Monday, November 21, 2011

The Least Flashy Job in Every Paint Project: Wall Washing

Not too long ago, the kids helped me do the dishes.  That’s cool right?  I mean really, you walk into the kitchen after dinner expecting to take on the job and you find 2 or 3 kids there already working, placing all the freshly washed and dried dishes on the counter for my wife or I to put them away.  Yes, there's no way around it:  that's cool.

Unfortunately, there was a problem.  Being kids, they’d never thought to clean off the counter.  It was still covered with the mess of making dinner--the chunks of hamburger, drops of grease, some lettuce parts, some spilled ketchup . . . all that stuff--the things we’d normally wipe off from the counter BEFORE we piled dishes up on top of it.

They put in all the work, but because they hadn’t thought about the counter, some of the work was wasted and had to be redone.  OK--now, for the paint point.  See, we run into this all the time at RepcoLite--oh, not with counters and dishes, but with walls and paint.

For example, not too long ago, a customer walked into the store frustrated because his new paint wasn't bonding well to his walls.  He explained that there were places--especially on his wood panelling--where it wasn’t sticking well and he wanted to know what was wrong with the paint.

Turns out, there wasn’t anything wrong with the paint.  The problem, as became clear in the conversation that followed, was that he had never washed the paneling down before painting.  Over the years, he had cleaned it with Endust or some other dusting spray and the waxes in those cleaning agents can remain on the surface for years and will often repel a latex paint. 

That’s just one scenario of the many that happen daily.  Remember, nobody washes dishes and then sets them down on a dirty, unwiped counter.  Likewise, we shouldn’t spend all the time and energy and money involved in a paint project only to roll our new paint over unprepared surfaces.

Take some time the night before your intended project to give the walls a good washing.  It's not a flashy, exciting part of a paint project.  It's one of those things that we tend to ignore or skip.  But it's important!  Remember, even if the walls look clean--you don’t see spiderwebs or dirt or dust or other goo stuck there by your kids--take the time to wash over them with TSP.  You’ll be giving yourself a clean palette, a clean foundation to work on and you’ll be much less likely to encounter problems in your project.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Step into the Metaphorest--An ArtPrize Top 10 Entry!

One of the most exciting parts of my job is getting to work with people who use our products in unusual and creative ways.  That's one of the reasons we've enjoyed providing ArtPrize artists with free paint for the last couple years.  Just watching how the creativity bursts into color all over downtown Grand Rapids is amazing.

This year, we've worked with a number of artists. One of the most exciting is the team put together by Todd Osborne.  He and his group put together a huge relief mural on the West Michigan Center for Arts and Technology.  And the vast majority of color on the wall is RepcoLite Paint! 

What's even more exciting is that Todd's "Metaphorest" project is an ArtPrize Top 10 entry.  That means Todd and his group have a 1 in 10 chance of winning the Grand Prize!  
Check out his work at ArtPrize, or take a look here.

Monday, October 3, 2011

ArtPrize 2011: Edgar Mueller's 'Phoenix'

It's time for ArtPrize again in Grand Rapids--an annual art competition that is open to any artist from anywhere in the world.  Last year, RepcoLite participated by donating some paint to some of the artists.  We did the same thing this year and wanted to take a moment to highlight those artists and what they created using RepcoLite Paints!

First up is international artist, Edgar Mueller.  His entry in the contest is one of the most unique works we've ever seen.  It's a 3D illusion painted on the parking lot of the City Art Gallery in Grand Rapids.  From one perspective, it just looks like a lot of paint all over the parking lot.  From the right perspective, the illusion comes together and you see something truly remarkable:  asphalt crumbling away into an open chasm out of which a Phoenix rises.

Amongst other paint, Edgar made use of RepcoLite's NEW (to be released next Spring) Endura Exterior Paints.  These paints provide vivid colors and remarkable fade resistance.  They're perfect for your home . . . and an international artist's ArtPrize entry.

Go see Edgar's work in person...or at least take a look below!  Or, better both!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Easy DIY Stenciled Headboards

Here's a great idea from a blog we follow called Simply Sjostedt.  It's a simple way to create an entirely unique, interesting, headboard using only some planks, a stencil and some paint.

Here you can read about how it was done and see pictures that chronicle every step.  But before you click the link, remember the Cardinal Rule of any project:  don't be afraid to tinker with the idea.

What I mean is this:  the plank background here is a great "blank canvas".  Sure, you could stencil it--as we see in the picture at the left--but don't be afraid to make this project your own.

For example, you could paint the boards a solid color and distress them.  Or, you could go a different route and stain and varnish the planks.  The stain job could be done with an eye toward a rustic finish or, if you prefer, a fine wood finish.  Both results would be easily achievable--you just need to figure out which would work better for you.  Really, the possibilities are endless.  Use your imagination and your creativity and see what you can come up with!  (And, if you come up with something really cool, let us know in the comments!)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Decorating Made Easy: Decorating with the 60-30-10 Rule

The 60-30-10 rule is a tested concept used by interior decorators everywhere.  It's a simple proportion that spells out the ideal amounts of color to use in your decorating.

To keep it as simple as possible, 60% of your room should be composed of your dominant color, 30% should be composed of a secondary color and that final 10% should be reserved for accents.  Now, maybe that sounds a little confusing . . . so here are some examples:

This room is a perfect example of the 60-30-10 rule in practice.
60% = Lavendar (walls and blanket)
30% = White (bed and fireplace)
10% = brown/tan (chairs, dresser, floor) 

Another great example:
60% = Tan (walls, floors) 30% Brown (couch, tables)
10% Blue and White (pillows, vases, etc.)

A classic example showing that you don't need a soft, muted color on your walls to make this work.
60% = Red (walls, accessories)
30% = Cream (furniture, rug)
10% = Tan (floor, accessories)
Another great example that clearly demonstrates that the main color doesn't need to be calm, simple, neutral or BORING!
60% = Green (walls, accessories)
30% = White (furniture, art prints)
10% = Dark Brown (floors, chair legs)

An example that proves you can use the 60-30-10 rule to work incredibly vibrant and bold colors
smoothly into your decorating.
60% = Blue (walls, light)
30% = Pink (bedspread, chair, painted leaves)
10% = White (trim, doors)
The color options are endless and it's not difficult to see that using this rule helps you keep your color scheme under control and helps you produce an end result that's very focused, very clean and very inviting!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Dental Neglect and Home Improvements

Proof that I have a tendency to stand like a lousy Super Hero.
The other night, we--my family and I--were sitting in the living room, watching the Tigers.  The kids were running around, driving us a little nuts and eventually there came a point when I stood up and put my hands on my hips.  (Which really, is something I wish I didn't do because my wife and kids always mock me and laugh and say that I think I'm a Super Hero.  Which I don't, the picture at the left notwithstanding.  I just happen to stand like one.)

