Exterior Painting Mistakes To Avoid

If you are a veteran of painting projects in the past, you already have a pretty good idea of some of the pitfalls to avoid.  But here are a few of the less familiar things to keep in mind when undertaking that next paint job:

Pay close attention to the condition of the surface

Is loose paint cracking, or forming blisters?  Is the finish peeling only as deep as the previous film?  This could be an adhesion problem, or something that goes deeper.  In the places that appear dirty, is it actually mold?  A closer inspection will provide clues as to whether you might be dealing with leaks, condensation, or simply poor surface-preparation in the past.

Power washing prior to painting

When washing vertical surfaces, start from the bottom and work up.  This will help prevent streaks from drips.  Be sure you complete an entire plane/wall in one session, and then, before the surface dries, rinse from the top down.  Of course, once the plane/wall is dry and it’s time to paint, then start at the top and work down to brush out any drips.

Get the timing right

Factory-primed doors and siding must be painted within 30 to 180 days, depending on the product.  Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Stain or prime and paint bare wood immediately after installation.  Pressure-treated wood should be finished when drips of water don’t bead on the surface.

Don’t paint too early in the morning; a good guide is to wait until the grass is dry.  Don’t coat while direct sunlight is beaming on the surface.  This can cause wrinkles in the finish or premature fading of the color.  Paint west-facing walls in the morning and east-facing ones in the afternoon.

Allow time between coats for complete drying.  And don’t wait too long before the next refinishing, or you’ll have more surface prep work to do.

Pay attention to the temperature and elements

Believe the label’s instructions which prescribe limits on humidity and on the surface and air temperatures.  Liquids may crystallize on an uncured finish during frigid temperatures.  Be wary of painting if it’s particularly windy.  Not only can wind deposit debris on the wet surface, but it can also create blistering.

Be safe!

When working in high places, use reliable ladders, scaffolding or lifts.  Don’t trust the rickety ladder you’ve had around forever.  And just as contractors must now deal with stiff requirements while working on older homes, do-it-yourselfers should likewise exercise caution when it comes to removing old paint, which may be lead-based.

Common Painting Mistakes To Avoid

Common painting mistakes

Avoid some of the most common painting mistakes! Here’s what you will need to know…

Too Much Tape

While painters tape can be a huge help in keeping the paint inside the lines, when used in excess, it can also have the opposite effect.  Lining every edge of the wall can cause paint to seep under the tape, leading to erratic smudges when it’s peeled off.  Avoid this by taping only what’s necessary and using an angled brush for the rest.


We’ve all been in the home where the outlets look fused into the walls.  This is the result of not properly prepping for paint.  Before you begin, it’s important to remove all covers and tape the remaining outlet to keep paint from staining it.


Don’t paint over problems.  Before painting, you want to make sure you fill in any dents or holes in the wall.  Caulk the edge of the wall where it meets molding, spackle smaller holes, and repair larger holes.  After everything is dry, sand off the excess filler, and then with a damp cloth or sponge, wipe off the dust.

Sand & Primer

Get the most vibrant color possible! Both sanding and priming your wall will prepare it to take in more color.  Sanding helps open the pores of the wall so the paint is absorbed as much as possible.  This will especially help improve the pigment of the color you chose and potentially limit the number of coats you will need to apply.

Similar to sanding, primer makes it so you get the most out of your chosen wall color.  These steps are especially essential if you plan on going from a light color to a dark color or vice versa.

Painting large areas or textured walls can be a large undertaking.  Don’t get overwhelmed.  Handyman Matters is here to assist in the process of any home improvement or repair project.  Give us a call 866-FIX-MY-HOME or check out our half-day room upgrade package.

Staying Informed About Lead-Based Paint

We’ve heard about the dangers of lead-based paint in older homes and office buildings, but not everyone is familiar with the appropriate procedures for dealing with it.

If you live in an older home and you are preparing to undertake some renovations, there are a number of important things to keep in mind.  For starters, people living in homes built before 1978 should obtain a copy of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Small Entity Compliance Guide to Renovate Right.

The handbook summarizes the requirements of the EPA’s 2008 Lead-Based Paint Renovation, Repair and Painting Program Rule. It will enable you to ask the appropriate questions of any contractor or repairman.  It’s important to make certain that anyone you engage to work in an older home is certified in lead-based paint removal.

All firms that engage in home repair and renovation should ensure that their employees are trained in the use of lead-safe work practices.  “Renovation” is defined as any activity that disturbs painted surfaces.  This is not confined to just the removal of old paint, but also a broad array of repair and maintenance activities.  Window replacement, electrical work and plumbing all fall into this category if your home, apartment or any child-occupied facility was built prior to 1978.

