How to Stain a Wood Deck

How to Stain a Wood Deck

Many Central Florida homes have a wood deck, which creates (or expands) a usable outdoor area for relaxation, recreation and entertaining. However, a wood deck requires maintenance to keep it a beautiful asset to your property – as well as extend its life. Decks are exposed to Florida’s harsh environmental conditions – including intense sunlight, triple-digit summer temperatures and heavy rains – which can quickly expedite wear and tear. Staining your deck – and periodic refinishing – are essential to keeping your deck in top condition for years to come.

How to Prepare the Deck

As with all home maintenance and improvement projects, proper preparation is the key to success. Home Depot advises that you thoroughly clean the deck surface before staining to ensure the stain coats are applied evenly and do not peel when dry. The step-by-step process is as follows:

  • Remove patio furniture, potted plants and other items from the deck. 
  • Sweep the deck to remove all leaves and other debris.  
  • Apply wood cleaner to the surface of the deck. Let it remain on the wood surface for about 15 minutes, then work the cleaner into the surface of the deck with a scrub brush. Scrub thoroughly to remove all residue.  
  •  Rinse the cleaner from the deck using a garden hose or a pressure washer equipped with a 45-degree tip set at 1200 to 1400 psi. Spray with the grain of the wood.  
  • Allow the deck to dry, which could take as long as a day or two.  
  • Once the deck is dry, use an orbital sander with 60-grit or 80-grit sandpaper to remove any remaining residue from the deck.  
  •  Pressure washing is also an option for cleaning and prepping the surface of the deck, particularly older decks.


Because a thorough cleaning is necessary to achieving the best result, the importance of pressure washing can’t be overstated. If it’s necessary, you need to decide whether you can (or should) do it yourself, or hire a professional. Our blog post – “Pressure Washing: Should You Hire a Pro or DIY?” – covers this topic in detail, giving you all the information to make this decision.

Important: If your deck is newly built using pressure-treated lumber, the lumber will need to dry for two to four months to allow the deck stain to adhere properly.

After the deck is completely dry, inspect it closely for wood damage. Replace any broken, rotted or warped boards. Check the surface for broken screws or exposed nails and replace them if needed.

You’ll also need to determine whether your deck’s existing stain is water-based or oil-based. According to Home Depot, water-based stains need to be stripped off before you apply a new finish, while oil-based stains can be recoated after you use a deck cleaner. To test the stain, apply a small amount of deck stripper to a small area on your deck – preferably an inconspicuous area. Let it sit for about 15 minutes, then wipe it off with a rag. If the stain comes off, the stain is water-based. Follow the directions on the deck stripper to remove this stain from the deck. If it does not come off, the stain is oil-based. Oil-based stains can be recoated after you use a deck cleaner. 

Important: Water-based and oil-based finishes aren’t compatible. You can’t (or shouldn’t) put a water-based finish over an oil-based finish. 

Tools and Supplies You’ll Need

If you’re staining your deck yourself, Olympic recommends the following basic tools:

  • Natural bristle brush for alkyd oil stains.
  • Synthetic bristle brush for acrylic oil stains.
  •  Large bucket (5 gallons)
  • Stirring sticks.
  •  Roller.
  •  Roller tray.
  • Stain pad with a pole.
  • Painter’s tape.
  • Drop cloth.
  • Rag (for clean-up).
  • Mineral spirits (if using an alkyd stain).


Proper Stain Application Techniques and Tips

Along with proper prep work, proper application sequence and technique will give you pro-perfect results! As DIY expert Larry Bilotti advises in his article for Bob Vila, choose a weekend that does not have rain in the forecast. “If possible, avoid applying the stain in direct sunlight. (Always test the stain on a small area and let it dry to make certain the color is the one you want.)

Interior designer Brian Patrick Flynn is even more specific in his article for HGTV:

“For best results, apply stain when the temperatures are between 50 and 90 degrees, and avoid staining in direct sunlight if possible. Sun dries out stain quickly and can create uneven color or brush marks. Check the weather forecast to make sure you have several dry days ahead.”

Use painter’s tape to protect areas you don’t want stained – such as your home’s siding. Then, sweep the deck one more time to remove dirt and small pieces of debris that may have settled on the surface since the pressure washing or deck cleaning.

Finally, it’s time to get started! Home Depot provides the following instructions:

  • Stir the stain thoroughly before applying and pour into a paint tray. Since exterior finishes have a higher solids content, it’s important that materials are stirred frequently.
  • Apply the stain to a test patch of wood to confirm that you’re satisfied with its color and appearance.
  • Cover the deck surface with towels or a drop cloth below the stair railing and around the balusters and spindles before staining them. They’ll catch falling stain drips and specks and protect the deck surface.  
  • Begin by staining the railings, posts and balusters with a paint brush or hand-held paint pad. Use long, even strokes.  
  • Stain the inner and outer sides of the deck stair handrails.


Next, apply stain to the deck boards. Before beginning, plan an “escape route” to avoid staining yourself into a corner!

  • Stain the deck boards using a paint pad applicator attached to a pole, or a pole-equipped roller. An applicator or roller allows you to cover a large deck surface with stain in less time. It is less labor intensive than staining a large deck with a paint brush by hand and more accurate than using a pressurized sprayer.  
  • Apply one coat of stain in long, even strokes. Usually, one coat will be enough. 
  • Use a paint brush to stain between cracks and in any problem areas.


However, Bilotti recommends using a bristle brush to apply the stain, start by heavily coating the open-end grain of the boards. Then brush two to three boards from one end to the other in long, smooth strokes. To avoid lap marks, make sure that the leading edge remains wet and that wet stain is brushed into wet stain. This may come down to a matter of personal preference in application method, so look at each method and decide which will work better for your situation.

Finally, apply stain to the steps. Use a large paint brush or hand-held paint pad applicator for best results. Deliver an even coat of stain, then if needed, add another coat. 

Important: Don’t over-apply stain. This may cause it to crack or peel when exposed to moisture. Too much stain will also interfere with the drying process and final look.

Let dry at least three days before returning patio furniture and other items to your deck, and start enjoying! However, be sure to keep up your good work. Deck staining needs to be redone about every two to three years. As a general rule of thumb, if water beads up on the deck, the stain is still doing its job.

As you’ve learned, keeping a good stain on your wood deck is essential to its beauty, function and longevity. If you’ve also learned that it’s a process requiring a good deal of work – from preparation to application – that’s what our pros at The Paint Manager are here for!

The Paint Manager has served Central Florida since 2000 with quality professional residential and commercial painting services. Visit our website to learn about many other services we provide – including pressure washing, roof cleaning and stump removal. Become a member of The Paint Manager to receive a 15% year-‘round member’s discount. Contact us to learn more about our services and membership discount offer. We look forward to meeting you!

How to Paint a Wrought Iron Fence

How to Paint a Wrought Iron Fence

A wrought iron fence around your home or garden can make your property look more attractive and elegant. Ranging in styles from ornate to contemporary, wrought iron fencing is popular for its sturdy construction as well as its beauty. But while a wrought iron fence doesn’t need the amount of maintenance a wood fence requires, some upkeep is necessary to prevent rusting and to renew its panache. If your property is graced by a wrought iron fence, there may come a time when it needs to be painted or repainted.

Of course, this poses the question of whether you should do it yourself or hire a painting contractor. Although budget is definitely a factor, attempting the project yourself could wind up becoming too time-and-labor-intensive. When it comes to wrought iron, not doing the job properly can create a sloppy appearance that detracts from its classic style – and also set the stage for future condition issues.