At any rate, I stood up, put my hands on my hips and said, "Alright!  It's time to brush your teeth!"

Caleb, my 10-year-old son, just snickered, nudged Andrew, his younger brother, and whispered in a too-loud whisper:  "Look, Dad acting like he's Superman again."

I looked down and realized my hands were on my hips and my chest (or stomach) was all puffed out.  All I really lacked was a cape and tights.  And muscles.  And height. 

I thought for a second about how sad a Super Hero I would actually make before returning to the issue at hand:  "Go!  Go brush your teeth.  It's time for bed."

Well, they scampered off--all 5 of them--like a small heard of domesticated beasts.  But amidst the thundering of their stampede, I heard something I couldn't believe:  I heard Andrew--in confidential and extremely boastful tones--say the following:

"I haven't brushed my teeth in four days!"

To which Caleb responded with:  "Wow.  How do you get away with it?"

To which Andrew replied, "I fake it."

Well, at that point, I'd heard enough.  The last thing I need with 5 kids is for Andrew to start promulgating a gospel of dental neglect.  I stomped into the room, stood with my feet shoulder-length apart, straightened my back, puffed out my chest (or stomach), put my hands on my hips and said:

"Andrew Peter!  You will brush your teeth at least twice a day or...or..." I searched and searched for the right threat, the right punishment, the right ultimatum to level at this hygiene-negligent son of mine.  Ah, yes, that will do.  "Or, you will pay your own dental bills!"

Andrew's face clouded over and he looked down in defeat.  Then, he looked back up.  "Where am I going to get money for all of that?  I'm just a kid."

What?  Money for...?  He was trying to get me off-topic.  "It doesn't matter where the money comes from," I said.  "I'm saying you'll have to find it and pay the dentist for all the bills that you rack up because you don't brush your teeth."  

There.  A definitive closing argument.  Now, we should be able to move on.

"You mean 'pay him' like when I pay at the restaurant?  When you give me money and I pay?  Like that?"

His eyes were big and innocent and I couldn't tell if he was really curious or if he was messing with me.

"No.  Not like that.  You'll have to earn the money yourself."  

He paused.  Looked down, thinking.  Then his face brightened:  "Dad, the only money I get comes when I get Tooth Fairy money.  So if I'd lose all my teeth, I'd have enough money to pay the dentist, right?"  I started to respond that that didn't make any sense, but he kept rolling.  "But then, I wouldn't have any teeth to brush or any teeth to have to pay the dentist to drill, right?"  He was picking up steam now, the clear end of his logical masterpiece in sight.  "So then, I'd have all the money and I wouldn't have anything to pay the dentist for and, I wouldn't have teeth to brush.  I'd be rich."  He finished with a flourish and I half-expected the other kids to rise to their feet, clapping.

I needed to end this and I needed to end it now.  I puffed out my chest one more time, struck my pose and said, "Brush your teeth" in a very no-nonsense kind of way.

Caleb, who'd watched the whole exchange, snickered and said, "Superman has spoken--we must obey."

Well, that kind of broke the ice and we all laughed a little bit.  But I couldn't shake Andrew's desire to not brush his teeth.  I mean really, who intentionally tries to avoid brushing their teeth?  Who else but a kid would ignore such a simple project--especially when ignoring that project is only going to lead to expensive and painful work down the road?

I was just thinking those thoughts when the home improvement point hit me (yes, I've written enough blogs and radio segments about paint to see paint-related points in everything):  I'm doing the same thing he is--with the exact same consequences.

See, there are all sorts of little projects around my home.  A hallway ceiling that should be painted.  Kitchen cupboards that need to be touched-up.  Some peeling edges on my wallpaper that should be stuck back down. 

I've got all kinds of little projects.  Some are bigger than others, but most are really, just 10 and 15 minute jobs.  In the grand scheme of things, they take no time at all.  They cost almost nothing and they don't require loads of expertise or special tools.

And yet I routinely ignore them.  I do.  I don't know why.  I guess I'm like Andrew--I don't want to take the time to do these little fixes.  I just keep telling myself that it's not a big deal, that I'll get to it later.

But the problem with that line of thought is that failure to act now only causes bigger problems later.  Just like Andrew and his teeth, I'm saving time now, but I'm going to have to pay the piper, later.  And I'll have to use my own money to do it.

For example, the peeling wallpaper is a perfect case in point.  The spot I needed to fix was about 3 inches long all along a seam.  Nothing.  It wouldn't have taken any time or money or effort at all.  (Notice I've shifted to past-tense to talk about this).  A little dab of paste, some safe-release tape to hold it down for a few hours and it would have looked like new.  But I left it and didn't do it.  I ignored it.

But Tessa didn't.  She found it and, of course, figured it should be picked at, peeled, pulled at.  Well, one thing led to another and before long, she'd created a much bigger problem that took much longer to fix.  On top of it all, the fix I managed to come up with wasn't nearly as effective as the easier, cheaper one would have been.

So now, that's me and my family--what's your's like?  Are your kids brushing their teeth?  If not, do they brag about it, too?  Is that just a kid-thing?  Or do I have bad-hygiene kids?  And how about you?  Not so much your teeth, but do you have projects at home like I do?  Easy, quick projects you keep ignoring?

Well, maybe it's time to tackle them.  Maybe it's time to cross them off your list and deal with them on a more regular basis--before they become bigger, more expensive problems down the road.

Give it some thought!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Bad Uniforms and What They Teach Us About Paint

The year was 1976.  The team was the Chicago White Sox.  The Sport?  Major League Baseball.  Yes.  Major League Baseball.

Maybe some of you remember this, maybe this is new to many of you, but for 3 games in 1976, the White Sox sent their players out on the field wearing...yes, shorts.  And not cool, baggy shorts.  No.  Tight, clingy shorts.  With their socks pulled up all the way to their knees.  

