Category Archives: Types of Paint

Paint Sheen 101

 

So, you committed to a paint color! You went through a multitude of color swatches and samples, asked the opinions of friends and relatives, and have finally landed on a hue that you love. Congratulations! Well, guess what? Now you need to pick the sheen (or finish) for that beautiful color.

Sheen means the level of glossiness a color appears on your walls ranging from: high-gloss, semi-gloss, satin, eggshell or flat. The level of sheen indicates how shiny and how durable the paint will be. Therefore, different rooms need different levels of sheen. Here is a quick guide to paint finishes to help you choose the right level for the room you are painting.

High- Gloss –  This sheen has a brilliant and shiny appearance. It’s the highest level of gloss available. It is also known as the most durable and easiest to clean of all the sheens. High-gloss is an excellent choice for areas like kitchens where sticky fingers or dirty hands find a way to leave marks on the walls. High-gloss allows for dirt, grime and grease to be easily wiped away regularly without damaging the paint color.

Semi-Gloss – This paint sheen has a sleek, radiant look that resists mildew, moisture and wear. This is a great choice for bathrooms and trim that takes a lot of abuse. The durability is also high on this finish so it is a good choice for areas that see a lot of traffic.

Satin – This sheen is often described as velvety or “pearl-like” in its appearance as it is deeper in tone but less shiny. It can handle some moisture and is a good choice for well used rooms such as: family rooms, foyers, hallways, or dens.

Eggshell – This sheen falls somewhere in the glossiness factor between satin and flat in that it has much less shine and only a little luster to the appearance. Named for the shell of a typical chicken egg, it is great for finishing areas that don’t bet a lot of bumps and dings. Again, depending upon your preference, this sheen would be a great choice for a living room or bedroom.

Flat – This sheen has the least reflective finish and the lowest luster level. It applies easily to walls and soaks up the light rather than reflect it. This sheen is a good choice for adult bedrooms and areas where the walls do not need regular cleaning.

No matter what sheen you choose, try out your color choice in several finishes before making your final choice. Each sheen will look a bit different in the light and reflective nature of the room. If you need help deciding what sheen will be best for each room ask our paint professionals at Jerry Enos to help.

Lead Paint: Abatement vs. Encapsulation

Lead paint wasn’t banned in the US until 1978 and before that it was used all over the place. Chances are if your home was built before the early 80s there’s lead paint on your walls. It’s probably lurking underneath more than a few layers of non-lead paint – which is good – but that means peeling paint and paint dust from renovations make lead exposure a real possibility – which is bad. Even a little lead paint dust can be harmful, especially to small children.

Once you know or even suspect that there’s lead paint in your home, it’s time to consider encapsulation or abatement. Most people opt for encapsulation, which involves prepping walls to remove all loose paint and then applying a special liquid coating sufficient to encapsulate (or seal in) the lead paint underneath. Sometimes sheetrock or tile is installed over lead paint to keep dust from entering the air. Note that regular paint is NOT an encapsulant.

The alternative is abatement (sometimes ordered by a state or local government), which is the total removal of lead paint performed by an abatement company licensed to safely strip a house of all lead paint. In this case, the hazard posed by lead paint is removed permanently but for many people the cost of removal is prohibitive because the abatement process itself is expensive and afterwards a house or apartment will still need prepping, priming, and painting.

In either case, remodeling work in homes with suspected lead paint should always be done by an EPA Lead-Safe Certified Renovator who will know how to safely work around lead paint and keep it from spreading during renovations. Find an EPA Lead-Safe Certified Renovator at http://www.leadfreekids.org.

This story originally appeared in our monthly newsletter, Prime Time by Jerry Enos Painting company in Massachusettsto subscribe, contact us!

Interior Paint vs. Exterior Paint: What’s the Diff?

All paint is made of the same basic ingredients: solvent, resin, additives, and pigments. Solvents are typically water for latex paint and mineral spirits for oil paint – but in both cases, the solvent is what evaporates as the paint dries, leaving behind the resin, pigment, and additives. Like interior paints, exterior paints come in different finishes from gloss to matte.