If your fence was installed before 1978, there is a possibility that it – and the exterior and interior of your house – has a coat of lead-based paint. As our blog post – “How to Stay Safe When Painting Homes With Lead-Based Paint” – covers, lead-based paint was commonly used until being banned by the federal government in 1978 as a toxic substance. As long as lead-based paint is covered by one or more coats of non-lead-based paint, it does not pose a health hazard. However, it can become airborne if stripped during repainting or remodeling – at which point it’s dangerous if inhaled or adheres to clothing or exposed skin.

Should you suspect your wrought iron fence has a coat of lead-based paint beneath its current coat, have the paint tested by a lead abatement company before proceeding. The Paint Manager is an EPA Lead-Safe Certified Firm – which means that we are certified to conduct lead-based paint removal, repair and painting activities. Please visit our Certifications & Credentials page to view our certification. Home testing kits are available, but are not particularly accurate.

Prep Work is the Key to Success in Painting a Wrought Iron Fence

When it comes to wrought iron fence painting, carefully performing the preparation work is key to achieving a smooth, even result. Take your time. Patience is a virtue that will pay off! The following instructions are courtesy of Andres Matheu, owner of Hömm Certified Painting Systems, Washington, D.C., in his article for WikiHow.

Step 1: Remove paint and rust

Spread a drop cloth or sheet around the fence – Paint and rust removal is a messy job. Keep your property clean by laying out a sheet or drop cloth to catch falling debris. Avoid doing this job in windy weather.

Use a dust mask, goggles and gloves – Paint and rust debris can irritate your skin, throat and eyes. Wear gloves to prevent cuts and irritation.

Use a metal scraper to remove paint and rust from flat surfaces – Old paint and rust will not allow the new coat to adhere to the surface properly. Use a metal scraper to remove them from the flat surfaces. Scrape back and forth to make the process effective, and be sure you don’t miss any spots.

Use a wire brush to remove paint and rust from curved areas – If your fence has ornamental details, use a wire brush to remove paint and rust from the curved places. Scrub all of the areas you couldn’t reach with the scraper. Rub back and forth to flake off any paint and rust. Use a powered grinder to remove remaining rust spots.

Use 150-grit sandpaper for sanding the fence – Sanding is crucial to prepare the fence for repainting. You can use 150-grit sandpaper to sand the surface. Make sure you sand the whole surface. Use a steady, back-and-forth motion to smooth the rough spots.

Remove any remaining dust – Soak a rag in mineral spirits and rub it over the entire fence, scrubbing hard to pick up remaining residue. Wear gloves during this process. Don’t clean the iron with water, as it can result in rust.

Step 2: Prime the metal

Use an oil-based primer – To avoid rusting, apply the primer as soon as sanding is complete. Oil-based primers are best for outdoor applications because they adhere to the surface properly and resist the elements well. Buy a roll-on or spray metal primer. For roll-on primer, apply in smooth strokes, rolling back and forth to achieve complete coverage. Touch up missed areas with a brush. For a spray primer, spray eight inches from the fence, using a back-and-forth motion. Wear protective gear while spraying; do not spray primer in windy conditions.

Wait two to four hours for the primer to dry, then start painting – The length of time depends upon the type of primer used. Spray usually dries in about two hours; roll-on primer in about four. Weather conditions also affect drying time. Check the fence with your finger to see if the primer has dried, then start painting.  

Choosing the Right Paint and Application Method

Two of the most crucial elements apart from prep work in wrought iron fence painting include choosing the right paint and the application method. Exterior-grade enamel paint will protect your wrought iron fence from rust, corrosion and other environmental conditions. Acrylic-based latex paint has the advantage of expanding and contracting at temperature extremes. While freezing temperatures aren’t a concern in Central Florida, our triple-digit summer afternoons can take a toll on any painted exterior surface.

Capitol City Ironworks recommends a spray paint, as it is easy to work with and provides even coverage of the fence. After applying the first coat, allow it to dry and spray a second coat to provide a thick, protective covering. Pay close attention to crevices, nooks and crannies to ensure you don’t leave any areas exposed.

Should You DIY or Hire a Professional Painter?

We haven’t deliberately made this process appear to be more intensive than it actually is. Successfully painting a wrought iron fence involves a great deal of preparation, painstaking work and meticulous attention to detail. As you’ve probably also gathered, it takes physical stamina. That being said, if you are experienced at remodeling projects and are in good shape physically, you may have the confidence that this is in your wheelhouse.

For most homeowners, however, leaving it to a professional painting contractor is well worth the investment. A professional has the experience and skill, as well as the proper supplies and equipment to get the job done right and safely.

Our team at The Paint Manager has been proudly serving Central Florida homeowners for 20 years with experienced, dedicated and professional services that include exterior and interior house painting, roof repair and cleaning, drywall repair, popcorn ceiling texture removal, cabinet refinishing and so much more!

Plus, become a member of The Paint Manager to receive a 15% year-‘round member’s discount. Contact us to learn more about our services and membership discount offer. We look forward to meeting you!

How to Choose Interior Paint

How to Choose Interior Paint

Whether you’re planning to paint one room of your house, or all of them, choosing a paint color tends to be intimidating. But as if making a decision based upon the dizzying array of color swatches and charts before you at the paint store or home improvement center isn’t challenging enough, you must also select the right type of paint for the project.

At The Paint Manager, we want our readers to make an informed decision about the paint choices they make for their home. Whether you do it yourself or hire a professional painting company, you are always at an advantage when you know the basics!

Water-based vs. Oil-based Paint – Which Should You Use?

Any interior painting project should start with the selection of paint type. It is crucial to know which you should use – water-based or oil-based paint.

If you don’t know which type of paint is on your walls, HomeAdvisor recommends performing this simple test. Dip a rag in acetone (some nail polish removers are 100% acetone) or methylated spirits, then rub on a small section of the wall (in an inconspicuous place, of course). If color rubs off, the paint is water-based; if not, it’s oil-based.

If the existing paint is oil-based, you might prefer to use the same type because it makes your job easier. Water-based paint will not adhere to the glossy finish of oil paint. But if you prefer the matte appearance that water-based paint provides, sand down the walls with fine sandpaper before painting so it adheres properly.

Both types of paint have advantages and disadvantages. Factors include the size of the room you’re painting, the amount of money you’re willing to spend, drying time and convenience. Another factor weighing in your decision may be volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These unstable chemicals let off gasses that can be toxic if inhaled and can contribute to CO2 emissions, which is why the government now regulates them.

Water-based paint

The pros:

  • Less expensive than oil-based paint.
  • More resistant to cracking because it’s more flexible.
  • Drips and spills that may occur during painting are easier to clean.
  • Can clean brushes and rollers with dish detergent and water.
  • Dries to the touch in one hour or less.
  • Resistant to fading, yellowing and discoloration.
  • Available in zero-VOC or low-VOC options.

The cons:

  • Less durable than oil-based paints.
  • Finish isn’t as shiny as oil-based paints, if you want a glossy look.

 Oil-based paint

The pros:

  • More durable than water-based paint.
  • They withstand changes in temperature and humidity well.
  • You can cover the surface in one or just a few coats.
  • Available in different grades of sheen.
  • They’re high-gloss paints that create a glossy finish.

The cons:

  • They take longer to dry.
  • Paint can crack after it hardens if the surface underneath shrinks, as can happen with wood.
  • They tend to give off a stronger odor.
  • Colors can yellow or fade over time.
  • They contain high levels of VOCs.


Types of Paint Finishes and the Best Rooms to Use Each

After the paint type, you need to select the correct paint finish for your interiors. The function of the room to be painted typically has a strong influence on what type of finish should be used. In some situations, the surface to be painted may not have been previously painted. Our blog post – “How to Paint Paneling” – covers methods for painting both laminate and wood wall paneling to provide an updated look.

