We Like to Inform Our Clients

I have done a lot of online research over the years about some of the details and instructions for interior house painting. I'm putting it out there that a lot of the information that one would find on the Internet is just plain wrong.

This Painting Blog tries to help provide better painting information so hopefully it will be useful for both homeowners and other painting contractors alike.

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What is the best type of Interior Paint Finish?

Choosing the correct color for your Home is always an important factor to consider, however, there is yet another very important decision to make. With several paint finishes to choose from, it is important to be somewhat educated about the pro's and con's of each type of finish in order to determine the right finish for your Home. The four main types of finishes include: Flat, Eggshell, Matte, and Semi-Gloss Finish.

Each paint manufacturer has its own guidelines for how much sheen goes into each Paint Finish. If you buy a satin finish from one manufacturer, it will look different than the satin finish of a different manufacturer. For this reason, it is always a good idea to choose a single brand for your Painting Project in order to avoid subtle differences. Consult with a Painting Contractor for help with choosing and applying the best Paint Finish for your Interior Painting Project.

High-gloss finish paints are rarely used for Interior Painting purposes because they leave a very shiny finish. Semi-gloss paints have a mildly glossy appearance and are often the paint of choice for Kitchens and Bathrooms. Rooms that are prone to moisture and mildew should be painted with a semi-gloss finish. You can even have mildew resistant properties mixed into your paint. You can also use semi-gloss for trims, moldings, and doors.

A satin finish has a sheen which is flatter than semi-gloss. Paints with an eggshell or satin finish is formulated to hold up to cleaning and light scrubbing. It makes a great paint choice for kids’ rooms, because you can easily wipe off the fingerprints, smudges, and dirt they might get on the wall.  The only drawback with the use of Eggshell and Satin is the difficulty in touching up certain areas.

Davinci's Museum Painters can help you choose the right finish for your Home!

Satin finishes are also used for trim, moldings, and doors because it gives a nice decorative effect to them. Surfaces painted with an eggshell finish can also be wiped off, although not as easily as the higher-gloss and satin finish paints can. An eggshell finish has the smooth look of flat paint, but flat finishes collect dirt. A flat finish is the dullest finish of all the paint choices and does not reflect light. This makes flat paint ideal for ceiling surfaces usually.

It can be a bit mind boggling navigating through all the paint choices that are on the market, but ask an Davinci's Home Painter for help! Our interior Painters are experienced with the application of the various types of Paint Finishes. We also know how to accent your furniture and other accessories with Paint Colors. Our Painters will help you bring the color palette you are envisioning to life. Contact Davinci's Painting for all of your painting needs. Call us at (571) 314-7288 today!

Home Carpentry Issues- Carpenter Ants

Most Homeowners don’t think about carpenter ants until they discover wood deterioration on their home.  Several times a year we receive inquiries from Customers in Northern Virginia, who want to resolve peeling paint issues on their exterior trim.  Many times the peeling paint is just what is visible on the surface.  Once this peeling paint is blasted off, we often find wood deterioration that is commonly caused by carpenter ants.

Carpenter ants usually establish their nests within the wood itself that is located in a moist and humid environment.  They also seem to favor wood that is hollowed out, so that they can establish their nests.  Our most recent project for the month of December was built 20 years ago in Vienna, Virginia.  This Client had extensive carpentry requirements, and we surprised to learn that almost all of the lower window sills needed to be replaced.

This home had the original wooden windows that are not made anymore.  All of the window sills, frames, and other parts were basically hollow.  Also, the rear façade of the home faced several acres of woods, as well as, a running creek that was less than 100 yards away.  That being said, the back of the house was constantly wet and muddy.  This was the perfect breeding ground for carpenter ants, and we discovered an entire window sill that had been completely devoured by carpenter ants.

Carpenter ants are different than termites because they don’t actually eat the wood.  They excavate the wood by carving out intricate hollowed-out canals which can extend several feet.  One way to know the difference is to examine the destruction that is left behind.  We found about four inches of what appeared to be sawdust underneath the deteriorated window sill.  This sawdust pile was actually made from the shredded fragments of wood that were ejected during the ant’s excavation process.

In more serious situations, these carpenter ants can hollow-out the house framing or even structural beams, which would eventually weaken them and cause a structural failure.   Even though these pests can cause considerable damage to a house, they are actually considered to be beneficial insects.  In the forest these insects are essential for their excavation work because they help accelerate the decomposition of dead trees.

One thing that you should do if carpenter ants are eating your house is to locate the nest.  In most cases the carpenter ant nest will be located outside of the house structure, in a place where there is abundant moisture.   They almost always prefer to set-up their nests in rotted wood that is easy to excavate, but eventually they will expand out into wood that is not decayed.  Usually a pest control service operator will be able to develop a strategy that would eradicate these pests in an effective and safe manner.

Another important step to ensure that carpenter ants stay away is to eliminate the conditions that allowed them to invade your wood trim in the first place!  Our Carpenter at Davinci’s Painting stays very busy throughout the year replacing deteriorated wood trim.  In fact, one sure-fire way to eliminate wood deterioration in the future would be to replace that worn-out trim with PVC Composite trim.  You should also check your downspouts and gutters for water leaks that could cause wood damage.

