DIY Paint Tips: How to Tape Like a Pro

When you’re ready to start your next DIY painting project, after choosing the right paintbrush and deciding what colors and sheen of paint to use, the next step is prepping your paint surface. To achieve a professional-quality paint job, Freeland Painting recommends using painter’s tape to ensure sharp, clean paint lines.

Painter’s tape serves as a barrier between the areas you want to paint—and those you don’t. It’s especially useful on ceilings, baseboards, and trim. Here’s what you need to know to apply, use, and remove painters tape like a pro.

Choose the right painter’s tape for your paint project

With painter’s tape, you get what you pay for. While you may be tempted to buy a cheap painter’s tape, at Freeland Painting we recommend “sticking with” the original: Blue interior painter’s tape from Scotch. We like ScotchBlue original multi-surface painter’s tape in the 1.5-inch width. With its medium-strength adhesive, it’s our go-to tape for protecting trim, drywall, ceilings, and floors. If you’re painting near delicate surfaces such as cabinets or freshly painted surfaces that you want to protect, use ScotchBlue’s lower-adhesive version. Unsure which tape is best for your project? Scotch offers a handy, free paint tape selector tool to help you decide.

Pro tip: Here’s what not to use: Masking tape looks similar to painters tape, but its adhesive leaves a sticky residue, which can be difficult to remove. And be sure to check that your painter’s tape is for interior surfaces when you’re painting inside. Exterior painter’s tape has stronger adhesive to stick to cement, brick, or stucco and could damage your walls, trim, or other interior surface when used inside.

Prepare Surfaces Like a Pro

To get the best paint job possible, you have to prepare like a pro. With a clean, damp sponge or cloth, gently wipe the surfaces you plan to tape and paint. This includes baseboards, trim, walls, ceilings, and wherever else may soon have either paint or painter’s tape on it. The reason is simple: Dust builds up (yes, even on walls—don’t ask us how!) and can prevent both paint and painter’s tape from adhering correctly. If you skip wiping down dusty baseboard surfaces and apply painter’s tape on top of the dust, the tape won’t adhere properly and may leak or pucker. When that happens, paint spreads under the tape resulting in messy lines—defeating the purpose of taping in the first place!

Pro tip: While waiting for your surfaces to dry after wiping them down, remove light switch covers, nails, and other fixtures. A 3-inch piece of painter’s tape applied over the bare light switch itself will prevent unwanted paint splatter. Use another small piece of painter’s tape to stick the light switch cover screws onto the back of the cover itself, so they don’t get lost.

Apply Painter’s Tape With Precision

Once your surface is clean and dry, it’s time to start taping. When applying tape to a straight edge such as a ceiling or baseboard trim, keep the roll of tape flat against the wall and work in short sections (about 8 inches at a time), aligning the tape over the surface you’re taping and making sure it sticks well. Avoid stretching the tape. Rookie paint tapers may want to remove short, 6- to 10-inch sections of tape while you get the hang of it. Once the tape is applied, go back over its edge to seal the bond with a putty knife or credit card. Check out this video from Ace Hardware that shows best practices for using painter’s tape.

Pro tip: When you get to the corner of the baseboard, continue past the corner and run the tape an inch or two up the wall in a perpendicular fashion. Then, use a sharp putty knife or razor blade to cut the tape off the wall along the baseboard line. That way, the corner of your baseboard is thoroughly protected.

Gently Remove Painter’s Tape

Once you’ve finished painting the wall, it’s time to remove your painters tape. The best time to remove it is just after you’ve painted, while the paint is still wet. Don’t wait for it to dry, as the dry paint may lead to chipping of the paint surface as you remove the tape, resulting in a messy line. To remove painter’s tape, tug gently on the tape at a 45-degree angle. Go slow as you remove it, watching for any trouble spots. If you see or hear paint pulling away from your freshly painted surface, use a razor blade or utility knife to gently cut the tape away from the surface to maintain a clean line.

Pro tip: Though it’s tempting to use the same tape for multiple coats of paint, the expert painters at Freeland Painting know that you’ll get a better result from removing the tape—and reapplying it—with each coat of paint.

Using painter’s tape like a pro takes patience and skill, but the resulting high-quality paint job is worth the effort.

When you’re ready to call in the professionals, Freeland Painting is here to help. Give us a call to schedule a free estimate on your paint job. Whether it’s a residential, multi-family, or commercial paint project: No job is too big or too small: We do it all!

Call Freeland Painting at 678.679.3126 to schedule your free estimate!

DIY Paint Tips: How To Choose the Best Paint Brush for Your Project

At Freeland Painting, we provide professional painting services for residential, business, and multifamily properties – but we also know that sometimes people want to paint a room themselves.

