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.

Liability Insurance    Workmans Comp.    EPA  Certification

Exterior Painting in the Spring!

When spring time brings upon mild weather, most homeowners in Northern Virginia look forward to taking care of those things outside of their Home. Yard work like landscaping and gardening in general are usually the first things that come to mind. Many people just cannot wait to start buying bags of mulch and get to digging up the shrubbery. However, if you think that your Home is need of an exterior cleaning and paint job, then it would be best to put off the landscaping, and take care of the important project first.

You Shouldn’t Delay Painting Your Exterior
It’s never a good idea to delay performing exterior cleaning, repairs, or painting of your Home. Usually, the life expectancy of the typical paint job is 5 to 7 years. After a certain amount of time, those areas that were previously caulked or repaired could become exposed to the elements. Sometimes excessive water penetration due to a faulty gutter or downspout can also cause paint to fail prematurely. When wood trim becomes exposed to the elements, wood deterioration begins. As more time passes, this deterioration can penetrate beyond the cornice trim that you can see, and can enter into the wood framing of the house. The more time that you wait, the more expensive the repairs can become.

Paint First Then Do Outside Landscaping
Despite the great amount of care that is taken to protect plants and the landscape surrounding a Home, there is a lot of work that goes into getting a house painted. Power washing the exterior is the first phase, and often times the most difficult and dirtiest aspect of the job. Because of the excess amount of water, plastic protection of plants is not feasible during this process, and it is almost inevitable that something will be touched. On the other hand, plastic coverings and drop cloths are always utilized to cover plants and shrubbery throughout the preparation and application phases. In any event, if you have the option, you should always consider performing landscaping after any type of exterior work.

Exterior Painting and Weather Challenges
Temperature fluctuations are one of the most important factors to consider when you are thinking painting the exterior of your home. Latex paint will have an adverse reaction as temperatures approach the freezing mark. The reason is that latex paints contain water and will freeze at temperatures below 32 degrees, and this will cause the paint to not cure properly. Moreover, the evaporation rate is much slower prohibiting the latex particles to come together, coalesce, and dry properly. Weather in Northern Virginia is generally mild during the spring and summer months, and it is absolutely the optimal time to perform any type of exterior paint applications. Painting should always be avoided during rainy conditions.

Maximize Your Paint Job!
Painting the exterior of your home will increase the curb appeal because and will make your home look like new on the outside. It will also improve your home’s value and helps portray the idea that you have taken excellent care of your home. If you are considering putting your home on the market, this type of home improvement investment will help draw potential buyers for a first and second look. If your home was painted within the past 5 years, perhaps cleaning your house is all that is needed. Power washing is always included in all of Davinci’s Painting exterior painting work, and it’s the best way to remove mold, mildew and stains on your home’s brick, wood, and aluminum siding.

There are numerous factors that can affect exterior house painting and it can be challenging to get the work done the right way. This is why it is crucially important to hire a Class A Northern Virginia Painting Company. Davinci’s Painting is a museum quality painting contractor, and we perform additional preparation processes that other companies cannot and will not provide. Why not get your exterior painting done before more fun outdoor activities start like gardening, graduations, and family barbecues? Give us a call or request an estimate through our website!

Bay Window Carpentry Restoration

Throughout the fall months, we stayed busy completing several exterior carpentry projects. One of our Clients in Falls Church Virginia had a bay window with a very unique look that was designed with many architectural elements from the 1800’s.  This bay window had some extensive wood deterioration that fortunately did not extend into the house framing. Additionally, the old double-hung windows that were part of the bay window were very drafty and not insulated, which contributed to a lot of cold air coming into the house.

The side of the house where this bay window is located is right next to the watershed of the entire townhouse development. The area has a lot of trees with little sun, animals and critters, water, and tons of mud everywhere. Unfortunately for the homeowner, what had happened was that nature and the elements had started to re-claim his house.  Although we could see many issues from the ground, a complete Power wash cleaning and thorough carpentry inspection was required before we could provide him with an estimate.

There were several places within the bay window cornice work that were so completely deteriorated that there were holes exposing the house framing.  All three window sills were entirely shot, and it felt like a sponge when you pressed down on it. The panels were also constructed with MDF which is sort-of a cardboard composite.  All of these panels were warped.  And on top of all of that, carpenter bees had bored-out several holes within the trim and had been hibernating inside when we found them.

We carefully removed all of the cornice trim and rotted wood and unsalvageable parts of the bay window. After dismantling everything, we were left with about 15% of the original trim.  The windows themselves were replaced with Marvin double-pane tempered glass. The remaining 85% of the trim was replaced with complete sections of PVC up to 12” in width. Even the corbels and some detail soffit sections that had been protected from the elements, needed to be replaced with custom-milled sections.

The type of PVC that was used is called Azek and it is basically plastic that will never deteriorate. This product is not inexpensive and they only sell 18 foot sections. These particular horizontal replacements were slightly more than 9 feet, which basically means that we had to purchase an entire 18 foot section for each horizontal. The PVC caulk to seal the expensive PVC cost about $11.00 a tube. Needless to say, the caulk and paint will deteriorate and crack, however the PVC will literally last forever!

I'm very happy with the finished bay window and I enjoyed helping to recreate a bit of 19th Century craftsmanship. We used the most advanced materials for the job to bring back the character of the home’s exterior. When spring comes around and everything warms-up, we will return to apply the paint! In addition to museum quality painting, we also specialize in wood trim replacement and structural repairs. Please call or click Davinci’s Painting for more information and a free carpentry consultation.

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.

Luxury Townhome Painting in Arlington Virginia

At Davinci's Painting, we scale great heights!  This photograph shows one of our Carpenters on top of a very high roof of a luxury townhome.  This townhome is part of the Fenwick Court Subdivision and is located in Arlington, Virginia.  Throughout the month of October, our company is in the process of replacing extensive portions of the exterior trim for about 5 townhomes within this community.  Several of these jobs feature dormer windows that are four stories high.  All of these projects will continue to require the use of a 48 foot extension ladder, as well as, safety harnesses in order to adequately ensure worker safety.

Prior to starting any exterior project, we first scope out the job to determine the type of equipment and ladders that will be needed, as well as selecting fall protection processes that are compatible with the type of work that will be performed.  In some cases, we even have to identify and evaluate fall hazards that could occur while working indoors on high ceilings and stairwells.  It is very important that every employee be supported by a harness, if they are performing work on a ladder that is greater than 32 feet.

Safety is an important consideration in construction related fields like painting, because of potentially dangerous working conditions.  Providing safety equipment and harnesses isn’t everything, we are also very diligent and our Painter Foremen are constantly alert on the job to be sure that adequate safety practices are being followed.  Our employees also have a responsibility for themselves, their fellow workers, and the home owner’s property. We value our employees and we want them to return to their home every night, safe and uninjured.

We are really proud of our safety record and we have never had a serious workplace accident within the 30+ years that we have been in business.  The benefits of maintaining a safe work environment is primarily undertaken in order to protect the painters and our clients’ property.  A safe work environment impacts our project’s bottom line.  Not only does this help boost our employee morale, but there are also fewer schedule interruptions due to incidents.  Moreover, the implementation of good safety protocols has also advanced our company’s reputation.

Davinci’s Painting is a long standing employer in the commonwealth of Virginia.   We carry both General Liability and Workman’s Compensation Insurance.  Please check out the Safety Page of our Website for more information about our Safety Facts and Policies.