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There are some great resources on the web that show us what the latest colour trends are. One of our favorites is from Akzo Nobel. The company has produced a magazine like experience online that not only shows you what the current colour trends are but explains the thinking behind the colour selections.

Go to http://www.colourfutures.com/ Click on the “Download Colour Futures Book” button and flip through the pages to view the creative photography that illustrates the use of many of the latest colours. When you flip through the online book you will see that neutral colours tend toward gray or have a grayed influence. You will also see lots of full bodied hues, hushed pastels. chic neutrals and edgy brights.

Grays are also prevalent in Benjamin Moore’s colour trends for 2012. Visit http://www.benjaminmoore.com/en-ca/for-your-home/colour-trends-2012 to view the four colour themes the company has selected for the year. While exploring each theme you can see how one room takes on a dramatically different look with the selection of alternate colours.

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There are many epoxy flooring products on the market to choose from to finish a
garage, patio or basement concrete floor. Numerous do it yourself water based
products are available from big box stores or on line. Advertisements on TV or
the internet combined with a relatively low price and relative ease of use make
these products seem like an attractive solution for the home owner. However,
a product that fails or delaminates due to hot tire pick up may not be the most
cost effective solution when you factor in disappointment along with the cost of
removing or replacing these products in a few short years.

Preparation of the concrete floor is key to a durable and long lasting finish.
Many products purchased on line or at home centres recommend acid etching
the concrete floor prior to the application of the epoxy. The problem with acid
etching is two fold. First, the acid has to be applied and then washed off the
concrete. Flushing the acid onto the adjoining driveway can damage it or at a
minimum cause a colour change. Second, and more importantly, acid etching
does not remove the laitance or powdery top layer of the concrete and as a result
a weak bond will exist between the concrete and the epoxy. Please note, to
avoid lung damage and burns it is very important to wear the proper respirator,
eye protection and rubber gloves when working with muriatic acid!

As professionals we have the proper tools to prep your concrete floor. We
diamond grind the floor to open up the concrete so that the first coat of epoxy
sinks into the concrete creating a monolithic bond. The epoxy and the concrete
become one creating a very durable finish. Cracks in the floor are ground with a
v-shaped crack chaser and filled with a flexible epoxy filler. Any spalled or salt
damaged areas are prepped and filled with an epoxy slurry to level the floor.

Another problem with the products that can be purchased on line or at home
centres is that they are water based and typically contain only 50% solids. When
the water evaporates out of the product during the curing process the consumer
is left with a relatively thin layer or product that may not be all that durable and
long lasting.

The epoxy product that we use from Crown Polymers (www.crownpolymers.com)
is 100% solids and does not shrink when curing. With twice the film thickness
when cured this is a tough, durable product. Be aware that not all professional
grade products are the same. Some yellow when exposed to sunlight. We use a
Crown product that contains UV inhibitors and does not yellow.


In summary, for the homeowner tempted to try a do it yourself epoxy product, it is
important that the right epoxy is used along with proper preparation techniques to
avoid disappointment. Using an application contractor who has the knowledge,
tools and products to do the job right may in fact provide the best long term value.

Homeowners should carefully examine the exterior of their home at least once a year to determine the condition of any painted surfaces. Early detection of problems can prevent damage of wood surfaces and expensive repairs.

Some common exterior paint problems with illustrations from the Paint Quality Institute are as follows:

1. Cracking and flaking – this may be due to poor surface preparation or use of an inferior quality paint that has poor adhesion. Exposed wood should be taken care of before damage becomes costly.

 

 

 

 

2. Peeling – the loss of one or more layers of paint may be due to moisture that is coming from the roof or walls. Check to see if there is a possible roof or eaves trough leak that needs repair. Another cause once again may be the use of poor quality paint.

 

 

 

 

3. Chalking – is the formation of a fine powder on the surface of the paint due to weathering. Some surface chalking is fine, but when it becomes excessive the surface should be properly cleaned and painted.

 

 

 

 

4. Mildew – is characterized by black, grey or brown spots on the paint surface. It is usually found in damp areas or areas with a northern exposure with little sunlight. This problem must be treated with either a bleach solution or a commercially available mildewcide. Mildew will re-appear if painted over in as little as six months or a year so treatment before painting is a must!

 

 

 

5. Fading paint colour – often occurs on surfaces with a sunny southern exposure. It is more common with

poor quality or dark coloured paint.

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you experience any of the above problems with the paint on your home call Limited Edition Painting & Decorating at 519-666-3940 or e-mail robg@LimitedEdition.on.ca. We have the knowledge, staff and products to solve any of the above problems.

There are some impressive online resources to keep us up to date on the latest colour trends in interior design. A great site by AkzoNobel (makers of ICI, Dulux and Glidden paint) is www.colourfutures.com

Click on the “Download the Colour Futures” icon to download the Colour Futures book. You can flip through the online version of the book to experience not only the current colour trends but also the thinking and the themes behind the choices of the colours. The wonderful and creative photography gives you a real feel for the colours and their potential application.

 

Another good site is from Style at Home magazine.