This alone would have been bad--a fashion faux-pas of epic proportions--but the designers of this sleek little number weren't done.  They added to the shorts what would have been a boring white shirt were it not for the GI-NORMOUS 1970's black collar.  

Together, the whole outfit was so horrible, I'm pretty sure opposing teams refused to even take the field against the White Sox.  White Sox players themselves likely spent hours in counseling and therapy sessions after being ridiculed and laughed into oblivion by former fans.  

And yet, what's interesting to me is that underneath that ridiculous outfit, these men were still Major League Baseball players.  They are/were more successful than me by a long shot and yet, looking at the pictures, it's almost impossible to think of them that way. 

It's a perfect example of that old saying about how the clothes make the man (or, of course, woman).  When we say that, we know that clothes don't CHANGE who we are, but they certainly affect how we are perceived.

For example, think of the manliest man playing the game today--I'm not going to name names, you just get somebody in your mind.  Picture that player and then dress him--in your mind--in this bozo outfit from the 1970s.  Give him shorts and white socks with black stripes pulled up to his ankles.  Put that little shirt on him with the big fluffy disco collar.  I guarantee if you do that, you'll be unable to take him seriously.  The goofy get-up doesn't change who he is, but it certainly changes who we think him to be.

Now let's shift gears and talk about paint.

Your home--your living room, your kitchen, the exterior of your home itself--can be in great shape.  It can be solid, well-built, brand-new.  It can be composed of the highest quality materials and consist of the best workmanship known to mankind.  It can be all of those things, but if the paint colors are boring or were poorly chosen, all of the quality underneath remains hidden.  

Look again at the pitcher in the top picture.  He may be a tremendous athlete (and even if he wasn't, he's still likely 20X more fit than most of us).  And yet, even though that may all be true, he looks so silly in his little shorts and his big collar and pulled-up socks that I look more manly sitting here typing this story about paint colors than he does throwing curveballs and 4-seam fastballs.

As I said earlier, clothes MAKE the man--they alter our perceptions--and the same is true with your home.  You can take the best, highest quality workmanship and hide all that quality beneath poor paint jobs and lousy color choices.

It's a remarkable concept:  an athlete takes years and years of sweat and work and effort to hone him or herself to be the best he or she can be in their sport.  Just like those White Sox players.  And yet, all that work can be tossed out in a minute when you cover them over with a stupid-looking uniform.  You can spend hours and hours and tons of money making your home exactly the way you want it, but if you choose the wrong paint color--something that simple and that superficial--the rest of the work is cheapened.

So all that to say, choose wisely.  Color matters.  The right colors can make your home look like something out of a magazine and the wrong colors can make it look like kids built it.  Choose the right colors! 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

How to Clean Up Latex Paint Spills

On a number of different posts here, I've talked about paint tools you need to own:  certain brushes, certain rollers and so on.  However, a must-have tool for every do-it-yourself painter or professional contractor is something that's not as obvious:  a wet/dry vacuum.

Believe it or not, this can be one of the most helpful, time-saving (and potentially life-saving) tools in your arsenal.  See, when people paint inside their homes, one of the most common occurrences involves a ladder, a paint tray and the innate human desire to take short-cuts.  Typically, it works like this:  you've got your paint tray hooked to your ladder and you're happily working your way around your room.  At some point, you decide to move the ladder and, because you're almost at the end of your project, you decide just to pull the ladder--after all, if you do it carefully, there'll be no problem, right?  Well, normally there isn't.  But every now and then, the ladder hits something and before you know it, the paint tray goes over the edge, hits your carpet (it always misses the dropcloth!) and you've got a mess.

And that's why having a shop-vac on hand is such a life-saver:  it gives you your best chance of dealing with the mess and preventing it from becoming a disaster. 

However, having the right tool on hand is one thing.  Knowing how to use it is another.  So, with that in mind, here's how you go about using your shop-vac to clean up a LATEX paint spill:
  • DON'T PANIC.   The first thing you need to do--as is the case with any emergency--is to resist the natural urge to freak out.  Yes, you spilled paint on the new carpet.  Yes, it's a mess.  Yes, you'll probably be in big trouble with someone else in your home.  But freaking out and running around in circles isn't going to help you save your neck.  Calm, cool thinking wins out every time.  So stay calm.  That's step one.
  • COLLECT YOUR TOOLS.  Calmly (but quickly) grab a bucket of water, some old rags and either a couple wide (6"-10") putty knives or some scraps of cardboard.
  • REMOVE PAINT FROM THE SURFACE.  Start your clean up by removing as much paint as you can from the surface.  You can do this by scraping it (carefully) off with the wide putty knives or the ripped up scraps of cardboard.  Use either of these items to scoop as much paint off the carpet as possible and return it to the paint tray--NOT THE BUCKET (since you don't want to add any contaminant to your paint bucket).
  • BRING ON THE DAMP RAGS.  After the excess paint has been removed and you're left with the paint that's soaked into the carpet, bring out your damp rags.  Use these to sponge the spot and remove as much of that soaked-in paint as possible.  
  • BREAK OUT THE WET/DRY VAC.  After you've done all of this, it's time for the WET/DRY vacuum.  Hit the spot carefully and pull up as much paint as possible.  Introduce more clean water, work it around with your fingers or hand and then vacuum it back up.  Do this again and again and again until the paint has been completely removed.  Don't quit with this step until you feel you've pulled out as much of the paint from the spill as you're going to get.  Once you let it dry, you're done--you can't go back for a second try tomorrow night.  
  • DRY THE CARPET WELL.  Once the paint's removed, carefully blot the wet area with dry towels (don't scrub the spot with your towels as you can damage your carpet that way.)  Blot the area, removing excess moisture and then put a fan on the area and allow it to thoroughly dry.

If you follow these steps carefully and thoroughly, in about 24 hours, the spot should show no signs at all of the near tragedy that happened there.  And all because you had a wet/dry vacuum in your tool belt!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Get Creative! Projected Images, Stencils, and Silhouettes

By Shannon VandenBosch

When it comes to creativity, I need some inspiration.  So I go to a few decorating magazines and/or peruse my "Favorites" list of websites for design ideas.  When I feel I have found a few pictures representing the style, image, or technique I would like to achieve, it becomes my muse.  This is when I breathe a sigh of relief because the mental work is done and I can begin the process of tweaking the look I have found in order to make it my own style statement.

