Tuesday, July 31, 2012
A new paint from a company in Spain contains slow-release insecticide that can eliminate these creatures. In tests in South American and African communities, the paint also did away with 95% of malaria-spreading mosquitoes and reduced the spread of diseases among livestock.
In communities where the tests are taking place, families are beginning to see that a painted house is a healthier house.
This is another example of how nanotechnology makes it possible to use paint as a vehicle for many different, useful technologies. Nanotechnology is a matter of making things very small. Once some useful thing is small enough, it can be suspended in a droplet of paint. We've written before about some other applications:
at 3:00 PM
Sunday, July 29, 2012
A new paint standard has been announced by Good Environmental Choice Australia (GECA). While big changes come in artists' and students' paints, it makes a big difference for your house painting, as well.
One major change is that solvent-based paints are no longer allowed. Water-based paints have improved so much in recent years that you should not expect to see any lowering of quality or performance.
Volatile Organic Compounds, which are the chemicals emitted by paints, will be more strictly controlled now. They have been controlled for some time, but will now face stricter standards with lower emissions required in order to reach acceptable levels.
Other changes include new regulations about labeling of paints; for example, a paint claiming to be solar reflective will now have to have facts to back up their claims.
Overall, the changes are intended to be good for the environment and good for the consumer.
Some people will feel concerned about their lack of access to oil paints. There is, for example, a worry that using a water-based paint over an oil based paint will result in a streaky finish or poor coverage.
Cleaning and priming your surface correctly is the key to success in this case -- as in all painting jobs. Check with your painting and decorating professionals if you need to paint over oil-based paints.
at 2:44 PM
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Let stylists say what they will, Aussies have voted blue this winter.
Dulux asked web visitors to choose their favourite colour from six trendy shades, and Blue Dude, a bright, saturated blue, was the clear frontrunner.
Lickedy Lick, a cheery plum, took second place.
The photo shows how good the brilliant blue walls look in combination with the other shades, so there's no wrong answer. A feature wall in this colour will make a strong impression. It'll be exciting with fresh white trim, or as trim for biscuit walls, if the colour is too deep for you to use on main walls throughout your home.
It would also be nice for a ceiling with neutral walls.
at 2:32 PM
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
We've been reporting on solar paint since the idea first showed up, and now we've got an update for you: paint-on batteries have become a reality.
In case you haven't been following, the idea is fairly simple. Solar cells such as those we use on rooftops for electric power are being made so small through nanotechnology that they can be suspended in titanium dioxide, made into paint, and brushed onto a roof or walls.
The technology exists, but it's not yet fully practical. The primary difficulties include cost and the details of getting the electricity from the surface of the building to the lights or appliances within.
This has always been the issue with electricity, of course. There's plenty of it out in the world, but you can't just direct lightning toward your wall sockets.
New research has taken the technology a step further.
Researchers at Rice, a college in the U.S.A., created paint-on batteries and hooked them up to a solar cell. They were able to then to connect the batteries to diodes. So far they've just gotten them to spell out "Rice" in lights for six hours, but from there to a paint-powered house is not very many steps.
at 3:24 PM
Sunday, July 15, 2012
A new survey done in Britain finds that 84% of householders in England have never painted the exterior of their homes, according to an unattributed online report.
Several online sources claim that painting one exterior wall of your home each year will keep it looking good. The idea is that you might need new paint every four years. So, if you repaint one wall each year, your paint will always look fresh.
We've even seen it suggested that you should paint the interior of your microwave oven.
Clearly, there's no lack of bad painting advice and information on the web. What about good painting information? Where should we look for that?
Here at this blog, of course -- we have hundreds of articles on just about every question you've wondered about. There's more. There's even more from us. We like to share accurate information about painting, so we've written articles for a range of home decorating and DIY websites. We also have some favourites for our own reading pleasure.
Here are some good places to look:
- House Painting Info has articles on every aspect of painting.
- Dulux painting advice comes from one of Australia's major paint companies.
- Homeone has a variety of articles on painting.
- Adore is a new online home decor magazine filled with inspiration. This is not the place to look for roller vs. brush questions, but there's eye candy galore.
- HomeLife has more inspiration, plus DIY painting ideas.
at 3:03 PM
Thursday, July 12, 2012
The housing slump keeps making headlines. At the same time, the shortage of skilled tradesmen is also in the news.
Householders may wish that this would mean prices on home repairs and remodeling would fall. If there are fewer houses being built and sold, they may reason, then painters might try undercutting each other, lowering prices to get what work there is.
Look at the other factors in play, though:
- There's a shortage of skilled workers. Less-skilled workers may have a harder time finding work, but tradesmen in a competitive market know they have to have top quality to compete. With less pressure of work, it's better to have fewer, better tradesmen than to have lots of painters with lower quality skills.
- People continue to try to sell their homes. In many cases, a quality paint job or a bit of landscaping can make the difference. Just as home decorating or repair is too competitive to allow slacking off, home sales are too competitive to allow would-be sellers to ignore their homes' appeal.
- Other people give up on selling their homes. Once they realize they'll have to stay put, they begin to think of how to make their current home closer to their ideal (sound familiar?).
If you're in Sydney, call Courtney & Wise at 9958 1099. As Master Painters, having served Sydney and the Northern beaches for two generations, we have no shortage of skilled painters.
at 12:38 PM
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
As painters, we know we're members of the community, working with others to improve and care for our neighborhood.
After a disaster, though, you may begin to see a completely different kind of painter. Opportunists follow storms and other natural disasters, offering to clean up and repair damage quickly at a premium price.
