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That is the question.  At least, it’s one of the debates you might hear when a bunch of professional painters get together to talk shop. (Do they do that? Surely they do that.) Ask a group of expert painters whether they use the sticky stuff, and you’ll probably get a variety of answers!

Is Painter’s Tape More Hassle Than It’s Worth?

If you’ve ever tried to tackle a painting job on your own, you’ve probably painstakingly taped around trim, light fixtures, and floorboards in an attempt to get a clean, professional line. The taping process can be tedious and frustrating, especially in homes where the wall surface isn’t smooth or the trim has layers of older paint built up. And often, even after you invest the time to tape, you still don’t end up with a clean line. What gives? 

Female painter taping trim
Taping takes time, and can be problematic, but for most painters, it’s worth the hassle.

Bleeding and Bridging

Any painter in the “no tape” camp will tell you all the reasons why they don’t use the stuff. Problem number one is usually bleeding. Even when you apply the tape carefully, it’s easy for paint to seep behind the edge. This creates a messy edge and results in more cleanup work. To combat this, some painters use a putty knife to press the tape down and create a tighter seal. While this can help stop bleeding, it doesn’t help with with a phenomenon known as “bridging.” Latex paint forms a skin (or bridge) when it dries. When you pull the tape off, the skin can tear, leaving you with a jagged line. 

Can You Make the Cut?

The alternative to taping involves a high quality paint brush and the steady hands of a surgeon. The professionals call it “cutting in.” Cutting in—painting only the part you want with a crisp clean line— is a painting skill that takes years to master, but it can be invaluable to a professional painter. If you can cut in well, you can paint faster and avoid bleeding and bridging issues. But if you’re not blessed with surgical precision and steady nerves, it’s always best to stick to tape. 

Tape or No-Tape—Either Way Works

Even among the ranks of expert painters with decades of experience, Team Tape and Team No-Tape have ardent defenders. A wise painter picks the method that works best for them. And a wise homeowner picks a great professional painter! At Check Local, we won’t tell you which way is best, but we set you up with the best painters in the Panhandle and beyond. So before you decide, always Check Local!

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!

Keep your home’s exterior looking fresh and functioning properly with spring maintenance

Spring has sprung! The warming coastal breeze here in the Panhandle has us all dreaming of the lazy beach days that will be here soon. But before let summer’s heat and humidity arrive in full force, you should take some time to check your home’s exterior for any needed maintenance and painting. Get it done now so you can kick back and relax when beach season is in full swing!

Peeling paint is a bad sign for your home's exterior.
Blistering and small cracks in your paint job can quickly lead to peeling.

Regular Maintenance is a Homeowner’s Best Friend!

Here on Florida’s coast, our homes take a beating. Salt, sun, sand, and moisture all take a serious toll on our siding and trim, and it’s important that we’re extra vigilant with maintenance. Now is a great time to inspect your exterior paint job. Are there any areas of fading or bubbling? Any places where sand and salt have worn away the paint and left exposed siding or trim work? You’ll want to take care of those spots right away to prevent long-term problems such as rotting wood and mold growth.

Mold and mildew grow quickly in Florida’s humid climate. Keep them at bay with regular maintenance and a fresh paint job.

A great painter can help you size up your home’s exterior and determine any necessary maintenance steps. You may only need minor repairs, such as caulking and paint touch-ups. But if a complete paint job is in order, we’re here for you with great inspiration boards on Pinterest. Check out our Coastal Exteriors board for beachy-chic ideas, or our Exterior Colors board for a wide variety of inspiring photos and links. And when you’re ready to get started, don’t forget to Check Local for the best painters in town!

Let Check Local Painting help you find the right professional painters for your commercial job

Finding the right commercial painting contractor is no easy feat. Commercial painting jobs can be large and costly—if you’re going to invest your time and resources into the project, you want it done right. Your business is your baby, and you want to make sure the painters you hire care for it as much as you do! 

Go with experience and a good reputation

In many ways, hiring a commercial painter is very similar to hiring a painter for your home. You want a contractor who is responsible, experienced, and professional. Here in the Panhandle and Emerald Coast, you also want to make sure that painters who will be tackling exterior projects have the experience to help you choose paint and materials that can stand up to our coastal climate

Talk with your painters about choosing the right paint for your interior jobs as well. VOCs can lead to odors that can seriously impact the breathing quality of your indoor air. If you plan to have clients or tenants in your space during the paint job or shortly after, consider using low-VOC paint.