Recently, I was challenged to take a blank wall in our recently remodeled RepcoLite store in Jenison, Michigan, and create interest, and hopefully, inspiration.  This empty wall space was located directly above the counter area where customers would sit and contemplate their own design decisions by beginning to choose a color or palette of coordinating colors.

Immediately, I liked the concept of stenciling or projecting an image on the wall to create a mural.  I recalled seeing a large, abstract, flower in a Benjamin Moore color brochure.  Aha!!  The inspiration, my muse!

I began by taking measurements of the wall space and calculated the size of a single petal needed to make the flower, the length the stem needed to be, and the size of a single circle.  Color choices were made to compliment the store's interior decor.  The single petal and circle were cut out of cardboard and then stenciled or traced onto the wall.  The stem was drawn free-hand in proportion to the flower. Then the image was painted with interior wall paint. The whole process took about 6 hours. (See picture above--or, better yet, stop at our Jenison store and see it in person!)

As alluded to earlier, other ways to create murals is to use a projector to cast an image on a wall and either trace it and then paint or begin painting the image . Click here and here for more info.  You can also check out this site for some more examples of graphic murals. Silhouettes are created by drawing and then painting a picture of something, say a headboard, on the wall instead of actually using a real headboard. This technique is not only creative, but inexpensive! Take a look at current decorating magazines for more information on this technique. Stencils not only can be made but bought at local stores that sell wallcoverings, crafts, or interior decorating items.

I hope you have been inspired to get creative and make the next space you choose to decorate even more uniquely yours.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

4 Ways to Speed Up Your Next Weekend Paint Project!

The thought of tackling a painting project doesn't always fill us with excitement.  In fact, a lot of us dread these "weekend-killers."  Many of us don't get all warm and fuzzy over the thought of spending tons of time painting.  At least I know I don't.  

Oh, the painting isn't really the problem--that part's relatively fun.  It's the washing of the walls, the patching of the nail holes, the taping.  It's the PREP WORK that I really hate.  And I hate it because it adds so much time to my project.

But there's a simple fix for this:  Do the Prep Work Early!

  • PATCH THOSE NAIL HOLES:  If you're going to try to roll paint on your living room walls on a Saturday morning, then take 15 minutes on a Monday night and go around the room filling all the nail holes with a good spackling compound.  We recommend White Lightning Lightweight Spackle or Crawford's Spackling.  Go around the entire room and fill ALL the nailholes and then quit for the night.
  • SAND THE SPACKLING:  The night after you spackled all your nail holes, take another 15 minutes and go around the room doing a quick sanding of those spots.  By this point, (if you've truly waited 24 hours) the spackling will be bone dry and will powder nicely as you sand it.  This stage of the project should only take you 15 quick minutes as you work your way around that room.
  • WASH THE WALLS:  Every paint job should start with a good wall washing using TSP (TriSodium Phosphate).  However, washing the walls down on the day you want to paint can really slow you down--it'll take a good 30 minutes to an hour to wash the walls and then another 15 minutes or so for them to dry.  Avoid all of this by washing the walls down early. Just as we mentioned with the spackling and the sanding, take a night in the week BEFORE you plan to start painting and go around the room, washing the walls down.  Doing this will save you all that time on the day of your project.
  • ROLL OUT THAT MASKING TAPE:  Finally, the night before you plan to do your work, apply your masking tape to all your trim and around your doors and ceilings, etc.  Of course, if you're going to do this, you'll want to use either 3M's Blue Painter's Masking Tape or 3M's Blue (Orange Core) Safe Release Painter's Tape.  Both of these tapes will still cleanly remove after being applied early!  
If you tackle these prep work steps early, you'll have more nights of work--but, each night will be relatively short AND, best of all, when the weekend arrives, all the boring work will be out of the way.  All you'll need to do is pop the top on your gallon of paint and start rolling your new color on your walls.

Accomplishing this work early is a great way to minimize the frustration of a paint project.  Give it a try--you'll like the results!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Don't Poison the Waterhole: How to Keep Spiderwebs and Dirt Out of Your Paint

Here's Hannah.  You'd let her drink out of the water pitcher
wouldn't you?

OK, the other day I experienced something I hope never, ever, ever to experience again.  NEVER. EVER.

Let me explain.  It all started innocently enough while I got the kids their dinner the other day.  My wife was gone and I was in charge.  I made them spaghetti-O’s and then put a pitcher of water on the table.

They ate their food, made a mess, and eventually, finished.  I came behind, mopped everything up and wiped the table down and, finally, once they were all taken care of, sat down with my own dinner. 

As I ate, the kids came by, one by one, and told me EVERY single thing that happened during their day.  It’s great to be loved--for a while--and then it’s just mind-numbing.  Story after story went through my ears and eventually, I found myself sitting at the table--my food gone--and Hannah my 3 year old--sitting on my lap--still talking. 

My brain was thoroughly exhausted at this point, but I do remember grabbing the pitcher of water that was still on the table from the kids’ dinner and pouring myself a glass.  As Hannah went on and on and on about this or that, I took little sips of water and tried to understand what she was telling me. 

At some point, in the midst of all of this, I noticed that something wasn’t quite right.   I wasn’t immediately aware of what it was, and I tried to ignore the feeling, but my brain wouldn’t let me.  I took another drink of water and it suddenly hit me:  I was chewing.  I was done eating--had been done for a while--there was no food left on my plate . . . but here I was . . . chewing.

Now, drinking water is not normally, a chewing experience.  But here I was, sitting at the table, drinking water and chewing it.  And the more I thought about it, and focused on it, the more I realized I wasn’t chewing water--I was actually chewing something that was in the water.

Well, naturally, I quickly grabbed my glass and held it up to take a look and when I did, I was shocked--horribly, horribly shocked.  Instead of the clear, crystally liquid I had hoped to see, it was grey.  And murky.  Things were floating in there:  something that looked like a part of a meatball and something else that I was pretty sure was a spaghetti-O.  And there were other, unidentifiable things as well.  It was a smorgasbord of gray food products.  All suspended in a liquid that seemed, suddenly, thicker and heavier than simple water.

I put the glass down, swallowed the meatball I was chewing and picked up the pitcher of water.  A quick look inside revealed more of the same:  floaty things bobbing up and down in some gray, opaque liquid. 

And then I looked at the outside of the pitcher.  I saw small orange, spaghetti-o sauce handprints  on the handle.  A closer examination revealed orange lip marks around the rim.

I looked at Hannah.  “Did you drink out of the pitcher?”