Interior and exterior paints have similar solvents and pigments, though some pigments fade faster than others and so are more commonly used in interior formulations. Exterior paint may also contain more pigment. But the real difference between them can be found in the additives and the resin.

Exterior paints need to be able to stand up to all kinds of weather conditions, from changing temperatures to UV rays to salty sea breezes and more. To compensate for the variable temperature conditions that paint on exterior walls will experience, exterior paint contains flexible resins that keep paint looking good when the surface underneath expands and contracts. Exterior paint also contains additives that help prevent fading, stop mildew, and resist tannin staining.

Interior paint doesn’t get rained on and will likely never be subject to a big freeze, so it is made with more rigid resins.

These resins make interior paint less prone to damage from scuffing and also easier to clean.

Some people assume that because exterior paint has to stand up to more abuse that it will perform better indoors, too. But that’s actually not true! Exterior paint is, surprisingly, more prone to scuffing and scratches. It’s also typically going to release more VOCs (volatile organic compounds) as it cures and even after it’s done curing – making it less healthy for indoor use. Mildewcides and fungicides in exterior paint can also have an odor on humid days and may even trigger allergies!

The number one piece of advice we can offer homeowners is to use the right paint for the project like the pros do. Different paint formulations are recommended for different applications for a reason – it’s what will give you the best results!

This story originally appeared in our monthly newsletter, Prime Time by Jerry Enos Painting company in Massachusettsto subscribe, contact us!

 

Oil vs. Water-Based Paint: What’s The Difference?

For a DIY paint job, we’d wager that most homeowners will reach for latex simply because it is the most common paint found at home improvement stores. But that doesn’t mean it’s the only kind of paint there is! Walk down the paint aisle and while water-based options will dominate, there will still be plenty of oil-based paints to choose from.

The abundance of latex options is telling. It gets the job done and is safe for the painting novice, which does make it the better option for those painting at home with amateur equipment. Oil paint still has plenty of uses, though, so we thought we’d talk about what makes latex paint so good and where oil paint really shines.

The Pros and Cons of Water-Based Paints

Water is the carrier for water-based paint – it “carries” the pigment and acrylic or vinyl binders. The advantages of this carrier are manifold. You can have healthy low- or even no-VOC options. It dries quickly so you can get in two coats in a day. Cleanup is done with soap and water. And the finished paint job resists both yellowing and cracking. The downside is that it is generally less durable than oil paint, and it can be more difficult to apply uniformly.

The Pros and Cons of Oil-Based Paints

Admittedly, this is not the eco-friendly option, and cleanup requires mineral spirits or turpentine. But for a hard-wearing, smooth finish, oil can’t be beat.

Thanks to the petroleum that serves as carrier for oil-base paints and the natural oil or synthetic resin that acts as the binder, this paint dries more slowly resulting in a much smoother appearance and a gorgeous gloss. Some companies have completely phased out their oil-based lines but it’s still a favorite for painting woodwork, doors, and furniture, and surfaces that need to take a beating like floors.

Choosing the right paint means letting your project, lifestyle, and the needs of your family be your guide. Want the hardiness of oil without the fumes? Some paint companies have introduced what they are calling “waterborne enamels” or “waterborne alkyds” – these are paints that go on like oil-based paint but are safer and more environmentally friendly. Though relatively new, they may add a whole new layer of complexity to the great paint debate!

This story originally appeared in our monthly newsletter, Prime Time by Jerry Enos Painting company in Massachusettsto subscribe, contact us!

Oil vs. Water-Based Paint: The Difference

For a DIY paint job, we’d wager that most homeowners will reach for latex simply because it is the most common paint found at home improvement stores. But that doesn’t mean it’s the only kind of paint there is! Walk down the paint aisle and while water-based options will dominate, there will still be plenty of oil-based paints to choose from.

