Our agent, Susan Reische recently wrote a wonderful and informative article in the Pelham News:

Painters have been very busy these past few weeks as people prepared their homes for the holidays, and they will stay active this winter as property sellers get their homes ready to show in 2016. I’ve found that renewing and refreshing paint goes a long way to maximize a home’s attractiveness and market value.

In general, everyone can benefit from updating or touching-up paint…it can refresh and transform a space, and preserve your home inside and out. Even if you have a color in mind before the job begins, there are still many decisions to make — about finishes, color selection, brands and more. I recently spoke with Paul Viggiano, Director of Business Administration of A.G. Williams Painting Company, Inc., to find out about some essential things homeowners should consider to make their next do-it-yourself or painter/contractor project more successful.

Q: When I started choosing paint years ago, I was surprised to discover how many types of paint finishes there are, including: flat, matte, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss and high-gloss. It’s important for homeowners to make a decision about which way to go because it will affect the overall look and feel of the paint job. What’s the difference among these finishes, and how should you select one that works best for the job?

A: When selecting the best option to fit your needs, it’s important to consider your paint’s two primary jobs: to offer cosmetic value and to perform well. There is a delicate balance between these two considerations when selecting finishes for different spaces and situations.

Before you can choose the best sheen for your specific room, it also is helpful to remember that the higher the sheen, the more durable the paint is. Because of this, flat paint is typically used on ceilings where there is not a whole lot of traffic, wear, or tear. Trim, on the other hand, is typically painted with a satin and/or semigloss option. It is not quite so cut-and-dry for walls. The decision needs to be based on the aesthetic preference of the homeowner and the use of space. In a busy section of the home like a stairwell or hallway, an eggshell paint would be a good option because scuffs and smudges can be cleaned off more easily. Flat or matte finishes are better left for rooms that do not experience quite as much traffic, like bedrooms, since they bruise more easily.

Lower-sheen paints may not be quite as durable or easy to clean, but they are more easily touched up than their higher-gloss counterparts. They also hide surface imperfections better than shinier finishes, which is something to consider in areas that are not completely smooth.

Q: Speaking of choices, there is a dizzying array of thousands of colors and brands to choose from; for example Benjamin Moore offers more than 150 shades of white! Do you have any tips to help select a color?

A: Hiring a professional to help you choose colors is usually a good first step. Interior designers can put the concept for an entire space together, including design, décor and color. If you’re not using an interior designer, you may want to hire a professional color consultant. Some painting contractors and paint stores offer this service as well.

Here are a few other tips that I like to suggest:

  • Pick a direction that you would like to take with your color palette. After that initial step you can narrow it down to a few colors.
  • Purchase paint samples; paints look much different after they have been applied on a large surface than they do on a small, printed piece of paper.
  • Don’t be afraid of color! Many people select white out of fear of using a color that won’t work. At the same time, there is nothing wrong with using whites and off-whites on your surfaces and letting the décor bring the color into the room.

Q: Does paint quality differ among brands? If so, how?

A: Most brands tend to have different lines of paint that begin with Economical, then progress to Standard, Premium, Commercial and Industrial. Assuming that one paint is better than another because of the brand name alone is a common mistake; what really matters is which specific product is being used. For example, Benjamin Moore has different lines of paint which are all good for different purposes. It would be unfair to compare a Premium Benjamin Moore product to an Economical Sherwin-Williams product. Most of the premium paints, however, are comparable to one another.

Q: Interior and exterior painting can be a big investment in time and money. It may not be as exciting as transforming the color of a wall, but is there anything we can do to preserve and maintain the paint application?

A: Absolutely! When neglected, smaller issues can get worse and cause bigger problems. Routine exterior maintenance programs will extend the life of your existing paint and reduce the cost of your next painting project. To maintain your exterior coatings, consider routine gutter cleaning, caulking checkups, paint touch-up and light power-washing to remove mold, mildew and surface pollutants. Interior paint will last longer with minimal maintenance, as your rooms are not exposed to the same harsh elements that your exterior paint experiences. However, interior areas should be kept clean and monitored for repairs and touchups.

Q: I generally talk to a few contractors about a project before I select one. When hiring a painter contractor, how should you evaluate them? I have found that prices can vary widely for the same project.

A: Selecting a painting contractor can be a difficult task. Two completely different contractors may appear to be doing the same work on the proposal, but may actually give you a totally different experience and level of service. So How do you determine the difference? Here are six tips to consider:

  1. Make sure the contractor is insured with Workers’ Compensation Liability insurance and has a valid Home Improvement License. At the very least, every painting contractor should meet these requirements. If your home was built before 1978, they should also be a lead-certified firm (EPA RRP Certification).
  2. Check references and online reviews without relying on just one source.
  3. Read their proposals and the proposed scope of the work. Make sure you know which paints will be used, and include those paints on the proposal. Specify how they will protect your belongings from dust and damages, and understand what level of surface preparation will be performed.
  4. Check the warranty and all of the line items in their proposal. Make sure they include both a real address and license numbers on their proposal as well.
  5. Find out who will be supervising the project onsite — will they be using employees or subcontractors, will that same crew return every day until the project is completed, and will that crew be the same throughout the project?
  6. Price and budget is always a concern, but try to evaluate the painting contractors first, without regard to price. Then, ask yourself which contractor you would use if they were all quoting the same price, and why you would make that selection.

Susan Reische, a Pelham homeowner for 13 years, renovator and and appreciator of well-painted walls, is a Real Estate Salesperson for McClellan Sotheby’s International Realty. Prior to joining Sotheby’s, Susan was a marketing executive for the CNN Networks, and previously worked in advertising and publishing. You can reach her at susan.reische@sothebysrealty.com or 914-441-1516.

A.G Williams Painting Company, located in Pelham, has been painting with pride and passion since 1906. Additional services include carpentry, wallpaper, color consultation, interior design services and maintenance programs. For additional painting tips see their blog at www.agwilliamspainting.com/blog/ and they can be reached at 800-227-1906.