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Exterior Staining & Painting

Instructions and Tips for Painting an Exterior of a House

When it comes to staining or painting the exterior of your home there are many steps that you have to follow. It may seem like a lot to ensure that you are using the ideal tools, picking out the best colors, and making sure the surface is cleaned and all of the nail holes filled appropriately. Today we are going over some easy instructions and tips for painting an exterior of a house.


Instructions and Tips for Painting an Exterior of a Home

When it comes to the exterior of their home many homeowners get confused on whether they should paint or stain it. But when it comes to the exterior there are a few easy ways to tell. If it needs to be painted or stained. But your home has aluminum or vinyl siding then it can be painted. If it has any type of wood siding then stain is the best option. The following steps are excellent instructions and tips for painting an exterior of a house.

Wood Siding 

When it comes to wood siding it is better to stain it then it is to paint. This is because the stain will penetrate the wood where paint will just sit on the surface. Painting wood siding, especially if it is cedar, is bad news. It is better to go with a good stain on wood siding. But it is important to remember that some of the higher end stains will also come off the siding as they dry and tighten over time. This is because the paint will peel from poor application as well as from the product working too well.  So when you are selecting a stain it is better to pick out an acrylic stain.

Before you apply any stain it is important to properly prep. This is because homes often have a painted cedar siding that is rough-sawn that is beginning to peel. Sanding, pressure washing, and scraping the old loose paint off works well. Once all of the old paint is removed you can apply as many new coats as you want. Though it has to be redone every few years a semi-transparent stain is a look that many people like on their homes. Because of that people are switching to a solid body stain instead.

If the siding on your home is a smooth cedar then a nice oil based primer and several coats of paint will work well. A stain could work on this type of siding, but primer and painter are a better recommendation to use. Although many homes are now using a pre-stained wood siding some homes still have raw wood siding. If that is the case for your home then it is good to start off with an oil-based primer. But you will need to cut it with a product called penetrol, which will help the stain penetrate the wood better.

Aluminum and Vinyl Siding 

When it comes to aluminum and vinyl siding painting it is the best option. Especially since using a primer isn’t necessary for these types of surfaces. The biggest and most important thing that you have to do with this type of siding is make sure that it is clean. Especially since you don’t want mold, mildew, or dirt on the siding before you begin painting it. This is because the paint won’t stick to the siding if anything like that is there. An easy way to clean the exterior of your home is to use a pressure washer. it is easy to use and can get the job done quickly. When looking for the instructions and tips of painting an exterior of a home. Always remember to follow the directions on how to use a pressure washer.

Using a Spray Application

Using a spray application isn’t recommended for applying stain or paint to your home. While it isn’t wrong to use a spray application. It can just be very hard to use. If you do use a spray application it is best to use it on a nice day with little to no wind.  Because any wind or a slight twitch of your hand could send the paint onto your neighbor’s house or car instead. Or even onto your own car. But if you decide to use a spray application make sure that you use a brush to work everything into the surface.

Lotz of Logic

When applying a stain to wood siding it is best to use an applicator that has a thick nap roller on it. A good recommendation is a three-quarter inch polyester or a one-inch polyester with a seven inch handle. This is because lap siding is about six and a half inches. Before you begin staining make sure that you fill in all of the nail holes with caulk or excessive stain. When it comes to selecting the color it is better to go with a lighter color. Just like with selecting roof shingles, picking a darker paint color will bring in more heat and the light will wear the paint or stain down faster. Lighter colors attract less sun and the colors will stay brighter for longer.

So when you are deciding on whether or not to paint or stain your home it all depends on what type of siding you have. Once you have figured that out it is important to know that you have the right tools to use. Even with the instructions and tips for painting an exterior of a house if you aren’t comfortable with doing the work yourself call a professional to come out. The same goes for your commercial building and keeping it clean and painted.

