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🏡How to decorate your Exterior🏡

Thanks for stopping by our blog! Here at Exterior and Interior Painting Specialists we are your guaranteed painting pros. Today we are going to discuss decorating the exterior of your house and the right colors to use for the fall. When it comes to seasonal decorating, Fall can be the most exciting time of year and those outside fall decorations can help your home standout and be the envy of others all season long!

 

The joy of decorating for the fall is the opportunity that the exterior of your home gives you. With the opulent colors of the trees on full display it is easy to give the outside of your home that same wonderful fall feeling. But where do you start? Like I said, the leaves from the trees and mother nature will do a lot of the work for you so the focus should always first fall on the exterior of the house. Consider where decorations can be placed – front porch, walkway, driveway. Do you have a one-story or two-story house? What is your decorating budget and will you need help setting these decorations up?

These are questions you will first need to answer before you start decorating. If this seems a bit complicated then consider how much work you are willing to put in. Exterior decorations do not need to be overly complicated and keeping it simple with a few well-placed crafts is always a good option.

Here is a list of 8 outdoor decorating options for anyone looking for fun and simple fall decorating ideas:

  1. Hang a Fall Garland. These decorations are cheap to buy or make at home yourself and can be placed virtually anywhere to decorate the house. They can even be layered on existing shrubbery or vines for greater effect.
  2. Add a Pumpkin! This can be real or fake and completely up to you! Carving your own pumpkin gives you the freedom to create your own designs but also comes with a pretty hefty mess. Feel free to avoid the mess and buy a battery operated one from the store.
  3. Hang a fall wreath. Or if you’re crafty enough, make your own leafy wreath with the leaves collected from the front yard!
  4. Create your own candleholders! According to SouthernLiving.com (https://www.southernliving.com/home/decor/outside-fall-decorations) “An outdoor fall decoration wouldn’t be complete without pumpkins. Choose multicolored gourds and carve spaces in the top. Fit in a glass candleholder and a pillar candle for a glimmering pathway border.”
  1. Add a Different Color Palette. While the October holiday generally dictates plenty of orange around this time of year – don’t be afraid to experiment with other fall colors and incorporate some gourds or shrubbery with greens and purples. And According to SouthernLiving.com (https://www.southernliving.com/home/decor/outside-fall-decorations) “deep red mums and other scarlet-toned blooms look great rising from planters at an entry. They also complement the orangey palette of a pumpkin display.”
  2. Get Creative with Pumpkins. Stack them together to create your own pumpkin patch or display. Or hollow out the inside of the pumpkin and the possibilities are endless! Create a planter with a blooming floral display for everyone to appreciate!
  1. String Lights. If you have an outdoor porch or a covered walkway and some free time think about adding some decorative string lights which can add some much needed ambiance to a darkened area.
  2. Incorporate Acorns. Those pesky things that can clutter up your lawn can actually be useful! They’re a perfect pair and an ideal alternative to classic pumpkins and work perfectly when used in wreaths or planters!

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💰New kitchen WITHOUT the price💰

Hi everyone! Thank you for reading Exterior and Interior Painting Specialists Blog!

Today we are going to help you save thousands on a brand new kitchen!!!

Are you tired of walking into the same 50’s kitchen every day? Are you embarrassed to invite friends over for dinner?? Are you ready to not spend an arm and a leg on a kitchen you AREN’T ashamed of!?

By the time we are done in your home, you will only be seeing this in your nightmares!

“Last year the national average cost for a minor, midrange remodel of the heart of the home was $21,198 The report goes on to add that a more major, midrange renovation averaged $63,829, and an upscale kitchen renovation’s average cost came in at $125,721.”

“The typical house has at least 30 linear feet of cabinetry using same design / size with medium-grade oak cabinets – Average of $117 to $140 per linear foot for a total of $4200. This does not take into consideration the removal of old cabinetry and the potential for reinforcement of walls and floors. Such costs would be based on the average carpentry rate of $70 per hour.”

 

The two above statistics are the sad truth we are living today!

