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FIVE tips to Choose the Best Exterior Paint Color for your Home this summer
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1. Look around in person and online. You are bound to find a house you absolutely love the look of. Consider mimicking their color scheme on your own home. Now, look carefully at your house and determine the best ways to apply color in order to achieve the desired look

2. Once you’ve narrowed it down to just a few options, head to the store and request some sample paint of your favorite two or three choices. Don’t forget to think about the trim of your home too. You’ll need a color for that as well. Go home, and try these colors on a few spots of your home. Take a look at these spots during different times of the day in order to get a feel for the color in different sunlight settings.

3. Consider a lesser percentage of color. If the colors you’ve picked don’t seem quite right. Identify the one that you like best. Return to the paint shop and ask to have the color mixed in a lesser percentage. Many places will do this. A subtle adjustment like this might be all it takes to find the color your truly love.

4. If you are tied to a community with a homeowner’s association, make sure the newly chosen colors are allowed, or that you seek approval as needed before proceeding with the job.

5. Painting the exterior of your house is a big job. Be sure to hire reliable contractors or educate yourself first before beginning the project on your own. There are many steps in terms of prep and application to get the best results.
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TOP 5 Reasons for an Exterior Paint Refresh This Season
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#5 – Gain Curb Appeal and Maybe a New Pop of Color – Faded, peeling, chipped paint is an eye sore. Even if you can’t see every imperfection from the street, it’s obvious to eye that the exterior of the home doesn’t look as nice as it could. The colors aren’t as vibrant, or maybe there are even glaring patches where paint has flaked off or cracked. A new coat of paint will increase the curb appeal dramatically. Plus, if you’ve been thinking about adding a pop of color, maybe with a red door or a fun shade of trim, now’s the time.

#4 – Increase Efficiency and Save Money – During the prep process, our painters will re-caulk areas around windows, doors and trim. Doing this ensures that your summer air conditioning is able to keep your house cool instead of allowing cool air to leak outside. This will aid in keeping your energy bills a bit lower. It’s true in the winter too, if you’re trying to keep your home cool.

#3 – Increase Re-sale value – We addressed curb appeal in #5, but if you’re considering selling your house any time in the coming year or two, getting a fresh coat of paint now will help to maximize the sale price, and help prevent costly repairs at the time of sale.

#2 – Keep Up Against Rotten Wood – Paint protects your home. We see a lot of rotten wood here in the DMV. The best way to protect your home against rotting wood, is to keep the wooden elements correctly painted. During the prep process, we could replace any rotten wood as well. Paint provides a protective barrier from the sun and rain. This barrier will allow the wooden elements on your home to last longer, and save you money in the long run. Protecting the wood on the outside also protects elements on the inside from mold and mildew.

#1 – You’ve been meaning to do it anyway – If you’ve noticed any cracking or peeling in your paint, you’ve probably already been considering getting your home painted. As we enter the heat of summer and the stormy rains that come with it, those cracks and peels are just going to get worse. You can stop them in the tracks and treat yourself to a new-looking house by applying a new coat of paint. It’s well worth it, so what are you waiting for?
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5 Tips for your next DIY interior paint Project
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#5 Select colors with care.
Once you decide on a color family, pick up a few samples. Put a small amount of each color on the walls and watch it for a day or two under different lighting scenarios. Also, think about the paint’s neutrality should you want to change furniture, flooring or accents in the future. Finally, did you like the selection enough to enjoy it for a least a few years to come. Many paint providers sell small sample containers so you can do exactly this.

#4 Allow Enough Time.
A successful pain job takes time, even if it’s a small space. Be sure you select a day that allows you to devote adequate time to the effort. Assume you’ll need to prime, paint and then likely do a second coat. Allow time for wall-prep, taping and moving or covering furniture. You might even want to break the project into multiple days as not to feel rushed. Proper wall prep is a key element to a successful painting project.