Don’t forget, if you need an estimate on painting or staining the exterior of your home, give me a call. My team and I have been serving Evanston, Wilmette, Kenilworth, Winnetka, Glencoe, Highland Park, Lake Forest, Lake Bluff, Glenview, Northbrook, and all of the Chicago area for 30+ years.

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Wood Fence Maintenance

Having a good backyard is essential to any home, especially if you have a wood fence and are looking for proper wood fence maintenance. A good backyard helps to define the space as longs as several simple steps are followed to maintain it as a healthy space.


Wood Fence Maintenance

The type of fence you use, as well as the condition of it, will say a lot about your backyard. Cedarwood is the most common type used in fences. A fence that is faded and falling apart ages the house. If you plan on selling soon, it will be a big deal or if you are having a get-together. The fence would be an essential part of the curb appeal that was included in the backyard.  Here are several steps that you can follow to maintain and improve your wood fence.

Maintaining The Color

Because the paint and stain begin to fade away. It is recommended that a semi-transparent or semi-solid stain be used on your fence. It is also recommended that your fence is maintained every 2-3 years. By being consistent, your fence will look good, and less work is required to update it. Instead of redoing the entire thing.

Like with interior and exterior paint, there are many types of stains to choose from. Sherwin Williams semi-transparent or semi-solid stains are good ones to pick. Benjamin Moore’s Arborcoat, semi-transparent, and semi-solid, is another excellent stain to use. With a semi-transparent stain, your fence will have a more natural look or more color with a semi-solid stain. Picking out an oil-based stain is best because of how well it penetrates the wood. The only downside is that oil-based stains don’t hold the color as well as an acrylic-based material. By picking out the right color and maintaining your fence, you can expect it to look great all the time.

Caring For A Wood Fence

By neglecting your fence, it becomes harder to fix later on. It may begin to lean over, or pieces may fall out because of rot. Planks may also fall off of loose nails. By keeping an eye out for pieces that fall off or for sections that are leaning, you can update them sooner. Mainly because it is one thing to nail a plank back into place in five minutes or less than it is to redo the entire fence because it wasn’t being maintained consistently.

Because wood fences get dirty as time goes on, it is a good idea to pressure wash it every year to remove all of the dirt and other gunk. If you don’t have a pressure washer, it is easy to rent one for several hours. Using a good chemical cleaner with water will get the job done. A deck cleaner will work well for this. If you are renting a pressure washer, you can ask the shop if they have any cleaner on hand. A good cleaning will clear away layers of dirt and debris. Taking care of your fence will make a significant impact on the overall look of your backyard and have it look amazing.

Getting Creative With Wood Fences

A great thing about fences is that you can be creative with them. A portion of the fence can be sectioned off to be and are for anything that you would like to have separated. By sectioning off areas, you are creating functionality while getting rid of eyesores.

An example of this would be creating a 12×12 space for a dog kennel. It would keep everything contained in one place without making guests look at it. Another great example would be using the fence to create a garden. While rabbits will still be a problem, the fence will help keep other animals out as well as keep everything organized.

Lotz of Logic

Since your fence is an excellent feature in your backyard, it represents your outdoor space and your home. Because of how essential staining is, picking an excellent stain will protect the wood from outside elements. And use the stain to make it look amazing and take pride in how beautiful your backyard is. Just like with a deck, it is essential to keep to a cleaning and maintenance schedule

Don’t forget, if you need an estimate on wood fence maintenance, give me a call. My team and I have been serving South Barrington, Barrington, North Barrington, Inverness, Lake Zurich, Schaumburg, Elgin, Long Grove, South Elgin, Palatine, Wayne, Deerfield, and all of the Chicago area for 30+ years.

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DIY Epoxy Vs Hiring A Professional

Are you thinking of adding epoxy floor coatings to the floor of your garage or basement? If you are, then you have come to the right place because today we will be discussing DIY Epoxy vs Hiring a Professional. By giving the pros and cons of doing it DIY vs hiring a Professional you can look at both and make the right decision for you and your budget.