Ask your contractor to provide you proof of his certification, as well as a lead pamphlet prior to starting any work.  If he cannot, you should not allow him to begin any renovations on your property.

You should understand, too, that in addition to the very strict guidelines put in place by the EPA, individual state or local agencies may have added additional restrictions and that may go well beyond federal requirements.  To obtain information relating to your local community, call the National Lead Information Center at 1(800)424-5323.

As always, Handyman Matters stands ready to assist you with your home repair, renovation and remodeling needs.  Call 1(866)FIX-MY-HOME or go to www.handymanmatters.com to enter your zip code and find the phone number of the location that services your area.

Best of the Internet: Paint Colors for your Home!

One of the best and most affordable ways to update your home is to add a fresh coat of paint.  Whether you tackle just one wall, or a room, or your entire house, switching up the paint in your home will go a long way.  What color do you pick?  Not just any color will complement your home so Handyman Matters has pulled together some of our favorite neutral and bold colored rooms from across the internet…


Eggshell and yellow are a thing of the past when it comes to neutrals this season.  If you go neutral, think grey.


And the wonderful thing about grey is it has a variety of undertones, so your home’s grey could be referencing a pale blue, green, or even purple.



If you go bold, do it in a jewel tone.  Rich colors, as opposed to neons, can calm a large room or add a point of interest to a more minimally designed space. This year blue, green, and black paint are ruling the bold spectrum.

  • Green

Talk about luxury.  Royal and deep greens have the ability to invoke both warm and cooling properties.


  • Blue

It may be bold, but a good navy blue is still a fairly understated color.  It’s the cousin to the neutral tones, so if you’re looking to go bold without making too much of a statement, blue is for you.


  • The In-Between

Turquoise, teal, and cyan to name a few.  These are some of the most common colors found in nature.  These blue-green in-betweens will add an earthy feel to your home.


  • Black

If you’re really looking to go bold, go black.  Black paint done right will add a high contrast element to your home, making the brighter whites stand out like nothing before.  This color of paint will also draw your eye to the smaller details of a room; just make sure you have a little extra natural light, so that the room doesn’t end up becoming a cave.


Worried your room will be overwhelmed with color? Wainscoting is the perfect way to offset a bold paint choice.


Find more wall paint inspiration on our Pinterest board! Ready to start your next paint or wainscoting project? Handyman Matters is here to help, just call 866-FIX-MY-HOME!

Benefits of Choosing Non-Toxic Paints

The benefits of non-toxic paints are found in a quick look at what is in “traditional” paints.

Many commercial paints contain up to 10,000 chemicals, over 300 of which are known toxins; 150 of those are known to cause cancer.

There is a dangerous subcategory of these chemicals called volatile organic compounds (VOC) that can leech out of paint for years. VOCs have been shown to cause breathing problems, headaches, eye irritation and nausea.  Some have even been linked to higher incidents of cancer.

VOCs are unstable carbon-based compounds that vaporize into the air easily. This process can last for years. Most people don’t realize it, but they may be surrounded by the very chemicals that are making them sick.

Fortunately, there are alternatives to paints with VOCs. These paints are identified as low-VOC or no-VOC paints. In fact, most major paint manufacturers have begun making paints that have very little or no harmful chemicals.

Finding these types of paints is as easy as asking your paint retailer, or checking labels closely. There are several companies that now have a green seal on their paints. These seals are designed to tell consumers that this is a healthier paint than the traditional types. In addition to paint, there are also natural, oil-based wood finishes that can be used to stain and seal wood without bringing toxins into the home.

In Europe, the move toward low or no VOC paints has been going on for some time. In the United States, many companies have begun selling “nursery” paints. These are paints that have few VOCs, specifically designed for childrens’ rooms.

Because all of these paints are water-based, they clean up more easily and are better for the environment. There is little or no odor while painting and no odor afterward.

There are several companies that specialize in only healthier paint alternatives.  Many produce paints made from natural ingredients that don’t contain any VOCs and are entirely non-toxic. In fact, many of them also have essential oils in them that give them a pleasant scent.

Some of the larger paints companies offer zero-VOC paints. A paint that has less than 5 grams per liter of VOCs can be called zero-VOC. While these paints are not made from natural ingredients, they don’t leech out toxins into the environment. Because these companies’ products are easy to find, you can simply visit your paint retailer and ask them for paints in the zero-VOC lines.

Using healthier paints is easy. All you have to do is take the extra moment to find them. You, your family and the planet will be a healthier for it.

And for assistance with all of your home’s painting needs, Handyman Matters stands ready to help.  Contact them by calling 1-866-FIX-MY-HOME or enter your zip code above to find a location in your area.


