A key component to acheiving a quality result in our craft is the quality of the materials we use. As such, choosing the right products for each project type becomes not just a matter of personal preference and greatest visual appeal, but also a technical decision to ensure that the finished product properly protects the surface it is covering, and that it does so for as long as is possible within the tolerances of the product.
So how far along has paint come in recent years? There are now paints available to moderate temperature, deaden sound, use ambient light to provide electricity, and use nanotechnology to clean themselves. Paint is becoming more and more need specific. So the question really becomes what needs would you like to address? We at Alamo Painting would like to take the time to help you discover your needs and provide you the best material options to address those needs.
There are many types of primers that deal with many different types of surfaces that you find around a house. Choosing the right primer not only impacts the final visual appeal of a paint job, but also ,more importantly, impacts the durability and longevity of the paint job.
Traditionally, flat paints were used on exterior surfaces with semi-gloss for the trim. We are finding that many customers prefer using low-sheen paint for the exterior surfaces as it provides better protection against debris and airborne contaminants attaching themselves to the paint because it is a harder, shell-like coating. This coating also protects against mold and mildew, provided its washed down once a year.
Traditionally, people have used flat paints on walls and ceilings, and semi-gloss on bathrooms, kitchens and trim. The trend among designers now is to use softer sheen paints, though sheens on the wall have been getting higher and sheens on the trim have been getting lower, providing more washibility. Sheens also camouflage surface imperfections.
The technology for stains has moved in three different directions. The Benjamin-Moore Arbor Coat, Armstrong-Clarke, a local California stainmaker, and Cabots. The Arbor Coat treats the deck as out door furniture where you apply a stain and then a sacrificial clear coat which is renewed annually. Missing a recoat leaves the deck or fence open to the elements. If the clear coat does fail, the stain will then need to be stripped and reapplied in order to reinstate the protection. Stripping is where the most labor is required, meaning higher cost. Cutting the stripping out of the annual maintenance brings the cost down significantly. Sadly, this is a savings that is rarely reconciled. Applying an oil based stain over an existing oil based stain will create shiny spots. This is why the old stain needs to be stripped before applying a new stain. Armstrong-Clarke has an oil-based line of stains that requires no stripping and will not create the shiny spots. They also make a line of stains infused with a fire-retardant which can also be used on architectural shingling. Cabots is the manufacturer of the more traditional stain, which applies as a single coat and will need to be stripped and reapplied every two to three years.
As with paints, we have interior and exterior stains and clear coats. The biggest change in the last 10 years has been the formulations of the stains in order to meet new environmental standards. Differences between clear coats are in how the molecules bond to each other. So its important to use the right product taking that into consideration. Over the years, thanks to our close association with the various paint and stain manufacturers, we have been given samples of the different products out there in order to try them out and give feedback about the workability and final look of the products. This has enabled us to develop in-depth knowledge of which products provide the best results in any given scenario.
The main thing about stains is color. More often then not, we are asked to match stains to an existing color. We mix the stain ourselves, match the color on site, and on the rare job where we are not able to match the color, we have access to a lab we can send a sample in to in order to create a match under laboratory conditions.
Interesting Side Note:
All manufacturers have superior grade paints and economy grade paints. Ironically, the economy grade paints are generally called “Contractor Grade” paints. We use the premium grade paints because we want to provide you with the most lasting value possible.
Alamo Painting Inc. Lic #793866 ~ Phone: (925)743-2626.