Archive for March, 2011

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.


Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »