Renovation

Renovation is any work that improves an intact but tired finish. Even the best finish will erode or become dated. A new look can revive your home, even make you feel like you have a new house altogether.  Renovation and restoration are closely related. They are simply levels of involvement in the process. Not everything in your house needs to be restored. When you are looking to renovate around your home, you are usually looking at your millwork and wall finishes if you are inside, and siding and trim when you are outside.

The simplest renovation of all is to change your wall or ceiling color. It takes the least amount of time, and therefore is the least expensive. However, that is not to say that it is technically easy. There are many steps of preparation that must be followed to ensure a smooth surface. The correct product must be used for suitability to the color chosen and wear-and-tear in the space. Lastly, the professional technique in application is critical to an even finish with perfectly straight lines. We can forgive a raggedy paint line from a do-it-yourself project, but there is no excuse for anything but perfection when you are paying a professional for a wall finish.

The next renovation topic is your millwork. In older homes, it can be an elaborate process to repaint your millwork. In many cases, it can take years, in phases to complete a repaint of millwork. (See our Restoration page for more info…)  But if your home is mid-century or newer, chances are that your millwork just needs to be repainted. Sadly, in many very new homes, the millwork was not painted correctly initially. A proper paint finish for millwork should effectively last for about 15 years. If you treat your home like a museum, it could last much longer. Conversely, if your lifestyle involves a lot of activity in the house, it will not last as long. But if your millwork has a great finish, it can be maintained easily, therefore extending its life indefinitely.

We believe very strongly that with millwork, the right product is even more critical than the application.  We prefer the use of alkyd enamels for millwork. It is the only place in the home that we use alkyds. We believe strongly in caring for our environment, and fully support the use of the new generation of stable, versatile Acrylic (also known as Latex) low and zero-VOC products for wall finishes. However, when it comes to millwork we have found that no acrylic enamel can match the feel and durability of oil enamel. We really cannot reiterate enough the difference in how acrylic enamel feels in comparison with alkyd enamel. The alkyd will burnish like ivory over time, whereas the acrylic feels like plastic at the outset and will fade to dull plastic over just a couple of years. You want to be able to run your hand over your enamel finish and feel perfectly smooth. You want to be able to break out the serious cleaning products, year after year. You want impact-resistance. These are the qualities of alkyd enamel.  There are plans to ban the use of alkyds in the future, and we look upon that future with disappointment.

What is better for the environment? Acrylic enamel or alkyd enamel? They cause about the same pollution to manufacture, they both have VOCs (albeit the alkyd is very high), but the alkyd will last about 5 times as long as the acrylic. We take great steps to ensure the proper ventilation and isolation when we are working in oils in your home, but it seems obvious to choose the product that will easily outlast anything else. Not having to repaint your millwork again for 20 years is the best thing we can do for the environment.

Even the best wall finish can and will be destroyed from wear-and-tear. In some cases, you can expect to have to repaint your walls in just a few years. Think entry halls, greasy kitchen walls, woodstoves etc…  But millwork should last through all of these trials, enduring stains and soot, able to be truly cleaned. The same is true for the exterior of your home.  Just as sealing every gap, seam and crack will extend the durability of your finish inside; it is much more important outside.

Your home is protected from the elements by its cladding. In most cases this means siding, windows, doors, and trim.  The most vulnerable points on the exterior of your home are where any of these items meet. Every connection point is a possible place for water to intrude. Not to mention all of the critters that follow. When the carpentry is top-notch and well-thought out, the siding and trim will overlap in all the right places to help prevent water intrusion. Very few are this lucky. This is where you put your trust in a quality painting contractor. Again, sealing of the epidermis is even more crucial than the final paint layer on top.