Monday, January 31, 2011
The weather in Sydney right now may be perfect, but the hot summer is scarcely past and the colder autumn and winter are on their way.You may be surprised to learn that one of the most promising ideas for reducing energy use is -- paint.
One of the newest ideas is solar paint, paint which has suspended in tiny solar cell particles. These solar paints could supply electricity for homes and businesses. You won't find them down at the local shops yet, though. Scientists in New South Wales have figured out how to make solar cells soluble and how to suspend the particles in liquids. They plan to use them like ink to print solar cells onto plastic and thus make much more flexible solar panels.
Painting the tiny solar cells directly onto a roof is possible, but no one has yet come up with a way to get the electricity from the roof into the building, or with a way to protect the coating from weather, so solar paint shouldn't be on your shopping list for the coming winter.
There are currently ceramic coatings which insulate buildings when they're painted onto roofs. Radiant paints which reflect sun help keep buildings cool in the hot weather. Both of these options can make a difference in heating and cooling bills.
Even the colour you choose can affect your energy use. Light colours on roofs keep buildings cooler and dark colours keep them warmer. Inside the home, using light colours makes a room seem brighter, and people will feel more comfortable leaving lights off then they will in a dark-painted room. A warm, cozy colour can make you feel warmer and a light, bright colour can make you feel cooler.
Friday, January 28, 2011
If you have latex allergies, do you need to avoid latex paint?
People who are allergic to latex are allergic to the substance harvested from the Hevea or rubber tree. It isn't actually the sap of the tree, but a different substance which is actually called "latex." Latex is present in other plants, too, and even in mushrooms, but commercial latex of the kind found in medical gloves comes from the rubber tree in particular.
The latex in latex paints doesn't come from the rubber tree at all. Latex in paints is made from synthetics, acrylic and polyvinyl in particular, and doesn't contain any natural rubber.
People who are allergic to latex therefore have no need to worry about latex paints. Allergies to paints are usually respiratory problems, and the solution is to use paints with very low emissions. Since this is a green move, as well, Dulux certified painters like Courtney & Wise will always make every effort to work with low VOC paints in any case.
However, if you suffer respiratory problems from paint fumes, it's wise to leave the building during painting and air the room fully before occupying it again.
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
When you're thinking about painting the interior of your home, you should be thinking of the wonderful colours you'll choose, or the way you'll finish decorating after your place is painted. You should not be nervous about ending up with something that isn't at all what you want: a poor job, poor quality paint, or just something that's not quite what you had in mind.
Take some time to choose the right painter, and you can avoid getting an unpleasant shock when the work is done.
First, make sure you choose painters with some qualifications. For example, Courtney & Wise are Master Painters and Dulux Certified Painters. When you hire us, you don't have to take our word for it about our qualifications. We have proof. We're certified in Lead Paint Management, we've won awards for the excellence of our painting, and we've been in business in Sydney for two generations. Make sure that your painters have similar qualifications.
Second, make sure that the quotation or estimate you receive contains all the information you need. Our quotations fully detail the complete schedule of the scope of works to be undertaken, preparation of the surfaces for optimal coating and the finish coat system and products to be applied. If your quotation doesn't specify these things, you won't know exactly what you're getting. You also won't be able to compare the quotes usefully. That is, a quote from one painter may seem to be lower than another, but the two may not be offering the same scope of work or planning to use the same products. A complete quotation assures you that you're getting just what you expect.
Third, make sure that your painters are fully compliant with legal requirements, fully insured, and licensed with the Department of Fair Trading. Skipping this step can leave you unprotected against future liabilities. Any reputable painting firm should be able and willing to prove their compliance with all these requirements.
Doing this little bit of homework won't take you as long as choosing the colours you want to use, and it will save you from disappointment.
Monday, January 24, 2011
Wallpaper was, for a time, associated with grannies or relegated to bathrooms, where it was considered a practical way to deal with damp.
No more. The 21st century is seeing a revival of wallpaper for its bold decorating statement. Whimsical scenes and large bold patterns are showing up in decorators' showrooms and shelter magazines. In homes and commercial buildings, monochromatic looks like the one above present a compromise between the bold look designers want and the less dramatic effect we want to live with.
That's the beauty of wallpaper, really. Since it combines design with colour in unlimited variety, you can have a bold design with a whisper of colour, or choose a dramatic pattern and use it in small doses with quieter paint to get a fun, modern yet livable look.
Here are some of the trends we're seeing in wallpaper:
- Retro geometrics like Arts and Crafts and Art Deco looks are showing up in modern colourways.