The abundance of latex options is telling. It gets the job done and is safe for the painting novice, which does make it the better option for those painting at home with amateur equipment. Oil paint still has plenty of uses, though, so we thought we’d talk about what makes latex paint so good and where oil paint really shines.

difference between oil paint and latex paint

The Pros and Cons of Water-Based Paints

Water is the carrier for water-based paint – it “carries” the pigment and acrylic or vinyl binders. The advantages of this carrier are manifold. You can have healthy low- or even no-VOC options. It dries quickly so you can get in two coats in a day. Cleanup is done with soap and water. And the finished paint job resists both yellowing and cracking. The downside is that it is generally less durable than oil paint, and it can be more difficult to apply uniformly.

The Pros and Cons of Oil-Based Paints

Admittedly, this is not the eco-friendly option, and cleanup requires mineral spirits or turpentine. But for a hard-wearing, smooth finish, oil can’t be beat.

Thanks to the petroleum that serves as carrier for oil-base paints and the natural oil or synthetic resin that acts as the binder, this paint dries more slowly resulting in a much smoother appearance and a gorgeous gloss. Some companies have completely phased out their oil-based lines but it’s still a favorite for painting woodwork, doors, and furniture, and surfaces that need to take a beating like floors.

Choosing the right paint means letting your project, lifestyle, and the needs of your family be your guide. Want the hardiness of oil without the fumes? Some paint companies have introduced what they are calling “waterborne enamels” or “waterborne alkyds” – these are paints that go on like oil-based paint but are safer and more environmentally friendly. Though relatively new, they may add a whole new layer of complexity to the great paint debate!

 

Choosing the Right Paint Sheen for Every Wall

If you’ve ever walked through the interior and exterior paint aisle at your local New England hardware store then you know there’s a dizzying array of options from which to choose. Flat… matte… eggshell… velvet… satin… it’s hard enough choosing paint colors! Now you have to choose, well, what exactly?

Those terms – and others like semi-gloss and high-gloss refer to what’s known as sheen. Sheen is defined as the degree of shine in interior and exterior paints, and it can definitely be tricky to pick the right sheen of paint for your walls.

The common paint sheens, in order of lowest shine to highest, are:

  • Flat
  • Matte
  • Low-sheen
  • Velvet
  • Eggshell
  • Satin
  • Semi-gloss
  • Gloss
  • High-gloss

When it comes to choosing the right paint sheen, the rule of thumb is: the higher the shine, the higher the durability. Shinier paints are stain resistant and can be wiped, washed, and even scrubbed with no ill effects. That’s because they create a harder barrier – especially high-gloss paint, which is the hardest and most durable of all the paint sheens.

But of course, durability isn’t the only thing people look for when choosing paint. Flatter sheens minimize imperfections because they don’t reflect as much light, so imperfect walls appear smoother and more beautiful. However, flat, matte, and low-sheen paints are much harder to clean and more likely to stain so probably best for households without small children or pets.

Here’s where to use some of the paint sheens you’ll see on hardware store shelves:

In kitchens, baths, and high-moisture/high-traffic areas, more sheen is better. Flat paints can take on water stains and are almost impossible to clean to like-new condition if exposed to oil or food spills. Semi-gloss is a good option for walls that will encounter sticky finger and trim subject to above-average levels of abuse.

Painting kitchen cabinets and bathroom cabinets calls for high-gloss paint. This hard-wearing sheen of paint is best for any surface that is going to endure a lot of touching or dirt and is also good for window trim. Keep in mind, though, that it will show every imperfection so don’t skimp on the prep work.

choosing paint sheen

Use satin where you want a flatter look without sacrificing durability. Satin combines the look of flatter paints with much of the durability of higher sheen paints, making it good for kids’ rooms, foyers, hallways, dining rooms, and family rooms. Be aware that satin paint will not hide application flaws and that makes it hard to touch up when scratches happen.