Worry NO MORE! We have secret money saving tips you will all LOVE!

What if we told you you could completely transform your kitchen for less than HALF of that amount!!!?

To completely re-do this kitchen, it WOULD HAVE cost over $20,000.00… but because of our money saving tips, they only spent $2,730.00 and it looks like a whole new house!!!

There are many different ways to change up the look of your kitchen without replacing everything.

Besides just changing the color of your cabinets you can do other things in your kitchen to give it its own look.

Try giving the island its own accent color

If you don’t have an island in your home, try giving the two levels their own colors. These small but subtle changes give your kitchen a personality of its own!

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Don’t like the grain marks on your cabinets? — Don’t worry, we can take that away as well!!

Even if you do not like the grainy look your cabinets have you DO NOT have to replace them!

Do you want your kitchen to

1. Update hardware.

Hardware can completely change the look of a piece of furniture and it can do the same for your cabinets. Replace drawer and cabinet pulls for an new unique look that instantly updates your entire space.

2. Use lighter colors.

A light color on the walls and cabinets instantly brightens a space making it look larger and in turn, more expensive. Light colors reflect light and hide a multitude of sins, including those scratches, dings and dents in your old cabinets.

3. Change lighting.

Chandeliers and pendants are the perfect accessory to not only brighten your kitchen but change the mood of the space. Standard lights that come in most homes and rentals are uniform. Mix it up and give the most used room in your house some personality or an unexpected element.

4. Use artwork.

Artwork is a great way to elevate any room and it will do the same in your kitchen. Don’t be afraid to go big and bold — it will give the illusion of a bigger space. Art is also a great option for renters who don’t have the freedom to change everything they’d like to.

5. Paint your appliances stainless steel.

Don’t have stainless steel appliances? No problem. Use a paint-on stainless steel finish to update your appliances that still work well but are giving your kitchen a dated feel. Be careful, companies make different types if this liquid stainless steel depending on the appliance and its use.

6. Add window treatments.

Dress up your bare windows to instantly dress up your kitchen.

7. Hide small appliances.

Nothing brings down a space more than clutter. Keep your counter space clear of small appliances like toasters, blenders and coffee pots. They’re easy enough to take out when you want to use them.

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🤔Chemicals: What’s in your home?🤔

Do you REALLY know what is in your home?

or, more specifically, on your walls?

Today we are going to look more closely at what is REALLY in your home and on your walls.

Hi everyone! Thank you for reading blog!

As humans, we don’t really think about the paint on our walls… yes, we see the color, yes sometimes we even smell the paint… but have you ever wondered what you’re breathing in? Have you ever wondered what you’re children are exposed to daily?

More specifically we are going to compare Lacquer with Emerald Urethane.

Lacquer is a liquid made of shellac dissolved in alcohol, or of synthetic substances, that dries to form a hard protective coating for wood, metal, etc.

Catalyzed lacquer is a hybrid reactive finish that cures chemically, not solely through the evaporation of solvents

Lacquer has over 600 VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) they are the gases emitted from the product.

Click here to read how we GO-GREEN with our low VOC products

“EPA’s Office of Research and Development’s “Total Exposure Assessment Methodology (TEAM) Study” (Volumes I through IV, completed in 1985) found levels of about a dozen common organic pollutants to be 2 to 5 times higher inside homes than outside, regardless of whether the homes were located in rural or highly industrial areas. TEAM studies indicated that while people are using products containing organic chemicals, they can expose themselves and others to very high pollutant levels, and elevated concentrations can persist in the air long after the activity is completed.” – EPA

Even though lacquer has such a HIGH VOC level painters still choose to use it because it dries quickly and is a good resistance to household chemicals.

Click here for all of the chemicals in lacquer.

Symptoms of Lacquer Poisoning:

Home Care

Now we will share some information about the LOW VOC  – Emerald Urethane from Sherwin-Williams.

Emerald Urethane has a less than 50 VOC level.

Click here for the data sheet from Sherwin-Williams site with all of the chemicals in Emerald.