Choosing the Right Paint Color for Your Kitchen

There are many great ways to update and change the look of your kitchen, and one of the best and least expensive ways is to paint it. In doing so, you will want to consider the color and style of your flooring and the other features in the room.

A good way to compare and contrast a number of ideas is to obtain color swatches or sample colors from your local paint or home improvement store to put on a small portion of the wall.

Consider which features of the kitchen will stay the same. You want to stick with a compatible motif as much as possible when choosing a new color, unless you are going to change it all up.  Make sure that you choose the colors that will blend well with your entire decor.

Also consider your kitchen lighting.  Many people are now using CFL bulbs to reduce costs and conserve energy.  In any event, remember that all colors will look different, based upon the type of illumination in the room.  It might be prudent to update your lighting before making a final decision on color selections.

Finally, consider how well the color will flow with the rest of the house.  In so many homes these days, kitchens open directly onto other areas, and a color scheme that looks good on its own may be jarring when it bumps up against the conflicting design of an adjacent room.  Utilize tones that complement those in other areas.

And remember that you can always contact Handyman Matters at 1-866-FIX-MY-HOME  for assistance with any home renovation projects.  Our craftsmen stand ready to offer tips or to implement your design ideas.  To locate a Handyman Matters business near you, simply enter your zip code above to find the location closest to you.


How to Decorate Your Home for Less

Here are a handful of tips to consider before you open your wallet—or substantially reduce the amount of money in your bank account—to “change up” your home.

Furniture, lighting and pictures can all be moved to offer a new perspective on an old living space.  A simple re-arrangement of the items you already possess can have a dramatic effect.

Installing curtains or shades is another way to give a room a new appearance.

Shopping for raw materials and creating something from these is less expensive than purchasing ready-made items. These include such things as pillowcases or simple wooden shelves. Shop at discount stores for reasonably priced accessories. Custom-made things are certainly a nice luxury, but they aren’t always necessary or worth the high price tag.

Painting an accent wall is a task easily within the reach of even the most tentative do-it-yourselfer.  Keep in mind that the prep work will be the most challenging step you face—take time to prepare the surface of the wall you will be updating so that the new paint job looks its best.

Walls should be clean, smooth and dry. Wash off all dirt and grease with a powdered household cleaner and water. Stick to colors in the neutral range, white or cream, say, as a clean backdrop for the rich textures and shades of furniture pieces and accessories.

When it comes to new purchases, begin with inexpensive basics, like environmentally friendly shower heads and lights, then consider the benefits of ceiling insulation and whether you can save on electricity costs by installing solar panels.

A few strategically placed items can change a room from dull to dramatic! Change out cabinet handles, or add a houseplant.  A new frame on a cherished photo or painting can create a compelling new point of focus.

Once you’ve made a handful of economical changes and updates, take a step back and consider the overall effect.  Has this given you the breath of fresh air you are seeking from a makeover?  If not, then it’s time to consider larger—and more expensive—renovations.


Painting Can Polish a Sale

A good paint job can turn an otherwise drab, dark looking home into a bright, and airy mansion that would be the envy of the neighborhood. Even the most aged and dreary homes can be given a new lease on life with a paint job.

However, a bad paint job can spell doom for home selling hopefuls. Instead of making magic and turning your home into a dream house, a bad coat of pain can scare away potential buyers.   This is easily avoidable with just a few tips, a good brush and roller and the nerve to start painting your house armed with the following information:

Choosing The Right Color

Make sure the color combination you choose fits the existing furnishings in your home.

Remember that the most attractive homes to purchase are the ones that have a light, spacious, and cozy feel. The way your furnishings contrast and complement the color combination you choose will be critical in the success of your paint job.

Paint Considerations

Consider the lighting in the room you will paint. As a general rule, you will want to purchase paint that is one or two shades lighter than the shade you want, since paint generally seems darker when spread over a large area. It would also be safer if you tested the paint on a small area to see how the color plays out.

To control the illusion you want your room to project, you will need to understand how colors affect people’s perception of space. There are what’s called advancing colors–these are the striking, warm toned colors such as orange, red, and yellow that have the effect of making the closed spaces of the room more pronounced. To improve the perception of space in your room, it would be nice to use cooler-toned, receding colors such as blue, green, and violet.

It is not only the color that affects the perception of size; the saturation and intensity of these colors also play a part in the room’s ambience. If the paint you choose is too dark or saturated, the room will still seem cramped. To achieve a spacious effect, you might want to stick to light, or neutral colors – white, pearl, or beige will do fine for this job.

You should also paint your ceilings a light color to give the impression of additional height.