Houselogic by Realtors® states the situation as follows:

“There’s a basic rule of thumb to follow when choosing paint sheens: The higher the sheen, the higher the shine — and the higher the shine, the more durable it will be. Flat paint has no shine; high-gloss is all shine. In between are eggshell, satin, and semi-gloss, each with its own practical and decorative job to do.”

The Houselogic article provides the following easy guide. We recommend you read the article in its entirety for additional details.

High gloss – The most durable and easiest to clean of all paint sheens, high-gloss paint is hard, ultra-shiny, and light-reflecting. Think appliance-paint tough. High gloss is a good choice for areas that sticky fingers touch, such as cabinets, trim and doors. High-gloss, however, is too much shine for interior walls. It shows every bump and roll underneath, so don’t skimp on prep work.

  • Practical application: kitchens, door, and window trim
  • Durability: very high

Semi-gloss – Good for rooms where moisture, drips, and grease stains challenge walls. Also great for trim work that takes a lot of abuse.

  • Practical application: kitchens, bathrooms, trim, chair rails
  • Durability: high

Satin – Has a rich luster that, despite the name, is often described as velvety. It’s easy to clean, making it excellent for high-traffic areas. Its biggest drawback is that it reveals application flaws, such as roller or brush strokes. Touch-ups later can be tricky. 

  • Practical application: family rooms, foyers, hallways, kids’ bedrooms
  • Durability: high

Eggshell – Between satin and flat on the sheen (and durability) scale is eggshell, so named because it’s essentially a flat (no-shine) finish with little luster, like a chicken’s egg. Eggshell covers wall imperfections well and is a great finish for gathering spaces that don’t get a lot of bumps and scuffs.

  • Practical application: dining rooms, living rooms
  • Durability: medium

Flat or Matte – A friend to walls that have something to hide, flat/matte soaks up, rather than reflects, light. It has the most pigment and will provide the most coverage, which translates to time and money savings. However, it’s tough to clean without taking paint off with the grime.

  • Practical application: adults’ bedrooms and other interior rooms that won’t be roughed up by kids
  • Durability: medium-low

When to Use Primer

Paint primer is designed to provide a stable surface that subsequent paint layers can lock onto, and also helps to hide surface stains. However, people have different views about the use of primer. Nearly all paint manufacturers recommend applying one or two coats to get better results. Paint contractors who charge by the hour may recommend using a primer, while those who charge by the job may not be too keen to do so – especially if they are responsible for buying the materials.

DIYers usually want to skip priming if they can, often basing this decision on factors such as cost, time and patience. As they may learn to their regret, passing on the primer for these reasons if the walls need it is counterproductive, and will produce a poor result – requiring additional expense to correct. Rather than crossing your fingers and hoping for the best, The Spruce provides the following guideline to help you determine if you need to apply a primer.

Porous surfaces – A highly porous surface usually means that primer is needed. Newly installed drywall is highly porous in two ways: the bare facing paper on drywall and the dried joint compound covering the seams. Bare wood is even more porous and always requires a primer. Masonry such as retaining wall blocks and bricks need paint primer.

Skim-coated drywall – A skim coat is a thin swipe of drywall compound laid over bare drywall. Considered a level five finish, the highest grade possible, a skim coat is not something you encounter often. But as with bare wood or drywall paper, it is highly porous and thus requires at least one coat of primer before painting.

Glossy existing coat of paint – Glossy base coats do not hold paint well. A light scuffing with sandpaper and a coat or two of primer will help the color coat stick. Even if you decide not to scuff that glossy sheen, using a primer will help subsequent coats stick. Plastics and glossy paints nearly always require some type of roughening of texture prior to painting.

Changing from a dark to light paint color – Avoid the problems that come with repeatedly laying down expensive light-colored paint over darker colors. Instead, first treat the surface with two layers of white primer if the existing color is extremely dark.

Tip: When going from a light color to a dark color, most paint retailers have the ability to tint your primer. This brings the color of the primer closer to that of the wall finish color, reducing the number of primer coats and color coats you need to lay down.

Stained surface – Spotted or stained surfaces benefit from a coat or two of priming before painting. Consider using thicker primers such as Kilz 2 or Kilz Max for these conditions.

Now for a word about self-priming paint. As The Spruce points out, it’s not the easy solution that many homeowners assume it to be. This essentially is a paint that is thicker than regular paint. “Because it is thicker, it builds up higher and forms a thicker coat. It is preferable to use a separate primer and paint. But if the walls are basically in good condition, you can use a combination paint and primer.”

However, “Laying down a thicker paint build makes for a weaker coat that takes longer to dry. Additionally, the higher per-unit cost, and the possible need for more than the advertised single coat, means that it may not end up being a money or time saver.”

The Take-Home Message and the Importance of Making Good Decisions

Choosing the right type of paint for your project is essential to achieving the desired results. The optimum paint finish provides both beauty and durability for years to come, making your home more inviting and comfortable. If you’re enthusiastic about DIY home improvements and have the experience, comfort level and appropriate equipment to tackle the job, we’ve hopefully given you additional knowledge about the paint selection process.

If you’d rather leave it to the pros, our team at The Paint Manager has been proudly serving Central Florida homeowners for 20 years with experienced, dedicated and professional services that include exterior and interior house painting, roof repair and cleaning, drywall repair, popcorn ceiling texture removal, cabinet refinishing and so much more!

Plus, become a member of The Paint Manager to receive a 15% year-‘round member’s discount. Contact us to learn more about our services and membership discount offer. We look forward to meeting you!

How Much Should a Quality Paint Job Cost?

How Much Should a Quality Paint Job Cost?

Painting the exterior of your home is a major project. Not only is it a sizable job – assuming you don’t live in a tiny house – but it needs to be done quickly, once all of the prep work has been completed. Interiors are a different story, as in most cases, only one room or area may need painting. In other cases, all rooms may require painting within a specific timeframe – such as if you’re selling your house.

However, painting your house – exterior or interior – isn’t a project you do on a frequent basis. If it’s been awhile since the last time, you’re probably wondering how much a good paint job should cost if you hire a professional. While painting is a big part of our business at The Paint Manager, there are numerous reasons you should go with a pro rather than do it yourself.

Advantages of Hiring a Professional Painting Contractor

As a homeowner, you can take up many types of home improvement projects on your own. But painting is one that requires skill and experience. There are many advantages to hiring a professional painting contractor. Our colleagues at Marc Poulos Painting, Chicago, provide the following list.

A pro does the prep work – In order to ensure a high-quality result, a home’s exterior needs to be prepped before the first drop of paint goes on. This includes the following:

  • Recaulking windows to provide a proper seal, as caulk deteriorates over time.
  • Scraping off chipped paint.
  • Repairing holes, surface cracks, etc.
  • Removing window screens (if applicable).
  • Covering plants around the house to protect them from paint splatters.


They know how much paint the job will take – Unlike a typical homeowner, a professional painting contractor can accurately estimate the amount of paint a project requires. Homeowners who take the DIY approach often over- or underestimate, resulting in a desperate run to the paint store or home center in the latter case, or cans of unused paint stored in the garage in the former.

Assistance in selecting paint colors – Experts recommend using a palette of three colors for house exteriors. If you haven’t yet selected one from paint manufacturers’ color guides, a professional painting contractor can help you choose the best colors to complement the architectural style and surroundings of your home.

High-quality paint application – Assuming you take the time to do your homework and hire a reputable painting contractor, a professional has the expertise to apply paint evenly and without runs or splotches of paint in the wrong places. A pro knows the correct methods to prevent the base color from getting onto the trim and vice versa – and will do a thorough job of cleaning paint spills while working.

