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!

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!

What’s the best paint color to sell my house?

Planning to sell your house this year? Then you’re probably busy working through a checklist of things to do to make your home more attractive to potential buyers, like this one from Realtor.com. In addition to cleaning, making small repairs, and decluttering, real-estate experts also advise you to consider the outside curb appeal of your home. One major wow factor of your home’s curb appeal is a fresh coat of paint in one of this year’s most popular, trending paint colors.

Need some help with that? That’s where Freeland Painting comes in! We help homeowners in the Greater Atlanta area beautify their homes inside and out with a fresh coat of paint. But what color should you paint the outside to attract today’s buyers?

The Cyclical Nature of Paint Color Trends

Doug Ireland, the founder and CEO of Freeland Painting, has been in the painting and renovation industry for 18 years professionally – 33 years if you include working for his dad while in his teens and twenties. With those years of experience comes a wealth of accumulated industry knowledge.

“Contemporary color choices tend to change from season to season. As with many things that are a matter of taste, popular colors tend to be cyclical,” Doug explained. “For example, just a few years ago, we saw color shades trending in a reverse pattern – meaning, houses had light-color siding and darker-color trim. We haven’t seen that trend since the late 1970s! But it came back.”

“And for those who were glad to see brass door handles and cabinet pulls go out of favor in the 1990s—Well, they’re back.”

Find the Right Color to Help Sell Your Home Fast

Doug shared his thoughts on the colors you should consider to get your home sold.

“Right now, the most popular, trending colors have undertones on the cooler side of the color scale, instead of the warmer side. And gray ― shades of gray and charcoal ― are very hot,” he explained. “The trend has evolved from beige to “greige” to simply gray. This particular color trend morphed very slowly over recent years.”

What is greige, you ask? Greige is simply a mix of gray and beige that results in a richer color. Greige works well in either a cool or warm color scheme. It’s one of the hardest-working colors in the realm!

But back to the best paint color for selling your house: Gray.

“Grays come in a wide array of shades, ranging from rosy or mauve shades, to greenish shades, and then to blue shades of gray,” Doug explained. “The cooler colors of gray that are now popular have a hint of blue in them, but they’re still gray.”

4 Specific House Color Recommendations

In the Sherwin Williams line-up of high-performance paint, Doug shared four recommended colors he recommends to homeowners who aren’t sure what color to paint their homes to sell. These colors would be ideal for either your home’s exterior or interior, appealing to a wide range of buyers.

Three of the four are cooler hues of gray that are most popular right now, but he also adds a fourth choice that’s a bit warmer in undertone:

  1. Mindful Gray (SW-7016) is an extremely popular color because of its neutrality.
  2. Gray Clouds (SW-7658) has cooler undertones than Mindful Gray, with just a hint of blue in it.
  3. Morning Fog (SW-6255) goes another step further toward a blue-gray, and is trending.
  4. Requisite Gray (SW-7023) is a warm gray that’s ideal for people who prefer grays on the warmer side of the scale. Its popularity is fading a bit, but it’s still a nice color.

3 Recommended Accent Colors

As for accent colors on doors and trim, which are trending darker both on the inside and outside of homes, Doug recommends:

  1. Black Fox (SW-7020)
  2. Enduring Bronze (SW-7055)
  3. Iron Ore (SW-7069)

And, if you have a brick home that could use a fresh coat of confidence, we offer a state-of-the-art treatment called Lime Wash that gives your brick home instant old-world charm.

At Freeland Painting, we’re here to help with all of your home’s external and internal painting needs. Helping you choose the right color is part of the service we provide. At Freeland Painting, relationships matter more than the brush and the ladder. That’s why we offer a free color consultation with each job.

Call us today at 678-679-3126 or email customerservice@freelandpainting.com to arrange a convenient time for our experts to provide a free estimate on painting your home. With a high-quality paint job by Freeland Painting, your house will impress every buyer who is lucky enough to see it!

Give Your Brick Home Old-World Charm with Lime Wash

Is your brick home’s exterior dated and ho-hum? Would it benefit from an innovative treatment to give it new life and become one of your neighborhood’s most admired homes?

Here’s a creative painting idea: consider trying Lime Wash, a process from Benjamin Moore paints.

Freeland Painting has used Lime Wash with great success—most recently on the Johnson residence in Suwanee, Georgia.

Check out Freeland Painting founder Doug Ireland explaining the process in this video:

Lime Wash is a custom process. Freeland Painting professionals create it by applying a Benjamin Moore painting product and then expertly performing a wash-off with pressure washing. It’s a unique process that Freeland Painting has mastered.

“We custom-created this look for the homeowners, and tested it until the homeowners said, ‘Yes! That’s it! That’s the look we want!’” Doug explained.

The end result looks so cool―like a German Schmear.

What’s a German Schmear, you ask? Home improvement gurus from Bob Vila to HGTV rave about the German Schmear process to transform any brick element on your home with the look of an elegant, cozy European cottage. It’s a “perfectly imperfect” way to update your brick home in style.

Lime Wash will give your home instant Old World charm—but without the 200-year wait!

The Johnsons were delighted with the results of their home’s new Lime Wash update: “We’re very pleased with this process. Freeland Painting provided very professional service. We would do it again if we had other properties. You have to try this!” said Mrs. Johnson.

Check out the before and after photos of the Johnson residence, below. What a difference!

Freeland Painting Johnson Residence

If you’re looking to have a cool paint job done for your home or business, give Freeland Painting a call today: 678-679-3126. With 20 years of experience painting Altanta-area homes, we’re ready to serve you!

Remember: Think outside the box, but paint inside the lines!