interior paint work is to schedule it during the rainy season! If you call for interior work during the summer you will quickly learn that our calendars are filled to the brim with exterior work. We might be able to get you in on a rainy day if one shows up though, so don’t hesitate to call! Just remember the weather is out of our control! If you call about interior work in the rainy season, you can get on the schedule during that same rainy season. No problem.

5. I’m going to sell my house so I should wait until I’m ready to list it!

The Fresher the Better right?! Its common for people to repaint their house before selling to boost curb appeal and profit! Sometimes people know they will be selling their house and moving in the summer and would like a full re-paint (interior and exterior) but want to hold off on the interior work until they are out of the house. At the time of the estimate; they’re not exactly sure when that will be. I have Good news! Because we can not control the wind and weather, our schedule is “approximate” until its right down to go-time.

If you call and get on the books, we can move your project around here or there as needed. If you wait until you are ready to list your house to scramble and find a painter…. well… That is just added stress to an already busy time and we likely will not be able to help you even if we want to. Same rule applies! Try to plan 6-12 months ahead if you can!

Maybe the last time you had your house painted you didn’t have to plan so far ahead. Maybe you lived somewhere sunny and exterior work was a year round thing so it just didn’t occur to you. Hopefully this blog helps you see the current reality of the PNW painting season. We are doing our best at Sir Paints a Lot to keep up with demand! If you realized while reading this that it is time to book your paint estimate- click HERE to schedule with us! Thank you!

UnMasking the Secret to Successful Masking

Ahhh. The anticipation of peeling off masking tape to see crisp, clean paint lines…. Only to discover that the paint has leaked through, the lines are squiggled, and the tape is stuck… in some places… Below I will share some dos and don’ts that may just help you avoid this messy fate!

First things first! There are several different colors and varieties of painting tape or masking tape. I’ll just go over the reason for this and which tape to use where!

  • White Tape: White tape is just your basic masking tape and it is commonly used to hang plastic or paper up around window sills or trim. It works well in most painting situations and can be found in different widths. It is not as highly recommended as blue; but it is much cheaper and works well in all the same situations.
  • Blue Tape: Blue painter’s tape has medium adhesion and is practical for using on slightly more delicate surfaces that you don’t want to risk damaging. For example; You are painting a kitchen and need to mask off the cabinets which have been painted in the past. Blue tape is less likely to pull up the old paint. If that were to happen; then you would need to repaint the cabinets too. Not a fun add-on if you were not planning on it! Go with Purple if you’re really cautious.
  • Green Tape: Green painter’s tape has very strong adhesion and is the best choice if you are relying on tape to get crisp, straight lines with no bleeding; especially if the surface you are applying it too is a little rough. It can pull up the material underneath, though; so use with discretion.
  • Orange Tape: Orange Tape is Basically white tape but stronger. The adhesion level is the same but the strength of the tape (how easily it tears or rips) is a little more heavy duty.
  • Yellow Tape: Yellow tape has strong adhesion that works excellent outdoors. It is waterproof and works great on exterior windows because it will not leave any residue which would later collect dust. Nobody likes dirty windows…

Now here are some tips for How to use masking tape; How to not to; and a few bonus tips at the end!

DO

  • Clean the surface you will be masking first. Your tape won’t stick to dust….well, scratch that, it will! Dust won’t keep your tape stuck to the wall though!
  • Apply your masking as straight and smooth as you can. Avoid using multiple pieces of tape for the same stretch of masking. A tiny bit of uneven overlap will show!
  • Be sure to press down on your tape as you go. This seems like a given; but it can be easy to get moving along a trim board or other lengthy surface and forget to press your tape down the whole way.
  • Allow 2nd coat of paint to dry before removing masking. You want your paint to Just be dry to the touch so that you cannot accidentally smudge it as you roll up your masking.
  • Stick in in the trash. Even obvious things can be forgotten. 😉
Sir Paints Crew putting that green and orange masking tape to good use! Can’t forget the coffee…;)

DON’T

  • Drown the masking tape with a super heavy first coat. If you take it easy on the first coat, it will help to seal the tape to the wall and give you a clean line. If you bury tape with too much moisture; it will not remain adhered to the wall. We all know what happens next.
  • Forget to bolt down free edges of plastic and paper. Wind and even pressure from the paint sprayer will cause these to blow around into your freshly painted surface.
  • Remove masking after each coat. It is very difficult to match your original line if you decide you want a fresh batch of tape for the 2nd coat. Apply both coats (Or more if necessary) before removing tape.
  • Leave tape too long. You want the paint to be dry before you remove your masking; but if you let it dry more than 24 hours it is much more likely to pull the paint right off with it. This completely ruins that perfect line. Epic Fail. (Fear not! There is a tip below just in case this is happening!)
  • Mask around lightbulbs with paper. Some people still use lightbulbs that get hot. Charred accents can be nice sometimes; but that is probably not what you’re going for if you are painting!
  • Throw all your masking on the floor. Dry paint flakes make a big mess and its better to put them straight into the trash. Sometimes there can even be slightly wet paint still hanging out on the plastic; and that will make an even bigger mess.

BONUS

  • Get yourself one of these masking tools! It is a serious time saver that helps you get straight lines and also lines up your tape perfectly with either paper or plastic.
Hand Masking Tool
  • If you have the time and REALLY REALLY want a perfect line; paint a light coat of the color you are hoping to protect against the masking tape’s seam (provided you have it). This will seal the tape with the color behind it, and then you can continue to paint your new color worry free.
  • The Grande Finale of Tips! When you remove your masking tape; first use a blade to score the edge of the tape so that it doesn’t pull any of the new color off with it. This is especially useful in tight areas like along the inside corners and edges of window trim, or in any circumstance where you find your tape is pulling new paint up with it.

Hopefully these tips make the time you spend masking well worth it! If not; at least you will get practice at cutting in and doing touch up! 😉 Thanks for reading! Have a Great Day! If you would like to see how our team gets all the things masked off; give us a call at 541-600-2025 or click HERE to book an estimate now!!!