Safety first – A professional painting contractor has the proper work equipment and personal protective equipment (PPE) to perform each phase of the job safely. Homeowners taking the DIY approach aren’t likely to have the appropriate equipment, and often will try to “make-do” with the wrong ladder for the job – for starters.

Licensed and insured – A legitimate professional will be licensed and insured to protect the homeowner from liability should an accident or mishap occur. Think about this if you’re considering hiring your neighbor to help you out should you decide to DIY. How confident are you that he won’t sue if he falls off a ladder and injures himself?

Complete cleanup – After the job is finished, a professional painting contractor will put anything that needed to be removed (such as window screens) back in place, clean up the property and remove work-related debris.

A pro saves you time, labor and money – Last – but certainly not least – hiring a professional saves you the time and labor involved in trips to the paint store/home center, buying or renting equipment, prep work, the paint job itself and cleanup. While you may consider quotes from professional contractors to be expensive, keep in mind that performing all of the above tasks yourself could wind up costing more – even assuming that nothing goes wrong.

Many of the same situations apply to interior paint jobs, which also can be more complex than meets the eye. A professional painting contractor knows how to prep and paint trim, baseboards, moulding, millwork and ceilings – as well as determine the number of coats of paint needed.

How a Professional Painter Determines the Cost of the Job

This raises the reasonable question of how a painting contractor determines the cost of an individual residential project. HomeGuide provides the following breakdown for estimating the cost of an exterior painting project. If you click on the following links, please understand that pricing for each category is very general, and varies according to region, town and other factors.

  1. Average Cost to Paint a House Exterior
  2. Cost By Square Foot
  3. Cost Breakdown To Paint a House
  4. Labor Costs
  5. Paint and Supplies
  6. Costs to Paint Siding
  7. Cost of Paint
  8. Costs to Paint House Features
  9. Additional Exterior Painting Costs
  10. Home Exterior Paint Prep Costs
  11. Exterior House Painting Tips
  12. Choosing Your Paint Colors
  13. Lead Paint Testing & Removal
  14. DIY Exterior House Painting Costs


For interiors, HomeAdvisor provides detailed data for the following:

  1. Interior Painting Cost Calculator
  2. Home Interior Painting Costs
  3. Room Painting Costs
  4. Professionals Labor Rates
  5. Average Labor Time
  6. Painting by Room Size
  7. Cost to Paint a Bedroom
  8. Bathroom
  9. Living Room
  10. Kitchens and Hallways
  11. Cost to Paint a Wall
  12. Interior Painting Pricing Factors
  13. Average Paint Prices


Average Costs for Exterior and Interior Painting

We want to again emphasize that the following represent the national average costs, and are not intended to be taken as The Paint Manager’s pricing. To get our estimate for painting your home, use our convenient Cost Estimator on our website. The Cost Estimator can also be used for any of the home improvement, property improvement and cleaning services that we offer.

The following figures are provided courtesy of Rocket Homes:

Exterior painting

The current average cost to paint a house exterior is $2.50-$4 per square foot. To paint the interior, the average cost is $1.50-$3 per square foot. These prices are contingent on the market in your area and what the features of your home are.

If the average cost for painting the exterior walls of your home averages $3-$4 per square foot, then a 2,400-square-foot home would cost about $7,200. The Painting and Decorating Contractors of America’s most recent estimates for the average cost of labor and materials to have your house professionally painted include all costs in this estimate.

Interior painting

If the cost for painting the interior walls of your home averages $1.50-$3 per square foot, a 2,400-square-foot home would cost about $4,000.

This number could vary greatly depending on if you have a lot of walls or open spaces, if you plan to have the details such as trim and windows updated, and the quality of the materials used.

In order to show how widely national averages vary, This Old House reports that the cost to paint a room can run from $2 to $6 per square foot. Typical range is $955 to $2,890, with $1,892 being the national average.

The Take-Home Message

Hiring a professional painting contractor is the best way to ensure your home looks its best and incorporates the highest possible quality to provide years of beauty and protection. Our blog post – “What You Need to Know Before Hiring a House Painter” – provides valuable information on hiring a reliable, trustworthy professional contractor.

The Paint Manager has served Central Florida since 2000 with quality professional residential and commercial painting services. Visit our website to learn about many other services we provide – including pressure washing, roof cleaning and stump removal. Become a member of The Paint Manager to receive a 15% year-‘round member’s discount. Contact us to learn more about our services and membership discount offer.

When Is The Best Time Of The Year To Have My House Painted?

When Is The Best Time Of The Year To Have My House Painted?

Whether you’re a Florida native, semi-native or recent transplant, those who have the privilege of owning a home in the Sunshine State will one day need to paint it. However, the first two groups presumably have the wisdom of experience on their side, while relative newcomers may be asking, “What is the best time of year to paint my Florida house?” As you may well be suspecting, there is a right answer to this question! Because guessing wrong can have very expensive consequences, our experts at The Paint Manager are here to help!

First, Florida’s climate is semi-tropical. If you’re accustomed to experiencing four distinct seasons, they don’t exist here, which can be confusing. What we do have, Floridians usually classify as “hurricane season” and “dry season.”

Florida weather – rain and paint don’t mix

Hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30, although August and September are typically the most active months. During hurricane season, we also have almost-daily afternoon thunderstorms – which are actually good, as they provide temporary relief from the triple-digit summer temperatures of mid-June, July and August.

Don’t try to paint between the afternoon storms. Paint won’t adhere well to damp surfaces, and the exterior walls may not be completely dry the following day – much less ready for the onslaught of that afternoon’s rain. As for temperature, the maximum should be 90 degrees. Hot weather and direct sun cause paint to dry too fast, which is another reason house painting should be avoided during summer.

In addition, Florida summers are characterized by high humidity – giving rise to that frequent comment, “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.” This not only makes outdoor work more uncomfortable when it isn’t storming, it slows the paint-drying process and increases the possibility of moisture becoming trapped, which eventually will cause bubbling. Even if you hire a professional painting contractor (which we highly recommend), keep in mind that although the crew may be “used” to working in various kinds of weather, they’re human – and are more likely to do a better job if the heat index isn’t 107 degrees and they aren’t drenched in sweat after two minutes under the blazing sun.

Should you not be deterred in taking the DIY route, use special caution in summer. Heatstroke is a real risk.

While the drawbacks of house painting during hurricane season should now be obvious, dry season has its own limited windows of opportunity – so it’s important to make the most of those times.

Can you paint a Florida house in winter?

Definitely, yes! In fact, October through late March are the best months of the year to paint a Florida house! The season is relatively dry, and temperatures never achieve the sustained frigid levels of Northern states. Sunny days are plentiful and pleasant. The earlier in March, the better, however. What we lack in snow, we make up for in pollen.

Pollen season – how bad can it be?

Just as rain and paint don’t mix, neither does pollen and paint. Each spring, every blooming plant in Central Florida simultaneously spews pollen into the air, coating all stationary outdoor objects with a thick yellow layer. As you probably already well know, this includes your car. While it may not be as obvious, this also includes your house. A good observation-based guideline is to not paint while plants are actively producing pollen. Wait until your car stays pollen-free for one week after it’s washed, and you and your co-workers, friends and family have stopped sneezing every 10 minutes.

All right – we admit that may have been facetious, but only somewhat. Even if you pressure wash your house before painting during this annual airborne event, pollen will quickly return in all its sticky, grainy glory, and adhere more tenaciously to your home’s damp exterior (and remain when it dries). Painting over pollen creates a rough, low-quality appearance and shortens the life of the paint job. Being patient will ultimately pay off.

