DIY Paint Tips: How to Clean Your Paint Brush Like a Pro

The experts at Freeland Painting are excited to share paint tips to help you accomplish do-it-yourself painting projects with professional results. That’s why we’ve shared information, including how to tape like a pro and 9 tips for painting a wall like a pro.

We recently posted our insights on how to choose the right brush for your paint project. In that blog post, we discussed various scenarios that call for specific brush shapes and sizes, but the overall takeaway was this: Buy the most expensive brush you can afford.

Why should you buy the most expensive paint brush you can afford? Because the technology is in the bristles: The better your paint brush, the better your paint job. Plus, a high-quality paintbrush will last for years IF you clean that paintbrush properly after each use. So, how do you do that?

How to Clean Latex Paint from a Paintbrush

Latex paint is the most widely used paint for walls and trim in homes, so that’s the type of paint we’ll talk about cleaning from your paintbrush.

When you’re done painting with latex paint, here’s what NOT to do: Don’t use vinegar, don’t soak the paint brush in a cleaning solution, don’t use a wire brush to scrub the bristles, and don’t use sprays or chemicals to clean it. Cleaning latex paint from your brush properly is much simpler than that.

All you need to clean latex paint from your brush is warm, running water. That’s right: Latex paint is water-soluble and will clean up using nothing but warm water. No soaps, no chemicals – just clean, warm, running water.

Here’s how: With the handle of the paint brush pointed toward your body and the bristles pointed away, run the bristles under warm water and gently massage the paint out of them with your fingers. Keep the paintbrush angled downward so that the bristles are lower than the handle and water flows from the handle end down through the bristles.

Be patient, as there can be a lot of paint on the brush. When you think you’ve gotten all of the paint out of the brush, turn the brush over and repeat the process on the other side–working any remaining paint out of the bristles with your fingers in a gentle manner. The key is to be patient and gentle with the paint brush.

Final Steps for Pro Paintbrush Care

Once all of the paint is out of your brush, it’s time to dry it like a pro:

  1. Dab it. To dry your paint brush, dab both sides of the bristles lightly on a clean cloth several times. Then, reform the bristles into their original position, and lay the brush flat to dry.
  2. Roll it. If there’s still a lot of water in the bristles, you can speed the drying process by rolling the handle of the brush between your hands so that the brush spins quickly and centrifugal force causes the water droplets to leave the bristles. After spinning the brush, reform the bristles into their original position—the way the brush looked when you took it out of its packaging—and lay the brush flat to dry.
  3. Cover it. When you purchase your high-quality paint brush, save the cardboard cover that comes with it. Why should you save it? Because it’s the ideal storage mechanism for your brush. Once your brush is completely dry, simply re-insert it into the cardboard cover, and your brush is ready for your next painting project!

Our No. 1 Paint Brush Care Tip

The number one, most important tip Freeland Painting can share about paintbrush care is this: Never let paint dry on your paintbrush.

It’s simple: Avoid letting paint dry on your bristles so that cleaning the paintbrush will be much easier and more successful.

That means you should always wash your brush immediately after you’re done with your paint job, while the paint is still wet. No procrastinating!

If you need help finishing your DIY paint project, call the expert painters at Freeland Painting. We’ll happily provide you with a free estimate on your home, commercial, or multi-family painting project.

Contact us today at 678.679.3126 to schedule a free estimate!

DIY Paint Tips: 9 Tips to Paint Walls Like a Pro

A fresh coat of professionally applied paint is one of the fastest, most effective ways to upgrade any space. In hours, the walls of a room can go from stale and scuffed to cheerful and refreshed. There are few more gratifying home improvement projects than painting a room!

If you’re a do-it-yourselfer who wants to learn professional painting tricks and tips, you’ve come to the right place! The painting experts at Freeland Painting are eager to share best practices and lessons learned over 20+ years of professional painting to give your DIY painting project the best basis for success.

If you haven’t already, read our blog posts about choosing the best paint brush for your project and how to use painters tape like a pro.

Here are 9 tips to help you paint interior walls like a pro:

1.Get a canvas tarp or two. A good painter’s tarp—or two or three, all made from canvas or other heavy cloth—is an invaluable investment to protect your floors and carpets. Because paint drips, and when that happens, you don’t want it to get on your beautiful flooring.

Freeland Painting pro tip: When you notice you’ve dripped paint onto the tarp, clean it off immediately. That way, you won’t step in the paint and track it into other rooms.

2. Protect furniture. In an ideal world, you remove all furniture from the room you want to paint. Since that’s not always possible, move furniture to the middle of the room and cover it with a thin-mill plastic to protect it from paint splatters and spills. However, please don’t use that same thin-mill plastic to cover floors because it will tear too easily when you walk on it.

3. Prep your room. Use quick-drying spackle and a utility or palate knife to fill nail holes or gauges in the wall. After it dries, sand lightly with fine-grit sandpaper until smooth. Use a damp cloth to wipe the walls down from top to bottom, which will remove dust and grime that can prevent paint from adhering.

4. Apply painters tape. Use painter’s tape (read Freeland Painting’s expert tips) to protect your ceiling, baseboards, and trim.

5. Cut-in. With the right paint brush for your project, first “cut in” all the walls to be painted—which is basically the process of using your brush to outline the area with three or four inches of paint before using a roller to apply paint to wide-open sections of the wall.

6. Roll it. Now you’re ready to roll! When applying paint to walls with a roller, the first step is to spread the paint around by working the roller in a W pattern about 3 feet across. Start at the top of the wall and continue down it using the W pattern, covering the wall as far as your paint will go. When the roller starts getting dry, dip it lightly into the paint, and go back to where you began painting that section to smooth any lines or patterns out. Here’s how: Starting at the top of the wall, roll down over the still-wet paint all the way to the baseboard in one long line. Then start back up at the top, overlapping by an inch or two. This will smooth the inconsistencies of the W pattern to ensure that you don’t see any line or pattern when your paint dries.

7. Consistency and overlap. When painting with a roller, be sure to use consistent pressure, consistent speed—not too fast or paint will splatter—and mild overlapping. At the end of each “W” run, overlap wet paint with wet paint.

8. Paint from corner to corner. Never stop to take a break in the middle of painting a wall—paint all the way from corner to corner. Never stop without a wet overlap, or you’ll be able to see the lines where you stopped and restarted after the job is done.

9. Wrap brushes and rollers. When you reach a logical stopping point to break for lunch, use plastic bags or plastic wrap and a rubber band to wrap wet brushes and rollers and keep them airtight. Without exposure to air, they won’t dry out, so you’ll be able to pick up a few hours later where you left off.

Following these 9 tips will ensure that you get a high-level result from your paint project, but at Freeland Painting, we always go the extra mile to make our customers smile, so we offer one additional bonus tip:

Bonus Tip #10

10. Make it fun! One of the most valuable tools in any DIY painting project is a blue-tooth speaker so you can jam out to music and make the project go by quickly and enjoyably. It’s also fun to get the kids involved—let them try their hand on some of the easy sections they can reach with a roller to make it a family project everyone can be proud of.

Call us for a Free Estimate

If we at Freeland Painting can serve you by providing your home, business, or multi-family residence with a fresh interior or exterior coat of paint–or a new roof, siding, or gutters – call us today at 678.679.3126 to schedule your free estimate. We brush up on the details every day!

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!