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!

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 Difference Between Oil and Latex Paint?

We get this question a lot when customers select paint for their residential, commercial, or multifamily painting projects. Since Freeland Painting does both interior paint jobs and exterior paint jobs, we thought we’d share the answer.

There are a lot of differences between oil and latex paint. The short answer to the question is: The two types of paint are different in their properties, composition, environmental impact, and ease of use.

Latex Paint

Latex paint is a water-based paint. Because it’s water-based, latex paint dries quickly through the process of evaporation. Because it’s quick-drying, your paint project will be completed faster than it would with other types of paint. Latex paint typically dries in a few hours and takes up to 48 hours to thoroughly “cure” and adhere to the painted surface.

Why do so many people choose latex paint? For one thing, it offers a lot of advantages. The benefits of latex paint include that it resists cracking and chipping. As a result, it is an excellent choice for both interior and exterior paint jobs. Another advantage of latex paint is that it comes in such a large variety of colors and sheens. Whether you want your paint sheen to be matte, eggshell, satin, or semi-gloss, latex paint has it in every color imaginable.

Latex paint and VOCs

Another significant advantage of latex paint is that it is low in Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). That means it doesn’t have as many chemical additives as other types of paint, including oil-based paint.

What are VOCs? VOCs are emitted or “off-gassed” in gas form as the paint dries. These harmful VOC gases can linger inside your home and negatively impact indoor air quality. VOCs are part of the reason why paint has its smell, and are often associated with that “new home” smell. Paints with low VOC levels are better for indoor air quality and the environment overall.

The US Environmental Protection Agency limits the VOC content of latex paints to a maximum of 250 grams per liter (g/l) for flat paint. That explains why latex paints don’t have as strong an odor as oil-based paints, which often have VOC levels as high as 500 g/l. Paints with VOC levels under 250 qualify as “Low VOC,” according to the US Environmental Protection Agency.

Freeland Painting typically uses latex paints with a Low VOC rating of 50, which offer excellent quality with minimal off-gassing.

Because it’s water-based, latex paint clean-up is done with water. Just rinse your brushes with water, and the wet paint will come right off. The clean-up with latex paints is much more environmentally friendly than with oil paint, which requires dangerous chemical solvents for clean-up that are harmful to the environment.

Water-based latex paint with Low VOC levels is an environmentally friendly painting option that Freeland Painting is pleased to offer its customers.

Oil Paint

Oil paint―also called oil-based paint, solvent-based paint, or alkyd paint―goes on very smoothly, covers most surfaces exceptionally well, and is water-resistant. It takes a long time to dry—so long that you might need a “Wet Paint” sign so people won’t accidentally smudge the surface. Oil paint covers thoroughly in one coat and holds up well in high-traffic areas.

What are the disadvantages of oil paint? It tends to “yellow” over time and is more likely than latex paint to fade and crack. As mentioned, it has a lengthy drying time: It can take 6 to 10 hours for oil paint to dry to the touch, and up to a month to dry or “cure” completely, which can be inconvenient for both residential and commercial painting customers.

Because it is solvent-based, oil-based paint contains many chemicals, which is why it takes much longer to dry than latex paint. Oil paint dries by the process of oxidation, a chemical reaction, which is why it takes so long to cure completely.

Oil-based paint and VOCs

Perhaps the most significant disadvantage of oil-based paint is its high level of VOCs. Typically ranging from 250 to 500 g/l of VOCs, oil-based paint can negatively impact interior air quality while the paint dries (which takes up to a month)―off-gassing VOCs during the entire drying process.

There are also environmental and health hazards with oil paint. Its fumes can overwhelm people, causing headaches and eye irritation, so it’s critical to have a source of fresh air while painting and drying. In addition, clean-up from oil-based paint jobs requires chemical solvents that are harmful to the environment.

Painting with oil-based paint requires harsh solvents or mineral spirits to clean the brushes. Such hazardous chemicals can have a negative impact on both your health and the environment.