Once the pollen has subsided, the window of opportunity again opens until hurricane season starts. Spring cleaning can include repainting your house, as well as the usual seasonal sprucing-up of landscaping.

Weather conditions may be favorable in mid-November, but as this is typically a busy, demanding time of year for many reasons, it may not be best for home improvement projects.

No matter which season you decide to paint your Florida house, the following steps are essential to achieving the best result:

  • Use high-quality caulk, primer and paint. If hiring a professional painting contractor, you may have already chosen the paint brand and colors. By the way, most pros can help you select colors, if you lack confidence in that area – as well as provide advice on the type of paint that’s best for your home’s building material.
  • Do all prep work carefully and properly – it will help the paint adhere better, and create a smoother surface. If hiring a contractor, discuss such work and make sure it’s included in the estimate.
  • If your house was built before 1978, check for lead-based paint. While there are DIY testing kits available, results aren’t always accurate. Be safe, and hire a lead abatement company to perform the test.
  • If doing it yourself, use the right tools and safety equipment; follow manufacturer’s directions.

Leave it to the pros!

The Paint Manager has served Central Florida since 2000 with quality professional residential and commercial painting services. Visit our website to learn about many other services we provide – including pressure washing, roof cleaning and stump removal. Become a member of The Paint Manager to receive a 15% year-‘round member’s discount. Contact us to learn more about our services and membership discount offer.


5 Ways Painting Helps Peace of Mind

5 Ways Painting Helps Peace of Mind

Green room



Central Florida has taken a recent blow to the heart with the tragic scenes making national headlines. Many have chosen to express their support and their stance on the issues that mean so much to them. Expression has become the vehicle of change; driven by love and freedom.

Where and when do you feel the most free? Is it out in nature, a Cheers-like lounge or maybe a shop catered to what makes you find peace? Or, it’s your home. Your safe haven created by and for you to be simply you. When creating a space that brings you peace of mind and clarity for expression, you should have the color scheme match you in every way.




1. Accent Wall – The eggshell color is a soft, inviting shade that goes perfectly with your kitchen cabinets but you feel the room is missing that little something extra.

  • Perhaps your living room is too dark and needs brightening up. A red wall makes a bold statement while a soft lavender provides a clean contrast that completes most rooms.

2. Nature’s Corner – Have you ever seen those walls that look like the sky? It is quite rare to find a house or office space that was actually built with sky blue plaster walls. A clear, even finish creates a canvas for your clouds, airplanes and any other creative ideas you may have.

  • The night sky, full of stars, planets and other astronomical (or even astrological) put any astronomy buff at ease whenever they lay back.
  • Forest atmospheres are easy to create with the right shades of nature’s beauty.

3. Cultural Contour – Any room can be turned into the world traveler’s oasis with the right color and lighting. The Paint Manager covers the essential bases with an attention to detail only skilled professional painting contractors possess.

4. Classy Exterior – If every house on the row or lane is the same color and NOTHING about you says average, change the color of your home to create a unique place to call home. Beware of HOA regulations!

5. Cool Down Colors – Florida summers can be brutal and inside can turn into a sauna unless you blast the air conditioner 24/7. Try a cooling neutral to turn the feel in the room down as much as possible.

Contact The Paint Manager today for a brainstorming assistance and a quote for the dream space that will give you peace of mind.

“We Honor Our Clients”

“We Honor Our Clients”

Here at The Paint Manager, we run into different clients needing a whole lot of different service needs. Lately, a lot of my clients are in search of some great roofing companies.

Many wonder what will The Paint Manager do? We honor our clients by doing the necessary research to help them go in the right direction. After all, here at The Paint Manager is; Where Your Ideas Become Reality!

We’re a fairly new company that have been serving the Central Florida areas since 2000. Visit our website at

If you don’t have a website to promote your own business needs we offer affordable monthly rates as low as $10 in our classified ads. We also offer a profile page that would allow you to be in front of all of our daily clients for as low as $25 monthly. (coming soon) For companies wanting to be seen in front of all of our daily clients, we offer advertising banners on the front page and pages through our website that would link directly to your on our website. (coming soon) For as low as $300 per quarter or a $1000 for the whole year. You save $200 when you purchase the entire year. We’re growing! The feelings we have are; keep do all we can each day to honor our clients.

Here’s a nice post from Smith and Sons roofing company.

“Everything you need to know about choosing a great roofer.

How do you find a good roofing company nowadays? What should you look for, and what makes them special? Check out our 10 “insider” tips on finding a contractor you’ll feel good about, and get the service you deserve from someone who says they’re the best.

Everybody knows how to pick a good roofing contractor, right? Or, maybe an air conditioning service provider? You check the years they’ve been in business, make sure they have insurance, check out their references, and call the BBB. However, when it comes to quality home improvement in general, these are just minimum standards – the “price of entry.” They don’t necessarily separate the good guys from the bad. Or even the mediocre.

They’re important of course, especially years in business – the average new business lasts only four years. Ernie Smith & Sons Roofing has been around for over 20 years. (Read our story here.) Mature roofing companies carry the least risk. They’ve had time to “prove their stuff” and acquire a good track record. From years in the trenches, they can spot potential problems and minimize surprises – and even absorb the costs of some minor ones from time to time.

Some roofing contractors advertise their “combined years of experience,” which isn’t exactly the same. And some roofers have been roofing all their lives – and changed their name several times!

Though credentials and association memberships can be helpful in your search for a good roofing company, keep in mind here in Texas you don’t need to be licensed. Anybody is free to put a roof on your home. (Being bonded isn’t the same as being licensed and insured.) And ‘certified’ simply means a roofer’s been trained in the application of a particular product. (Which is good.) So to find a good roofing company in Texas, focus on character as well as credentials.

Composition shingles make up the majority of roofs on homes in the U.S. (Read about composition shingles here.) They look better than ever nowadays, and they’re easier to install. The popular Timberline or ‘Prestique’ style composition shingles look great from the street and even make a bad roof job look good. Unless you can inspect things up close, (and know what you’re looking for), don’t let the way a roof looks disproportionately affect your decision to use, or not use, a particular roofing company.

The average homeowner buys a new roof just once in their lifetime. It’s uncharted territory for most. (Unfortunately, people in the Dallas area and along the Gulf Coast aren’t very average.) And obviously, a new roof’s not the most exciting thing to spend your money (or your time) on. So we’ve put together some information to make the process a little easier – not only about finding a good roofing company, but also some ‘insider’ tips on the way they do business and some key questions you should ask

A good roofing company knows what you really want. They want the same thing. Besides a great job, you want the most uneventful and pain-free shopping experience and roof job possible.

If you’ve scoured the internet for finding a good roofer you’ve probably encountered a popular theme – how much does it cost for a new roof nowadays? Although it depends (that’s the popular answer) that doesn’t mean we can’t talk about money. We can do that right now. More specifically, we can talk about what some homebuilders humorously refer to as the “high cost of the lowest bid.” Also known as the “low-ball” bid. So, without further adieu, here’s…

Tip #1. Choosing the right roofer usually means not choosing the cheapest bid – most of the time. Occasionally the better roofing contractor does have the lowest price, for whatever reason. (Maybe one of the in-laws needs a new roof.) But it’s really the exception to the rule. For example, sometimes accidents happen, like maybe a sales person mistakenly measures a roof too small – and then a homeowner is the beneficiary of a price that’s too small.

There’s a reason why cheap companies are cheap. They may be just starting out. To make up for shortfalls, it’s tempting to take shortcuts (like neglecting rotted wood). A cheaper roofer may use inferior materials, not pay their workers enough (or not at all), or ask for more money when the job’s under way. It’s no fun working for nothing – and that frustration may be reflected in the roofing company’s quality of work. The novice is learning at your expense. Though everybody has to start somewhere, you don’t need to feel guilty for not being the guinea pig.