She nodded and then said, “only twice.”

Well, apparently two times was enough for Hannah to poison the waterhole so to speak.   I grabbed the pitcher off the table and brought it to the sink.  And, as I did so . . . inspiration dawned:  This was a perfect illustration of a common mistake people make when painting. 

See, how many times have you started a painting project with some brushwork?  You know, you start brushing around the edges--around your windows or your doors or something like that.  Inside outside, it typically doesn’t matter.  When you do that, what do you typically do?  

And Here's the Paint Point...

I’ll tell you what most people do:  most people grab the paint bucket--the gallon of their paint--and carry it with them.  They dip the brush into it, wipe the excess paint off the brush on the rim of the can, and then paint. When the brush is empty, they go back to the bucket or more paint.

That’s like Hannah drinking out of the water pitcher.  If she had gone to her glass of water for a drink, she’d only contaminate that cup.  Everybody else’s water would have been fine.  But she went to the source and contaminated that.  Once that was done, there was no way to get the spaghetti parts and meatball chunks out of it.  The only fix was to pour the water out, rinse the container and fill it up with new.

With water, that’s no big deal.  But if you’re doing that with paint, you can create quite an expensive and frustrating mess.  If you brush into a spiderweb or pick up some dirt (this happens especially often when people are working outside), and then dip back into your bucket, you’ve instantly contaminated all of your paint.  And you’ll find that out when you start rolling it onto bigger areas later.  You’ll be picking little chunks of this or that out of the finish and you’ll be very frustrated.  

And here's the Answer...

The solution?  Work out of a smaller container.  We’ve got some at RepcoLite that are perfect for this, or you can just use an old tupperware-like container.  Whatever you decide to use, remember:  whenever you do brush work, always work out of a smaller container--it will protect the bulk of your paint from contamination.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Looking at Your Back

OK, Moms and Dads, has this ever happened to you?  It’s happened to me a number of times, but the most recent took place a few Sunday’s ago.  We were getting all 5 kids ready for 8:30 church one Sunday morning.  And, of course, chaos ensued. However, eventually, because we’re such with-it parents, we managed to get everybody, including ourselves, ready.

Breathing a sigh of relief, we started to make our way to the car, but before I did that, my youngest child--Hannah--came trudging over to me and explained that she needed a hug.  Ahh, that’s so cute, isn’t it?  Little kids who still love their dad so much they need a hug?  So I scooped her up, and hugged her.  And she returned the hug--big time--grabbing me tightly and then patting me repeatedly on the back with the overwhelming love only a child can give.

Well, when the hug was over, I ushered her out to the car and decided to give myself a quick once-over in the mirror--just to make sure I looked ok after the hectic morning.  Well, after a glance, I realized I was as good as I was ever going to look and so I jumped into the van and drove to church.

When we got there, we talked to some people, found our seats--this time in the front row of the balcony rather than our normal seats in the back--listened to the service, talked to some people on the way out and eventually came home.  However, changing out of my Sunday clothes and back into a t-shirt and jeans, I made a shocking discovery.  The back of my shirt was completely covered with gooey, dirty, cheeto’s-ee orange hand prints.  The front of the shirt was fine, but the back was filthy.

It only took me a second to put it together.  Hannah had hugged me before we left and rather than patting me on the back out of sheer love--she was just using the back of my shirt as a wash rag.  She cleaned her hands on my good Sunday shirt.  And then I went to church and walked all around, sat in the front row, talked to all kinds of people--lived it up and had a big time--all the while with my back covered over with slime and assorted gunk.

That’s happened to my wife and I many different times.  Sometimes it involves food, sometimes it’s from other things.  But the point is this:  we never catch it because we never think to check out our backs in the mirror.  And that brings me to the paint point that’s hidden away in all of this-- see, I never thought to look at my back in a mirror before I went to church--it never crossed my mind.  I looked at myself in a mirror--at the front--to make sure I looked alright, but I never gave the back a second look.  A lot of us do this same thing with our homes.  Hang with me, here--this is profound--but you’ve got to hang in there.

See, we do this in our homes in this regard:  We take good care of our front doors--our main entrances. These are the doors people typically see when they drive up or drive by our homes--so we take care (at least most of the time) and make these entrances visually pleasing. We use flowers, a great door color, little welcome mats . . . all kinds of little things to make the entranceway appealing.

So, we pay a lot of attention to the front--the main entrance.  But you know what most of us completely forget?  The garage.

Now, this seems like a leap in logic, but it’s not.  See, the garage may be, in reality, the TRUE main entrance to our home.  According to a recent US survey, "71% of American homeowners with a garage use the garage to enter their homes." Another survey stated that "45% of homeowners with garages use their garages as the main entrance to their homes."

What the numbers are saying is this:  71% of Americans who own garages use the garage to enter their own homes.  45% of Americans who own garages encourage all visitors to enter their homes through the garage.
And yet, even though the garage is used repeatedly as an entrance to our homes, it's often the last place we really think to do any "decorating".  We put all our thought and effort into the front doors (and maybe even the garage door), but we don't give a second though to the garage itself.  It never crosses our minds.

It’s just like my shirt scenario at church--the front was pristine, but anybody watching me walk away realized I was like pig pen of Charlie Brown fame.  I was a filthy mess.

So all that to ask a simple question:  if folks enter your home through your garage, what kind of impression do they get?  Is it a welcoming area?

And even if you’re garage is never used by guests, chances are your family enters the home--at least at times--through the garage.  Shouldn’t you have a nice, respectable entrance into your home?

The answer, of course, since I’m selling paint, is YES--you should have a nice entrance in your garage.  And the good news is, this doesn’t need to be an insanely expensive, complicated project.

