Mike's Corner

Painting and drywall tips for homeowners from Mike

Why You Should Never Use Plastic to Protect Your Walls From Moisture

Super Powers I am a member of the Fishers Rotary Club, and we have guest speakers in each week and also let a member speak about their own personal lives and Rotary experience.  At the end of each talk, we get to ask questions, sometimes silly questions like “what is your favorite ice cream flavor?”  I have added my own silly question, which is, “If you could have a super power, what would it be?”      As a painting and drywall contractor, there are plenty of days that I wish I had a super power.  Mine would be X-Ray vision. Water is Good, Water is Bad One of the great contradictions of living on our wonderful planet is that of water.  It is a life giving and life preserving element to all of the world’s inhabitants, but it can also be a harmful and devastating element.  Floods, tsunamis and dangerous rain storms have the power to take lives. Not insignificantly, water can be a terror to your home also.  Those of you who have had the unfortunate experience of a flooded basement know how devastating that can be, and the insurance companies are not wild about you having suffered that experience.  On a smaller, but no less maddening level is having water enter your home from above or outside.  Roof leaks, ice dams, burst pipes and flooded toilets can wreak almost as much havoc on your domicile. This is where my desire for X-Ray vision comes in.  Often, when I am called in to look at the result of some sort of water intrusion, I can make a... read more

When Can We Start Painting Our Exterior?

Spring has officially arrived, and the phone is ringing with requests for exterior painting. Actually, we have been getting those calls for a while and I am just now setting up appointments to look at them. Here in Indianapolis, our exterior house painting season is somewhat flexible from the standpoint of when we can do the work, but there are some general guidelines I like to establish so that our customers understand why I have cutoff dates in place. Temperature There are several factors I need to weigh when considering the optimal months for residential house painting in the Indianapolis area. The first, not surprisingly, is temperature. The overnight temperature is more important than the daytime, because although we can apply paint when it is 50 degrees, if the temperature drops to freezing overnight, a latex paint product will not adhere properly and will fail in a short amount of time. Additionally,heat and humidity in the warmest months can be tricky with regard to proper drying times and can make for adhesion problems in the future. The following graph shows average temperatures in Indianapolis.   Daylight Hours        As obvious as it may sound, the amount of daylight we get in Indianapolis is a factor in our ability to paint a home exterior.  In March, April, October and November, we really cannot begin before 9 am, even though the sun may be up.  Why?  There is typically some dew on the surface of the home as a result of the temperature differential from the previous evening.  Painting over a moist surface is a recipe for disaster, as the paint... read more

DIY Interior Painting Disasters

Please Don’t Try This At Home Let me make one thing perfectly clear up front.  I LOVE DIY projects and the folks who attempt to do them.  I am aware that this may sound like I am bashing them, and I am NOT.  OK, well, some of them; but even then, not really. Let’s face it, we all have budgets and like to cut our expenses wherever we can.  So taking on new skills is a great way to discover the things that we may discover we have an interest in, have a knack for or even have a talent that we did not previously know we had.  For myself, I discovered a love of cooking (not just grilling, but actual puttering around the kitchen) years ago during my single years.  There are only so many frozen pizzas a guy can handle, and I needed an outlet for my creative side, so I chose cooking. In my years as a painting contractor, I have come across dozens of Do-it-Yourselfers, many who do work of respectable quality and take great pride in showing off their “craftsmanship”.  Yet they readily admit that the one room that took them a whole weekend to paint could have easily been done in far less time by the professionals at Cornerstone.  Frankly, I respect that folks want to put their own stamp on their homes and will put in the necessary time to make it look good, even if YouTube is their main source of information…… And Then There Are… the Do-it-Yourselfers who are absolutely clueless about what it takes to make an interior painting project look... read more

What Happens to Frozen House Paint

Frozen House Paint?  Oh, That Can’t Be Good…. In the twenty years I have been in the house painting business, it amazes me the number of times I have run into paint cans stored in garages by folks who quite simply, have never been told NOT to.   For every person with an opinion, you will get a wide variety of answers to the question of “can I use this paint even if it has been frozen?”  My opinion is a resolute NO.  Why is that?  The miscellaneous cans of Kilz notwithstanding, which are oil based, will not be included in this discussion.  Almost without exception, the paint found in the vast majority of homes today will be of the “latex” variety, which is a water-borne dispersion of sub-micrometer polymer particles.  Or, simply put, water with other stuff mixed in. Now your garage may be a fine place to store your Bud Lite in the winter time, but a product that you put on your walls or the outside of your home will just not perform as it was produced to if the majority of its composition is water.  And what happens to water when it is introduced to extreme cold?…….that’s right, class; it freezes. I’m a few credits shy of my chemistry degree, so I can’t explain fully without sounding dull and boring, but I can tell you that when paint does freeze, the water molecules expand and change the other components of paint.   The four basic elements of paint are comprised of binders, solvents, pigments and other additives, each of which are compromised once frozen. Why does... read more