Commercial paint jobs can have unique challenges

Commercial jobs can also bring unique challenges that require specific skills and knowledge. These jobs are typically larger and more costly—a start-up 2-man crew will probably not fit your needs. Cavernous industrial spaces with towering ceilings may require large scaffolding and/or extension ladders. Exposed pipes can be tricky to paint, and may require specialized paint for a durable finish. Make sure the painting contractor you choose has all the right equipment and experience for the job. If your painters will be interacting with clients or tenants in any way, you’ll want to think about that issue when you choose your contractor. Their professionalism will reflect on your own. 

Commercial jobs can also bring unique challenges that require specific skills and knowledge. These jobs are typically larger and more costly—a start-up 2-man crew will probably not fit your needs. Cavernous industrial spaces with towering ceilings may require large scaffolding and/or extension ladders. Exposed pipes can be tricky to paint, and may require specialized paint for a durable finish. Make sure the painting contractor you choose has all the right equipment and experience for the job. If your painters will be interacting with clients or tenants in any way, you’ll want to think about that issue when you choose your contractor. Their professionalism will reflect on your own. 

A commercial painter should have experience warehouse and industrial spaces.
Commercial and industrial jobs can require painting pipes and other metal surfaces.

Safety first!

No matter how experienced and professional your contractor is, accidents can happen. Look for a contractor that puts a heavy emphasis on safety and who is familiar with OSHA standards. Do they know how to safely handle very high or otherwise dangerous spaces? Are they prepared to deal with possible lead paint issues? Painters who are sloppy with safety standards could cause liability issues for you. Be sure your painting contractor has all the appropriate licenses, bonds, and insurance required in your area. 

Good commercial painters deal with high spaces and other tricky situations safely.
Commercial painters should be prepared to deal with high spaces safely.

Check Local Painting can help you address all fo these concerns and more when it comes to hiring a commercial painting contractor. We’ve done the heavy lifting for you by vetting our recommendations and compiling reviews. If you’ve got a big commercial project looming, we can save you time and money. Contact us today…and remember, before you decide, always Check Local!

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.

Be Prepared – Pro Tips To Prep For a Paint Job

PROPER PREPARATION PREVENTS POOR PERFORMANCE

You’ve probably heard the five P’s from a well-meaning teacher, coach, or boss before. The phrase may be trite, but the message is on point. Preparation is important for almost any endeavor, including painting your home. 

Hiring the best painter in your local area is the first step. Once you’ve checked that off the list, it’s time to think about preparation. Your painter will spend a lot of time prepping the surfaces in your home before they start painting. But the preparation doesn’t start there. A little prep work on your end before the painters arrive will go a long way towards ensuring a successful project. You’ll end up with a gorgeous paint job and a great relationship with your painter.  Win-win.

PLANNING IS KEY

Planning is a key element of preparation when it comes to painting your home. Painting is a big job, and you’ll need to be prepared to stay out of the affected rooms for at least a day, maybe longer.  A little bit of prior planning will make everything go smoother. If you have small children, decide how you will keep them out of the rooms being painted until everything is dry. Sometimes it’s as simple as closing a door, but in an open floorplan, things can get tricky. If you’re painting the kitchen, plan ahead for meals during the paint job, and don’t forget things like packing school lunches if you have children. 

PAINTING + PETS

Painting can be tricky if pets create trouble.
Pets plus paint can be an equation for trouble. Curious cats and meddlesome mutts can derail your paint job if you don’t plan ahead.

Consider pets as well – you will want to make sure you can keep your pets completely away from the affected rooms during the job. An enthusiastic dog can wreak havoc with his tail, and nobody wants pet fur wafting into the fresh paint. 

You should also consider pets when undertaking an exterior paint job. Most painters are perfectly happy to work with pets in the area, as long as you can keep them away from the wet paint. If your pet is likely to be anxious around the painting crew, or create a nuisance with barking or aggressive behavior, you’ll want to make arrangements for them during the paint job. Consider asking a neighbor to take your pet for the day or check out local pet day cares and/or boarding facilities.

GET SOME ZZZs

Plan ahead for sleeping arrangements. If you opt to use a low- or no-VOC paint, you may be able to sleep in freshly painted rooms that night. But if your project needs require an oil-based paint, or you are extra sensitive to odors, you’ll want to make alternate sleeping arrangements for at least a night. 

