Monday, September 1, 2014

Why Contractors Should NOT Pressure-Wash Wood Siding Before Painting

By Bentler Painting (Vince Bentler) and Kelly Hopkins

Most painting contractors in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre areas use pressure-washing as their magic bullet to cleaning wood houses before painting.  The loose and peeling paint will be lifted up and blow off right off the wood siding and trim from the "power" of the water.  Painting contractors often see it as a way to save time during a project and avoid the labor-intensive task of hand-scraping loose paint off a house board-by-board.

However, to achieve a long-lasing paint finish, the cleaning phase during the preparation process of wood houses must be approached differently than it would for other types of siding such as aluminum, vinyl, and masonry.

Why?  Moisture is wood's worst enemy.  Pressure-washing forces incredibly high levels of water into the wood's pores.  Even a pressure-washer set on a low setting is strong enough to push moisture into the existing film(s) of paint, into the wood pores, and reach underneath the backside of the wood siding itself which is a cause for concern with mold formation.  Several weeks of dry time is often still not enough time for the wood to become fully dry. Although the surface of the wood may feel dry to the touch, moisture still lays in the deeper levels of the wood.

So, what happens to the new (and existing) layers of paint after the house is power-washed?  As the home's wood siding heats up each day from being hit with the sun's rays, the lodged-in moisture will try to escape, and it will do so by lifting areas of the paint off in bubbles.  The appearance of peeling paint won't happen instantly on the freshly-painted home; but, very noticeable areas of peeling paint will be seen after only 2 years.

Well then, how should a painting contractor clean a wood house before painting?  The proper method of cleaning wood siding and trim is to apply a house cleaner, tsp, or bleach/water with a spray nozzle hose and scrub the siding by hand with a siding cleaner brush.  Next, rinse off the cleansing solution with a the gentle spray of a simple garden hose.  The wood siding and trim will be ready for the next stages of the painting preparations within a few days of dry time.

If you are a wood house homeowner in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre areas and would like your new paint job to last a long time, it is highly advisable to choose a contractor who does not use a pressure-washer to clean the wood surfaces before painting.  Yes, this may seem very hard to believe since pressure-washing has become extremely "trendy" around here the past decade or so.

Most home builders and carpenters would "cringe" at the thought of a painting contractor applying water from a pressure-washer to wood house, and so should you.

Bentler Painting specializes in wood house painting; if you have any questions for us, feel free to contact us via our Google+ page or our website, and we would be happy to help you out.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Wood House Painting Demo, Scranton PA, Bentler Painting

By Bentler Painting (Vince Bentler)

Bentler Painting of Scranton, PA specializes in painting and repairs of wood-sided houses.  Watch this video to see Master Painter Vince Bentler demonstrate how he first prepares the wood surface with scraping and priming, followed by top-coating with paint.

Our method of painting wood houses achieves a long-lasting finish, and we stand by our high-quality workmanship with a 5 year warranty on every wood house we paint.

At Bentler Painting, we are customer and quality driven.  This is precisely why we take the proper steps with our house painting services to ensure our customers are satisfied with the long-term results and the monetary investment they are making in their home.

If you need house painting services in the Scranton, PA area for wood siding and/or wood trim, please watch the video below to see what Bentler Painting can do for you.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Wood House Painting in Scranton, PA - Hand-Brushing vs. Spraying

By Bentler Painting (Vince Bentler) and Kelly Hopkins

Vince Bentler of Bentler Painting, Scranton, PA hand-brush painting a wood house
For a superior end result when painting a wood house in Scranton, PA, hand brushing is the best choice for a home owner.

So, I bet you are wondering why hand-brushing is the higher-quality option over spraying?    

Hand-brushing pushes the paint into the wood pores.  It gets the paint into more holes, cracks, crevices, and knots; therefore, providing a more uniform, long-lasting, and protective seal for your home.