The higher the VOC level, the longer it will take for it to clear the air. High VOC levels can cause harm to the painters and those who are in the home, even after the painting is complete.

Possible health effects include:

  • Eye, nose and throat irritation
  • Headaches, loss of coordination and nausea
  • Damage to liver, kidney and central nervous system
  • Some organics can cause cancer in animals, some are suspected or known to cause cancer in humans.

Key signs or symptoms associated with exposure to VOCs include:

  • conjunctival irritation
  • nose and throat discomfort
  • headache
  • allergic skin reaction
  • dyspnea
  • declines in serum cholinesterase levels
  • nausea
  • emesis
  • epistaxis
  • fatigue
  • dizziness

Tips to reduce your VOC Exposure:

Tip 1: Buy only what you need

When it comes to household chemicals, break the habit of buying in bulk to save money and simply buy what you need. Stored chemicals are a major source of VOCs, even when the container is closed up tight. Whenever possible, buy low-VOC versions of products. Many “green” brands are only slightly more expensive than conventional versions.

Tip 2: Store smelly stuff in a detached shed

Paints, paint thinners, pesticides, and gas cans are a major source of VOCs. The further away from your house you store these smelly items, the better. A detached shed is ideal. Use it to store gas-powered tools, too—lawn mowers, snow blowers, and chain saws.

If you have leftover pesticides, paint, and other chemicals, contact your municipal waste department to find out where you can dispose of them safely.

Tip 3: Seal off your attached garage

If you have an attached garage, you’ve got vehicles with VOC-producing gas tanks right next to your living area. Plus, if a detached shed isn’t an option, you’re likely to use your garage to store your chemicals, gas cans, and other VOC-spewing products.

If that’s the case, seal up any connections between your garage and living area. Weatherstrip your garage access door, and make sure that the threshold gasket is snugged up tight.

Sometimes connections aren’t obvious—loose holes around ductwork can leak garage air into your basement where an air return duct collects and disperses VOCs all over the house. Button up these gaps with caulk and foam sealant.

Tip 4: Your nose knows

Weather permitting, open windows and run exhaust fans when you’re working with paints and pungent cleaners. Trust your nose—if you can smell it, you’re whiffing VOCs. That includes any time you bring vinyl or plastic items (say, a new shower curtain) or dry-cleaned clothes into the house.

If weather permits, remove covers and packaging from items and set them outside for a while to off-gas—at least until they don’t smell. Schedule major interior paint jobs for good weather so you can open up windows.

Tip 5: Exhaust your possibilities

Bathroom and kitchen fans are great for removing VOCs from the air, especially because cooking and cleaning can release some potent, even carcinogenic, compounds. But if you run exhaust fans constantly, you create negative air pressure inside the house that may draw air—and VOCs—from your attached garage into your home.

Run fans until any chemical or smoke smell dissipates, then turn them off. If you use your garage as a regular work area for VOC-generating hobbies, such as woodworking, install an exhaust fan to the outside. Exhaust fans cost $250 to $400, installed.

Tip 6: Ditch the air fresheners

The health evidence against plug-in and spray air fresheners is mounting; many emit chemicals and ultra-fine particulates that aren’t identified on the label. Some also contain terpene, a fragrant chemical that’s widely found in natural substances, such as pine resins.

But when confined inside a house, terpenes react with naturally occurring ozone in the air and form compounds that have long-term effects on the respiratory system (asthma, for example).

The alternative? Keep a clean house, use environmentally friendly cleaners, and get a whiff of pine scent while taking a nice long walk outside.

Tip 7: Read the label

Before hiring a painting company or purchasing your own products, read the label and know the product!

Refuse the use of ANY high VOC products in your home.

VOCs health hazards

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are solids and liquids that convert easily to gas or vapor at room temperature. VOCs are contained in many paint products and have been linked to a variety of health problems—watery eyes, headaches, asthma, respiratory diseases and cancer.

