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Before deciding to “do it yourself” or hire the cheapest painter in the phone book, there are several factors that suggest the lowest price may not be the best value.
- Safety – Painting can be hazardous work, whether it’s working on a ladder, dealing with solvents and dust or disposing of hazardous materials. Hiring a professional contractor means that you don’t have to worry about these problems.
- Health – If your building was finished before 1978, it was most likely painted with a lead-based paint (this can cause serious health effects when it is scraped or sanded in preparation for repainting.) A professional contractor will take appropriate steps to protect both himself and you. On June 1, 1999, remodeling contractors (including painters) were required to furnish an EPA produced pamphlet to their customers before they begin any job that involves disturbing lead-based paint.
- Preparation – Getting the surface properly prepared makes all the difference (the best materials perform poorly if the preparation is not proper.) Professional contractors know the value of preparation and will do it right.
- Product Knowledge – Coating choices today are more complicated than just oil or latex, and professional contractors will know what paint systems work, how to use it, and will have the right tools for the job.
- Cleanup and Disposal – During any job there is the definite probability that hazardous waste will be generated. Professional contractors will know how to handle these hazardous wastes and how to dispose of them. This means you don’t have to worry about dealing with paint residues and other leftovers.
Once you have decided to hire a professional contractor for a particular project, selecting the right person or firm becomes a matter of price, size of company, and amount of years in business.
A paint system is a group of compatible products that give a desired result when they are used together. Normally a paint system consists of a primer, finish coat and possibly solvents.
The basic difference is in the binders. Latex paint binds the particles of pigment with a latex such as acrylic or vinyl, while oil paint uses a binder or resin that is derived from a vegetable oil such as linseed or soya bean. Latex paint spills can be cleaned up with a damp rag, brushes and rollers can be cleaned with soap and water. Hands can be cleaned with soap and water.
Paint colors a surface by forming a thin opaque film on a substrate. Stain colors a surface by penetrating into the substrate.
- Good scrubability and stain resistance
- Good hiding ability
- Splatter resistance
- Easier touch up
- Color retention
- Resistance to fading
- Flexibility (to withstand expansion and contraction due to weather)
- Mildew resistant
- Resistance to bleed
The goal of both is to make the finish coat (topcoat) look better and last longer. They do this by providing a variety of properties such as:
- Stain blocking – preventing stains (e.g., water stains on wallboard, ball point pen ink, or resins from a knot in a wood surface) on the original surface from bleeding through the topcoat and becoming visible.
- Corrosion inhibition – provide a moisture barrier between the topcoat and the raw metal surface.
- Chemical isolation – similar to corrosion inhibition in that a primer separates the surface to be covered from the topcoat with an inert material.
- Bonding enhancement – provides a compatible layer between the substrate and the topcoat. (The topcoat may not adhere well to the substrate. The primer adheres to the substrate and provides a surface that the topcoat can adhere to.)
- Surface filling – sealers and primers fill/block the porosity of a wood surface so that it does not absorb the topcoat medium
- Enhanced hide – two effects aid in enhancing the hide capability of the topcoat, a primer provides a more uniform color and it tends to mask any color pattern on the substrate.