If you decide on a painting contractor who sprays wood houses, yes, it will be faster and cheaper for you; however, it is important to remember that spraying does not provide the same level of protection as hand-brushing and a spray finish usually starts showing the signs of aging at around 3 years.  In fact, I have seen wood houses that were sprayed with the paint already peeling off after only 1 year! 

Also, spraying wood often results in unevenness because of the inability of the paint to get into the nooks and crannies of wood.  If the paint is sprayed on too heavy, too lightly, or inconsistently, that can also cause an uneven looking appearance to the paint color on the house.

A hand-brushed wood house will last a long time, generally a minimum of 7-10 years (provided the contractor is skilled, performs the proper surface preparations, and uses quality paint.)  

In addition, hand-brushing wood is cleaner than spraying because there are no worries of over-spray and/or wind drifting sprayed paint onto neighbor's houses, cars, personal property, etc.

At Bentler Painting, we specialize in hand-brush painting of wood houses.  Click on the link to the Wood House Painting page at the Bentler Painting website to learn more -




Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Getting What You Pay For, House Painting in Scranton, PA

By Bentler Painting (Vince Bentler) and Kelly Hopkins

Bentler Painting is a registered home improvement contractor in the 
Scranton, PA area and has been doing business for nearly 20 years.  
In that time, I have learned that not only are there varying degrees of 
skill level in painting contractors, but various "levels" in the way they 
price themselves.

This brings me to my next point.  There is a saying, "You get what you pay for."  When a homeowner selects a painting contractor to perform work at their home, it is important to remember this - there are three types of painting contractors - the low-end, the middle, and the high-end.  

So, which one does the customer pick?  Let's break it down. 

The low-end priced painting contractor mainly focuses on two things: production and materials. 

With "production" what I mean is "cranking out" or "turning over" as many jobs as they can, as quickly as they can.  And, as far as "materials" it means using the cheapest products that they can get their hands on.

For a low-end painting contractor to make a profit, they must use low-quality products and sell a very large amount of jobs.  Think of it as the "Walmart Painting Contractor."

What does all this mean?  Well, it means low-end painting contractors are not quality and customer conscious and do not take the time to perform proper preparations.  Combine that with cheap, inferior materials and it is a recipe for problems.

With low-end painting contractors, the customer loses money and pays more in the long run.  Why?  Because the customer will have to have the work done again in a short amount of time because the job wasn't done right the first time. 

For example, when you buy a cheap pair of sneakers, you do not get much time wearing them before they start to fall apart.  Well, the same concept could be applied to house painting - the paint on your house will be peeling and/or fading in a year or two so after being painted by a low-end painting contractor.  

Next, the middle-end priced painting contractor.  These contractors do substantially better quality work and use quality materials.  They are more experienced in both business and their trade.  Middle-end contractors' prices will definitely be higher than the low-end painters; however, middle-end painters work both effectively and efficiently, so the extra price is a good investment.

Middle-end painting contractors job cost the work correctly and they do the job right the first time.  Their work stands the test of time which is usually reflected in a warranty being included in the contract.  The customer saves money in the long-run in not having the job done over and over again.  Everybody wins.

And lastly, the high-end painting contractors.  These contractors are set-up for those customers who want "the best."  High-end painting contractors do outstanding work, go to the most extreme levels in preparations, use high quality materials, and warrant their work.  These bids generally will come in at highest price.  

Because high-quality paint jobs cost the most, high-end painting contractors usually have a specific target market - quite simply, it's customers who purchase many different types of high-quality products and services for their home on a regular basis.

Lastly, it's important to remember that sometimes customers have more elaborate details within the architecture of the interior and/or exterior of their homes.  If the scope of the exterior painting or interior painting work is extremely involved requiring painters to have very advanced skills, use special equipment, or to have to carry out caution which is above and beyond normal, expected reasonable caution, these painting bids will come in high.  So, in these instances, it would be wise for the homeowner to choose a middle-to-high end painting contractor because these painters will take the proper steps and have the proper skills and expertise to get the job done right.