MOVE AND PROTECT BEFORE YOU PAINT

Move the furniture to the middle of the room, ensuring that painters have good access to all the wall and trim surfaces. If ceilings will be painted, it’s best to move the furniture completely out of the room if possible. Any furniture left in the room should be covered with old sheets or drop-cloths; many painters will cover the furniture for you, but be sure to discuss that up front with your contractor before the job starts. 

Don’t forget to move and/or protect electronics as well. In most cases, wall-mounted televisions and speakers will need to be removed from their brackets. Find a safe place to store them until the job is complete. Again, discuss these issues up front with your painter before they begin to make sure the job goes smoothly. 

Remove everything hanging on the walls, and if you’re having closets painted, remove everything from inside. 

EXTERIOR PAINTING PREP IS IMPORTANT

If you’re painting the exterior of your home, most painters will ask that you trim any bushes or trees that are close to your home. Make sure the painters are able to freely access all areas of the exterior. If you have small and/or extremely delicate plants near the foundation of your home, consider relocating them temporarily. A short stay in a pot that is located away from the foundation will help your tender plants survive and thrive. Ladders, scaffolding, and heavy work boots can crush fragile specimen plants; although a good painter will take reasonable precautions to protect your landscaping, smaller plants are harder to avoid. On the flip side, if you have large heavily overgrown shrubs that encroach on the house, consider calling a local landscaping contractor before you schedule your paint job to get things trim and tidy.

MAKE A CLEAN START

A great paint job will give your home new life. Start fresh by cleaning surfaces before the painters arrive. Vacuum the floors and wipe down trim boards with a damp cloth to remove dust, pet hair, and grime. Even if you’re only painting the wall surfaces, cleaning the trim is a good idea. Having a pristine surface where the wall meets the trim will enable your painter to get a nice clean line. Areas that typically hide behind furniture may need a little more elbow grease, but avoid using cleaning products if possible. Any residue that remains on the surface will affect paint adhesion. In most cases, a damp microfiber cloth should do the trick.

GET THE GUNK OFF

On the outside, you’ll also want to make sure all the exterior surfaces are clean and smooth. In coastal areas, salt and mildew buildup can wreak havoc with a paint job. Here in Florida, it’s especially important to strip away any residue before applying paint. Talk with your contractor – many painters will include this preparation work in their bid, but you’ll want to get specifics when you get the estimate. For more information about exterior painting here on the Emerald Coast of Florida, check out our pro tips on exterior painting on the coast.

With a little preparation and planning, you and your home will be ready when the painters arrive. Communication is key – talk with your painting contractor before they arrive to set expectations and avoid unpleasant surprises. For more pro tips on getting the best paint job in the Emerald Coast, visit our knowledge center. Ready to find the best local painter? Click here!

Check Out Our Pro Tips For Finding a Painter Who Delivers

Whether you’re updating a few rooms inside your home or refreshing the entire exterior, painting is a great way to update your home and add instant value. It may seem simple, but a good paint job requires patient preparation, quality materials and tools, and meticulous attention to detail. Made the smart choice to hire a professional but aren’t quite sure how to pick the best one? Read on for our expert tips.

GET AN ESTIMATE

Seek recommendations from friends and neighbors, or consult a trustworthy local guide like Check Local for contractor references. The estimate process will be your chance to gather lots of important information. Although you may be focused on the dollars and cents, you shouldn’t neglect the opportunity to learn more about the painting contractor’s process and their professionalism. 

Plan to be home when the painter comes to do the estimate. In person, you can communicate your expectations and note how much time the contractor spends assessing your home. The more time spent, the more accurate your estimate will be. Thoroughness and attention to detail are important at all steps of the house painting process!

INVEST IN THE ESTIMATE PROCESS

Pay attention throughout the estimate process – is the contractor prompt, polite, and respectful of your property when they arrive for the estimate? If they show up late, track mud through your home, and ignore questions when they are trying to win the job, it’s unlikely that they will be more professional once they’ve secured the business. 

Take the time to ask about the painting contractor’s team. If it’s a large paint job, these people will be working in your home for days or even weeks. How large is the crew? How much experience do the crew members have? Have they worked for this contractor for a long time? If the crew is primarily made up of non-English speakers, will there be someone onsite throughout the job with whom you can clearly communicate?