Use eggshell in the living room – especially if your walls aren’t perfect. Eggshell looks gorgeous and comforting on living room and grownup bedroom walls, and it’s a great choice on walls that have problems you can’t repair easily. That doesn’t mean you can avoid the usual prep, though.

Once you have a handle on paint sheen, picking the right one for your project should be no problem. The one place you could run into trouble is if you’re switching brands mid-project. One company’s idea of eggshell might be another’s velvet or vice versa. Most hardware stores will have a sheen chart available that can help you make sure that the paint you want comes in the sheen you need.

At Jerry Enos Painting, we know the right products for the job. Every Massachusetts exterior painting and interior painting project is different, and unlike other MA painting companies, we will always treat your house, building, or surface as one-of-a-kind. Call us for a free estimate at 978-546-6843.

Can I Paint It – a Painting Guide for Unusual Surfaces

Putting a coat of interior or exterior paint over an already painted wall is easy. Things get more complicated when the surface you want to paint isn’t already sporting a coat or two. Here’s the lowdown on painting just some of the surfaces we’re asked about on a regular basis. You may be surprised at what you can paint!

Painting Over Vinyl Siding

Most people opt for vinyl siding specifically because they were sold on the idea that they’d never need to paint again, but vinyl siding fades and replacing siding just to change the color of a home’s exterior is costly. Painting vinyl siding makes exterior updates easy but vinyl brings with it challenges because it expands and contracts more significantly than other materials when temperatures shift throughout the day and from season to season. Luckily, more manufacturers are responding to consumer demand for vinyl-friendly exterior paints with darker colors designed to withstand the expansion and contraction of vinyl even when painting over lighter hues. For a more detailed look at painting vinyl siding, see our recent blog post.

Painting Over Aluminum Siding

Aluminum siding is also sold as a no-paint material but over time ends up looking chalky and faded due to the oxidation of the metal. Painting aluminum siding is possible but requires special preparation to guarantee that paint will adhere. First, the powdery oxide needs to be removed completely – sometimes that can mean scrubbing and multiple washes. Any rust should be removed at this point. Specialty primers can ensure that exterior paints bond with the surface of thoroughly cleaned aluminum siding so that the paint job is as durable as possible.

Painting Over Wallpaper

Removing wallpaper can be expensive if you have a professional do it and time consuming as well as messy if you do it yourself. On top of the expense and hassle, there’s also the fact that you can never tell what the wall underneath is going to look like once the paper is down. You might end up with a pristine ready-to-paint wall or a wall in need of partial patching or even complete re-texturing. So to answer the question ‘Can I paint over wallpaper,’ you certainly can but removing wallpaper first will give you the best possible results. If painting over wallpaper is necessary, you can achieve a smoother look by applying a sealer and smoothing over seams with drywall compound before priming. Flat wallpapers will take paint better than textured papers, and wallpapers will dark patterns may require extra priming or more coats of paint.

Painting Over Stained Wood

Yes, you can paint over oil based stains, but the usual rules about proper prep apply. Clean the surface; repair scratches, dents, and holes; and then prime with an oil based primer before applying an oil based top coat for best results. However, if you’re committed to painting with a water based top coat, choose a primer that is specifically designed to transition from oil base to a water base. This is especially important when it comes to painting kitchen cabinets or furniture – either of which may be coated with an oil based stain.

can i paint ceramic can i paint siding

Painting Over Ceramic Tile

While we wouldn’t recommend updating a bathroom or large kitchen backsplash by painting all of the tiles, you can paint ceramic tile. This is useful since even classic colors and styles of tile can start to look dated after a while and painting accent tiles is an easy(ish) way to give your bathroom or kitchen a facelift without spending a lot of money. You will, however, need to spend some time. First, you’ll need to remove grease, mold, grime, and anything else that might come between the tile and the paint. Next, scuff tile with sandpaper, removing as much screened on pattern as you can if you have printed tile, and then give it a final cleaning. Finally, prime with epoxy or urethane bonding primer and paint with a semigloss or high-gloss paint. Note: Do not paint ceramic tiles in areas where they will get wet, like in a shower or immediately behind a sink.