#3 Clean the walls and baseboards.
Paint adheres better to clean walls. Also, if there is dust and grime on the walls or baseboards, the paint will seal it in and may even make it stand out. It’s worth taking the time to clean. Vacuuming the walls is a good option. You can then use a simple solution of dish soap and water or water and vinegar to wipe down the walls and baseboards. Be careful though, to use a damp sponge or cloth, no a soaking wet one. If the walls are wet, they won’t hold the paint and may suffer damage from excess moisture.

#2 Paint ceilings first and baseboards last.
You can cover any drips or splatter from the ceiling when you add the wall color. If you do have a drip during painting any area of the room, you can quick wipe it off with a damp cloth. Keep one on-hand. In most cases, you’ll want to paint ceilings and baseboards white. They make a “ceiling white” paint for a reason. Using whites for these areas brighten the room and also make the color scheme pop with clean lines.

#1 Invest in the proper tools and the right amount of paint.
It’s tempting to save cash by purchasing less paint, or fewer tools. I’m all for reusing supplies when it makes sense, but sometimes, you need to purchase new. Having the right rollers is important. Having the right sized and shaped brushes is important. You will want painters tape. You probably don’t need many of the gadgets that are the market though. Possibly the most important thing is to buy enough paint the first time around. Many paint retailers say they can match a color, but I wouldn’t want to risk it. All too often a second mix on another day has a slight variation in the color. One way you can save though is to buy enough for the first coat only. Then, purchase again when you decide to move ahead with the second coat. That way, each coat will be from the same mix session. This will work to hide any slight variation.
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Holiday Entertaining with Ease and Style

So, you’re hosting a holiday this year. The stress has fully set in as you look around you and wonder how you’ll get the house ready. Stop. Take a deep breath. Now tackle the problem room-by-room.

First, think about your home. Where will your guests spend the most time? Those are the areas of greatest concern. You’ll need to clean all your bathrooms of course, and possibly bedrooms where guests will stay, but feel free to simply close the door to the master bedroom or the kids’ playroom.

Give the house a good dusting and vacuum before guests arrive. You might spruce up the yard with seasonal plants or garden décor.

Now, what can be done in the key areas of the home – the ones where people will be on the big day? A fresh coat of paint can give old décor a new clean look. New paint makes the walls clean and adds new personality to the space. If you are the ones traveling, our team can take care of painting while you’re away. Just imagine coming to a clean, newly painted home – like magic.
No time to paint? Consider using small items, like candles, flowers, vases, baskets and cloth accents to add modern pops of color to your space. You may want to invest in new throw pillows for your furniture as well. These will offer an updated look on a budget. If you are someone who likes to change décor with the seasons or use seasonally themed pieces, this is a fantastic and budget-friendly option.

Create a food or beverage display for your guests. This will serve as a focal point in the space and also serve a purpose on the day your friends and family visit. This allows your budget to work double-duty – purchasing food items you would’ve bought anyway, and making them into a new design element too.
Set a beautiful table, which can be done with a simple centerpiece, colored tablecloths or patterned napkins. There are tons of DIY ideas available online for table accents, place cards, etc.

Be sure you have seating for your guests, even if it’s in multiple areas of the home. And, if kids are on the guest list, consider setting out a few toys or activities to grab their attention immediately. This will help maintain some control over how quickly they mess up your nice clean house.
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7 Tips for a Healthier Home

The beauty of fall is just around the corner. Unfortunately, as the kids head back to school, we must brace for flu season. We can't prevent the germs from getting in, but we can take steps for a healthier home. Our team has selected our favorite seven tips to keep your home healthy now and year-round.

#7. Store pet food in a sealed plastic container to prevent rodents and bugs from tracking it down. Also keep pets on flea and tick meds year-round.

#6. Use paints, sealants and furniture finishes with low or no VOCs and that are formaldehyde-free. This can be implemented over time. Keep it in mind as you update your home's design.

#5. When it's time to replace curtains, consider machine washable options. You will be more likely to take them down and clean them if you can just toss them in the washing machine.

