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What is Antimicrobial Paint?

 Antimicrobial paint has additives that make the painted surface resistant to microbes such as fungi, viruses, and bacteria. Mold and mildew fall into this category, as do bacteria such as Staph (Staphylococcus aureus), MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), and E. coli (Escherichia coli). The most widely available antimicrobial paint is Sherwin-Williams’ Paint Shield®, which claims to kill 99% of bacteria. 

What are the Benefits to Antimicrobial Paint?

Antimicrobial paint has historically been used in hospitals, long-term care facilities, and other health care settings, but in recent years, people have become interested in residential applications. Its ability to kill germs such as MRSA, Staph, and E. coli makes it appealing for those with vulnerable immune systems. In residential settings, it is also valued for its ability to inhibit the growth of mold and mildew. This helps keep walls and trim looking better, longer, and helps eliminate allergy symptoms for many people. Manufacturers of antimicrobial additives also claim that the microbicides help prolong the life of the paint.

For those who are very sensitive to germs, antimicrobial paint can be be a good choice.
If you are extra sensitive to germs, antimicrobial paint might be a good choice for you.

Are There any Cons to Using Antimicrobial Paint?

Right now, Sherwin Williams is the only major paint retailer that offers antimicrobial paint, and although they do offer a wide variety of colors (over 500), you may not be able to get every shade. The paint only comes in eggshell finish, so if you have your heart set on flat walls with semi-gloss trim, this type of paint may not work for you. 

Although the germ-killing action of antimicrobial paint sounds is attractive to many, the reality is that most people don’t encounter germs on their walls. Germs thrive in moist, humid environments, so dry walls aren’t typically hospitable hosts. Nevertheless, for those with compromised immune systems or serious concerns about the spread of germs, antimicrobial paint does offer extra protection. 

Which Rooms Are Best for Antimicrobial Paint?

Bathrooms are great candidates for antimicrobial paint.

Inside your home, kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms are the obvious candidates for the germ-killing properties of antimicrobial paint. The added moisture in those rooms means that the environment is more hospitable for viruses and bacteria, and surfaces in these rooms are the most likely to become contaminated. 

Let the Experts Help

Check Local can connect you with a great local painter in the Panhandle area who can help you choose the best paint for your project. Our painters are licensed and insured, well-reviewed, and ready to tackle your painting project. Contact us today to get started!

Understanding Paint Finishes Can Help Ensure the Perfect Paint Job

Satin, high gloss, eggshell, matte, flat…most major brands of paint come in at least three or four different sheens. If making sense of the different options has you seeing stars, read on for our pro tips on when–and how–to use different paint finishes for your interior and exterior painting projects.

Know Your Options When it Comes to Paint Sheen

To understand how paint finishes will affect the final look of your paint job, it helps to know more about the different options. The most “shiny” option is typically called high gloss. Glossy paint has a higher proportion or resin binders, which leads to the shiny, reflective surface. One step-down on the glossy scale is the aptly named semigloss. Next is satin, then eggshell (sometimes called low-lustre). Each of these paint sheen categories has increasingly less resin, leading to increasingly less glossy sheen. Finally, at the other side of the sheen spectrum, you have flat or matte paint. This paint has a relatively higher proportion of paint pigment, and relatively less resin.

Best Interior Applications

A high level of sheen reflects light and draws the eye, so it’s best to use high gloss paint on trim work and other details you want to highlight. If you have a surface that is dinged or damaged, consider choosing a slightly less glossy finish that will hide flaws better. High gloss paint formulations are typically the most durable and resilient, so they are great for high traffic areas.

When it comes to walls, many people choose satin or eggshell paint. Satin offers a slightly higher level of sheen and better washability, while eggshell offers a deeper level of pigment and hides flaws. Flat or matte paint offers a superior ability to disguise flaws and the deepest level of pigmentation. It is not recommended for high traffic areas, as it can be difficult to keep clean and doesn’t wash well.

High gloss paint reflects both natural and artificial light.

Let’s Talk Exterior

When it comes to the outside of your home, satin is a great choice for siding. It’s less reflective finish hides any imperfections, but the small amount of gloss allows for easier cleaning. Semigloss is your best choice for the bulk of your home’s trim, including windowsills that take a beating from weather. It’s easier to clean and more durable and moisture resistant. Save the high gloss paint for accent trim such as shutters and doors. high gloss paint is beautiful and durable, but it can magnify imperfections. We recommend saving that high luster paint for eye-level accent areas such as shutters and doors.

If you’re still not sure which finish to choose for your project, take heart. An experienced painter will be able to give you good advice when they come to evaluate your job. Look for someone who has lots of local expertise–our abundant Panhandle sunshine can really up that reflective factor with high gloss paints!