In addition to painting, we also specialize in wood trim replacement, structural repairs, insect damage repair, and home restorations.  Please call or click Davinci’s Painting for more information and a free carpentry consultation.

Selecting the correct Paint Brush

It can be interesting to see Homeowners who are pressed to purchased the best quality paint yet compromise the job by trying to save a money on paint brushes. The right brush will save time and and money because it will carry more paint and enable the Painter to have better control. A better brush will also provide a smoother finish with less visible brush strokes. Not only that, you're far less likely to see those annoying brush hairs dried into the paint. One should expect to pay at least $15 for a decent 2 1/2-inch trim brush. If the brush is properly cleaned and cared for, it will last you for future projects.

Another common mistake that some people make is to use the wrong type of brush. The best brush for modern latex-based paints is one made with synthetic bristles that are usually comprised of polyester or nylon. China bristle brushes, should only be used with oil based paint. If China Bristle brushes are used with latex based paints the fibers will actually absorb water and cause the bristles to loose their correct shape.

Synthetic Bristle Brushes are made with nylon bristles that are soft or polyester material that is not soft. Softer bristles provide a smoother finish, while stiffer bristles can provide better control. The best trim brushes for general uses are typically made with nylon and poly blends and have good flexibility. If you're painting with a high quality product like Sherwin Williams Aura, it is best to choose a brush with an tighter flex. This will bring excellent control, even in hot or humid conditions. For thinner type of paint, such as, semi gloss or high gloss trim paints, many professionals like Davinci's Painters in Reston Virginia use ester fiber brushes that are specialized. These brushes leave an excellent finish without brush marks.

That being said, there are some things to consider when choosing a paint brush. A good indicator of quality is flagging, or the split ends that you can sometimes see at the ends of the bristles. Synthetic bristles need flagging to leave behind a smooth finish.  The best idea is to avoid painting brushes that are susceptible to flagging. Compare bristle density. Paint is held in place by the space between the bristles, so the more bristles a brush has, the more paint it will hold. This is often the choice for Painting Professionals because there is less loading paint on the brush. Good brushes are also tapered. The bristles of less expensive brushes are all the same length. Tapering the bristles so that the brush is thicker toward the ferrule which is the metal ring that holds the bristles against the handle. This makes the brush more rigid and provides better control over the application.

Handle shape is a matter of personal preference. Many Painters in Northern VA prefer a beveled profile rather than one that is straight. The best advice for Homeowners is to find a brush that feels comfortable in your hand and that provides good control. 3" width brushes are good for cutting in ceilings and walls which are usually flat surfaces. However when painting trim surfaces like windows, it would be better to use a 2" angled paint brush. In fact, 2" angled sash brushes are probably the most popular brush because they're comfortable to use and can also be used for cutting.

There are a few simple tests that people can perform to check the quality of a paint brush. If some brisles pull out of the handle easily, that would be a good indication that it not a quality brush. You may not select the perfect brush at the start, and you certainly won't find one in any type of bargain priced packs, but it is wise to remember, that the brush tool that you will be working with is the most important factor that provides the look of your job. Buying the right tools will always render a superior finish.

Painting Drop Cloth Protection

I learned early on in my painting career the importance of using a drop cloths and plastic for protecting things. This is an important aspect for preparing a Home for interior painting. Davinci's Northern Virginia Painters also utilizes drop cloths and plastic protection for things items on the outside of a Home. These things include Porch Floors, Decks, Driveways, Concrete Stoops, and even bushes!

As any well-experienced Painter will tell you, no matter how big, or how small, always use a drop cloth. It will save your self from extra work in terms of cleanup, and even possibly bigger, more serious problems.

As far as what type of drop cloth to use, the type that we recommend is canvas with a rubber backing. They come in various sizes and textures, with canvas being the most common. The reasons I like using canvas drops, is because it's thick enough which prevents paint to leak through, and heavy enough so as to stay put, wherever you lay it down.

On the other hand, plastic sheathing is a versatile protective accessory used by professional painters everywhere. Plastic sheeting makes for a poor drop cloth, because it simply isn’t durable enough to withstand some one walking on it without ripping and tearing. Plastic sheeting looks like a larger version of plastic wrap. It can comes on a roll in rectangular box, which can be spooled out and cut to precise lengths. If you are a novice painting, it is a great way to keep doorways and windows free from paint splatters. Just cut a piece of plastic to size, and tape it over the area in need. Plastic sheeting is also great for covering furniture and other valuables too big or bulky to carry out of the room. The best part about plastic sheeting is that it’s flexible but tough. If you can tape it correctly so that the plastic stays intact, paint will never get through

Davinci's Northern Virginia Painters will first completely seal the entire perimeter of a working area with masking tape and 3 millimeter thickness of plastic sheeting. After that we then provide drop cloth protection on top of the plastic for floor areas that will be walked on. Our method of plastic and drop cloth protection provides peace of mind for our Customers, that paint, dust, and debris will not end up where it doesn’t belong.

Properly covering the floors, furniture, and other valuables of the interior of your home is the first step in creating an efficient work environment, one that allows you to work without worrying about the occasional paint drop from ending up in places that it shouldn't.

This is a process that we take very seriously. We provide services for the entire Northern Virginia Area including Springfield, Vienna, Alexandria, Arlington, and Falls Church