#4. Drink lots of clean water and be sure to replace the filter in your pitcher, refrigerator dispenser or faucet mount filtration system as directed by the manufacturer. (probably monthly for the pitchers and every six months for the others)

#3. Caulk now. This is a great time to inspect the caulk inside and outside of your home. You want to make sure windows, doors and trim are properly caulked on the outside to prevent moisture from getting in, which creates mold. Keeping exterior caulk in good shape also aids with interior temperature control, preventing air from leaking in or out. The summer sun can be rough on exterior caulk, so take a look around before the damp, cold weather arrives. Also, check your bathrooms - replace caulk and grout as needed. This will help prevent mold from developing inside the walls. While you're at it, you can do some cosmetic caulking too, like along stair trim and baseboards.

#2. Wash bedding, including blankets and comforters weekly. Also, couch blankets that are used in shared spaces should be laundered regularly. If you're cleaning up after a sick person in the house, make sure to wash your hands after loading the washing machine. Use hot water for this wash load if the fabric allows.

#1. Sanitize high-touch areas and handheld devices regularly - maybe once or twice a week and more if you know someone in the house is fighting off an illness. TV remotes, phones, shared technology, stair rails, faucet handles, toilet flusher levers, refrigerator door handles and doorknobs can harbor more germs than we care to admit.

For even more tips, check out a more complete list at This Old House online.
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Taking the Mystery out of Paint Finishes

You've thought about the best color for the design of your living room, and finally - finally - finally chosen the perfect shade. Thanks to the wide variety of paint finishes available, you're only half way to the final paint selection. So, what's with all those finishes and how do you know which to choose? Here's a quick guide:

Flat Enamel
This is just one of three main no-gloss or low-gloss finishes. This option holds up to some cleaning but still offers the popular matte finish. It can be wiped clean with a damp cloth or paper towel on occasion and can also stand up to the moisture of a bathroom or kitchen. This paint is more durable than a traditional matte finish, but offers the same desired no-shine look.

Eggshell
This is a finish that is easy to understand because it's named aptly for how it looks. Imagine the shell of an egg - it's like that. Offering just a slight sheen, it works well on walls and holds up better when wiped than a straight matte finish. This finish will highlight wall imperfections though, so wall prep is key for a beautiful final product.

Satin Finish
With a smooth, slightly shiny appearance, paint with this finish is most often used on trim, ceilings, doors and around windows. It resists moisture well too. While not used on walls as often it's a good option for highly trafficked areas or rooms at risk for wall marks that would need to be regularly cleaned. This paint can be wiped down over and over again, even scrubbed on occasion, while still maintaining its original beauty.

Semi-Gloss and High-Gloss
Finishes offer a bright look for any room. They boost light and the walls literally shine, while offering an impactful look when used in the right space. A word of caution though, these paint finishes are unforgiving. They highlight any imperfection on the surface, so proper wall-prep is an absolute must. These finishes offer extreme durability and stand up to seemingly anything. They can be washed, wiped and scrubbed regularly. They also perform well in high moisture areas. Walls or accent features painted with this finish will offer the look of being coated in plastic or enamel.
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Rotten Wood and two other Reasons to Paint the Exterior

Working around the D.C. area, I've been shocked to see so much rotten wood - even on houses that aren't all that old. I'm not sure why it happens here in the DMV, but it's definitely a problem. The good news is it's a problem that can be reduced or even eliminated by keeping exterior wood surfaces properly painted.
 
We'll start there  rotten wood  the first reason for exterior paint. If your home or building has decorative wood trim, wood siding or even wood around windows and doors, it could be at risk for rotten or rotting wood. Maintaining a healthy and COMPLETE coat of paint will protect the wood from water damage. Additionally, during a paint project, our team can assess wooden areas and advise if there are any places of concern. For a long-term solution, consider replacing wood trim with vinyl or wood alternatives that stand up to the elements. This can also be done during an exterior paint project.
 
