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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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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!

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.

Painting Exterior Aluminum Siding

Aluminum Siding History
In the 1940's Aluminum siding was developed for homes in the United States because it was considered to be a low maintenance alternative to wood clapboard siding. There were several benefits of installing aluminum siding including the fact that it was lightweight, and the paint finish was baked-on. No painting was necessary.

Back in the day it was a popular option among homeowners. During the 1970’s, the cost to manufacture aluminum siding had increased significantly and vinyl siding had proven itself to be the future of low maintenance house covering option. There are obviously millions of homes that were built between the 1940’s and the 1970’s and chances are good that the exterior is covered with aluminum siding.

Aluminum Siding still requires some Maintenance
Many people have discovered, there are some problems that are inherent with aluminum siding. The biggest problem is the fact that the coating that is baked on the surface of the aluminum and it has a tendency to chalk and fade like it's nobody's business.

What can you do when it’s time to bring the exterior of your home up to speed?
Is painting the aluminum siding a good idea? Can you paint it or should it be replaced with new vinyl siding?

Here is the good news:
when properly cleaned and prepared, paint will adhere to aluminum siding. And painting your home will always be less-expensive compared to replacing the siding.

Power-wash the Siding First
It is critical to first remove any chalk and mildew from the surface so that the paint will properly adhere. A quick check for a chalky surface is to move your hand across the surface of the siding. Observe your palm. If there is chalk then it must be removed before any paint application process can proceed.

Eliminating the chalk
This can be accomplished by power-wash cleaning and using bleach or an aluminum siding cleaning product. In some cases, a scrub brush with an abrasive sponge and some good old fashioned elbow grease could be necessary. These cleaning products are specially made to remove the layer of chalk from the surface of aluminum siding. Davinci's are Painters in Vienna Virginia and we include power-wash cleaning as part of the preparation process for all of our exterior projects.

Sanding and Preparation
If the paint on the aluminum siding is baked into the material from the factory then there would not be a problem about any peeling paint. But if the coating you’re painting over is not the original finish, make sure you scrape any loose or peeling paint, and sand any uneven edges.

Paint Application of the Finish Coating
Many good quality paints can be applied on top of aluminum siding without the need for a primer. Make sure you read the manufacturer’s recommendations on the can before you start your project. Then apply two coats of a 100% Acrylic Latex Paint by whichever application method that is recommended.

How is the Exterior of your Home looking?

Is the Exterior of your Home starting to deteriorate and look worn down? If the answer is yes, it may be time to think about painting to protect the exterior wood trim surfaces. Unfortunately sometimes wood deterioration can occur because of a lack of paint maintenance.

Usually, people have to go through exterior painting in Northern Virginia between 7 and 10 years. The time between each job depends upon the type of paint materials used and the preparation that was done previously. Another factor is how much maintenance took place since the previous paint job. When people neglect exterior maintenance such as power-washing every 2 years and painting every 7 years, unfortunate things can occur. Some of the things that we have seen as a result of poor maintenance include wood deterioration, and window glazing that is falling out. However, under most normal circumstances, most homes only require standard preparation procedures.

What sets Davinci's Painting apart from everyone else, is the fact that we include many of the preparation processes that others will not. These things include power-wash cleaning, extensive preparation processes like pole sanding the complete wall surface, inspecting the entire wall with spotlights, and of course priming.

Davinci's Painting is the Northern Virginia Painting Company that includes all of these things as part of our normal preparation procedure. We also include a complete inspection from a licensed Carpenter of the entire exterior, to determine if there is any wood deterioration. Additionally, we provide annual inspections and a 5 year warranty for all of our work.

Choosing the right Contractor and having a complete understanding of everything that needs to be done is very important. College Graduates who think that they are seasoned painters, really would not have the same experience as a seasoned mechanic with 20 years under his belt.

Davinci's Painting is the Northern Virginia Painting Company that provides the most comprehensive estimate in the Washington DC Area. Every last detail is explained thoroughly, and indeed our Website has a Start-up Guide, Facts Section, and an entire Glossary of Information for Homeowners to look-up paint information.

We do things the right way, and we have literally hundreds of references who would agree.
Please email or call us today for a free no-obligation painting estimate.