Throughout the process I felt that achieving the 'right look' for a high-end architectural products showroom was just as important to you as it was to me.
- Richard S. Cohen, Feather River Wood, Wilmette
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Archive for August 2010

Let your Refinished Garage Door Welcome you Home Brilliantly!

Refinishing wood garage doors can have a dramatic impact on how you feel pulling up to your house every day. We recently stripped and refinished three garage doors. The first two were on a Southern exposure. Even though the doors were only five years old, they had developed a dull and milky look, and were peeling badly. Here are the two newly re-finished doors. How would you feel pulling up to doors like this every day?

Refinished Garage Doors

Refinished Garage Doors

Stripping wood is a time consuming process. The idea is not to have to do it again for a very long time. Thirty two hours of labor went into stripping and sanding those two doors. We also carefully inserted brown caulk in cracks that had developed in some of the door components to reduce water intrusion and increase the longevity of the finish. We used three coats of a mahogany Sikkens varnish which is specially designed for doors and windows. We much prefer this varnish because, contrary to spar varnishes, it is flexible and does not readily crack like spar always does.

The challenge for garage doors, especially for a Southern exposure like this, is to stay ahead of the effects of weather on the coating. We recommend a two-year maintenance program, which consists of checking the surfaces, touching up of the stain on the lower two rows of the panels’ bottom rails and an additional coat of clear Sikkens varnish. The maintenance is a small cost compared to the cost of refinishing the whole door. By following such a maintenance program, you ensure that the doors will stay looking like new and not require stripping again for a very long time.

Other Refinished Garage Door

Other Refinished Garage Door

The other exterior wood refinishing project presented a different challenge. Originally, the garage door had been stained and varnished. Years later, the previous owner gave up doing the required maintenance and had had the door painted. The door continued to peel anyway, so the next owner decided to have us strip the old paint and varnish and bring back the natural beauty of the wood. Here is the final look!

Exterior wood refinishing is one of the specialties of Painting in Partnership, an award-winning house painting contractor from the Chicago area. We love to bring back the natural beauty of wood and find ways to extend the life of the coatings we apply to exterior surfaces.

Adirondack Chair Adorned with Art Deco Motif

This week, we used our decorative painting expertise to bring to life an Art Deco motif and give unique character to an Adirondack chair. For the second year, Painting in Partnership from Chicago’s Northwest suburbs, was a sponsor for the “Chairs of Palatine” community event, organized by the Palatine Chamber of Commerce.

Art Deco Adirondack Chair

Art Deco Adirondack Chair

The passion flower was used as the central motif of our painting. There are about 500 species of passion flowers (Passiflora) and are found all over the world. There are nine species that are native to the United States. The plants generally grow as vines, although there are shrub varieties as well.

The passion flower got its name not from reference to love, but to the Passion of Christ. Legend has it that a Jesuit scholar living in Italy in the early 1600’s, upon viewing drawings of the flower, had a vision likening the parts of the flower to the elements of the Crucifixion.

Incorporating “period” motifs into contemporary settings is part of Painting in Partnership’s commitment to historical restoration and preservation. Art Deco is one of those period design styles. It originated in France in the 1920’s and flourished in America through the end of World War Two. The Art Deco style influenced architecture, industrial design, decorative finishing, graphic arts, film and even fashion.

Beyond Wood and Stone: An Insight into Relationship

Many years ago, a painting contractor colleague who was visiting me from the East Coast made a comment after seeing my office: “You are deep” he said. I think that what he meant was that when I look at something, I seem to naturally uncover deeper meanings and connections. Sometime, without realizing it consciously, I begin to put things together and the meaning is later revealed. Read on for a vivid example: a montage of stones and wood with, indeed, a deeper meaning.

Stone and Wood Montage

Stone and Wood Montage

Once in a while, I go to my favorite lumbar yard. It carries a wide array of the most awesome exotic woods in the Chicago area. On a visit, several months ago, I stumbled upon a piece of figured, burled walnut. In my eyes, the obvious defects of this piece of wood added to its beauty. I had to buy it!

A few months later, I had the opportunity to visit Taliesin West outside of Phoenix, the former working studio of one of my heroes, Frank Lloyd Wright. Walking around in the fields surrounding the property, I came across four stones. Two of those stones had triangular shapes, which attracted me because of the triangle theme at Taliesin West. The fourth stone was totally black and was perfectly smooth. This was indeed a one-of-a-kind stone in this arid landscape!