This is the first in a series of DIY  Paint Tip posts, in which we’ll provide tips on how to choose the best paintbrush for your project, how to tape like a pro (so it comes off smoothly), how to freehand a straight line of paint, how to paint walls like a pro, how to choose the right paint for each job, how to choose the right paint sheen for each surface, the ideal roller nap for your wall texture, how to clean your paintbrush like a pro, and how to dispose of old paint and paint cans properly.

First thing’s first: Choosing the right paint brush. When you walk into your local Sherwin Williams paint store, Home Depot, or Lowe’s, you’ll find a dizzying array of paint brushes. The important choices you need to make are: natural or man-made bristles, size of the brush, shape of the brush, and quality of the brush. We’ll break down all four to help you choose the best paint brush for your specific paint job:

Synthetic Bristles vs. Natural Bristles

Don’t spend too much time making this decision: If you’re painting a wall in your home, you’re most likely using latex paint, a water-based paint that cleans up easily with water, instead of solvents or mineral spirits.

The type of brush that spreads latex paint best is a synthetic bristle made from nylon or a nylon-polyester blend. A synthetic brush will spread latex paint smoothly and evenly. If you plan to paint more than one room over time and the cost isn’t prohibitive, consider buying a more expensive Chinex bristle brush, such as those from Purdy or Corona. When it comes to paint brushes, you get what you pay for; a high-quality brush can last for years if you care for it properly.

If you happen to be using oil-based paint, choose a natural bristle brush. Oil-based paints aren’t used as often lately as they were in the past because they can be environmentally and personally harmful because of their high volatile organic compound (VOC) content. On our blog, we’ve provided information about latex vs. oil-based paints and the pros and cons of each.

Why Paint Brush Size Matters

The size of your brush will depend on the size of your project. If you’re painting an entire wall, you wouldn’t want to use a small 1.5-inch brush because it would take too long, but if you’re painting a small area or a piece of furniture or mirror, that smaller brush would work well.

For wall and trim, we recommend either a 2.5-inch or 3-inch brush. When painting a wall, you’ll most likely use a roller for the bulk of the work and rely on your brush to “cut-in” around the trim and ceiling of the room. A 2.5-inch brush is ideal for residential painting in most cases.

A 3-inch brush is more ideally suited when you plan to paint large, flat surfaces, such as a fence or deck.

The Right Brush Shape For The Job

Both synthetic and natural bristle brushes come in angled and square shapes. The genius of the angled tip is that it gives you enhanced control of the paint as you apply it, such as when you’re cutting in around trim or a ceiling and want to paint a straight line. We recommend an angled brush for these tasks.

If you’re painting a large flat surface such as a fence or deck, a square brush will work well.

Brush Quality: You Get What You Pay For

While your first instinct may be to buy a cheap brush and toss it after your paint job is completed, consider investing in a higher-quality brush and cleaning it properly. Not only is this an environmentally friendly choice, it’ll help you achieve a higher quality paint job.

When it comes to paint brushes, you get what you pay for. Here’s what Freeland Painting’s founder shared about brush choice:

“The quality of the paint brush is important. We recommend that you get the most expensive brush you can afford. The technology in the bristles will make a huge difference in your painting project, and whether or not you can paint a straight line with it,” explained Doug Ireland, founder of Freeland Painting.

Doug went on to say, “A good, high-quality brush will last for years if you clean it properly after each use. I bought a $25 brush over 10 years ago for our home painting projects, and it’s still going strong.”

Pro Tip on Brush Care

Doug also offered a pro tip about caring for your brushes: The key is to never let paint dry on the brush!

If you need professional help for your painting project, call Freeland Painting. We’ll provide you with a free estimate on your commercial, residential or multi-family painting project.

Give us a call today at 678.679.3126 to schedule your free estimate!

6 Benefits of Fiber Cement Siding

Before we discuss the benefits of fiber cement siding, there’s a question to answer:

What IS fiber cement siding?

You may have heard of this modern building miracle called by a different name: HardiePlank or HardieBoard. That’s because James Hardie Industries is the most well-known manufacturer of fiber cement siding. The company’s name has become synonymous with the product—much like “Q-tips” or “Band-Aids” have become familiar names for cotton swabs or adhesive strips.

Fiber cement siding—also called cementitious siding—is a manufactured siding product made by combining cellulose from wood with fly ash as a filler and Portland cement to bind the ingredients together. The result is a durable, attractive, low-maintenance, fire-resistant, and rot-resistant siding that enhances the value of your home.