  • WASH THE WALLS.  If your walls are painted, go ahead and wash them with TSP (Trisodium Phosphate).  This is a great "pre-painting" cleaner that cuts through dirt and grease and rinses clean away.  If the walls are not painted, you might want to choose to use a shop vac and remove as much dust and dirt as you can.
  • FILL THE GOUGES.  After cleaning, go around the room with a good spackling compound.  We recommend Crawford's Spackling Paste.  It's a high quality spackle that's easy to work with. 
  • DEGREASE the TROUBLE SPOTS.  Most garages are going to have a couple areas where greasy handprints or smudges stain the walls.  Before you paint, make sure you hit these spots with a specific degreaser.  There are any number of these specialty products at RepcoLite--just stop in and we'll direct you to the one that will work best.
  • SPOT PRIME.  If you have greasy smudges on your wall that you have to deal with (as in the above step), it wouldn't hurt to spot prime those areas with BIN stain-blocking primer or RepcoLite's own Zip Prime.
  • APPLY YOUR FINISH.  Once you've done all the prep work, it's time to roll on your finish.  We recommend a high quality acrylic latex.  It doesn't need to be an exterior product as most garage walls aren't exposed to the elements.  However, you would likely want to consider an Eggshell finish at the dullest and possibly even a Satin Sheen or a Semi-Gloss.  The finishes with higher glosses will hold up longer and resist dirt and grime better than a flatter finish.
And there you go!  It sounds like a lot of work (I know), but it's not as complicated as it seems.  Typically, you'll find that the whole project will take only a single weekend.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Bad Days

Today's just for fun--and to let you know that we all have bad days.  For example:  last Thursday, I decided--against my better judgment--that I should go into the eye doctor.  I’d been dealing with a goopy right eye for a couple weeks and I was sick of it.  I’d talk to people in the store and they would see the tears running out of that one eye and they’d always be patting me on my arm and asking me if I was alright and stuff like that.  So, sick of everybody thinking I was crying all the time, I decided I should probably go to the eye doctor.

And so we made an appointment and learned that RepcoLite’s insurance plan has a $15 co-pay for trips to the eye doctor.  So, for $15, I figured I couldn’t go wrong.  Shows what I know.

See, I made an appointment for Thursday and drove down there.  I got into the room and they did all the preliminary stuff including that horrible dilating of my eyes.  Then the doctor came in and started doing a full eye exam.  I stopped him and said I was just here to figure out why I had goop eye.  He didn’t understand, so I showed him my gooey, drippy eye and after literally recoiling with disgust, he leaned in and looked at it.  He then asked if I would like a full eye exam.

Once again, I said no. I think he asked me three more times if I'd like a full eye exam and finally, eventually, I convinced him that I was only here to have my infected (or whatever) eye looked at.   Persuaded, finally, he leaned back in and gave my eye a serious looking-at. For a long time.  Back and forth.  Flashing lights and peering in with all sorts of equipment.  Finally, he was satisfied and leaned back in his chair.  He folded his arms and looked at me.  And then he asked me this question in this way:

“Do you ever wash your eyelid with soap?”

Now, the way he said it made me realize that he had discovered something and that it was going to be embarassing for me--potentially.  So my brain started spinning and I started trying to figure out exactly what answer he wanted.  At this point, I was less concerned with telling him exactly how things work and more interested in not looking stupid.  I tossed all the possibilities in my head:  If I say I wash my eyelids regularly with soap, I figured he’d say, “there’s your problem--soap irritation--everybody knows not to put soap by their eye, what’s wrong with you?”  However, I also figured that if I said, “nope, soap never gets within 10 feet of my eyelid”, I assumed he’d say” well what’s wrong with you, you pig?  You’re filthy.  A little hygiene never killed anybody. Just leave through the back door and go straight home and scrub.”

Do you see the dilemma?  I didn’t want to look dumb--I needed to figure out what he wanted me to say, but I didn’t know.  So we just sat there, looking at each other.  My gooey eye made squishy sounds as it blinked repeatedly.  Finally, I said, “Nope.  I don’t let soap get near my eye.”  

And of course, that was the wrong answer.

He said--and I quote--”it wouldn’t hurt to use a little baby soap around your eye--it’s dirty.”  He then wrote that on my paperwork--which will now be with me forever:  "Patient has dirty eye and displays profound inability to clean himself adequately--use latex gloves when handling."  He wrote that all down, I’m sure, and sent me out to the desk.

At the desk, the next blow came when I discovered the visit wouldn’t cost me $15 dollars, but $45. When I asked why, they explained it was because I didn’t have an eye exam.   (Imagine palm slap to forehead). 

Now, you’d think that was the end, right?  Nope.  They gave me those great big horrible sun glass things and sent me on my way.  I felt like I was 94 years old driving out of that parking lot and pulling onto the highway.  My eye was tearing up, my crazily dilated pupils were sucking in so much sunlight I could barely see and then, at a stop light, I pressed on my brakes and noticed that my foot went straight to the floor.

I though that was odd--unusual--not the way things normally worked--but then the light changed and I started going again.  I tested my breaks as best I could and realized that they weren’t working very well at all.  Something had gone wrong and now I had extremely limited breaks.

Think about that for a moment:  my eyes were dilated to the breaking point, I was wearing those huge sunglasses that shrouded the world in darkness, my goopy eye was tearing up and blurring my already limited field of vision and, to top it all off, I was driving down the road in a car that had almost no breaks.  If I hadn’t spent most of that drive just trying to stay alive and keep other people alive, I think it would have been hilarious.

In the end, I made it to the repair shop, parked my car, took off my big dumb sunglasses (because I didn’t want to look stupid) and then staggered blindly into the building, waving my arms out in front of me to make sure I didn't bang into the siding or another person.  

When I finally made it to the counter, I dropped my key there and the guy at the computer looked at me.  He saw my big goopy, drippy eye and said, in a very conciliatory tone:  “Bad day, huh?  Well, it’ll be ok.  Just tell us what’s wrong and we’ll get it fixed.”

Yeah, I'd been humiliated at the Dr’s office, dropped $45 bucks, lost the breaks on my car, was almost killed at least 5 times all in the hopes of fixing my eye and in the end, people talking to me still thought I was crying.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Paint Your Front Door and Change the Look of Your Home for $30!

Summer's getting closer!  And with it, comes a natural desire for many of us to get outside and do some work on our homes.  There's just something about nice weather, sunny days, warm breezes, and all the beauty of Spring that makes us want to "spruce" up our homes a little bit.  

Unfortunately, money is a little tight for a lot of us right now and the thought of dropping a few hundred dollars on a big paint job can be daunting to say the least.

Well, if that sums up you (as it sums up me!), then consider this:  what about a smaller paint project that will still have a huge impact?  

I'm talking about your front doors.  Doors can be painted, typically, in a matter of just a few hours.  The cost?  Typically under $30.  The results?  (To use the over-used formula):  Priceless.

A new color on a front door can bring your home from "boring" to hip in just a matter of minutes.  A new color on a front door can give your siding--what you may think of as tired and old--a new look.  A new color on your door will interact differently with your shutters, your roof, your landscaping, everything.  