A roofing trade journal says this: “Chances are, unless there’s a really big price discrepancy, for a quality roof with the least amount of a headache, your best bet is to go with the highest bid. More than likely, that’s the roofing company that bid enough in to reflect the real cost of the job.”

Rest assured though, that a good roofing company is very aware of how important price is, especially nowadays, and is usually trying hard to get you the best possible deal.

Prices for a new roof can vary a lot, but generally, the reputable and established roofing companies are usually all in about the same range – all other things being equal. (That is, “apples to apples.”) If estimates differ by a really big margin, call the roofers and ask why.

Good roofing companies know they have to be competitive to stay in business. But they want the job done right – their reputation follows them. City permits (so your job won’t get shut down), proper training, safety measures, equipment maintenance and insurance – they all cost money. And how do you put a price on worker loyalty and years of shared wisdom and experience?

A low bid on a new roof can be tempting, especially if you’re tight on funds. Or even if you’re not! Some folks just cross their fingers and hope for the best. But usually you get what you’re willing to pay for. Remember, the best roof is one you can forget about. (At least as far as function goes.) Thankfully, most honest and trustworthy roofing contractors just want to pay their bills, like everybody else. Everybody loves a deal. We do too. (Know of any used trucks with low highway mileage?) But if it sounds too good to be true…

By the way, if you’re building something brand new, you can still use your own roofer. Tell your builder who you want. A quality roofer will guarantee quality materials are used plus they’ll give you a warranty. It doesn’t cost that much more to use someone you trust. Unfortunately some builders and general contractors favor part-time or unknown roofers. (We’ve gone behind plenty of new ‘finished’ roofs and done touch-up work and repairs.).

Also if you’re building something new, including commercial construction, consider metal (there’s all types nowadays) or lightweight tile. Call Ernie Smith & Sons for information about these lifetime roofs, especially if you’re close to the water.

Tip # 2. Use a roofing company that’s “local,” especially after a bad storm. A quality roofer that’s familiar with your area will get the right permits. They’ll be familiar with local roofing installation codes and procedures, including homeowner association regulations. And they’ll also know about local trends in roof styles and products and building materials in general.

In our hurricane-prone Houston/Galveston area, for example, it’s important to know (and contact) the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association. All coastal counties are required to have all new roofs inspected by either a qualified engineer or TDI inspector (Texas Department of Insurance – click here for info). These inspectors ensure that roofing products are installed per manufacturer’s guidelines, particularly for high wind areas.

There’s no happy way of getting around this – you won’t get insurance, and non-compliance can affect your mortgage and other things. Sometimes the only remedy for failure to comply is to re-do the roof all over again (unfortunately that’s not uncommon). Don’t hesitate to ask a roofing company up front if they can (and will) take care of this for you.

Local roofers know local weather patterns also – that’s important! Also, local area roofers (good ones) have strong affiliations with local suppliers and insurance agents which means faster and better service – priceless when a ravaging storm blows through. And of course, local companies will still be around to honor their warranty when the storm-chasers go back home.

Tip # 3. Look for a roofing company that carries the owner’s name, preferably a company that’s “multi-generational.” These roofing companies are usually well-known, have a good reputation, and obviously have been around a while. We’re a little biased here. That’s because we’re Ernie Smith and Sons Roofing Company. If you’re lucky enough to find one or two of these gems, (even if we do say so ourselves), and if they’re the real thing, then you just might be finished shopping – especially if you have a referral or two. (See tip # 10.)

But it’s true for any business most of the time (not just roofing and remodeling). That is, the risk of soiling the family name makes everybody (usually) try harder. They’re proud of their trade and craft and repulsed by shoddy work. They have a lot invested in standing behind what they do. With so much at stake with a family business, customer satisfaction will take priority over contractual fine print.

Notwithstanding some exceptions, a well-known family roofing business usually means a good, trustworthy roofing business. They’ll have your best interest at heart and put you at ease with their “eyes to the blind” attitude. (Plus it’s harder for them to hide behind important-sounding titles like Chief Operating Officer, or Chairman of the Bored.)

Tip # 4. A roofing company whose employees have worked “in the field” has a tremendous advantage. Try to find a roofing company with salespeople and supervisors, even office personnel, that have hands-on experience. At Ernie Smith & Sons, most of our team is family. We all grew up roofing in the Houston area, in the hot Texas sun. (It was always a good day when promotions came along – like to sales rep, supervisor, or even errand boy.)

Sales reps and supervisors who were once roofers themselves work better with the crew and keep the crew’s comfort and safety in mind. They know firsthand the scorching heat and humidity on a midsummer’s day roof – and when to drop by with refreshments to turn a few worn out guys into a more grateful and hydrated crew.

They also understand proper roofing installation. They know the right ventilation for each individual house. They have more than just book knowledge. They know intuitively what the weather’s going to do – they even speak Spanish! (An advantage in Texas.) Having come up through the ranks, they’ve “been there, done that,” and are a tremendous asset to any roofing company.

Tip # 5. A good relationship with suppliers and vendors is a common trait with good roofing companies. (As we’ve previously mentioned.) It’s not a bad idea to talk to the roofer about this. See who they do business with, and how long they’ve been doing it. These vendors will usually be wholesalers like West End Roofing and ABC Supply, as opposed to retailers like Lowe’s or Home Depot. Some homeowners call up roofing suppliers to get a recommendation for a roofer. But you can also call them to further evaluate and substantiate a roofer you may already have in mind.

Well-established roofing companies usually go back good ways with most of their suppliers, with long-term friendships that transcend traditional business protocol. These relationships are invaluable when you’re in a pinch and need a favor.

Tip # 6. Most reputable roofing companies will get a city permit for your project, where applicable. We try our best to be aware of all the different codes and homeowner association restrictions, plus city permits required. They’re different from place to place, and they’re always changing. It’s like hitting a moving target. (But a lot of these groups do have one thing in common: they all want money.)

Pulling permits is one of the least favorite tasks for a roofer or remodeler, and many companies simply ignore this altogether and just take their chances. It takes up a lot of time. And some roofers don’t get permits because they don’t have proper insurance. Unfortunately, a city can shut down your job (not a good idea if rain clouds are gathering), and even haul everyone on the job to jail!

Because permits cost money, they have a tendency to separate the wheat from the chaff. And again, if you’re on the Gulf Coast, it’s essential to contact the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA) – reputable roofers will handle this for you. (See tip # 2.)

Tip # 7. Say no to roofing companies with bad phone manners, regardless of who answers the line. You’ve probably heard that whoever answers the phone is a reflection on the company, and it’s usually true. It’s an indicator sometimes of how your roof project will go. A good company isn’t a drag to work for, and they care about phone etiquette. If your call is an inconvenience to them it’s time to move on.

When you contact the roofing company don’t be surprised if they ask a lot of questions. (That’s another good sign!) Tell them your concerns and whatever’s on your mind. The more info you provide the better they can assist you. Don’t worry about asking stupid questions (there’s no such thing with a good company).

Tip # 8. Speaking of manners, a truly good roofing company will be happy to help you out whether your project is big or small. They’ve been in business long enough to appreciate the fact that every job, even the smallest repair, is important. And a really good roofing company is usually genuinely interested in helping you getting your problem solved – whether it’s offering some free advice over the phone or pointing you in the right direction (maybe you meant to call the local Roto-Rooter). Roofing companies who’ve been around a long time have seen over and over that everything they do could lead to something bigger down the line. Like getting referred for a new roof from someone whose chimney they caulked, or winning a big contract because someone told the boss about them.