DIY Epoxy vs Hiring a Professional

When you first decide to add an epoxy floor coating to the garage or basement, if you are remodeling it, you first need to look at the costs of doing it yourself vs hiring a professional to do it for you. To start you on the right foot, taking a look at the quality of the product is an excellent place to start.
Especially since the variety of store-bought coatings is different than the layers that the professionals use.

DIY Epoxy

When doing an epoxy floor coating on your own, several steps need to be taken to properly prepare the floor and when purchasing the epoxy coating. To start store-bought epoxy is water-based. And will not be thick like the professional product. It may also evaporate too quickly when it is being poured or while drying. Store-bought epoxy also tends to chip easily as well as lift off the floor. Possibly because of heat from the tires on a car. 

Before pouring the epoxy on the floor, it is important to clean the floor beforehand properly. The process may take three days. But it will be worth it in the end when you pour the epoxy. To start the floor needs to be washed appropriately using an acid wash. And it can take three days to clean and rinse the floors. When DIY-ing an epoxy floor in your garage or basement, it is essential to be patient with the process.

Although store-bought is very thin and easy to spread, the material is typically 30 to 50% solid content and takes 5 to 7 days to cure. Before pouring the epoxy people often put a product called color flaking in. Though it may not come out evenly, the color flakes add a nice touch to the floor. 

Professional Epoxy

When professionals place epoxy down on your garage or basement floor, they are using a high-quality product. Epoxy used by professionals is solvent-based and is 1\8 to 1/4 inch thicker and better quality than store-bought. It also lasts longer and is better resistant to the elements. Preparation time is also a lot quicker than with store-bought since it takes 1-2 days to prepare and apply the coating to the floor. Professionals use machines to grind down the floor, and they will make repairs to hairline cracks and spalling as well.

The epoxy is also more durable and is easy to clean salt, oil, grease, gas and more off of it. When including color flakes, they will come out more even and will help keep the floor slip-resistant.

Lotz of Answers

Whether you decide to DIY epoxy or hire a professional, it is essential to compare the costs and results of both to make the right decision for your budget. But no matter which way you go the epoxy will give the floor of your garage or basement a nice finish.

Don’t forget, if you need an estimate on having a professional epoxy your floor, give me a call.   My team and I have been serving Evanston, Wilmette, Kenilworth, Winnetka, Glencoe, Highland Park, Lake Forest, Lake Bluff, Naperville, Glenview, Northbrook, and all of Chicago area for 30+ years.

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Add Some Curb Appeal to Your Home

Without curb appeal, you have no appeal. Want to add some accent colors to your home or put your home on the market soon? Adding in some accent colors to your shutters, pillars & trim is a great start, as well as pressure washing your house too. Add some curb appeal to your home this year or today. Watch my video vlog below for even more suggestions:


Putting Your Home on the Market

When realtors help homeowners get their homes ready to be put up on the market, one of the first things suggested is to get some curb appeal going. Why? Because many savvy and busy professionals won’t even come inside your home if your exterior looks horrible. Also, check the roof to see if the shingles need to be replaced and incorporate them into the design of your curb appeal.

Getting Exterior Details in Order

By doing a few of these projects, you’ll be surprised how much curb appeal it will add:

  • Pressure Washing:  So many homes have algae or mildew growing on the north side.  What a difference it makes to get your home cleaned professionally.  
  • Are Shutters Right for Your Home:  If you have shutters, you might consider replacing them?  If you don’t have shutters, ask yourself if adding them to the front of the house will make your home stand out from all the surrounding others?  Many types of shutters are out there from the board-and-batten to raised-panel, to louvered shutters. Pick the right style for your home.
  • Pick Your Color Wisely:   Accent colors are one of the best ways to get your home to really pop from the curbside.  You can add accent colors to some or all of the following areas: front door, handrails, spindles, shutters, and wood posts. 

