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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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Environmental Friendly Renovation Tips

If you’re renovating your home this spring, there are many decisions that you need to make before the work can get started. In fact, it can be quite a task for many people. Sometimes it can be helpful to organize the project when you have time off! One thing you should always consider is to take into account environmental friendly considerations. More often than not, these strategies will not only help the environment, but it can go a long way in terms of saving money for the overall project. We recommend the following tips when you’re renovating.

Hire an Environmentally Responsible Architect

Environmental considerations over the entire life cycle of a building process is an important goal of sustainable architecture.  Over the past 20 years, conscientious contractors and the modern public have embraced green architecture as a socially responsible way to build and renovate.  Architects use many different techniques to reduce the environmental footprint of the building process, as well as, eliminate the need to use fossil fuel during the construction.  Green renovation projects can include the resourceful use of materials and the methodologies that are utilized to install those materials. A thorough site analysis that includes an environmental impact study will minimize the impact of building or renovating within the environment.

Use Recycled Materials When it is Possible

Using recycled materials in construction is not entirely mainstream in modern architecture, however, it's gaining traction. There are a many examples and ways to be ecologically conscious that doesn't have to impact the design and aesthetics of a renovation project. This can include anything from reclaimed wood, insulation, concrete, and floor tiles. Needless to say, it may not be easy to find the right kind of materials in good condition for your specific project. But it never hurts to see what is out there, because many times you will be surprised about the quality of some environmentally friendly recycled materials that are available. Moreover, recycled materials can be available at a quarter of the cost of new construction materials.

A Healthy Indoor and Outdoor Environment

Environmentally-friendly construction can not only help preserve the outdoor environment, it can also help to maintain a healthier indoor environment within your home. Traditional construction approaches and materials have often been associated with a wide range of health problems. Chemical compounds from paints, solvents, plastics and other composites are known to cause health issues for people living within the home. The utilization of non-toxic products and materials and recycled construction materials can help alleviate some of those health issues. Green construction techniques that are used today should focus on not only protecting the natural surroundings, but also the indoor environment.

Salvage Materials from the Existing Structure

Architects should find opportunities during the disassembly stage to reuse whatever they can in order to reduce the environmental footprint and reduce costs. Designing a home that can utilize some of the existing materials reduces waste overall and and provides environmental benefits for communities. Moreover, builders, owners, and occupants, also receive an economic benefit by extending the life of the parts of the house that already exist. Those house parts and materials can be taken apart and recycled for further use during the remodeling process. This could include salvaging the existing foundation, or perhaps dismantling and retrofitting roofing and framing structures to accommodate the new design.

Utilize Low VOC or Zero VOC Paint Materials

Volatile organic compounds are contained within commonly used household products which includes a lot of older and inexpensive paint products. The process of applying those paint materials containing VOCs causes gas or vapors to be emitted within the environment. These organic compounds can cause a variety of health problems for some people, including watery eyes, headaches, respiratory ailments and even cancer in some cases. Women who are pregnant, young children, and other people with heightened sensitivity to chemicals may be more susceptible to VOC related illnesses. Most experienced residential painters will follow EPA Guidelines when utilizing paints containing VOCs and should recommend those products to customers.  We have a ton of information on our Website concerning Zero VOC Paints and Green Painting!

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.