The fact is, there is no law against pricejacking.
If a company has to bring in extra workers to meet extra demand, buy additional equipment to cope with unusual levels of damage, or pay higher prices for their materials, they can pass those extra costs along to the customer. Tradies working long hours and ignoring their own homes till they've helped their neighbors may even deserve a bonus.
Opportunists are something else again. They bring hastily-gathered crews into damaged areas, do a slipshod job of work, and are gone with their exorbitant fees before you get a chance to see the work that -- in many cases -- hasn't been done.
Before you hire someone who comes to your door and offers to help clear up the mess and fix up your place, ask some questions:
- Where is their place of business? It shouldn't just be a truck. It's impossible to keep a crew accountable if you can't reach them.
- How long have they been in business? A local company with years of experience is clearly more trustworthy than a couple of blokes who bought their first paint brushes when they saw the news reports.
- What credentials can they offer? Are they licensed (for painting, they should be). Are they members of organizations like the Master Painters Association? Can they offer certification? If they have nothing, you shouldn't hire them.
at 12:19 PM
Sunday, July 8, 2012
Painting a hotel, highrise, or other strata titled building presents differences from painting a single family home. Some of the differences may seem obvious, but they can have an effect on the quotes various painting and decorating companies prepare for the work.
Safety issues are one of the most obvious differences. Reaching the top floor of a building like this requires specilised equipment. Trying to cut corners or "guesstimate" on this type of job can truly be a life or death mistake. A painter who is presenting a bid for a building of this type should ask about access and do an on-site inspection.
The special environmental needs are another essential difference. Preparing surfaces and choosing the right covering materials will be a key to successful completion of the job. The quotes you receive should specify the materials to be used, the number of coats, and any special concerns relating to a sea front situation or the surrounding plantings.
for example, Sydney painters Courtney & Wise always examine the current paint to identify issues that have led to paint failure. The two photos below show different kinds of challenges. This type of information should not be ignored in preparing the quote.
This brings us to another difference between painting an office building and painting your house.
When you compare bids for a job painting a building, you may be very aware of the need to control costs. You may even be required to accept the lowest bid. This is fine as long as you're comparing apples to apples. Two bids specifying different materials, different levels of coverage, different safety precautions, and so forth are not really two bids for the same job. They're two bids for two different jobs.
When a tradesman doesn't specify, you may assume that you'll be getting the same quality of work for a lower price. The wiser course is to send the preferred specifications to the cheap firm, asking for a bid on the specific job described . Chances are, the price will change.
Make sure you get what you pay for -- not a disappointment.
at 11:57 AM
Tuesday, July 3, 2012
When you imagine painting a room, you probably imagine that room as a bare, uniform surface. You think that painting it will be much like painting a board or a canvas.
That's not how it is in real life. Consider these lovely rooms from a painting job we at Courtney & Wise did a few years ago. The room above has numerous beautiful details, from the trim around the doors and fireplace to the chandelier and its ceiling rosette.
The kitchen below has plenty of trim, too, as well as built in cabinets and appliances, not to mention marble countertops that touch the painted walls.
The first thing to do is to remove anything that is in painting range and that can be removed.If there's a pelmet on the windows, for example, it may be practical to remove it.
Also remove anything that can be removed and will be painted, such as the doors of cabinets or the door of a room. In cases where the doors will not be painted or stained -- that is, they're being left as they are -- and they have elements that can't be removed, such as mouldings or cabinetry, leave them.
Consider using a stain or a glossy enamel for the trim to give a real contrast with the walls.
Paint built-ins the same shade as the trim to make them stand out from the walls. Built-in shelves can have a different shade of the wall colour painted at the back, the shelves themselves or the visible edges of the shelves can be painted in a toning or contrasting shade, or several close shades of the same colour can be used for a dashing look.
Cover everything that's left and tape it very carefully. A really clean line is the hallmark of a good paint job. Cover light fixtures such as chandeliers with cloth and tape them if they can't be safely removed before painting. You think the fact that they're not touching the walls means there's no danger of getting paint on them, but that is not the case.
One more thing to consider: when you're working in a room with lots going on, the spaces you'll actually paint can end up being fairly small. You must paint them in a uniform way, or you'll end up with a patchwork look, with brushstrokes in different directions. Not a nice look.
The truth is, it's hard to paint a room with lots of built-ins and trim. If you're in Sydney, call Courtney & Wise at 9958 1099 to discuss a professional paint job. You'll love the results.
Sunday, July 1, 2012
Having the painters in? This dog, relaxing during a job by Sydney painters Courtney & Wise, demonstrates the right attitude on the part of pets. They know you'll take care of them, so they can sleep.
Here are some tips for pet-friendly painting:
- You know your dog best. If your pet is likely to run through the room and knock down the ladder, bite the painters, or taste the paint, you should think about finding another place for your dog while the painters are in.
- Choose washable semi-glass paint for all the areas your pet can reach. Flat paints are very hard to clean. A dog will often have a favorite resting spot, such as a corner of the room, and the paint in that area can become grubby.
- Choose non-toxic paints. This is the best plan in any case, but it's especially important if you have pets or children in the house. They might decide to lick the paint, and their smaller respiratory systems can be more affected by toxins.
- Think about keying your colour scheme to your dog's fur. A tweed carpet or loose cover that's a good match to the dog's coat will cut down on cleaning by making it less obvious when your pet has shed a hair or two. Make this choice, and then pick paint to tone nicely with the soft furnishings.
- Remember that everything your dogs can reach is something they might reach. If you want something very special, like a pricey wall paper or a mural, plan to put it above their heads.