The finish of the paint will also have a great deal of effect on the overall ambience of the room. Flat finishes are good for hiding minor imperfections on the walls. Eggshell finishes are great for adding a warm glow to the room, and are easy to clean and maintain. Glossy paint is good for emphasizing details and is the easiest to clean.


One-Weekend Painting Projects

Updating the decor in your home doesn’t have to be a long, laborious or expensive process. Instead, get a little instant gratification by using paint to easily refresh areas and items throughout the house. With a little cash and a free weekend, you can makeover your house right now.

Furniture facelift

Whether it’s an old pair of chairs in the attic or a desk that’s seen better days, it’s easy to breathe new life into pieces of forgotten furniture with a fresh coat of paint. You can add interest and a pop of color to any room. A semi-gloss finish works best when painting furniture because it’s easy to clean and hides any imperfections.

  • Make sure the surface is clean, dull and dry.
  • Prime with a stain blocking primer to ensure the surface is properly sealed. This will help the paint go on evenly and uniformly.
  • With a high-quality mini-roller, apply the paint of your choice to achieve the best finish. These tools are versatile, lightweight, and can quickly and easily deliver a perfect finish with smooth rolling action.
  • For extra protection, brush on two thin, even coats of water-based polyurethane.

Door do-over

Changing the color of an interior door can make a big impact in any room. The key to getting this update right: color selection. Choose a color similar to your walls for the door, because you don’t want the contrast to be jarring. Be sure to paint the frame too, so the door doesn’t seem to float in space, and use a gloss or semi-gloss finish.

  • Remove door and hinges from the wall.
  • Make sure the door is clean, dull and dry.
  • Prime bare, sanded woodwork; there’s no need to prime previously painted surfaces if they’re in good condition. However, if you are going over an existing oil-based paint with a latex paint, follow the instructions on the paint can on how to prime.
  • When applying paint or primer, work from the center of the door outwards in the following order: molding, inside panels, rails, stiles
  • Once paint is completely dry, re-hang door using existing hinges.

Step to it

For an unexpected update, paint an area of the house that doesn’t usually receive a lot of love – your stair risers. They can get nicked and scuffed easily, so a fresh finish – and color – can really perk up the staircase. If you’re unsure of which shade to choose, cut and paint cardboard pieces the same size of the risers and position them on the steps to get an idea of the effect.

  • Dust risers with a broom and cover steps with masking paper; secure with painter’s tape.
  • Apply latex primer to wooden risers or metal etching primer to metallic ones. Brush horizontally and let dry for at least two hours. Mini rollers are another tool to consider especially over metal.
  • Apply gloss, latex paint with a clean brush or mini roller. Let first coat dry two hours, then apply second coat.
  • Wait a day for the paint to cure and then add a third coat for the most durable finish.

Remember: Painting is the easiest way to make a dramatic and instant impact on a room and Handyman Matters is your one stop shop for making changes to your home for 2012! To find a location near you visit, www.handymanmatters.com or call 866-FIX-MY-HOME.

Painting Garage Doors Protects the Investment

 From being knocked into and dented, to going up and down all the time, to being exposed to nature’s elements, garage doors experience wear and tear on a daily basis. They are also the point through which many people enter their homes at the end of the day. But for all this, garage doors are often overlooked where maintenance and aesthetics are involved.

Most garage doors need a fresh coat of paint every few years to protect them from wind, rain, and sun. Metal doors can rust over time without the layer of protection that paint lends. Wood doors can dry out and split without protection. Even without peeling, paint layers break down over time and garage doors need to be repainted every few years. This also offers a convenient opportunity to change colors and create more curb appeal.

It is imperative that the door be cleaned and dried thoroughly before any painting begins. Using a hose, an abrasive cleaner, and a rough scrub brush, clean the entire side of the door that is to be painted. Make sure to get any oil or grease that has collected entirely cleaned off; otherwise the paint won’t stick and there will be bubbling and peeling problems. It is okay for the surface of the garage door to be slightly abraded during this process, as it will allow the paint to stick better.

Once the door is clean and dry, use an oil based exterior paint primer to prepare the door for the color coats. Follow the directions on the primer label carefully to avoid problems like tacky paint that never dries properly, peeling, or bubbling. The primer can be applied with a roller and brush that are designed for oil based paint.

Recent restrictions on ingredients in paint have limited the availability of oil based paint. Exterior latex paint may be used to paint garage doors, but is more prone to bubbling and peeling, especially on metal doors. If appropriate exterior oil based paint cannot be found, consult with the local hardware store to find the best alternative. Many garage door services also offer painting, and using such a service may ensure that the finished results will last for years and added beauty and garage door protection.