Here are 6 benefits of fiber cement siding:

  1. Wood-grain appearance. Though fiber cement does contain cellulose from wood, its wood-grain appearance is embossed on the boards during manufacturing. The appearance of cementitious siding is attractive and classic, beautifying your home as it protects. Fiber cement siding not only comes in a variety of statement colors—we can paint it any color you like!
  2. Rot-resistant. When wood meets water, the result is often decay and rot. Homes with wood siding and trim must be meticulously maintained to prevent wood rot. However, fiber cement siding is highly rot-resistant, because it’s not made of wood. It can withstand wet conditions without compromising its strength. When properly installed, HardieBoard (or any other brand of fiber cement siding) won’t be exposed to sitting water—and therefore, won’t rot.
  3. Fire-resistant. Though not technically fire-proof, fiber cement siding is highly fire-resistant. It has a fire rating similar to brick and can protect your home from exterior fires. The boards won’t burst into flame and feed a fire, unlike other types of siding, including wood siding (which is highly combustible) and vinyl siding (which is derived from petroleum and burns readily).
  4. Environmentally friendly. When lumber companies get to the end of a lumber run, they have leftover wood from trees already cut down that can’t be made into traditional lumber. Fortunately, that’s exactly what fiber cement siding requires: wood cellulose in pulp form (versus in the form of boards). Using leftover wood that might otherwise be wasted means that fiber cement siding is an Earth-friendly, green building material. Manufacturers aren’t cutting down trees to make a cementitious siding. Instead, they’re using the leftover wood from trees that would otherwise go to waste. In addition, the fly ash and cement used in fiber cement board production are abundant and non-toxic.
  5. Insect-resistant. Because the amount of wood cellulose content in fiber cement siding is so low, termites, carpenter ants, carpenter bees, and other wood-boring insects don’t go after it. For that reason, it’s considered an insect-resistant building material.
  6. Increase home value. If you’re considering replacing the current siding on your home, whether it’s wood, aluminum, steel, or vinyl, fiber cement siding is the smart choice when you consider home value. The HardiePlank product itself is more expensive than other siding options, but you definitely get what you pay for. Homeowners find that they recoup their investment in cementitious siding when it’s time to sell their homes. Few other building products perform so dependably as fiber cement siding when it’s properly installed. Potential buyers know the value of this low-maintenance, durable siding option that often comes with a 50-year (or longer!) guarantee when properly installed.

With so many fiber cement board and cementitious trim options on the market today, Freeland Painting can give the entire exterior of your home a durable, fire-resistant surface that will be low-maintenance and guard against rotting wood for decades to come. Because it’s made with cement, HardieBoard keeps its shape and looks beautiful for decades.

If you’re in the market for new siding for your home, the experts at Freeland Painting can help you by answering all of your questions about your siding options and providing a free estimate for fiber cement siding.

Call us today to set up your free estimate, (678) 679-3126, and we’ll renew your house with curb appeal that’s sure to appeal. Because we brush up on the details every day!

Why Relationships Matter More than the Brush or the Ladder

Freeland Painting values the relationships we build both with our customers and our community. We want to share our business philosophy and why we’re grateful to be a small business operating in the United States of America—the land of the free and home of Freeland Painting. We’re grateful for the strong relationships we’ve built with our customers and the Greater Atlanta community.

Our Mission

At Freeland Painting our mission is to perform high-quality painting of residential, multifamily, and commercial properties, both interior and exterior. We also offer custom roofing, siding, and gutter systems, plus light carpentry work, that improve the curb appeal and efficiency of a commercial building or residence.

By narrowing our focus to these distinct services we are able to offer extremely high-quality, competent service within a focused specialty. This is one of the keys to our high level of customer satisfaction.

Community Focus

In addition to providing these services, our ultimate goal is to lead Freeland Painting into an organization that helps strengthen our entire community. We do this by doing exactly what we say we will do, and when we will do it – which builds trust with customers. We have a strong focus on our employees, and maintain the family atmosphere of our business. Our Freeland Family includes Doug Ireland, the founder and CEO, along with his wife, Keri, and kids who often ride along with Doug to check up on the progress of job sites when school is out. In fact, Doug and Keri’s two youngest children—twins—celebrate their birthdays on July 4!

We also celebrate other milestones with employees, such as getting married or welcoming a new child into their family. Freeland Painting helps put food on the table for our employees and keep the Atlanta area’s economic prosperity going. We respect and appreciate employees’ contribution and commitment to our ongoing success. This underscores our company philosophy: Relationships matter more than the brush or the ladder.

Giving Back

We maintain a strong focus on charitable giving. We are involved with organizations that improve our community, including: Right to Hike, Kingdom Kids, Turn Around Coaching, Shriners Hospitals for Children, Boy Scouts of America, Amigos for Christ, North Gwinnett Arts Association, North Gwinnett Schools Foundation, and the Gwinnett Medical Center Foundation.