In short, a new color on a front door can give your entire home a subtle new look.  All for under $30 (tools included) and a couple hours worth of work!  

So, if you're looking for a project , but aren't quite ready to repaint your entire home, give this a try!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Peeling Paint on a Deck . . . Now What?

I was out of the office and working in one of our RepcoLite stores last week Friday and a contractor walked in with some questions about a deck.

Here's the scenario:  He's been hired to fix a deck for a homeowner.  The deck had been painted before and was now peeling.  He'd power-washed it and managed to remove about 20% - 30% of the old paint.  He was at RepcoLite to pick up some primer and some paint so he could prime the bare spots and get everything coated.

Well, that sounds easy enough, but there's a problem and after explaining the situation to him, I decided it was perfect for a blog entry.  So, here's what we covered at the counter:

  • OLD, FAILING PAINT CONTINUES TO PEEL:  The first concept I needed the contractor to understand is the notion that once the paint starts to fail and peel, it will continue until it's mostly gone.  Unfortunately, it doesn't typically do this all at once.  So, even though the contractor had done a good job and had power-washed the deck, the problem was that much of the old paint remained.  The reason this is a problem is because...
  • NEW PAINT/PRIMER WILL NOT MAKE OLD PAINT STICK BETTER:  Putting new paint overtop of old paint--old paint that has started to peel--will not bond that paint to the surface.  The new paint WILL bond to the old paint . . . but if the old paint is starting to fail, it will eventually peel and take the new paint off as well.  This is bad news because...
  •  ALL THE WORK YOU DO CAN BE WASTED:  If you go through all the work of power washing, priming and painting a deck that is covered with old paint that has started to peel, the chances are the spots where you primed and painted BARE WOOD will hold up alright for a couple years.  However, equally as likely is the chance that the old paint that you couldn't remove will peel soon, taking the new paint with it.  In the end, you (or your customer) will be left with the same situation they just thought they rectified. 
Well, we covered those problems and I could tell it sunk in and made sense to the contractor I was helping.  He then asked the obvious question:  WHAT DO I DO TO FIX IT, THEN?

That's a bigger concept, but to briefly sum it up:
  • POWER WASH!  A good place to start is where my contractor DID start:  a good power washing.  Much of the time, the pressure from the wash will blast off much of the loose and flaking paint.  
  • SAND/STRIP THE DECK!  If the power washer doesn't completely remove the paint--or at least remove 80% - 90% of it, you may want to consider stripping the deck with chemical strippers or possibly renting a sander and sanding the paint off.
  • FLIP THE BOARDS OR INSTALL NEW!  This is a hard-core solution to the problem, but would typically fix the issue.  Some decks are in good enough condition that flipping the boards to the uncoated side gives a new surface to work on.  Other decks might be better suited simply being replaced.
  • BITE THE BULLET AND DEAL WITH THE FAILURE!  Another option--though not terribly appealing--would be the option of simply accepting the failure.  This means you weigh all the options and decide that for your situation, you're better off just cleaning the deck as well as you can and then priming and painting and accepting the fact that next summer you'll probably have to do it again.
In the end, I write all of this for two reasons:  first, to give you some tips if you're dealing with a deck that's been painted in the past.  It's important to understand the limitations and the struggles you'll have trying to make it look good.  Sometimes at least knowing those issues up front will help!  Secondly, I mention this mainly for this reason:  To help you realize that paint on a deck is NOT THE WAY TO GO.  It sounds good, it looks like a good option, it's appealing to many people . . . but the problems quickly arise and then, dealing with them can be extremely time-consuming and expensive!  Paint's great for many surfaces.  A Michigan deck, however, isn't one of them!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

4 Tips to Help You Paint (Successfully) With Color!

Have you tried bringing color into your home only to find that it didn't work?  That the colors didn't look good together?  That they were too bold or too overpowering?  And then, when that happened, did you simply go back to painting in soft whites and neutrals?

This happens to a lot of people we run into at RepcoLite--they branch out into the world of "color" only to find that the colors they chose didn't look very good.  Typically, many of those folks then assume that "color's not for them" or that "they're just not cut out to decorate in color" and they return to the safety of neutral.

If that's you, then hold on for a second:  color adds interest and visual appeal to our decorating.  It can take a boring room and turn it into something that turns heads and starts conversations.  The trick is to use the right colors in the right quantities. 

And here are 4 quick ideas to help you do that:

  • CHECK OUT YOUR COLOR IN ALL LIGHTING SITUATIONS:  Many folks come into the store, pick out some color samples, scrutinize them, and then order a gallon or two of paint.  Then they go home and paint their walls only to find that when night comes and the room darkens the color's way too dark on their walls.  Avoid this mistake by taking your color chips home and examining them in YOUR lighting and in all lighting situations.  Look at the colors at night in the rooms in which they'll be well before you start rolling them out!
  • CHOOSE YOUR PAINT LAST:  In the decorating process, many folks start with the paint.  They'll come to the paint store and try to establish their paint colors before they step into the furniture stores or the carpet stores.  This is a mistake.  Folks will come in, pick a bold, bright color for their walls, and then later discover they can't find a couch or carpet that looks good with those colors.  They then, mistakenly, assume that bold colors are just not their thing.  The problem isn't bold colors, it's the timing of the color choice.  Remember:  Paint is the most adjustable aspect of any home decorating project and should therefore, be selected after everything else is chosen.  First find your couch, your carpet, your wall hangings, etc. and then have the paint made to pull colors from those items.  Doing it this way makes decorating with color easy.  Doing it backwards makes decorating with color seem impossible!
  • PLAN AHEAD:  Another thing to think about applies especially to those folks who are working their way through their house.  They start with one room, get it finished and then move on to the next one.  If this is you, plan your steps and your decorating with an eye on your next move.  Don't find a beautiful, bold color for your living room, make everything work together beautifully only to discover that you have no idea what color will go with it when you move to your hallway.  Plan your living room with your hallway in mind.  Make sure the colors will harmonize as you work your way through the house.  
  • DON'T BE FOOLED BY COLOR CHIPS:  This last tip is important!  When you look at a standard color chip, you'll see a light color at the top and a darker version of that color at the bottom with five or six variations in between.  The typical response many of us have to this way of displaying color is to assume that the top color is an off white.  From there, we gauge the depth of the subsequent colors on the chip.  The mistake comes in our initial assumption:  often, the colors on the top of the chips are already significantly darker than off whites.  So, while the third color on the chip may look--by comparison to the other colors--to be a "medium-toned" color, we are often surprised to see how dark it actually is on our walls.  So all that to say, one of the best things you can do is take that color swatch you like and hold it up to some standard whites or off whites to give yourself a good perception of the true depth of the colors--that way you won't be too surprised when you get them on your wall.

