My friend already posted about this, but the incident is so outrageous it deserves two postings. On a lovely Sunday afternoon, we were out on a  walk and waiting, patiently, on 65th and 1st for the east-west traffic to stop and allow us to cross. When the eastbound traffic was clear, a car heading west stopped to let us cross. Behind this law-abiding driver, heading west, was the Excel Home Painting van. The Excel driver immediately started honking at the car in front of him--you know, the one that stopped to allow pedestrians to cross--and then screaming and cursing at us, including calling us "f**king bitches and whores." Why? Because we were crossing the street. Really?

For your convenience MDE publishes this list of accredited lead contractors that meet Maryland’s standards to perform abatement activities involving lead-based paint. The list is an information resource only. MDE does not endorse any of the contractors included on this list nor does MDE provide any warranty about their performance. Consumers are advised to request bids and conduct reference checks before hiring. Contact the individual contractors for information regarding services and fees. Verify with the contractor you are going to hire that the supervisor is accredited by MDE and all lead paint abatement workers have current training. This accreditation and training does not satisfy the EPA Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule.


The pros were split on this tip. "Masking tape is problematic," says Mark Dixon, a painter in Missoula, Montana, and author of "House Painting Inside and Out" (Taunton Press, 1997). "Paint can bleed behind the tape, or remove the paint it's stuck to." Another problem is bridging. "Latex paints form a skin," says Dixon. "Removing painted tape can tear the skin, resulting in a ragged rather than a sharp line." Lastly, taping takes time. "Learning how to cut in with a brush takes practice, but if you can do it, you'll leave most tapers in the dust," Dixon says. (Cutting in is painting just the surface you want, not the surface adjacent to it — for example, where a wall meets the ceiling.) On the other hand, "If you can't cut in, you can't beat tape," says Span. The pros we spoke with all recommend painter's (blue) tape because it's easier to remove than masking tape. To prevent bleeding, Span uses a putty knife to bed the tape. After letting the paint dry, he scores the edge of the tape line with a utility knife to avoid tearing the paint.


When the primer is dry, caulk all small joints (less than ¼-inch-wide) in the siding and trim. Most pros use siliconized acrylics—paint won't stick to straight silicones—but Guertin and O'Neil like the new, more expensive urethane acrylics for their greater flexibility and longevity. O'Neil stresses that it's shortsighted to skimp on caulk. "If the joint fails, you're back to square one." Guertin uses the lifetime rating as his quality guide. "I don't expect 35-year caulk will last 35 years, but it should last longer than a 15-year caulk."

Oh, where to begin? Let me start with 'watered down paint'. 25-50% before the material gets to the site? Impossible. You would basically be painting with water at that point. It would be less of a hassle, and cost, to simply use proper material. You would be forced to apply three coats instead of two, as the coverage would be horrible. Whatever cost you think might be saved in materials would be lost in labor.

Whether you decide to do the preparation work yourself or have a professional do it as part of your project, proper preparation makes all the difference in creating a smooth and lasting finish. Sure, it adds to your the total time and money spent on your project, but it's certainly worth doing the job right the first time. Otherwise, you'll spend additional time and money down the line on maintenance and repairs. To ensure proper preparation, follow this process before painting your home's exterior (keeping in mind that the process may vary based on exterior materials):
Pros prefer 5-gallon buckets with a roller grid to roller pans. They hold more paint than pans and, says Doherty, "It's tougher to tip over a bucket." A bucket also lets you box, or mix, two or three cans of paint to avoid color discrepancies. To use a bucket and grid, dip the roller a quarter of the way into the paint and run it over the ramp to work the paint into the nap.

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