© 2017 by  Michael Durso

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“I always thought paint was paint. THIS is clearly something very different.” 

How just a little bit of paint knowledge can save you months of headaches, and thousands of dollars.  

I know the project you have in mind is deeply important to you. Because your home is too. And that’s because your home is your reflection. This is why we all clean our homes and keep them updated and maintained. Because they are reflections of ourselves and our families. 


When your neighbor or your sister or your mother walks into your foyer, or your kitchen, the appliances and painted surfaces talk. And I suspect they’ve been talking to you too. 


The vast majority of people who get their homes painted are just like you; the fixtures are worn, the colors are outdated, and they want to feel better about their home. This isn’t a trivial luxury; painting is home maintenance. Paint has a 30,000 year old tradition, and to this day it still retains its primary function: protecting surfaces. 


Painting is Science, and Not Many Painters Know That 


If paint’s primary purpose was decorating your home, then a painter’s primary area of knowledge should be in business, project management, color schemes, property protection (drips, spills and ladders) and paint application. This is where most painters in America do well. 


However, since paint’s primary function is protection, that means that painting a home is a task that involves knowledge of chemistry and coating science. Not just color. And a shocking amount of professional painters in this country don’t even have the patience to read the can label, let alone understand the coatings they apply.


Paint is a chemical. Painting is a technical, scientifically-guided process. Manufacturers make paints to precise specifications, tailored to very specific types of surfaces, uses and environments. Every individual product in this industry comes with documents mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency that outline potential health and environmental hazards, safety measures, chemical reactions with other products and waste disposal.   


Most painters don’t read these. 


As well, each product has a set of specifications that detail every aspect of how the product should be applied, depending on the type of surface, the environmental conditions, etc., down to the exact thickness of a coat of paint, wet versus dry. Painting requires precision. 


Here’s the point: paint is prepared for and applied correctly or the painter wastes your money. 


Paint both protects and decorates, but the paint you have installed in your home will never do the job of protecting if it’s applied by someone who treats it as only a decoration. 


Here’s What Could Happen


Imagine, one month after the painters have finished, you walk up to a door in your home. You love the color, you admire how well it was painted. As you look over the door you notice a bit of food one of the kids had slung from across the room has dried onto a panel of the door. Using your fingernail you scrape at the food, and the paint itself peels off the door. 


You just spent $4500 having painters update your home, and the paint literally peels off the doors. You check another door, and another, and it’s all the same. Baseboards too. 


What now? Someone is going to have to scrape it ALL OFF and start over. So you have 3 options:

    -Have the painter come back and fix it 

    -Hire another painter to fix it 

    -Scrape it and repaint them all yourself


If you have the first painter come back to fix it, he may not charge you if he’s an honest businessman, but you have to trust him to do it correctly this time. Is the paint going to stick this time? Why didn’t he get it right the first time? What doesn’t he know about the paint, or the surface he’s painting? Does he care? 


If you opt to have another painter come out and fix it, it will likely cost you twice what you paid originally, because he has to scrape everything, and properly prepare the doors to be painted. It’s twice a much work, although it might get done right this time. 


If you already spent over your budget and can’t afford to hire anybody, and you don’t trust the first painter, you’ll have to fix it yourself. That means you have to trust yourself to get it right. 


This could not possibly be any different than you had imagined this going. 

Should You Get a Brushed or Sprayed Cabinet Finish?

This is a somewhat controversial topic. The vast majority of new cabinets by far are sprayed; the majority of cabinet refinishers spray cabinets, and most clients ask for a sprayed finish. But whether sprayed or brushed is better is a matter of taste. 

There is an assumption among some people that brushed is the easy way, or the lazy way, that if the painter really wants to do a good job he'll spray and not brush. 

But this attitude is predominantly an American phenomenon. Across Europe, the mark of luxury for cabinetry is an expertly hand-applied paint. This is why, for instance, Christopher Peacock Cabinetry, a world-renowned luxury cabinet builder has all his cabinetry hand-painted on-site, rather than spray finished in a factory. 

As a craftsman who appreciates the "old world" way of doing things, the way it's done in Europe, I prefer to provide my clients with a beautiful hand-applied finish using Hollandlac Satin or Brilliant (high gloss) from Fine Paints of Europe. A few examples are below. 

Brushed Oil Cabinetry and Woodwork

Decorative Cabinet Finishes

Telling a client "the sky is the limit" can be unhelpful and daunting, so I usually don't. However, it is true. Any kind of finish or look you can dream up we can most likely accomplish. Metalllics, textures, antiqued, pinstripes, gold/silver leaf, you name it. If I don't personally know the technique, someone in my network of friends and colleagues will and we can partner on your project with combine expertise. A few examples are below. 

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