If you’re ready to find a great painting contractor with no hassle or fuss, Check Local can help. Get in touch and we’ll hook you up with a vetted and reviewed painter who’s perfect for your job!

Pro Tips For Choosing a Color Scheme You Can Live With…And Love!

Color is a power which directly influences the soul.

Wassily Kandinsky

Cool, calm and serene. Bright, bold, and energizing. Classic. Modern. Cool. Warm.

When it comes to paint colors, the choices are literally endless. And once you’ve settled on a color family, you’re faced with differentiating all the shades and hues. Don’t stress about choosing paint colors. With a little bit of thought and some good resources, you’ll find a color combo you love.

START WITH STYLE

What’s your personal style? Your closet can be a great indicator when it comes to choosing paint colors. Do you love a riot of bright colors, warm accents, and eclectic patterns? Your paint choices will probably be similar. If your wardrobe is mostly neutral tones and clean lines, a palette of cool grays, tans, and creams may suit you best. Maybe you like to stick with neutrals with a few pops of bright jewel tones. In that case, a bold accent wall might be the right choice for you.

On the exterior, pay attention to your neighbors. Some neighborhoods – especially in historic districts – may have strict covenants that restrict your choices. Even if yours doesn’t (most don’t), you’ll want to take note of your neighborhood’s style. If you’re surrounded by traditional suburban homes with classic palettes, bright pink may be a bit too bold. Live in a funky downtown district with eclectic architecture? That same pink paint shade might be just the ticket to make your home – and your style – stand out.

THINK ABOUT LIGHT

When it comes to choosing paint colors, it pays to have a little patience and plan ahead. Whether you’re looking for exterior colors, interior colors, or both, you should pay attention to the natural light during different times of day and different weather patterns. The same paint can look quite different depending on the quantity and quality of sunlight that hits it. Almost every painter with a little experience has found themselves facing a homeowner who is certain that they used the wrong paint. In most cases, it’s not a mistake, just a trick of the light.

LIGHT AND BRIGHT

If your home receives lots of bright, unfiltered sunlight (we’re looking at you, Florida), you can safely go bright and bold. All that intense sunlight will wash out the colors a bit, making them appear more muted in life than they appear on the chip. In many coastal locations, you’ll see these brighter hues – especially blues and coral shades – inside and out. Neutrals also work in well-lit environments as well. Keep in mind that a light gray or cream shade may appear virtually white when flooded with sunlight, so you may need to choose a more saturated hue to achieve your desired effect.

LOW-LIGHT ENVIRONMENTS

A home surrounded by large trees or otherwise sheltered from the sun will often look best with a more subtle palette. If a bright color is calling you, consider choosing a slightly muted shade of the same color. Neutrals can also be a great option, but remember that some shades of gray and beige can look drab when used in a low-light environment. If those colors appeal to you, focus on light, bright versions that will help reflect all the available light you’ve got.

ALL LIGHT IS NOT CREATED EQUAL

When you think about light affecting paint colors, consider that it’s not just the quantity of light that matters, but also the direction it comes from. Good decorators pay attention to the exposures of the home when choosing color schemes and specific shades. Thinking like a decorator can help you fine-tune your choice and maximize your natural light:

  • Northern exposures: Light in these rooms is often blue-toned and cool and bluish. Bolder colors perform well; light colors can look very subdued.
  • Eastern exposures: East light starts out warm and sunny, then transitions to a bluer light in the afternoon. Warm tones – including reds, oranges, and yellows – work well here.  
  • Southern exposures: Almost any color looks great in a room flooded with coveted southern light. Dark colors will pop and lighter colors will appear luminescent.
  • Western exposures: The warm evening light in Western-facing rooms is lovely, lending a warm glow to the walls. In the morning hours, low levels of light can make mute and dull the colors.
Paint colors can change as the natural light changes.
The quality and quantity of sunlight can affect the way your paint color appears

SIZE MATTERS

Painting the exterior of your home white can make it appear larger, while darker colors can have the opposite effect. If you have a very large home situated on a small lot, choosing a darker shade for the exterior will visually ground your home and make it appear more proportional. If you have a tiny cottage, painting it white will give it presence and make it pop from the landscape.

The same relationships generally hold true on the the interior of your home. Small rooms often feel less “closed-in” when painted in light shades. Conversely, darker hues are great for creating feelings of coziness. They can be very useful for defining rooms in modern open floor plans.

