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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Homeowners Associations Regulations

HOAs and Restrictive Ordinances are designed to protect neighborhood property values by enforcing Homeowners to maintain their home and not to deviate in terms of paint colors or architectural changes. Sometimes however, the bureaucracy of the HOA can be a little overwhelming.  I’ve heard of stories of homeowners being sued by their HOA simply because they painted their shutters red instead of green.

So the front of your house needs to be re-painted or your vinyl siding needs to be power washed. Should you ask permission from your HOA before doing anything?

Usually most HOAs are easy to deal with. They will clean your streets, plow your streets, trim your trees, maintain the swimming pool, and allow you to paint your home the exact same color that was used when the house was built. There are some that have come up with more stringent guidelines. Most notably the Reston Virginia area has an HOA for Reston, and each of the small townhouse clusters has their own HOA

There are some HOAs that will require homeowners to hire an “HOA Approved” painting company. The most moderate HOA’s will limit color choices for an exterior repaint to three or four acceptable neutrals colors. If for some odd chance the homeowner would like to deviate from the approved list of colors, they must go through a color change approval process. This could involve submitting paint samples, provide paint manufacturer and brand information, and possibly even attend architectural HOA board meetings.

There are always obvious constraints. For example, if your next door neighbor had the exact same color that you would like to apply, then there might be an objection. Some HOAs rules do make sense in terms of paint schemes. Colors should be in the same schema when you take into consideration the siding color, trim color, garage door, front door, and shutters. Often times, they will regulate the brand of paint that you use to be the same builder brand and quality. All of these pesky rules and regulations should be included within the By-Laws of the HOA.

>As a homeowner within an HOA Controlled Community, you should take these regulations seriously, and always inquire with the Board if you are thinking about making changes to the exterior. Trust me; HOA’s have their ways of forcing homeowners to comply with their demands. As stated in the By-Laws of the HOA, usually they are able to fine homeowners several hundred dollars per month. If the fines get ignored, they can then place a lien on the property thereby forcing the homeowner into submission.

It's important to document everything whenever you're dealing with the HOA. For example, if someone complains about your color choice years down the road, it's a good idea to keep a paper trail concerning your color approvals. Paint colors on the inside of the home should never become an issue with the HOA in your neighborhood. Davinci's Painting has been dealing with HOA's in Reston since Reston was built! Please give us a call if you should need any assistance.

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!

Painting Exterior Stucco

I must preface this Article by stating that as a rule, you should never apply paint to stucco! What can happen is that moisture can get between the paint on the stucco and the moisture resistant backing that is attached to the structure's studs. If mold forms there, it can move through the moisture barrier and into the home. There are many contractors in the area who are not experienced with stucco and will indicate that painting the stucco is not a problem.  There is a small chance that you will never experience a moisture problem if you paint stucco, but is it worth that chance? Stucco is designed to breathe.

If your stucco is close to the bottom of your exterior wall, it's possible that ground moisture will come into contact with the surface. The moisture will dissipate through the stucco that is close to the foundation and become trapped between the paint and the moisture barrier. Then when that surface gets warm the moisture will expand and cause the paint to lift off of the stucco. Stucco needs to breathe!

We recently completed an Exterior Project in Alexandria for a Farm House that is 100 years old. To the Home Owner's dismay, the stucco was coming off in sheets. He indicated that the stucco was re-painted about 7 years prior. Our tests indicated that the original stucco was of an oil base form. What had happened was that the previous Contractor applied latex based materials on top of the oil based stucco. For those of you who don't know, this will never work. You can never apply latex paint on top of oil based paint, without extensive surface preparation. We provided a solution of a complete power-wash, oil base prime undercoat application, followed by a complete application of Sherwin Williams Marine Coatings Latex Bondplex.

We are confident that that Bondplex will provide adequate adhesion for those areas of the stucco that were beginning to fail. This was project was somewhat complex due to the age of the property and the condition of the stucco. Fortunately, we had the right experience to deal with these issues. If you are considering undertaking a project and would like a second opinion, please do not hesitate to contact Davinci's your Northern VA Painting Company.