Monday, May 16, 2011

When It's Time to Clean Your Deck, Lay Off the Bleach!

Here's a post from last year, but since we're coming up on "Deck Season" again, I figured it was good to dust it off....
Well, summer's upon us and many of us, because of the rainy start, are still scrambling to get our decks cleaned and protected for the season.  If that's you--if you're one of those folks looking for a good, dry weekend so you can get your deck cleaned and ready for cookouts and parties, well be sure you read this first.
See, one of the tendencies we often notice at RepcoLite is a customer's desire or plan to use regular household bleach to clean their deck.  Since Chlorine bleach does a great job killing bacteria and stuff like that, many of us figure it'll be perfect for our dirty, moldy or mildewed decks.  

But before you go and jump into a job like this, you should be aware that Chlorine bleach has never been proven terribly effective in killing molds on rough, porous surfaces.  Also, be aware that it actually destroys 
the lignin in your wood deck.  

Now, for those of you not quite up to speed on what exactly lignin is, or does, let me explain:  Lignin is a naturally occuring "complex polymer that binds to cellulose fibers and hardens and strengthens the cell walls of plants"(1).  Basically, when lignin is destroyed by bleach, the way the wood bonds together is disrupted or compromised.  When this happens, the wood's much more likely to exhibit signs of aging, splintering and checking.  On top of all of that, Chlorine bleach will effectively remove the natural coloring from the wood of your deck, replacing it with a bland, washed-out appearance.

Also, not only does Chlorine bleach negatively affect the durability, quality and appearance of the wood of your deck.  It also can make your deck restoration project.  See, bleach is basically 99% water. And water is largely the reason we see the growth of bacteria and mold on our decks.  Now, the nature of Chlorine prevents it from penetrating deep into materials like concrete or wood.  However, while the Chlorine won't penetrate--and instead, just lays on the surface--the water WILL penetrate.  And this really only serves to feed the roots of the mold.  So, you clean the deck, get it looking great--right away--only to find a few days later that the mold is back with a vengeance.  This is all likely to happen when Chlorine bleach is used as a cleaner.

So, with all that said, the answer's pretty simple:  when it comes to cleaning your deck, lay off the Chlorine bleach!  Instead, use an oxygenated Bleach cleaner like "Defy's Safe Oxygenated Bleach Wood Cleaner" available at RepcoLite for $20.95.  This powder mix will mix with water to produce 5 gallons of deck cleaning solution--enough to cover 700 - 1000 square feet.

An oxygenated Bleach like Defy's cleaner will give your deck a clean look without harming the wood, detracting from it's appearance or endangering the surrounding vegetation.  Oxygen bleach give you a clean deck and will not harm vegetation surrounding your deck, which is a huge plus and will save you time from covering your grass and landscaping to protect it.  Remember, the healthier your deck wood is, the better the deck's going to look.

So lay off the Chlorine bleach when it's cleaning time!

End Notes

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Save Money: Buy Quality Paint!

Spring has finally (hopefully) sprung and with it, so has the exterior painting season.  Homeowners all throughout West Michigan are already starting to take a look around their properties, trying to decide what jobs need to be tackled and which ones can wait until next year.

Well, with the economic situation being what it is, chances are most of us who are looking to do some exterior painting are also looking for ways to cut back on the expense.  And typically, when it comes to painting, the most obvious place to cut expenses is by buying a cheaper paint.  After all, if you buy 3 gallons of paint at RepcoLite for $40 a gallon, but can buy some paint at the hardware store down the street for $20 a gallon, you'll save at least $60 on the project, right?  

Not exactly.  In fact, chances are, you won't be saving any money at all and, in fact, will likely be spending more in the long run.  

According to a Press Release by the Paint Quality Institute, field tests show that "while ordinary exterior paint lasts about 4 years, top quality 100% acrylic latex paint can last 10 years or more when applied to a properly prepared surface"1.  What this means, is that while the initial cost of the paint is HIGHER, the overall cost of the paint will be much, much less.  

For example, taking our situation where a homeowner purchases 3 gallons of ORDINARY paint to do some work on their home, we can see that the cost is $60.  Add another $15 or so in for supplies and then, don't forget to take into account your time.  With all of that, you've got at least $75 in materials and some time invested.  Now, according to the field tests conducting by the Paint Quality Institute, that ORDINARY paint is likely to give you 4 years of quality service.  So, doing the math, the cost breaks down to about $18.95 a year.

Now, if you'd do that same job with QUALITY 100% ACRYLIC paint like RepcoLite's Endura (formerly UltraShield), you'll pay $37 per gallon.  With 3 gallons needed, you'll spend $111 on paint.  Add to that the $15 in supplies and your time and you'll have a total cost of about $126.  

At first glance, that looks like a $50 savings by going to the cheaper paint.  However, if the Endura lasts--as the field tests show it will--at least 10 years before it needs to be redone, you find that the average cost per year breaks down to about $12.60, which actually makes it cheaper in the long run than buying the cheaper paint.

Add to that savings the fact that your time isn't cheap and that with the ORDINARY paint, you'll have to do the project at least twice before you've reached that 10 year point that QUALITY paint will get you.  

The savings get even greater if you decide to hire a contractor to do the work because labor costs don't vary based on the paint.  If you have your painter use a cheap paint, it's not going to affect your LABOR costs.  If he uses a QUALITY paint, your LABOR costs will not change.  The only thing that changes is your PAINT costs.  And if that paint lasts you 2 1/2 times as long as an ORDINARY paint, you're going to be money ahead in the long run.

In the end, remember that saving money is about looking at the big picture.  Saving money today, only to spend more money down the road doesn't really do you any good.  You're net result is still a loss.  So don't let yourself get suckered by a low sticker price.  Saving money is about more than just saving a few bucks today.  Buy with the big picture in mind and you'll be congratulating yourself for your smart decision 4 years from now!


1. Paint Quality Institute, Best Paint Offers Best Return on Investment.