Common paint VOCs

Common VOCs in paint include ethylene glycol (the same chemical compound found in antifreeze), formaldehyde, benzene, and a variety of other flammable or toxic chemicals. The paint’s materials safety data sheet (MSDS) lists the hazardous materials the product contains. Laminated MSDS sheets are usually displayed in paint stores, or you can download them from a paint manufacturer’s website.

When inhaled, solvents like benzene, which are added to paint to allow it to spread easily, can be absorbed into the blood stream. Some paints also contain toxic fungicides to halt mildew growth, along with biocides, which are used to extend the product’s shelf life.

Some VOCs have also been linked to cancer, especially for people who are exposed to them over a long period, experts say. A 2002 National Cancer Institute study revealed that men and women who work in the paint industry had a “significantly increased risk” of cancer. Paint manufacturers use combinations of up to 15,000 chemicals used in various paints, with the more dangerous chemicals including benzene, chloroform and dichloromethane, according to a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services report. Benzene is known to cause leukemia in humans, the report noted, and several other paint chemicals are suspected of causing cancer as well.

Painting safety tips

UL and other experts also recommend:

  • Keep the air moving. Paint in areas that have good air circulation. If you need to, use window fans to help the paint dry sooner and get rid of emissions. Make sure to leave the windows and doors open.
  • Protect your eyes. Use eye goggles or safety glasses to reduce the risk of paint splashing in your eyes.
  • Don’t breathe it in. Wear a breathing mask when sanding, or a solvent respirator when working with solvent-based products.
  • Create a kid-free zone. Keep children and pets out of the painting area.
  • Stick with water-based paints. These paints generally pose fewer health risks than oil-based, solvent paints. Oil based paints, stains, and products, typically contain more solvents and can emit higher amounts of gases. It’s safer to use these products outdoors or in areas where there is excellent ventilation. Solvents are also highly flammable.
  • Read labels carefully. The label on that can of paint contains some valuable information, including drying times, warning labels and other important information. Always know what you’re working with.

Below are tips to help From VOC to other hazards:

1) Old smoke alarms

Smoke alarms should be replaced after 10 years to make sure they’re in good working order, says Owen Davis, spokesman for the National Fire Protection Association. There are two types of smoke alarms, ionization and photoelectric, which use different technology. Ionization smoke alarms contain a small amount of radioactive material, so safe disposal is important. Check to see if your state’s radiation control program offers collection of expired smoke alarms or mail the alarm back to the manufacturer, the EPA recommends.

2) Pesticides

You’ve gotten rid of the cockroaches, rats or other pests that invaded your home, but now you’ve got leftover pesticides. The best way to get rid of pesticides is to use them up, the EPA recommends. Once you have an empty bottle or can, you can throw it in the trash unless the label on the bottle directs another method of disposal. If you can’t use what’s left, look for a friend or neighbor who might. If you don’t have any luck, check with your city or county for hazardous waste disposal rules. 

3) Paint

Your walls got a fresh coat, but now you’ve got a few partially full cans of paint on your hands. How to dispose of them depends on the answer to this question: oil or latex? “Oil-based paints are considered hazardous wastes,” Holtzman says, adding that you’ll have to dispose of oil paint through your local hazardous waste disposal program. However, many local governments allow you to put latex paint out with regular household trash if the paint has been dried out, she says. Never dry out oil paint, though, because that releases hazardous fumes.

4) Mercury thermometers

If you need to see if your tot is running a fever, the EPA recommends using non-mercury thermometers. But if you do break a mercury thermometer, follow these mercury cleanup stepsrecommended by the EPA. Once you have the broken glass and mercury in a paper towel sealed in a zip lock bag, check with your city or county on how to dispose of items containing mercury. Or search Earth911.org for local and mail-in programs.

5) Expired medications

Do you have expired flu medicine, unused pain pills or other drugs in the back of your medicine cabinet? It’s a good idea to get rid of old medications, but don’t just toss those bottles in the trash. First, check the drug label and patient information for any specific disposal instructions, the FDA recommends. In general you can dispose of drugs by dropping them off at a hospital or pharmacy that has a medication take-back program, according to the FDA. Or you can mix many medications with cat litter or coffee grounds and throw them away in the trash. However, there is a short list of medications you should flush down the toilet instead to make sure no child or pet ingests the drug, according to the FDA.