See http://www.styleathome.com/decorating-and-design/colour/2011-paint-colour-trends/a/33307

While there are fewer colours on this site, once again, the photography is excellent. You can also get some great decorating ideas by browsing the Style at Home site.

Wallpaper removal can be made a lot easier and a lot less frustrating by following a few simple tips.

Usually wallpaper has two layers – a top layer that can be readily separated from the bottom layer glued to the wall. Remove the top layer by finding a seam at the bottom of the paper where you can separate the top from the bottom with a puttyknife. Starting at the bottom corner slowly pull upwards while trying to remove as large a piece of the top layer as possible.
To remove the bottom layer of wallpaper we use a wallpaper removal solution called “DIF” in the liquid form that can be purchased from many paint stores.Other brands of wallpaper removal solution may be equally effective.

Follow the directions on the label for diluting the wallpaper removal solution inwater. We use a garden sprayer to apply the DIF although a bucket and sponge works just as well. Wet down an area of the wallpaper backing with the DIF solution and let it soak in for 10 minutes. Repeat the procedure two more times(for a total of 3 applications) before attempting to remove the backing.

Use a dull 3” or 4” stiff drywall knife to scrape off the wet backing paper. Be careful not to damage your walls with the drywall knife during the removal process.

For tough jobs you may want to try renting a steamer. Be careful – steamers arevery hot and you have to be careful not to scald or burn your hands. Steamers can also damage drywall if left on one place too long. If you are having difficulty or you find you are damaging your walls during the removal process – STOP. It may be cheaper to call a professional who has the experience and know how to get the wallpaper off with a minimum of damage and cost, rather than continue yourself, and cause major damage to your walls.

If you intend to paint the walls make sure you wash the walls with a T.S.P.solution to remove any remaining glue. Heavy glue residue can be removed byusing a circular motion with a stiff bristle brush or heavy duty scouring pad and the T.S.P. solution.

Choosing the right painting contractor is important if you want to avoid frustration, disappointment and possible damage to your home. There are a number of factors you should consider that will make your painting project smooth and enjoyable.
Start your search by selecting a contractor who is a member of a program such as RenoMark (www.renomark.ca ) and has agreed to abide by a code ofconduct, a code of ethics and must provide a written warranty. Another good place to start is the Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.org). Look for companies that have been in business for over ten years, have no consumer complaints and an A+ rating.

The quality of the painting you receive is directly related to the quality of the painting staff doing the work. Ask how long the painting contractor has been inbusiness. Question the years of experience of each staff member. I wouldn’t want a $10 per hour painter with two years experience painting my home and you should not accept that either. Inexperienced or poorly trained painters may damage your floors and furniture or spill paint on your brick or siding. They may not know proper preparation or paint application techniques.

Ask whether the painters that will be working in your home are employees of the company or sub-contractors. Some contractors will come to your home and sell you on how great they are only to give the job to a sub contractor whose only concern is to get the job done in the minimum amount of time and as cheaply as possible. That is not a recipe for a quality job.

Make sure that the contactor you select is going to provide you with a top quality paint that not only looks good but is more washable and less prone to fading. Inquire what brand and quality of paint is included in the contractor’s proposal. Benjamin Moore for example has many different qualities of paint ranging from the cheap chalky stuff that is quite often used in new home painting to some excellent quality top line paints. For exterior painting, using an inferior quality paint is a recipe for disaster and may result in a paint job that starts to flake and peel in as little as a year.

Proper preparation is another key to a quality job. Find out what level of preparation is included in the painting contractor’s proposal. For exterior painting that means washing of all painted surfaces, scraping loose paint, sanding, caulking of any gaps and priming of any repaired, damaged or rusted areas. For interior painting find out what level of wall prep is included. Are nail pops, dents and dings to be filled? Is sanding of ceiling, walls and trim included? What about caulking of baseboards, crown molding, window and door trim?

With any paint job things can go wrong. On interior paint knots can bleed through and caulking can crack. Because of our cold Canadian winters exterior paint can crack and peel. You need to be protected if something does go wrong.Ask your prospective contractor if there is a written warranty and how long the work is guaranteed.

Who would pay if your hardwood floor was damaged or paint was spilled on your brick or siding? Make sure the contractor has liability insurance to cover you in case your property is damaged. To protect yourself ask for a copy of the contractor’s liability insurance policy.

Who would be liable if a painter fell off a ladder and couldn’t work for a year? To avoid being sued if there is an accident on your property make sure that the contractor is covered by the Workplace Safety Insurance Board and ask for a clearance certificate to prove that all payments to WSIB are up to date.

Watch out if the price from one contractor is way below that of the others who have given you estimates. He or she is probably going to cut corners and give you headaches and disappointment.

Once you decide which contractor you are going to hire get a written contract. The contract should include the all aspects of the work to be done, the exact price and the time frame for the work to be done.

Beware of cash deals. Those contractors who offer you a deal to avoid paying taxes are not likely to be the ones who are honest and do what they say they are going to do. Remember if a contractor is willing to cheat the government he or she is probably willing to cheat you! Also, without a signed contract and a record of payment you have no recourse if something goes wrong and the contractor refuses to come back.

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