Tip # 9. A good roofing company will almost always address the possibility of bad wood before starting your job. From years of experience, a good roofing company can often foresee possible trouble areas on a house with just a cursory look at the surface area of your roof. (And therefore minimize surprises to a degree.) Of course there’s no way to know everything until the roof is peeled off. That’s why most reputable roofing companies usually will insist on removing the old roof, down to the wood, before nailing on the new.

Fortunately, most surprises and problems with bad wood have to do with rotted decking (which sometimes can’t be seen even from inside the attic). Also fortunately, bad decking is easy to fix, and shouldn’t add much to the overall final cost of the roof.

A good roofing company will explain up front exactly how they deal with unexpected bad wood, and how much they charge to fix it. (For example, X amount of dollars per sheet of plywood which includes labor and material.) Discussing things up front helps eliminate misunderstandings and disappointments once a job’s under way. It’s good business practice. Keep in mind that honest and trustworthy roofing companies like surprises about as much as you do – there’s no money in it for them and it only slows things down.

By the way, if a house has been neglected, or is fairly old, it’s definitely a good idea to talk about possible problems – things like termites, out-dated gas exhaust pipes, and metal flashings around chimneys and walls. A competent roofing company will usually mention these things. A preliminary inspection of the attic wouldn’t hurt either.

Also before getting your new roof installed, it’s important to examine and replace any bad fascia boards (pronounced FAYshuh). The fascia is the large outside trim that runs around the perimeter of the roof at the edge. It’s not concealed, so it’s easy to inspect and determine a price before starting the job. You don’t need a carpenter – a good roofer can repair it. (Bad fascia should be replaced with rot-resistant wood, like cedar or redwood, or treated lumber.) If all the fascia needs replacing, ask the roofing company’s opinion about using fiber cement instead of wood, like James Hardie Board.

Tip # 10. Finally, speak the language of a great roofing company. You’ll bring out their best and get the red carpet treatment by mentioning the two things every good roofing company loves to hear.

FIRST, tell the roofing company you’re a referral. Businesses love referrals because that’s where most of their work comes from. Being a referral makes you stand out. Here’s how to become an instant referral: simply call your prospective roofing company and ask them for a reference. Then call the reference and maybe do a ‘drive-by.’ That’s all there is to it. You are now a bona-fide, genuine referral and can tell the roofing company “So and so gave me your name and they said you’re the best.”

Calling as a referral is the single best way to start a relationship or do business with any company. It gives you an edge. If a roofing company isn’t responsive to you when you call as a referral they won’t be responsive when it counts – like when your project’s under way. (Don’t be disappointed if the receptionist isn’t overjoyed when you say you’re a referral.)

Most all great roofing and remodeling companies are built on a solid foundation and reputation from referrals. When our roofing company first started, all our work was by referrals – we didn’t advertise much. A referral was all that most customers needed to make a decision. People go where their friends and family like to go, especially if it’s a new experience. A referral is invaluable – they’ve already tried the roofing company out for you. Buying a new roof for most people is a once-in-a-lifetime thing – it’s important to get it right. And what better way than utilizing the experience of others that you trust?

SECOND, tell your prospective roofing company you’re only getting a few bids. (Hey, getting no more than three bids is recommended by professional home-show hosts! Besides, it’s also good for your sanity.) Just like calling the roofing company as a referral, these are ‘magic words’ that are guaranteed to perk up the ears of any roofing company worth its weight in asphalt. If you’ve done a smidgen of research (see our first four or five tips), you won’t need a lot of estimates to make a decision. Buying a new roof can be like buying a new car. The more you look, the more confusing it can get. By the end of the day you’re ready to make a purchase just to put an end to the misery.

Any roofing company will be elated (or at least glad) that you’re not getting fourteen bids (it happens). They know they have a better chance of winning your business. If you tell the roofer you’re narrowing the field it gives the impression you mean business – you become an instant ‘quality lead.’ Again, if a roofing company’s not too enamored (as in not getting back to you right away) of your admirable resolve to resist calling every roofer in the phone book…then it’s doubtful they’ll be enamored of much of anything. (Unless for some reason you fell through the cracks – which never happens with us of course.)

Speaking of speaking the language of great roofing companies, it’s not a bad idea to write down your thoughts when you’re ready to give them a call. Get a great start and stand out from the crowd with a few simple words: Tell the roofer you want a good roof job for a fair price, from a trustworthy, experienced company (and that’s why you’re calling them). Say you’re getting a few bids and you want to decide. Assure the roofing company they’re in the running, and that you care about quality as well as price. END. These words are guaranteed to be everything a great roofing company could possibly want to hear from a potential new customer.

And now a few closing thoughts about finding the roofer of your dreams. Or at least a company that’s reliable and trustworthy that’s been around for a while.

Most well-known and established roofing companies sell a lot of the popular composition laminates, especially the 30 and 40 year warranty shingles. Composition shingles make up the majority of roofs here in the U.S., and they’re the bread and butter of most residential roofing companies. The 30 and 40 year laminates (also called Timberline, or ‘Prestique’ style) are the most popular and most recognized. They don’t cost that much more than the standard 20 year warranty “3-tabs,” and they’re definitely worth it. A lot of the storm damage after Hurricane Ike was mostly blow-off of these lighter 3-tab shingles.

If you go with a laminate, buy the heaviest you can afford, especially if you live near the coast and you plan on sticking around. There’s even super-heavy life-time laminate composition shingles available. (Regardless of how long composition shingles last, the higher the warranty, the heavier the shingle – and the more peace of mind when a storm heads your way.) Consider also metal and tile, even synthetic. They’re all beautiful and storm-resistant, and made to last a lifetime. (Call Ernie Smith and Sons for info at 409-925-8843, or 281-534-3521.) We also do new construction and flat and commercial roofing.

Don’t wait for a hurricane to replace a bad roof. It’s your home’s first line of defense. If the roof goes, everything goes. If you’re forced to evacuate in a storm, you’ll be leaving most things behind. And what’s left behind will be solely at the mercy of the roof over head. It was a heartbreaking site to see even people with new homes tossing ruined sheetrock, insulation, carpet, even furniture, from two-story windows after Hurricane Ike.

Make sure you use a roofing company that hand-nails their shingles. Some roofing companies have become accustomed to installing shingles with air-guns as opposed to roofing hatchets. (Though they do use real roof nails, and not the notorious staples.) We used these nail-guns here at Ernie Smith & Sons years ago. But they’re more trouble than they’re worth.

Unfortunately, because they’re so fast, it’s hard to keep an eye on the over-all quality of the shingle installation. If the shingles are slightly cool, it’s easy to under-drive the nails, and vice-versa when it’s hot. Often nails go in crooked. There’s also the downside of maintaining costly equipment and transporting big noisy compressors – and it’s easy to trip over tangled air hoses on the roof (or on the ground).

There’s nothing like the real thing, and most workers (and homeowners) prefer the convenience, accuracy, and craftsmanship of installing a product by hand. Probably the biggest drawback though to nail guns here on the Gulf Coast is the frustration windstorm inspectors experience trying to certify these roofs. Guns are fine for installing tar paper underlayment (felt) and wood decking.

If possible, it’s not a bad idea to tell your prospective roofing company when you might be getting the job done – especially if you’re ready right now! They may ask you about this anyway. Offering the roofing company some kind of time frame or approximated desired date for your project gives the impression you’re doing more than just window-shopping; and it sets you apart from others who aren’t quite as sure of their plans.

Once you’ve chosen your roofing company, choose to relax. Let them do their job. That’s why we wrote this, to help you find a good company that won’t cause you worry. If anything goes awry, you’ve got someone that’s solid who’ll stand behind what they do. That’s the main thing. Making money is important to any good contractor, but so is you’re satisfaction. They’ll want you as a referral in the future.