6) Lightbulbs

Old-fashioned incandescent bulbs can go in the trash when their life is over, but fluorescent bulbs are a different story. They contain a bit of mercury gas, so they require special disposal. Check with your local hardware or home improvement store to see if they recycle them. Or look for a disposal site by searching Earth911.org.

When a compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulb breaks, clear kids and pets out of the room and put on gloves, Holtzman says. Then turn off your central air or heating system and open a window or door to air out the space for several hours, the EPA recommends.

Use stiff cardboard to gather up any glass fragments, and put them in a glass jar with a lid or in a sealable plastic bag. Then, use sticky tape to pick up powder or tiny glass fragments. (The EPA offers more detailed cleanup instructions.) Check with your city to see if you must take the broken bulb to a recycling center or if you may toss it in your household trash.

7) Insulin needles/sharps

Stick sharps in a hard plastic sharps container as soon as you’re done using them, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends. If you don’t have a sharps container, you can buy one at a pharmacy, medical supply company or through a health care provider. Or, in a pinch, use a sturdy plastic container, such as a household laundry detergent bottle, with a tight-fitting lid. Label the container: “Sharps: Do not open.” [Contact your local trash disposal service or health department to find out how to dispose of sharps containers in your area. You might be able to drop off the container at an approved collection site at a hospital, pharmacy or health department, according to the FDA.

8) Cooking grease

When you’re done cooking up a skillet of bacon, don’t throw the grease down the drain, garbage disposal or toilet. Fats can clog pipes and lead to plumbing backups. Pour hot beef, chicken or pork grease into an old coffee can or other sealable container, then cool or freeze until it’s solid. Vegetable oils won’t harden like other fats will, so put them in a container and add coffee grounds or kitty litter to sop up the oil, then put a lid on it. You can throw these containers into a covered household trashcan, Holtzman says.

9) Sharp stuff

Sharp items such as broken glass, razor blades and old kitchen knives can seriously cut anyone handling the trash or sorting through your recycle bin. Never throw these items straight into your trash. Instead, put any sharp objects that aren’t contaminated with body fluids or chemicals into a sturdy box or other puncture-resistant container and tape it tightly shut, Holtzman says. Then, take a marker and write “sharp objects” on the box in big letters.

10) Appliances

If your old fridge, stove or dishwasher kicked the bucket, don’t take it apart or toss it outside. Old appliances may contain hazardous substances such as mercury, used oil and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), according to the EPA. First, check with your electric company to see if they offer a “bounty program” that will pay you cash for turning over an outdated, inefficient appliance, the EPA recommends.

If there’s no program in your area, contact your city or county to check disposal rules. Some cities offer “bulky item pickup” for appliances. Before you put a refrigerator, freezer, washer or dryer in front of your house for pickup, take off the door so children can’t get trapped inside, Holtzman says.

11) Antifreeze

The antifreeze that keeps your car rolling on cold days can harm people and pets. Ethylene glycol and propylene glycol, the most commonly used types of automotive antifreeze, are poisonous, so it’s crucial to discard used antifreeze properly, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Never pour antifreeze on the ground, in a septic system or down a storm drain. Instead, check Earth911.org to see if a recycling center in your area takes antifreeze for recycling. Or call local automotive shops to ask if they accept used antifreeze. Otherwise, check with your city or county for disposal rules.

Click here to read more about Eco-Friendly paints by Sherwin-Williams.

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😍Kitchen Design Ideas😍

Hi everyone, thank you for reading Exterior and Interior Painting Specialists blog!

Today we are going to share some of the most common themes customers choose to use in their homes!

Hopefully, this blog will be able to help spark your creativity to bring out your homes own personality!

  1. The first look is just a typical repaint. Updating your kitchen with a fresh coat of paint can take your kitchen cave and turn it into an elegant hangout. Currently one of the most popular colors is a shade of grey.