The word "value" means different things to different people; so, whether it's a high-end, middle-end, or low-end priced painting contractor, the customers ultimately are "getting what they pay for." 

Friday, March 7, 2014

Exterior House Painting Costs in Scranton, PA

By Bentler Painting (Vince Bentler) and Kelly Hopkins

If you live in the Scranton, PA area and plan to get the outside of your house painted this year, you probably will have several estimates to choose from, and most likely price quotes that are quite different from each other.  

Bentler Painting of Dunmore, PA is here to help you make some sense out of house painting estimates and how to choose a painting contractor.

First, there is no "average" price that can be set to paint a home; however, there are many websites on the internet giving homeowners "average" house painting costs.  My advice is to disregard these figures you may come across when searching exterior house painting cost.

Let's consider the size of the job.  Is your home a small, one-story ranch or a 3500 sq. foot, 3-4 story Victorian?  Also, how is your house sided?  Is it wooden or have aluminum, stucco, vinyl, concrete?  Is the siding in disrepair, or still in fair condition?  The money you spend on materials and labor will vary significantly because of this.

Now, let's focus on two words I mentioned in the above paragraph "labor" and "materials."

First, "labor" - Proper surface preparations are the key to a long-lasting finish.  This is the most important step in house painting.  If a painter just slaps a coat of paint on the siding of your house without properly cleaning, scraping, filling, caulking, and priming, you will be lucky to get two to three years tops from your paint job before it is peeling or fading. 

The skill level of the painter is also very important, so hiring an experienced painter is always a wise choice.  

Also, is the person who comes to look at your painting project, meets with you, and gives you the estimate the person who will be actually painting your home?  The person who "sells" you the job isn't always the person who "paints" it, so finding out who exactly will be completing the work is important.

Checking the credentials of the painting contractor is a must!  Ask them for a list of references and call these folks up - ask them questions such as "Were you happy with the overall quality of the work?", "Did the contractor communicate well with you during the project?", "Were they courteous, show up when you expected, and respectful of you and your property?", "Did the job wind up costing what you agreed?, If not, why?"

Ask for a copy of their state registration and proof of insurance.  These steps aren't always 100% fool-proof, but a painting contractor who is at least a "legal" business is most often a step in the right direction in making your choice. 

Did you get a contract?  Ask for a contract and get it in writing.  Read it over closely and ask questions.  What about a warranty?  Good exterior painting contractors always warrant their work.

Pricing - There are painters out there giving homeowners very low bids for jobs.  Please be aware of this.  If it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is.  Don't give in to these painters promising quality work at low prices.  It just doesn't happen that way and you will be disappointed.  

For a house painting price to be low, the quality has to suffer somewhere.  It could be by using cheap materials, paying cheap labor to inexperienced painters, or by cutting corners in surface preparations.

Second, "materials" - There are different levels of quality in the brands of paint a contractor can choose from to paint the exterior of your home.  Cheap, low-quality paint can run as low as $10-15 a gallon, where premium, high-quality paint can run as much as $75 a gallon.  This can affect why some bids are higher than others.  Again, I recommend going with the painters who use the better quality, mid-to-high-level priced paint.  

Ask the painting contractor what brand he or she will be using and do little research on the brand if you are not familiar with it.

Cheap paint is less durable and will peel, crack, and blister in a short amount of time.  Combining cheap paint with little-to-none surface preparation, is a recipe for a bad paint job which you will regret in the long-run.

I bet it is starting to make sense now for you why some exterior house painters cost more than others.  It comes down to the overall level of quality your house will receive during the entire process of surface preparation and painting.  You will get a beautiful, long-lasting finish from painting contractors who are experienced, perform thorough surface preparations, and use quality paints, primers, stains, and tools.

So, how important to you is the overall "level of quality" your home receives for exterior painting?  Answering that question will lead you in the right direction in choosing a painting contractor.