Saturday, July 1, 2017

The Art of Wood House Painting

By Kelly Hopkins 
July 1, 2017
            Did you ever walk or drive down a street and stop to gaze at the magnificent facade of a gigantic, stunning Victorian home with three or four different colors painted on it?  Well, Vincent Bentler of Bentler Painting is a professional painting contractor who specializes in exterior painting of these wood-sided beauties.  Vincent has spent the past twenty years perfecting his craft in painting and restoring the exteriors of wood houses to their original glory.  He has learned all of the tricks of the trade, so to speak, on what it takes to get a fresh coat of paint on a wood house to last at least ten years (or much longer).
            It takes an honest-to-goodness love, passion and desire from the painter (and the home owner) to want to preserve the historic attractiveness and character of a wood-sided house that is anywhere from one-hundred to two-hundred+ years old.  Properly preparing the wood for a fresh coat of paint is absolutely the most labor-intensive aspect of the job. 
            First step - clean the outside of the wood house.  It is very important to mention that pressure-washing wood siding before painting is a huge mistake made by many contractors.  They choose pressure-washing because it is quick, easy and convenient; however, it forces incredible amounts of water underneath the wood siding.  The siding will never fully dry after being hit with a pressure-washer, so, as the sun beats down day after day on the new coat of paint, the moisture deep down within the wood is drawn out to the surface, and because of this, the existing coat(s) of paint will begin to peel off within a couple of years.  Vincent's tried-and-true secret is spaying the outside of the home with a mild house cleaner and gently washing it off with a garden hose.  After a few days of dry time, he checks the wood with a moisture meter to be certain it is dry. 
            Step two – Vincent takes a carbide blade and scrapes all of the existing loose paint off every square inch (the entire surface) of the house by hand.  It is unbelievably physically demanding on Vincent to do this necessary step and scraping incurs the highest cost in the labor section of the contract.  Often, the paint may appear intact on the wood, but in actuality it is barely hanging on and falls off after being scraped with a carbide blade.  Scraping ensures the surface is as smooth as possible before primer is applied.  If a painter chooses to skip this step and applies new paint on top of loose paint, the new paint will fall off after a short time.  Vincent also fills/caulks any holes/gaps in the wood siding, sands any rough areas, and repairs or replaces any bad wood within the siding, window frames/trim, and porches.
            Step three – apply (by hand-brushing) a product from Zinsser called “Peel-Stop” which is a triple-thick bonding primer.  It appears milky white when applied and dries clear. This product seals in the existing layer(s) of good paint and creates a smooth, even surface.
            Last step – apply (by hand-brushing) 100% acrylic latex exterior paint.  Vincent flaunts his steady hand and superior brushwork with hand-painting the multiple colors on the trim and accents first.  Stretching with a paintbrush to the left, right and up above his head while standing at the top of a forty-foot ladder, three stories high involves an abundance of talent, experience, and nerve!  The siding and porches are the last parts of the home to receive a hand-brushed coat of paint. 
            These days, most painters are all about “production” which means turning over jobs as quickly as possible.  Many pressure-wash, do little-to-no surface preparations and priming, and use a paint sprayer to apply paint.  This quick, low-cost method may be attractive to price-conscious homeowners, but the lack of quality always results in a wood house with peeling and fading paint within a few years.  You know the old saying, “you get what you pay for.”

            Vincent Bentler's style and approach to painting wood houses truly is an art.  He puts his heart and soul into each project, and the level of quality found in his preparations, products and painting is amazing.  No need for vinyl siding on wood houses with a passionate, old-school painter like Vincent Bentler of Bentler Painting!  
Please visit www.bentlerpainting.com to find out more!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Importance of a Written Painting Contract

By Bentler Painting (Vince Bentler) and Kelly Hopkins

When a homeowner in the Scranton, PA area hires a painting contractor to perform house painting it is extremely important that the scope of the work and other agreed upon terms are spelled out in writing.  Whether it's a large exterior paining project or a small interior painting project of 1 or 2 rooms, have the painting contractor write the details out.

Look it over thoroughly and make sure you understand exactly what is on the piece of paper.  Are you a little confused about something on the contract?  Ask questions.  Maybe it will turn out to only be some painting "lingo" you didn't understand.  No biggie.  But, maybe you and the painting contractor unknowingly misunderstood each other during the estimate/walk-through about the some elements of the exterior painting or interior painting.  Now, that can turn into potential problems.  So, ask for clarification on any uncertainties you may have with the contract before you officially hire the painting contractor.

Also, make sure all of the work discussed during your meeting is listed on the contract.  For example, the painting contractor might forget to list the trim in the rooms for interior painting or a bilco door or porch ceiling for exterior painting.  The total price of the job should have all of the agreed upon work listed at the agreed upon price.  You don't want to get stuck with surprise "add-ons" which put the total cost up when you thought the items were already included.

I have heard many stories over the years during consultations with my Scranton, PA area customers who told me that they were unhappy with some type of past work that was done on their home by another contractor.  Usually, there is a common theme - the work was done without a written contract and was strictly a verbal agreement; or, if there was a contract, it was vague with ambiguous terms.

Keep in mind, even if your interior painting or exterior painting work will be performed by a close family friend or by a company who comes highly recommended by a friend/family/neighbor/co-worker, it is still in your best interest as the homeowner to get all of the details of the job in writing to avoid any possible confusion between either party.

Also, during the course of the painting, if the homeowner and the contractor mutually agree to modify any item(s) in the original contract, make certain the contract is updated to reflect these changes.

Included in the contract should be:
  • The exact scope of the work (the more detail the better and ask questions if unsure about something.)
  • Total cost and a payment schedule.
  • Warranty (warranties are usually included with exterior painting and good exterior painters always warrant their work.)
  • Brands of materials that will be used and whether or not they are included in the price.
  • Approximate start date and approximate time frame to complete the job.
  • The painting contractor's Home Improvement Contractor Registration # (ask for a copy to make sure it is up-to-date.)
It also doesn't hurt to ask for a copy of the painter's insurance and references.

Exterior painting and interior painting are wonderful ways for homeowners to express their creativity, project feelings of comfort, or strike a particular mood with colors to generate an amazing and satisfying atmosphere within the exterior or interior of their homes.

If you are interested in exterior painting or interior painting and live in the Scranton, PA area contact us today by visiting our website: www.bentlerpainting.com