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2) Another way to give your kitchen its own personality is by having one of the detached sections an accent color while keeping the rest of the cabinets the same. It’s a way of having an accent without drawing too much attention away.

one accent.jpg

3) Accenting the island. Something about the center of the room being a darker color than the rest brings it all together. It gives the heart of the home its own heart.

island accent.jpg

4) Having the top a lighter color and the bottom a darker color. This nice accent separates the room in a nice clean line. It brings a sophisticated feel to the room.

top and bottom dif.jpg

 

A mainstay of any kitchen is the cabinets – they can truly standout and accent everything else in the kitchen or they can be designed to be gorgeous and simplistic. Either way they can add a lot to a kitchen and today we are going to discuss some ways you can decorate them that will have them standing out at any time of the year.

First, with fall coming up, here are some ideas that will have the interior of your home popping and ready to go for autumn. 

  • A fruit basket for fall can be a lovely touch not only in your kitchen – but other common areas of the house as well. A seasonal fruit basket for fall would look good in a small wicker basket and can be filled with apples, twigs, fruit, and other berries to give your kitchen a quick and easy fall display. The fruit can be eaten before it it goes bad and replaced with other fruit – making it the perfect snack display for the kitchen as well.
  • If you are entertaining guests think about adding a fall printable to a common area of the kitchen. Framing it and adding your own seasonal touch will surely impress any guest you have in the kitchen.
  • Similar to the fruit basket, a simple fall centerpiece will look great as an addition to any dining table. With Thanksgiving on the horizon it would be beneficial to construct a fall themed centerpiece – that could be bought or created yourself – that can be used and reused year after year.
  • Change out linens for a fall theme. This includes any cloth napkins and table runners you have displayed for use as well as any towels that you use for hand washing and cleaning that are hanging up in the kitchen. 
  • Don’t be afraid to light fall themed candle scents in the home. Whatever scent you use is up to you when you are by yourself, but a nice smelling fall themed scent that isn’t overbearing will surely please guests this time of year. Scents that work well in the kitchen include Apple Pie as well as the more milder pumpkin scented candles.

Some simple upkeep can help spruce up your kitchen any time of the year:

  • For darker kitchen cabinets think about adding LED lighting to accent the area and light the work space around you. Ideally good lighting will make any kitchen space look bigger regardless of color or cabinet space. Simple lighting strips can be added under cabinets and alongside shelves to easily accent the space.
  • With LED lights you can replace any broken or incandescent bulbs with the latest energy-efficient ones and replace any outdated light fixtures with new ones to avoid any fix of fire. 
  • If you want to add the illusion of more light think of adding a mirror to a wall or backsplash to reflect light and bounce it around the room.
  • Learn how to maximize your counter space. This includes: adding pot racks to the walls, adding hideaway furniture to cabinets and counters, and adding additional shelving inside cabinets to create more space.
  • If you are not a fan of brightly colored walls or statement colors then consider adding accents of color in other areas of the kitchen. Window treatments, a small rug or upholstery, or a trendy lamp above the table are all items that can be added that reflect your own personal design style. 
  • Remember, especially in a small kitchen, that cabinets can double as more than just a place to store dishes and food. Cabinets and shelves with the proper design can be used as a display for treasures and knick knacks, stack of cookbooks, or displays of fine china. 

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🍂How to prepare for fall!🍂

Hi everyone! Thank you for reading blog!

Exterior and Interior Painting Specialists are painting contractors based out of Central Illinois. They specialize in kitchen cabinets, interior work and exterior work.

Today we are going to share a few simple steps to getting the outside of your home ready for fall!!! 

There are three steps to this… (The first- and obvious one, prepping the Exterior of your home) and the not so obvious, the Interior and garage.