The final element of my montage was given to me many years ago by a carpenter. He had cut red hearts out of a plastic material for a class he was teaching. For some reason, I hung on to this heart. I placed it next to my montage. One day, in passing, my wife suggested inserting the heart in the upper cavity of the wood block. I said OK.

What first attracted me to that piece of wood were the natural wounds inflicted upon this tree. Somehow, those same wounds added unique character and beauty to the wood piece. One day, my I.T. person was over to work on my desktop. Having told him about my montage, he said: “There is a man and a women kissing!” Can you see the two profiles in the wood grain? Then, the full meaning of my montage was revealed.

How can I find a deeper meaning in this assembly of stone and wood? Well, here it is! Man and woman are attracted to one another. With love (the heart) and a strong dose of God’s help (triangles), the wounds inflicted by life that challenge relationship can be overcome and help produce true and beautiful relationship. To stay in balance (black stone) is not easy. Sometime, when things get “rocky”, one loses balance and falls to the ground. With God’s help and the help of others, balance is regained anew, until the next fall. True relationship is God’s intent for all of us.

As a person and as a painting contractor, depth is a quality I bring to my conversations with clients, employees and how I view situations and opportunities in the painting industry.

Dealing with Hidden Mold on a House Painting Project

Peeling Paint on Gables

Peeling Paint on Gables

On this exterior painting project, a quick look at the front gables does not reveal anything out of the ordinary: just peeling paint; another day in the life of a house painter, right? Not so fast. Look closer. Behind the paint that already peeled, there is the original coating. What is going on here? Is there an adhesion problem?

The top coating seems to be delaminating from the original coating. Why? How extensive is this problem? Is there an adhesion problem here? Those are questions Chicago’s Painting in Partnership needed to answer in order to give its client the best possible paint job.

In order to ascertain the answers to these questions, we did some testing. We applied strips of masking tape over what looked like a perfectly sound, painted surfaces and then yanked them off. Oh my! All the paint comes off! Behind the top layer of the paint was a mildew infestation. This is why the top layer of the paint was failing!

Sound-Looking Painted Surface

Sound-Looking Painted Surface

Mildew-Infested Original Coating

Mildew Infestation Underneath the Last Coating

How could this have happened in the first place? The house being fifteen years old, we speculate that the original trim was factory stained and then installed on the house. The house probably sat for months with that factory finish, while the house was being finished on the inside. Before tuning it over to its buyer, we think the house was given a quick coat of paint to “dress things up”, without the proper cleaning of the surfaces and killing the mildew spores. The new coating created darkness and allowed mildew to multiply between the two coatings and eventually cause the paint failure.

To properly execute this exterior house painting project, we had to remove the old paint wherever our tests revealed the mold problem. We used scrapers to remove the failed coating. After the removal process, we killed the mildew and power-washed the surfaces. We then had another round of scraping to remove any paint loosened by the power washing. Finally, we primed all bare wood with an oil primer.

This project exemplifies the care Painting in Partnership invests in every project to ensure the long-term satisfaction of our clients with all the house painting work we do.

The Meaning of Vacation for this House Painter

I recently took a vacation from my painting contractor business and made an 8-day trip to San Francisco and Northern California with my family. It was a delightful trip, filled with wondrous nature moments and City sites as well.

Stones from Mendocino, California

Stones from Mendocino, California

Upon my return, I had an opportunity to reflect on the meaning of “vacation”. I shared with my Office Manager that I spent two hours looking for stones on a coastal beach in Mendocino. She said: “You did what? You must have had a lot of time on your hands!” She was right!

This section of beach was covered with course charcoal color sand – a most unusual sight! On the sand, or partially covered, laid countless stones that had been polished and rounded off by nature’s handy work. I was fascinated by them and started looking for stones, of different sizes, that could be stacked on top of one another to create a sort of “rocky montage”. I could not wait to get to my office to sort through my stones and create my montage! It is shown in the attached picture.

To me, vacation is about getting lost in what I love, without the constraint of time. As a painting craftsman, I love nature and its handy work. It is an endless source of delight and inspiration for me. The work of nature affirms that patient and steady work accomplishes great things! Those are qualities I strive to demonstrate every day in my painting contractor business.