BE DETAIL ORIENTED

Think about the architectural details of your home, and use your paint color choices wisely. If you have a gorgeous Victorian with amazing trim details, consider a bold or contrasting trim color that really makes that trim work stand out. On the flip side, if there are details you’d rather hide, choose trim paint within the same color family. Low contrast combinations will help disguise anything you don’t love about your home.

Don’t forget about trim and architectural details on the interior of the home. If you have high quality mouldings, unusual architectural details, or built-ins you want to emphasize, choose bold, eye-catching hues or high contrast color schemes. If you’re stuck with a dated fireplace surround or other details that aren’t appealing, pick a palette that de-emphasizes those elements.

TESTING IS YOUR FRIEND

No matter what colors you’re drawn to, we always recommend testing large swatches of your choices on the actual walls you’ll be painting. Many paint companies sell sample pots just for that purpose, but if your color isn’t available in a sample size, it’s worth purchasing a quart to avoid a costly mistake. Evaluate the color at different times of day and during cloudy and sunny days. That gray that looks perfect in the paint store might look purple on your wall, while the blue that seems too bright on the chip might make your home sing. Live with the swatches a few days if you can, and solicit input from friends and family.

GET HELP IF YOU NEED IT

If choosing paint colors makes your head spin or your blood pressure spike, rest assured that help is available. Pinterest and Houzz are great resources for inspiration, as are interior design blogs and home design magazines. Consider hiring an interior decorator to help you finalize your choices. You may be surprised by the affordable price if your project is relatively limited in scope. If you’ve chosen a great local painting contractor, check with them for design resources. Some contractors have designers on staff who can advise clients.

HAVE FUN!

Paint can transform your home and breathe new life into your spaces. With a little research, some patience and planning, and the right help, you can de-stress, avoid mistakes, and enjoy the process of finding the right colors for home.

Pro Tips to Prolong the Life of Your Exterior Paint Job

If you have a home here in Florida Panhandle, you know how wonderful coastal life can be. Yet the very things that make life here so lovely – sun, salt, and that warm ocean breeze – can wreak havoc on your home. As your home’s first line of defense, exterior paint is particularly vulnerable to the ravages of the coastal climate. When it’s time to repaint your home, it’s worth seeking out a local painting contractor with expert knowledge of the unique challenges and conditions in your area.

REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS

Even the best painting contractor can’t work miracles. If you’re lucky enough to live in a coastal area, you probably already know that the exterior of your home will need more frequent maintenance. Planning, preparation, quality materials, and solid workmanship can help, but nothing can permanently delay the effects of sun, salt, moisture, and wind. 

SOLAR EFFECTS

Homeowners in coastal Florida are used to the sun’s strong rays, and most take cover with shade, protective clothing or hats, and sunscreen when they’re outside in the summer. Just like human skin that burns with too much direct exposure, the paint on our homes also suffers from too much direct sunlight. Sun-related issues fall into a few categories: 

Bleaching  – Ultraviolet rays in sunlight break down the chemical compounds in paint, causing fading and paint failure. Dark colors are more likely to fade, but the UV rays can also turn crisp whites yellow. 

Bubbling or Blistering – Like skin that blisters with a bad sunburn, your exterior paint can actually bubble or blister. The paint becomes so hot that it begins to boil. When the bubbles pop, the surface beneath the paint becomes exposed to the elements. When this happens, you should take steps to repair it immediately. South-facing doors in coastal Florida are particularly vulnerable to this problem, and they will often require extra prep work when it’s time to repaint.

Chalking – The dehydrating effect of the sun can cause chemicals to rise to the surface, leaving a powdery white film on top of the paint. Using high quality primer and paint can delay this chalking effect somewhat.

WIND, MOISTURE, SAND, & SALT 

That wonderful breeze blowing in from the ocean brings moisture, sand, and salt to your exterior surfaces. Exterior paint can fade, peel and chip as a result of constant exposure to salt water. #Saltlife may be a popular hashtag for aspiring beach bums all over the country, but your house doesn’t appreciate the barrage of sodium. Salt crystals build up on the surface of the paint, and sand particles carried on the wind can add insult to injury. And it’s not just minerals that attack your home’s exterior surfaces – the humidity that’s pervasive to the Emerald Coast causes its own set of problems. Moisture build-up causes mold and mildew to grow rapidly, and increases the likelihood of rot and decay.  

Homes located right on the ocean should realistically expect annual or biennial maintenance to painted surfaces. The most important thing to do is to make sure that your paint job is done right the first time. Hiring a local contractor – with local experience – is your best first step. Once the job is done, monitor your house vigilantly, and catch any damage early. Careful and frequent inspections of coastal home exteriors can help prevent costly repairs.