Painting Over Laminate

Laminate countertops and furnishings are durable, which is a plus, but that longevity means that laminate will eventually start to look dated or faded. Or you may simply tire of the color. And while you can paint laminate, thorough prep is absolutely essential to achieving good results. Scuff sanding and cleaning the laminate with a solvent like lacquer thinner creates a surface ready for primer. Use an adhesion primer designed just for laminate or a multi-purpose adhesion primer. Finally, use an enamel paint that will create a surface that can stand up to the same rigors as the original laminate.

In general, almost everything can be painted, from walls to radiators to furniture to tile to plastics and metals. The key is doing whatever is necessary to prepare the surface to accept primer and paint – as long as you’re working with a surface thoroughly prepped and the right paint for the job, you’re going to be successful.

At Jerry Enos Painting, we know the right products for the job. Every exterior painting project is different, and unlike other MA exterior painting companies, we will always treat your house, building, or surface as one-of-a-kind. Call us for a free estimate at 978-546-6843.

8 Fun Facts about Painting

interior painting company - weird painted houses

Adding color to the world with paint is a uniquely human activity – one that we’ve been engaging in since prehistoric times! For that and other reasons we think paint and painting are pretty interesting and after reading this list, we think you will, too.

1. About 10% of ALL paint we buy in the US is eventually thrown out, and the majority of that is paint bought for residential projects. That’s more than 60,000,000 gallons down the drain!

2. The oldest house paint was made of lime mixed with milk and sometimes natural pigments. King Tut’s tomb was painted with milk paint! Even the White House was originally painted with a lime-based whitewash.

3. Throughout history a red front door has symbolized many things, from a safe place for travelers to stop for the night to having a fully paid mortgage.

4. House painters and artists alike were once expected to grind their own pigments with a mortar and pestle, which may be why there was a time when only well off people in the US would have had a painted house.

5. The first painters’ union was formed in London in 1502 and was called the Worshipful Company of Painters-Stainers.

6. There tend to be more shades of green than any other in commercially available paint colors because the human eye can distinguish more variations of green than of any other color.

7. In 1940 Canadian Norman Breakey invented the first paint roller. He didn’t profit from it because he never patented it. During World War II, an inventor working for Sherwin-Williams also created a roller brush because the hogs’ hair used for paintbrushes was unavailable thanks to the war.

8. It was the Greek philosopher Plato who discovered that you can mix two different paint colors together to produce a third color.

This story originally appeared in our monthly newsletter, Prime Time by Jerry Enos Painting company in MA – to subscribe, contact us!

 

 

 

 

 

How Cold Weather Affects Your Exterior Paint

Winter is just around the corner. It may not feel like it now when the lingering summery weather makes September feel like June, but before you know it New England’s frigid wintery winds will be gusting against your shutters. Ice and snow won’t be far behind.

You may be able to retreat inside away from the elements, snug as a bug in your cozy well-heated home, but your exterior paint isn’t so lucky. Instead, it stands as your home’s first defense against the damaging effects of weather. And make no mistake, ice and snow and even cold rains and wind can do a number on the most beautiful exterior paint job.

Victorian 11 Colors Gloucester
Winter is coming!

Consider that the usual cycle of freezes and thaws we experience here in Massachusetts means expansion and contraction of moisture. An exterior paint job that isn’t cracked, chipped, or peeling will form a barrier against moisture that negates the impact of freezing and thawing. But when exterior paint is damaged, moisture in the form of cold rain, ice, and snow can get in between the paint and your home – even through the tiniest cracks – and add to the damage that’s already there.

More and bigger entry points for water mean an increased likelihood of water damage as winter turns into spring.

Temperature fluctuations that include very cold weather followed by milder temperatures can literally cause the paint to peel right off your home! As the wood or other materials under exterior paint expand and contract, the bond between paint and painted surfaces grows weaker. Paint – especially lower quality exterior paints used by disreputable painting companies – can crack, flake off, or bubble under the stress of rapid, intense temperature changes.