Our customers can feel good about their decision to choose Freeland Painting because we are both beautifying their residential or business establishment with a fresh new coat of paint and also contributing to the betterment of our overall community through our charitable giving and involvement.

We’re proud to be a contributing member of the Greater Atlanta business community.

Call for a Free Estimate

And as always, if we can serve you by providing your home, business, or multi-family residence with a fresh new coat of paint, a new roof, gutters, or siding – call us today at 678.679.3126 to schedule a free estimate.

We look forward to building a solid relationship with you that we hope will last for years to come! 

What are VOCs—and Why Do They Matter?

VOCs, short for Volatile Organic Compounds, are a group of chemicals that are found in most paints and coatings. They’re not only found in paints—but they’re also in cleaners, disinfectants, dry-cleaned clothing, permanent markers, glues, air fresheners, and aerosol sprays. But because Freeland Painting is your locally owned painting company in Atlanta, we’ll focus on the VOCs in paint.

One reason VOCs are in paint is to keep the paint fresh while it’s in the can. Once the can is opened, VOCs enable the paint to spread smoothly on the wall or surface you want coated. Some VOCs give paint specific properties—rust prevention, for example. After we paint your walls, paint your ceiling, paint your business, or paint your house, VOCs evaporate into the air. That process is called off-gassing.

Health Effects of VOCs

We’re all familiar with the smell of fresh paint as it dries. For people sensitive to VOCs, that chemical smell can irritate their nose, throat, or even cause a headache. That’s because the paint is off-gassing VOCs, which can have health consequences if you’re exposed to paint fumes for lengthy periods of time. Leaving a door or window open for increased ventilation is a best practice during your interior paint job and while the paint dries. Latex paint dries fast, which is why Freeland Painting uses latex paint for most of its painting jobs, both big and small.

Most VOCs in paint are off-gassed as the paint dries in the first few hours, though a small amount of VOC off-gassing can continue for about 6 months.

Reducing Exposure to VOCs

The US Environmental Protection Agency recognizes that high levels of VOCs can have a negative impact on health, so they regulate the level of VOCs in paint to minimize exposure. According to the EPA, the levels of VOCs inside of homes and businesses are an average of 2 to 5 times higher than VOC levels outdoors. In addition, during the painting process and for several hours afterward, VOC levels may be hundreds of times higher inside than outside. That’s why good ventilation and a fresh air source are critical as paint dries.

Low-VOC Paint Options

In addition to practicing good ventilation during the painting and drying process, the paint you choose can significantly impact the VOC level that is off-gassed in your home or commercial building. Paint manufacturers offer choices in the levels of VOC in paints, with both low-VOC and no-VOC options.

Latex paint has a significantly lower level of VOCs than oil-based paint. At Freeland Painting, we typically use latex paint that the EPA has rated as “Low VOC,” meaning it has a low content of VOCs. Specifically, Low VOC paint has less than 250 grams per liter of VOCs.

Some paint manufacturers, including Sherwin Williams, offer both Low-VOC and No-VOC paint options. For interior painting, we suggest Sherwin Williams Harmony® Interior Acrylic Latex Paint for interior wall and ceiling painting because of its innovative technology and Zero VOC formula that contributes to better indoor air quality one coat of paint at a time. That’s right: Harmony paint not only has a Zero VOC rating, it can also help neutralize other sources of VOCs in your home or business, such as carpets, new cabinets, or fabrics. It can also reduce the odors from smoking, cooking, or pets. Now that’s a high-performance paint!

Best Low-VOC Paint for Exterior Painting

Do you need to repaint the outside of your business, home, or commercial property in the Atlanta area? For exterior surfaces, Freeland Painting recommends Sherwin Williams Emerald® Exterior Acrylic Latex Paint, which is a Low VOC paint with less than 50 g/l of VOCs. That’s five times lower than the EPA standard of 150 g/l of VOCs to qualify as a Low VOC paint. Emerald paint’s long life and resistance to blistering, fading, peeling, and mildew makes the product a high-performance paint that we’re proud to use to beautify your home or commercial property.

And, did you know that Freeland Painting will paint your business or commercial property after hours, so we don’t interrupt your flow of customers? That’s right: We’ll arrange to paint after normal business hours so you don’t have to close or lose revenue to refresh your curb appeal with a professional paint job.

Did we mention that we offer free estimates for painting your business, commercial property, or home? We do! Call us today at 678.679.3126 to discuss how Freeland Painting will beautify your home or business (or both!) with a fresh coat of Low VOC paint.

Let’s get rolling!