Exterior Maintenance

  1. Do a roof check. You should be able to do at least a visual inspection of the roof from the ground. Grab some binoculars to get a closer look or if you’re able and can do so safely, climb on up for a better view. Look for missing, damaged, or loose shingles. If your roof is flat, you may need to remove leaves and debris.
  2. Check the chimney and fireplace. If you have a wood fireplace and use it often, have your chimney cleaned and inspected by a professional.
  3. Inspect siding. Check home exterior for cracks or holes. Repair them yourself or hire a professional.
  4. Clean the gutters. Hire a service to clear your gutters or do it yourself. Remove leaves, nests, and debris from gutters and check for leaks.
  5. Check water drainage. Rainwater downspouts need to be clear of obstructions and direct water away from foundations, walkways, and driveways. Add extensions to downspouts if necessary.
  6. Reinforce windows and doors. Remove screens and install storm windows and doors if you use them. Check caulk and seals around all doors and windows.
  7. Turn off faucets and store hoses. Drain garden hoses and disconnect from the outside spigots. Shut off exterior faucets, and if you have an older home, you may need to turn off the valve inside your home. Store hoses in a dry place so any residual water won’t freeze.
  8. Service sprinklers and irrigation system. Depending on your climate, your irrigation system may need to be drained and checked. Have a professional perform any necessary repairs and mark sprinkler heads near snow removal areas.
  9. Inspect trees. Check for damaged limbs that may break or that are too close to power lines or the roof.
  10. Trim landscaping. Cut back bushes, shrubs, and flowers as recommended for your climate zone.
  11. Bring in flowerpots. If you keep plants or flower in pots year-round, bring them inside. If you replace plants every year, empty, clean, dry pots and put away for next spring.
  12. Leaf removal. Rake and remove leaves from the yard. Put into a compost pile if you have one. Alternatively, put into yard garbage bags and leave at the curb for community pick up. Check with your local city or town for requirements and pick up schedules.
  13. Fertilize lawn. Applying fall lawn fertilizer will help prevent winter damage and spring weeds. Ask a local garden center or check online to find out which type of fertilizer you need and when to apply it. If you have a lawn service, they should do this for you.
  14. Put away seasonal furniture. Clean and store seasonal outdoor furniture. Remove and clean cushions. Wash and dry furniture and store in a dry place over winter.
  15. Close the pool. If you have a pool and live in an area where temperatures dip, schedule a service to come and close it for the season or if you know how, buy the supplies and do it yourself.
  16. Organize the shed. As your shed is filling up with summer items in storage it’s a good time to organize and clean out the shed. Move summer items to the back and winter stuff up front for better access. Also, remove any liquids that will freeze.

Click here to learn how to clean your gutters and make sure they are in GREAT shape.

Interior Maintenance

  1. Check for drafts. Feel for drafts around the edges of windows and doors. A good tip is to use a lighted candle and if the flame flickers, there’s most likely a draft. If necessary, replace seals and repair caulking around window and door frames. Consider buying heavier or insulated drapery for especially drafty windows.
  2. Have your furnace inspected. Hire an HVAC professional to test for leaks, check heating efficiency, and change the filter. They can also do a carbon monoxide check to ensure air safety. It’s also a good idea to stock up on extra air filters and change them every few months.
  3. Winterize air conditioning. If your home has central air conditioning, (and you live in a climate where you won’t need it any longer,) it may be necessary to cover your outdoor unit for winter. If you use window air conditioning units, remove them or cover to prevent air leaks.
  4. Programmable thermostat. Buy a programmable thermostat, if you don’t have one. If you already have one, check the temperature settings. Setting your thermostat to lower the temperature automatically at night and when you’re not home, can result in substantial cost savings.
  5. Test home safety devices. Replace the batteries in all smoke detectors and carbon monoxide devices and test to make sure they’re working properly.
  6. Clean humidifiers. Replace old filters and clean inside compartment. Vinegar is inexpensive and works well.

Click here to read secrets on how to get professionally clean windows, YOURSELF!