Remember that the best contractors have the best crews. (They like to get paid.) And most of these workers are skilled craftsmen and pros, who care about their work, and are compensated accordingly.

Which brings up one final tip. Roofing crews aren’t accustomed to being treated particularly special. So “random acts of kindness,” like treats, or even a simple smile or hello, can boost morale on the job. When you endear yourself to the crew, it makes your particular house, one of a million, just a bit more special. (A lot of us here at Ernie Smith & Sons remember what it was like.) Besides, they’ve got your roof in their hands – literally.

Copyright pending. Reprints or excerpts from this article allowed only with proper crediting of source plus our URL Search engines employ software to prevent plagiarism.”

The Paint Manager

Welcome to “The Paint Manager” BLOG

Welcome to “The Paint Manager” BLOG

Welcome to “The Paint Manager” BLOG

Welcome to The Paint Manager your total resource for all things regarding paint…pressure cleaning…and other handy kinds of stuff. Our online presence is targeted at being your one stop shop for almost anything and everything you can think of. Don’t worry, if what you’re looking for isn’t here give us a little time or drop us an email and it will be here ASAP. For our first blog post, here is an article from Angie’s List about Hiring a handyman.

Hiring a Handyman

There’s no need to call a specialty contractor for some home repairs. A handyman can do a variety of small home improvement projects that save time and money.

What is a handyman?

A handyman or handy woman is a skilled “jack of all trades” who can complete a wide range of repairs or home improvement jobs.
A handyman, or handyman company, usually charges clients an hourly rate, plus material costs, regardless of the task. Many homeowners compile a list of repairs and hire a handyman to complete the list in a single visit.

The term “handyman” is loosely defined. Some handyman are self-trained, while others have formal training in various aspects of construction and home repair. Some specialize in a few types of home maintenance, such as painting, carpentry, or tiling, while others may have additional skills such as plumbing and electrical expertise.

There’s no national standard or regulation for handymen. Licensing and regulation vary by state. New Jersey, for example, requires handymen who work for a profit to register with the state and carry insurance. California requires handymen to carry a license from the State Contractors License Board to work on any project that exceeds $500 in labor and material costs. Find out before you hire the handyman if he or she has the skills needed to complete your project.

How do I know if I need a handyman or contractor?

The scope of the job and level of skill required to complete it should determine whether you hire a handyman or contractor.

“When trying to determine who you should hire for a particular job, consider the task,” says Angie Hicks, founder of Angie’s List. If it’s a specialized trade, be sure you hire that trades person like a plumber or electrician, for example. If it’s little things that you can do yourself, a handyman is probably the right way to go.”

A handyman is not the best option for a large or complicated project that could take a long time to complete and require the help of multiple workers. You shouldn’t turn to a handyman either if you need an emergency service for plumbing, electrical or appliance work unless the handyman is licensed in that trade. If an unlicensed person does plumbing or electrical work you have no guarantee that the work has been done to code, which could affect your homeowners insurance policy or any claim related to the work.  Use a contractor or specialist for remodeling work, room additions, and projects that require heavy-duty equipment or licensed professionals like electricians.

Benefits of hiring a handyman
You’ve got an ever increasing to-do list of home improvements like changing out a bathroom faucet, replacing missing shingles on the roof and painting a kitchen wall. You could hire a plumber, roofer and painter who have conflicting schedules and their own service charges, or you could hire a handyman to complete all three projects in one day for one hourly rate.

Because many handymen charge by the hour, a  homeowner can save time and money on home improvement projects by hiring a handyman to complete a wide range of projects for a single hour rate. A service charge from a plumber or roofer to come to your home could equal or even surpass the cost of hiring a handymanfor a few hours.
You’ll also less likely to be overcharged if your hire a handyman. Unlike a general contractor or specialist who is more likely to price a job based on the estimated amount of time it will take to complete, you only have to pay a handyman for the hours he work, unless you agree on a flat rate for a project. Handymen are able to keep their rates low because they don’t have to pay additional workers, so they have lower overhead costs than contractors or large companies.

Although handymen have less overhead, they do supply their own tools.  So there’s no need to invest in extra equipment you won’t use often or at all. However, you will need to supply the materials.

When you hire a contractor or specialist, they usually supply the materials, and often at a markup. If they don’t provide the materials, they may not guarantee a repair or your choices are limited to what they have in stock. When you choose your own materials you know how much the product costs and stay within your budget. You also get to choose the manufacturer, finish and register any warranty agreement.

Many homeowners turn to handymen when they have a project they want completed, but don’t know who to call. Handymen have been known to do all types of work from setting up playground equipment and gas grills to hanging holiday lights and decorations.

Handyman-ready jobs
Handymen are best utilized for small, “honey-do” types of home repair work. The following projects are ideal for most handymen.

Minor plumbing work
Many handymen are capable of completing small plumbing jobs like installing new fixtures or repairing a leaky faucet. However, complex projects that require relocating plumbing within the home should be left to a licensed plumber.

Adding a fresh application of caulk to gaps between windows, doors and siding is a great way to improve energy efficiency and lower utility costs.

Decks and porches
Over time, weather can take atoll on wooden decks and porches. A handyman can replace broken boards, apply a finish or sealant and improve or upgrade your deck or porch’s safety and appearance.

Gutter cleaning and maintenance
It’s not a complete task, but cleaning gutters is messy and involves climbing on the roof. If you hire a professional handyman with the right equipment and experience for the task you won’t have to risk injuring yourself. A handyman can also install gutter guards to prevent seasonal clogging.

Home exterior repairs
If you have minor damage to your home’s exterior, such as a loose piece of siding or a missing shingle, hiring a handyman to repair those items may prove to be more cost-effective than hiring a specialist.

Painting and touch-ups
If you have a small painting job, like a wall, garage door, touchup trim and scoff marks and repair small holes with spackle, consider a handyman. But remember, a handyman typically charges by the hour, so larger jobs are better suited for a professional painting crew.

Hanging window treatments, pictures and mirrors and installing light fixtures
These small tasks can be easily accomplished by a homeowner. But if you hire a handyman with the right tools and experience, these wall-mounted items will likely be hung correctly and and without damage.

Handyman hiring tips
Interview several candidates before hiring a candidate. A handyman works closely with you in your home so you want to pick one that you feel comfortable being around. Use the following tips to help you choose the best candidate.

1. Define the project. Start by compiling a list of the home repairs you want completed. Remember, a handyman is best used for small jobs such as installing light fixtures, patching drywall and interior painting. If the job requires pulling a permit, or moving plumbing or electrical wiring, consider hiring a licensed contractor.

2. Shop around. Check Angie’s List reviews and interview at least three handymen. Ask how many years of experience they have and their areas of specialization. Request references from homeowners who have hired the handyman. Make sure the potential handyman has the skills and experience to complete your project.

3. Watch out for scams. Avoid handymen who contact you with unsolicited phone calls or visits to your home. You should also avoid any handyman who refuses to guarantee the price of the job or asks for payment upfront. Reputable handymen don’t expect to get paid before the project is completed.

4. Get it in writing. Insist on a written agreement laying out the job details, costs and payment schedule. Be clear about the times you expect the work to be started and completed. It’s extremely important to get all guarantees in writing.

5. Ask for a guarantee. Many handymen will guarantee their work for up to one year. Ask about guarantees before you make a hiring decision, and of course, make sure the guarantee is in writing.

6. Inspect the work. Inspect the completed work before paying the handyman. Make sure that everything has been done to your satisfaction and at the agreed upon price. Most handymen will be happy to explain the finished work because they want you to be satisfied.

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