Curb Appeal – What Extras Could You Do?

Most people stop at accent colors as their curb appeal solution.  But what about driveways, mailboxes, house numbers, and exterior lights?

  • Driveway:  If you have an asphalt driveway, without a doubt, reseal it immediately.  But if you have a concrete driveway, getting it power washed will make it seem a world brighter.  You’d be surprised how dirty it is already.
  • Mailboxes:  Most homeowners forget about their mailbox at the curb.  Why not make it stand out by painting it a great accent color?  It is right there by the street where your potential buyer is rolling past.  Make an instant impression.
  • House numbers: Think about changing out your old house numbers for new, larger ones.  Some people are having custom made numbers with street names added above their garage doors with backlit lights added too.
  • Lights: If you decided not to replace your lights on your house, cleaning them would be just as effective! Cleaning off all the cobwebs and bugs that crawl in them will make your lights look brighter and new.  

Curb Appeal – Sweet American Feel

What could be some simple, but personalized touches to your home?  Something so simple, but yet brings warm fuzzies to anyone driving by would be adding in an American flag pole or hang an American flag off your front porch or add in some additional flower beds.

Lotz of Logic

Realistically, there are a ton of ways to make your home more appeal from the curbside.  Something so simple as cleaning and power washing your home’s siding to adding in an American flag and flowers. Whether you are selling your home or just want to finally get the exterior front side of your home looking amazing, it is truly worth your time to do some of these steps this spring or summer. By following these 7 curb appeal ideas for your home’s exterior, you will be in good shape.

Don’t forget, if you need an estimate on getting your home power washed or get some items done for additional curb appeal, give me a call. My team and I have been serving Orland Park, Homer Glen, Mokena, Frankfort, Tinley Park, New Lenox, Lemont, Orland Hills, Palos Park, St John IN, and all of the Chicago area for 30+ years.

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Choosing Exterior Paint Color Schemes for Your Home Style

Ever wonder what exterior paint color works best for your home style?  What color(s) you choose for one home-style might look horrible on another home style.  This video goes over choosing exterior paint color schemes for your home style. Click on the video below, from my vlog series called Discover Your Home, Season 1, Episode 6:

Midwest Home Styles

So because I live in the midwest, Chicago area actually, here is the list of the typical midwest home styles:

  1. Victorian Home Style
  2. Colonial Home Style
  3. Cape Cod Home Style
  4. Contemporary Home Style
  5. Georgian Home Style
  6. Tudor Home Style

Exterior Paint Color Schemes

So let’s go quickly down the list and see what color schemes I think work the best.  My video goes into further detail:

  • Victorian Home Style – there are no real “rules” for this home style.  Most have 4-5 colors.
  • Colonial Style – generally white in nature, and most are a Navajo white or some off shite color.  But there are typically dark contrasting colors for the shutters or front door
  • Cape Code – my favorite color for cape cod homes is a marigold or buttercup yellow. And use your front door as the main focal point by using a bold color.
  • Contemporary Home Style – this home-style really is supposed to blend into the natural environment surroundings, so a subdued earth tone colors.
  • Georgian Home Style – This home style is mostly brick and white is the dominant color for the columns and trim work.
  • Tudor Home – the most common is called Tudor brown with trim work in a white or Navajo white.


To sum up, understanding your home style can really help decide on choosing an exterior paint color scheme.  Painting or staining your home is an investment that can be more valuable if you know the right color schemes that fit the style of your home.  I hope you’ve found this video helpful.  

Give me a call if you need an estimate on priming house before painting the exterior. My team and I would love to be of service to the Northwest Indiana communities such as Long Beach, Beverly Shores, Lake of the Four Seasons, Schererville, Kreitzburg, Michigan City, Grand Beach, and New Buffalo, and all of the Chicago area for 30+ years.

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