- Fun representational papers with everyday objects rather than flowers create a pleasant surprise.
- Handcrafted and natural materials look luxurious now.
Friday, January 21, 2011
Look at some examples of this approach:
- Painted ceiling gallery from American website Apartment Therapy shows ceilings in delicious contrasting colours, subtly different tones, and even in stripes.
- A ceiling mural, not as elaborate as the great European ceiling paintings of old, but still requiring some special skills.
- A conversation on the subject at Decorating Forum points out the importance of doing it right.
This may be just the touch your house needs to wake it up!
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Wall decals or wall stickers can be a fun way to add a special touch to a room. There are removable vinyl stickers that go directly onto a wall, where they look like a hand painted quote or scene. Since they're not paint, but stickers, they can easily be removed and changed. This makes them an ideal touch for a child's room, since your child might get tired of a decorating scheme before you're ready to paint again.
Wall decals may be a quotation, a design mimicking wallpaper, a small decorative accent, or a scene you might think of as a mural. The range and variety is enormous, and there are likely to be many colours for you to choose from.
Wall decals are easy to use, but there are a few things to keep in mind:
- The colour of your background wall provides the background for the wall decal. Often it's actually part of the design, showing through in central motifs. If you see the decal in brown on a pink wall and then put it on your white wall, it won't look the same. Make the effort to visualize the colour of the wall decal on the colour of your walls, not just as its shown in the advert or website where you order it.
- The wall you apply the decals to must be clean. If there's dust or oil on the wall, the decal will stick to the grime and not to the paint. If you're not sure of the best way to clean the wall in question, use a solution of bicarb soda and water for gentle cleaning.
- While wall decals are removable, they're not generally reusable. Think carefully about where you want to put the decal. If it's a quote, use a level and painter's tape to ensure that the words go straight across your wall. A slanting quote will bother you for as long as you have it on your wall!
- Wall decals shouldn't damage your paint. However, if you leave one on for years and then remove it, you may find that the paint around it has faded from sun; you may see a ghost of the wall decal. Be prepared, therefore, to repaint when you remove a wall decal, especially a large one that has been on the wall for a long time.
at 5:52 AM
Thursday, January 6, 2011
Greening up your home with paint isn't just about colour -- and it also isn't just about emissions. While we're pleased and proud to use a near-zero VOCs paint, painting your home has more benefits for the environment than just the negative one of having fewer emissions than in the past.
Consider these environmental advantages to painting:
- Painting extends the useful life of the surface it covers, protecting it from the elements and also lengthening its fashion life. That means you won't have to throw it away or replace it as soon. Less in the landfill, fewer natural resources being used to produce new materials, and less need to redecorate or rebuild.
- Since painting is one of the most economical decorating options, it is a practical and sustainable alternative to rebuilding or remodeling, both of which use more resources and produce more waste.
- Painting rooms in lighter, brighter colours can reduce the amount of energy used for lighting. Painting house exteriors and roofs in light colours can reduce the amount of energy used for cooling the buildings.
- The emotional aspects of colour show up in paint, as well. While the reduction in light use and the contribution to climate control are measurable differences, there are also differences in perception. A change in colour can make the people in a room feel more cosy, or as though the room contains more light, and they can therefore remain comfortable with less use of energy. The combination of these two effects makes paint a powerful tool for energy savings.
at 6:15 PM
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Green is a favourite colour this year, but we're also all going green in the sense of being more environmentally responsible.
Dulux Paints made that much easier last year when they rolled out the newest formulation of Ecosure and Ecosense paints. Not only does the newest version of this paint produce almost zero volatile organic compounds (VOCs), but the company was able to reduce their water use and carbon footprint by half in the course of the three year projects that led to this new, environmentally friendly paint.
Eco-friendly paints aren't entirely new, of course. Ecosure has been around since 2008, and there were low VOCs paints around before then, as well. One difference is the number: current Ecosure paint is almost entirely free of VOCs. It also has 40% less waste, half as much embodied water, and recycled packaging.
However, there's another important difference. Until this newest round of paints came along, eco-friendly paints were not as good in other ways as the less responsible kind. Water-based paints just didn't give the coverage of solvent-based paints.
That has changed, too. Ecosure Matt now tests as well as, and often better than, conventional paints. The Ecosure line has also been extended to include gloss and eggshell finishes, all of them as high in quality as less environmentally responsible choices.
Courtney & Wise is a Dulux Accredited painter for Sydney. If you aren't in Sydney, check the Dulux Accredited website to find local painters and decorators with this honour. Dulux Accredited painters are certified environmentally responsible.