Each room was unique to itself and yet all were connected in harmony. Our home became a warm, inviting and comfortable place.
- Charlotte and Michael Paull, Kildeer
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Archive for December 2009 – Page 2

Chicago House Painting Project Brings Life to a Home: Part 1 – Color Consultation

Since the caveman, humans have used interior painting to personalize the surfaces of their dwellings. Through their use of paints and color, people seek to express themselves and have their environment be nurturing to them. For more information on how color selection can affect the mood of the people living in a house, check out this article I wrote on “Four Questions to Consider Before Selecting Colors for your House”.

Next week, we are starting work on a house painting project where color is playing a major role. The owners have lived in their house for thirteen years. All along, they have been dreaming of COLOR! However, with three kids they home-schooled, these clients had many other priorities; until now!

Because of the home–schooling and a dad who works from home, the family spends considerable time in the house. At this point, the whole family was craving color for their environment and the parents felt that color could really add to the quality of their lives. Their biggest concern was: what colors should we choose and where should they go? Another concern was expressed this way: “we want a dramatic look!”

When doing a house painting project, especially for an entire house, choosing the right colors is critical to produce a result that is nurturing to all involved. As preparation for the color consultation with our company’s Color Design Consultant, we asked the clients to come with pictures of looks they liked and to experiment, as a family, with different colors.

Period Color Consultation

Period Color Consultation

The whole family then met with Painting in Partnership’s House Color Consultant. Because they did their homework and were well prepared, it took only two hours to develop a color scheme for the entire house. The picture below illustrates the color selections. Now, is this dramatic enough for you?

This building is a vintage, Four-Square house built in 1927. In Part 2 of this story, we will address the surface preparation issues and concerns that arise during a painting project in a vintage house .

Standardized Painting Procedures Result in Uniform and Superior Quality for House Painting Projects

Have you ever been frustrated by painters’ lack of uniformity in the steps they follow to execute their house painting work? Understandably, painters working for painting contractors rarely, if ever, receive any formalized training on the procedures to follow to produce consistent, craftsmen-level work.

Next time you have painters in your house, observe how they go about painting doors in your house. Commonly, you will see one of painters start by painting the top rail. Another will start on the top right panel. Yet, another may start with the bottom left panel. In addition to being confusing to the client watching this action, such activity is inefficient and results in poor and inconsistent quality.

The solution to this quagmire is: Standardized Painting Procedures (SPPs). What are SPPs? They outline the step by step procedures to execute a given painting task and produce craftsman-level work. SPPs resolve one of painting contractors’ biggest problems, which is the lack of uniform painting practices within their companies. By using SPPs to train their painters, house painting contractors create a uniform standard for the quality of the work performed.

The other major benefit of implementing such painting procedures is that a painting contractor gains the assurance to consistently being able to deliver on his or her promises to clients. Additionally, painting projects get completed more quickly, more efficiently and with virtually no re-dos.

Painting in Partnership, Inc. tailored its own SPPs after the national standardized painting procedures developed by the Craftsmanship Forum, an arm of the PDCA (Painting and Decorating Contractors of America). The implementation of these procedures is vital to our on-going success as a house painting company.

Chicago Historic Restoration Requires an Understanding of Original Building Materials

Doing paint restoration on vintage buildings requires an understanding of the nature and function of building materials, such as old growth timbers, wood, masonry, mortars and plasters.

Wood deteriorates and rots. In some occasions, windows, doors or trim can be restored using epoxy consolidants and fillers. Vintage old growth wood can only be replaced at a high cost. Modern woods cannot approach the quality of the woods used in old homes. This is why it is important for a house painter to assess the condition of wood and make informed decisions regarding its restoration. Restoring vintage wood makes sense!

Understandings mortars and their function can also be very helpful. In vintage or historic houses, lime mortar was commonly used. It was designed to be softer than the brick or stone, so that moisture could escape through it. Painting masonry interferes with the proper functioning of mortars. The migrating moisture will cause the paint to fail and peel. However, lime paints and lime washes can safely be used in paint restoration because they naturally bond to the masonry, without interfering with the proper functioning of the building.

Plaster walls and ceilings, as well as plaster decorations and trim elements also deserve close attention. Plaster is held in place by the keys formed when the first plaster layer was forced through the lath. Over time, these keys break and cause the plaster to crack. House painting contractors working on vintage houses need to understand plaster, so that they can properly repair it or know when to call in a plasterer to do the more demanding work.

Plaster Crown from Chicago Mansion

Plaster Crown from Chicago Mansion

Here is a picture of the cast for a plaster crown section that will used to replace a damaged area in a Chicago mansion. For this kind of repair, as house painting contractors, we would call in the master plasterers!

Lastly paint analysis, for instance, can also be used to provide vital information on the historic colors and paint finishes used for the interior painting and exterior painting of buildings.

House painting contractors who are well educated on the materials used in old houses can better understand how paints and paint finishes can affect those materials and vise versa. From that greater understanding, painters can create added value for their clients by using more appropriate work methods and procedures or refer the more specialized tasks to other experts’ hands.