On top of everything else, frigid winter lows can even change the color of your exterior paint! In the coldest weather, dark colors of budget paint can look frosted… or even turn white!

The number one antidote to the damaging effects of winter weather on exterior paint is a superior paint job using top of the line exterior paints. As mentioned above, your home’s paint job is its first line of defense against the elements, but it can only fulfill that role if it’s firmly adhered to exterior walls and free from cracks, chips, and bubbling.

At Jerry Enos Painting, and exterior painting company in New England, we know how important your home’s exterior paint truly is. That’s why we bring the best materials and expert-level painting know-how to every job site, big or small. Your paint job will stand up to not only the elements, but also the test of time. Call us for a free estimate today at 978-546-6843.

Unraveling the Confusion Surrounding Low-VOC Paint

If you’ve shopped paint lately, you’ve probably seen cans advertising the paint within as being low in VOCs. Sounds good, right? Most of us are looking for healthier, eco-friendly alternatives these days when it comes to everything from what we eat to the materials we use to customize our homes. Unfortunately, most of us are also busy leading our lives, making it difficult to figure out what the best alternatives actually are… and in the interior and exterior painting world there are plenty of confusing buzzwords and terms. VOCs… al-natural… organic…

We wanted to demystify at least one of these terms – and make it clear that when it comes down to it, low-VOC paint is not just another marketing ploy.

What are VOCs, Anyway?

VOC stands for volatile organic compounds, which can actually refer to a wide range of chemicals that are gradually released as vapors into the air. This is sometimes known as off-gassing. Some VOCs you may be familiar with include the vapors released by things like gasoline, kerosene, glues, pesticides, cleansers, and furniture. Most interior and exterior paints also release VOCs during the application, as they dry, and then for years after a paint job. VOC levels are regulated by the EPA, which sets standards for different products, and is measured in grams per liter (g/L).

So What Is Low VOC Paint?

Paint is made with three main components: pigments, binders, and solvents. Pigments are what gives paint its color. Binders (also known as vehicles or mediums) are ingredients that help pigment stick to surfaces. And solvents (also known as thinners or carriers) both keep paint in its liquid form and help it to dry quickly leaving behind the pigment and the binder. It’s this solvent that contributes the most to the VOC load of most paints that aren’t classified as low VOC.

Low-VOC paint, as defined by the EPA, is any paint that measures in at than 250 g/L for latex paints or 380 g/L for oil based paint. However, most low-VOC paint will have a VOC content of no more than 50-150 g/L, and most paint manufacturers that sell low-VOC paints do significantly better. It’s not uncommon to see paints with 10-25 g/L VOCs. Finally, low VOC paint is typically water-based and usually contains no heavy metals or formaldehyde.

What makes the whole concept confusing, though, is that these g/L measurements are taken before pigments are added, so the actual VOC load of any particular paint once tinted may be higher. Low-VOC has also become a catchy marketing term and ‘low-VOC’ means different things to different paint companies, so do your research before you buy.

what is low voc paint

All the Color and Healthier, Too

That said, there is literally nothing healthy about breathing in VOCs, so anything you can do to minimize your exposure is worth doing. At Jerry Enos Painting, we’ve decided to use low-VOC paints in our interior and exterior painting jobs to not only protect our crew, but also our clients.

There are some people for whom the VOCs in paint are just annoying, and then there are individuals who are so sensitive that a room freshly painted with traditional paint can cause dizziness, headaches, and vomiting. We’d rather not take that risk in the homes and offices we paint, which is why we’ve found interior and exterior paint lines from Benjamin Moore that offer all the color quality and durability with VOC levels much lower than those recommended by the EPA.

At Jerry Enos Painting of New England, we know the right products for the job, and we use low-VOC paint to protect your health. Call our MA painting company for a free estimate at 978-546-6843.