Painters often tint primer close to the color of the top coat, but Wallis thinks that's a recipe for "holidays," or missed spots. Instead, he tints his primer a contrasting color. "If I can see the color coming through, I know I need to apply more paint," he says. On the cottage shown in this story, he chose a gray-blue primer to go under a peach top coat.

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A thorough scrubbing is a must before painting any exterior surface. It removes the dirt and broken-down paint residues that keep fresh coats from adhering and gets rid of mildew that grows on paint in all but the most arid climates. Most contractors clean with pressure washers, but in the hands of someone unfamiliar with the equipment, these can gouge wood, shatter glass, and drive water behind siding and trim. Using a hose, a pump sprayer, and a scrub brush is slower but safer, and just as effective.
Deciding which paint to use has gotten much easier now that acrylic latexes have pushed oil-based paints almost to extinction. The acrylics offer superior performance (they don't harden with age, the way oils do, so they move and breathe without blistering), they don't mildew as readily, and they emit fewer VOCs, so they comply with new air-quality regulations. They also work over both oil- and water-based primers. Thornton House Painters
"Father son, Leonardo and Michelangelo as I would like to call them (Rick & Richard in fact). Did the interior trim of myn1,600 unit, master bathroom some ceilings and loads of touch up in all rooms. Professional, no mess, great advice on what made sense, timely and efficient. They took 2 days to do a job that I though would take longer - done really well and done to the budget. I would recommend them and will be using them again for another paint job I have coming up." Thornton House Painters

Walls should be wet down before getting scrubbed, then washed with a gallon of water mixed with 1 cup chlorine bleach and 1 cup of either a concentrated, phosphate-free cleaner, such as a trisodium phosphate (TSP) substitute, or Jomax House Cleaner. Working in sections, from the bottom to the top, will avoid streaks. Be sure to rinse walls well before the solution dries. Wood siding and trim should be ready to paint after a day or two of dry weather. Thornton Home Painting


"Highly professional and excellent workmanship.I'm very pleased with the paint job and recommend them highly.I researched 3 painters with 3 different prices and because of their sincere demeanor and detailed explanation I selected " Best Handyman in-town" who presented me with the middle price. I would certainly use them for any future tasks I have need for. " Thornton House Painters
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