Protection - You might have an alarm system to protect your home, and locks on the doors to protect your stuff, even smoke detectors to protect your family. What about the outside of your home? It faces the wrath of Mother Nature every single day - from snow, ice and rain to harsh winds and brutal heat from the summer sun. The paint on your home is like it's protective armor, and eventually that armor starts to break down. If you're not sure when your house was last painted, or if it's been more than five years, you should give it a good look. It might be time. Looks for blisters and cracks in the paint as well as fading. Additionally, as part of the paint project, we'll make sure your sealed areas are appropriately caulked.
 
Curb Appeal - Make your home or building look its best. If you're listing this spring, a new coat of paint will increase the curb appeal and could bump up the listing price. If you're planning to stay put for a while, you deserve to enjoy your home and feel good about the way it looks. Painting the exterior also provides an opportunity for a new look or color combination. The possibilities are endless and the end result will make you feel proud.

Thank you for Choosing Image Painting 
We appreciate your business.
  
Image Painting  
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Cool Interiors with the HOT Color Trends of 2016

With the start of a new year comes new design ideas and featured color trends. So what's hot for 2016 and how can you incorporate these looks in your space? Here are a few fab ideas from the experts:

Wild about White
We're seeing white used in all kinds of creative ways, from varying hues put together for a clean, yet interesting look to whites alongside single accent walls or features highlighted with a bold color for extreme contrast. Benjamin Moore has named "Simply White" their color of the year.
 
A Sensory Experience
Behr from The Home Depot finds their 2016 color trend inspiration in a world filled with bold colors and unexpected use of those colors. They are creating "stimulating environments" through color, creating spaces that appeal to a "design-savvy, yet sensory deprived society. Their exciting color palette blends colors in groups of five with shades such as Canary, Emperor's Silk and Galapagos with Pagoda and Black Pearl. For those less adventurous, there's a mostly gray color scheme that also creates an amazing space. Check out the full spectrum of color combos.
 
The Colors of Life
Sherwin-Williams brings it all together with a glimpse into everything life has to offer. Pulling from the world we live in, and how we experience our lives, they've created color palettes that spark excitement, generate serenity and encourage people to come together, enjoy each other's company and simply live. Like the other color trend reports we've discussed, they're using simple whites, grays and tans, but also bold and exotic colors in their designs. It's all about how you're using the space and a "passionate pursuit of shared color consciousness."
  
The Pantone Color of the Year 2016
This year, for the first time, Pantone named not one, but two, colors of the year. You can use them alone or together in your design ideas. Are they taking inspiration from mother nature's beautiful sunsets on this one? You decide. 2016 Pantone Colors of the Year: Rose Quartz and Serenity.
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The Top Three Reasons for Interior Paint – A Professional’s Opinion:

So, you’re wondering what a new coat of paint can do for you. You’re thinking, “maybe we’ll paint the kitchen this year.” You need an update for your family room or a new look for the master bedroom. Well, there are many things you can do, but interior paint is a great start to the new look. Plus, it offers other benefits as well. We’ve put together our TOP 3 reasons for interior paint in your home:

1. Paint makes it look new again
A home that is lived in, or even one that isn’t, will begin to show wear and tear on the walls. This is particularly true in corners and along trim areas. Cleaning the walls will only remove some of the marks, and does nothing to repair cracks or nail pops that come with the natural settling of the home (or an unexpected late summer earthquake in Northern Virginia). Prepping and painting these interior walls will make them look new again and cover any marks, scrapes or cracks.


2. Achieve an Updated Look that Fits your Updated Needs
Styles change. The color palette you chose 10 years ago may have been very trendy then, but has gone out of style now. Or, maybe, the colors fit your needs back then, but don’t fit them anymore. For example, if you did your entire home in whites and tans before you had kids or animals running around, those light colors may have taken a beating. Replacing them with a new, perhaps darker, color scheme will give your home a new look and allow you to select products and colors that best fit your family’s current lifestyle.

3. Newfound Excitement in the Same Old Space
A new coat of interior paint can restore your home to its original beauty indoors – whether refreshing the original color palette or going bold with something new. The stunning appearance of a professional painted interior makes a home even more enjoyable. It also makes it show nicely for guests or potential buyers when that time comes. Fresh paint can really brighten and clean up a space.
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