Latex Paint Is Our Go-To Choice

At Freeland Painting, we recommend latex paint for most residential, commercial, or multi-family dwelling paint jobs because of its high quality and long-lasting performance. In addition, latex paint offers a lower environmental impact than oil paint because of its lower VOC content and the fact that clean-up is done with water rather than dangerous chemicals.

When you’re looking for a company to provide you with a paint job that looks great and is environmentally friendly, call Freeland Painting. We’ll provide 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!

7 Signs It’s Time to Repaint Your Business

As a business owner, you never get a second chance to make a strong first impression on customers and clients. But how can you tell when it’s time to repaint your business or commercial building?

Start by looking at your building’s walls, exterior surfaces, and doors. How does the current paint job look? If you see any of the following 7 signs, it’s time to call Freeland Painting for a free estimate on painting your property:

1. Mold or Moisture Stains

If you have black, greenish, or grey spots on your interior or exterior walls—especially behind furniture, in corners, or shady areas—behold: You have mold! Sometimes moisture stains or surface mold can be removed with elbow grease or pressure washing, but stubborn stains can signify more significant damage. Consult a professional to determine if the wood, drywall, or stucco beneath the paint is damaged, as you may need to replace or repair it before repainting. Mold must be thoroughly eradicated before repainting any surface to ensure the health of employees and the structural integrity of your building.

2. Cracked, Chipped, or Peeling Paint

Paint is the first line of protection between your building’s exterior surfaces and the elements—and with Atlanta’s hot summer sun, intense thunderstorms, and cold winters, cracks or chips in the paint film is an early sign that you’re due for a paint job. Small cracks are an invitation for fungus, moisture, termites, and other pests. Paint that is already peeling away requires immediate action, or long-term damage could result from your wood or stucco being exposed to the weather.

3. Cracked or Peeling Caulk

Examine the areas around your windows and doors: Caulk is the hardworking hero that seals them properly, keeping air, water, and insect pests out. When caulk is cracked or peeling, it’s no longer performing its job. And that means moisture can get into your building and cause a range of problems. Sometimes you just need new caulk, but if you notice decaying caulk on top of other symptoms, it’s a confirmation that it’s time to repaint.

4. Fading Color 

Remember when you last had your building painted, how beautiful it was with its fresh, bright coat of paint? Since then, Mother Nature has been working hard to change that. Sun, wind, rain, sleet, hail, and snow all impact the level of protection that your paint job provides. When the color starts to fade, a paint film’s protection is no longer at its strongest. When you notice your once-vibrant paint color begin to dull, it’s a sure sign you’re ready for a fresh coat of paint.

5. Paint Blisters or Bubbles 

When paint bubbles and blisters, it’s no longer adhering to the surface well. That can be because the wrong type of paint was used, it was applied in the hot sun or high humidity, or moisture is trapped beneath it. No matter the cause of paint blisters, you’ll want to repaint the walls or exterior quickly to avoid damage to your building.

6. Accumulated Stains or Dirt

To enhance your business or commercial property’s curb appeal, it’s a best practice to have the exterior pressure washed once or twice per year to keep it looking fresh and clean. However, if stains and dirt linger on exterior walls after pressure washing, that’s a sign that the paint is no longer performing optimally.

7. Damaged wood or stucco

A high-quality paint job is your building’s first line of defense against Georgia’s harsh elements, but no paint job lasts forever. If you see signs including cracked stucco or rotting wood around door or window frames, your paint has failed. That means it’s time to repair these surfaces and then repaint them. Freeland Painting repairs damaged wood or cracked stucco before we paint. A fresh coat of paint will not only preserve and protect your business or commercial property: It will also beautify it!

Don’t be a ProcrastiPainter!

With the renewed economic activity we’re seeing in the Greater Atlanta area, now’s the time to repaint your Atlanta business to make a strong first impression on both old and new customers. And Freeland Painting will even paint your business after hours so you don’t have to close during normal business hours.

Call us today at 678.679.3126 for a free estimate on transforming your business or commercial building’s interior and exterior with a fresh, new professional paint job.