Finally, ask for a written estimate. The estimate should include:

  • Breakdown of labor and material costs
  • Number of coats (primer and paint)
  • Type of paint that will be used
  • Description of the surface preparation that will be done

SET YOUR EXPECTATIONS AND COMMUNICATE THEM CLEARLY

Start with the basics, but don’t forget about the details and fine print. Clearly define the area(s) to be painted, and specify whether trim and ceilings will be painted. Ask how many coats of paint the contractor plans to apply, and what paint they prefer to use.

THINK ABOUT PAINT CHOICES

Not all paint is created equal, and the options are nearly endless. Many people prefer water-based paint, but you may have a special situation that requires an oil-based formula. Low VOC paint is popular, and new formulations can include things like germicides, acoustic properties, and more. It’s worth doing some research on your end before you start your project. Any good painter should be willing to use your preferred paint, though you’ll need to negotiate that upfront. 

In addition to the type and brand of paint you want to use, it’s best if you have an idea of your color choices before you get the estimate. Going darker is usually fairly straightforward. If you’re covering dark paint with a lighter color, it may require more prep work, more coats of paint, or a specific primer. Painting wood trim, paneling, or doors that have previously been stained can present unique challenges. Ask the painting contractor about the intensive prep work, special primers, and extra coats of paint that may be required.

Painting stained wood trim white is labor intensive work.
Painting stained wood trim can require extra prep work and more coats.

PLAN FOR SURFACE PREP

Ask about the surface preparation the contractor plans to do, and assess the condition of your siding, walls, ceilings, and/or trim. If your walls have uneven spots, large cracks, or other significant issues you want addressed, communication is key. Starting with a mess and hoping for a masterpiece? You’ll need to be very specific about your expectations, and be prepared to pay more for extra prep work. Was your home was built before 1978? Your painter may need to be prepared to safely deal with lead-based paint. Be sure to ask your painter about your their qualifications and experience with lead-based paint if that is an issue for you.

BE PREPARED FOR A LITTLE HOMEWORK

You should also talk to your contractor about the type of prep work you’ll need to do before they arrive. Will furniture need to be moved, hedges trimmed, or siding cleaned? Clarifying all of that during the estimate process will avoid unpleasant surprises and delays when the painters show up. For more information on prepping for a great paint job, click here. 

DON’T FORGET THE CLEANUP

It’s also important to consider cleanup logistics in advance as well. Do you have an outdoor hose in an area where the painters can safely clean their equipment? If you’ve got a newly resurfaced driveway or a vegetable garden that won’t appreciate a dose of pigment and chemicals, be sure to point that out to the contractor ahead of time.  

CHECK REFERENCES AND CREDENTIALS

Get a list of references from the contractor and follow up. Ask past clients about their experiences, and try to contact people that have recently worked with the painter as well as those whose job was completed some time ago. This is the best way to find out if the painter’s work holds up well. Does the painting contractor stand behind their work when issues arise? A little research will help you feel empowered and informed.  

In addition to references, you can verify licenses with your state or local licensing board and check for a history of complaints with the Better Business Bureau. 

GET A CONTRACT AND A GUARANTEE

The contract should include all the contractor’s important information: name, address, phone numbers, and license number. The details from the estimate should appear on the contract, including a clear statement of what specific work will be covered in the job. You should also ask for a copy of the painter’s liability and workers’ compensation insurance certificates. Without that coverage, you could be on the hook for accidents or damage that happen while the painters are at your home.

A good painting contractor will also include a guarantee that covers adhesion issues (chipping, peeling, blistering, flaking) and/or color changes (fading or chalking) – typically for a two year period. 

YOU’RE READY TO HIRE – NOW WHAT?

Following these simple steps will help ensure that you hire a painter with the skills, experience, and professionalism to deliver a successful end result. But once you hire a painter, don’t assume your job is done. Whether it’s an interior or exterior paint job, you’ll have some prep work to do before the painters show up, and you’ll want to stay involved once the job starts. Hopefully your advance work will pay off, and the job will go smoothly, but if you do notice issues, speak up early and nip them in the bud before they create a larger problem. When it comes to payment, consider withholding the final payment (usually 10-15 percent) until the job is 100% completed to your satisfaction. It’s always easier to get a painter to come back and rectify mistakes or finish the cleanup if their final payday depends on it.

Brighten up, lighten up, go dark and bold, or just refresh the existing colors. Investing time and resources in a great paint job can completely rejuvenate your home. Ready to find the best painter for your job in the Panhandle of Florida? Click here to get started with great local referrals!