In the Garage

  1. Service summer power equipment. Empty fuel and clean lawnmower and trimmer. Have lawnmower blades sharpened and oil changed. Have any necessary repairs done now, so that you’re ready come spring.
  2. Store summer vehicles. If you have a motorcycle, summer car, ATV or other type seasonal vehicle, now’s a good time to have that serviced as well.
  3. Get winter equipment ready. Service snow blower and make sure it is ready to go, especially if you live in an unpredictable climate.
  4. Test the generator. If you have an emergency generator for power outages, give it a test, and make sure it’s in good working order.
  5. Buy extra gasoline. Purchase extra gas to have on hand for use in your snow blower or generator, so you’re prepared for emergencies. Make sure you store gasoline in tanks away from fire sources and out of children’s reaches.
  6. Clean the garage. Since you’re in the garage prepping for fall, you might as well purge, organize and clean it while you’re there!

At Exterior and Interior Painting Specialists we know that there is a lot you can do to ensure you home is ready for the fall. Especially for a a large home these tasks can be daunting, so for the second part of this post we are going to highlight some tips to make accomplishing these maintenance tasks a whole lot easier.

  1. Stock up on firewood and starter logs. Its best to accomplish this now before the cold weather really hits and you find yourself scrambling to stock up. You can gather your own and store it in a dry area away from the house – or call a local service to have it delivered.
  2. Declutter your storage. With garages and outdoor decks its easy to amass clutter that often gets ignored for long periods of time as the seasons change. While it is still warm out it would be a good idea to take inventory and throw out any unnecessary items.
  1. Check for critters. When performing the various maintenance tasks above you will have the opportunity to explore areas of your home – both inside and out – that are not often explored. Take this chance to look for signs of life from rodents and any other critter that could be coming in from the outside. Look for any broken windows or any other signs of animal activity.
  2. Communicate with your neighbors. Besides your homes own care and upkeep, you should pay attention to your neighbors yard and observe anything like overhanging trees or weeds that might fall and break off into your yard.

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  1. Finalize any last minute outdoor projects. If there is a swingset you are waiting to build or have any art projects or home decor items that need painted make sure to finish them now while you can still find the time outdoors.
  2. If you have outdoor pets you should inspect the deck and any other outdoor areas for damage they might have caused that has gone unnoticed. Broken screens and chewed up furniture will sometimes go overlooked until it is too late to do something. Inspect these areas now and observe to make sure these repairs remain intact.
  3. Install carpet or cork in walkways. This is mostly concerning areas such as garage walkways or mudrooms – places that typically get colder in the autumn and winters months. Installing small areas of carpet or even cork boards can ensure you won’t be chilling when walking around in the coming months.

Look online for help with maintenance. If you are unsure where to look to get your chimney service you can head online and find a certified local sweep via the Chimney Safety Institute of America 

Freeze proof outdoor faucets yourself. When checking outdoor faucets, hoses, and irrigation systems you may need to reinforce them so they withstand the winter weather – especially if it is a faucet that is connected directly to the exterior of your home. They can easily be bought and replaced yourself in a matter of hours.

Install exterior lighting. This will help you conduct maintenance as it starts to get darker earlier in the coming months. Installing lighting in walkways and porch areas will also help ensure the safety of your home.

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☣CHEMICALS ☢Lacquer VS Emerald Urethane☢

Do you REALLY know what is in your home?

or, more specifically, on your walls?

Today we are going to look more closely at what is REALLY in your home and on your walls.

 

Hi everyone! Thank you for reading blog!

As humans, we don’t really think about the paint on our walls… yes, we see the color, yes sometimes we even smell the paint… but have you ever wondered what you’re breathing in? Have you ever wondered what you’re children are exposed to daily?

More specifically we are going to compare Lacquer with Emerald Urethane.

Lacquer is a liquid made of shellac dissolved in alcohol, or of synthetic substances, that dries to form a hard protective coating for wood, metal, etc.

Catalyzed lacquer is a hybrid reactive finish that cures chemically, not solely through the evaporation of solvents

Lacquer has over 600 VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) they are the gases emitted from the product.

Click here to read how we GO-GREEN with our low VOC products

“EPA’s Office of Research and Development’s “Total Exposure Assessment Methodology (TEAM) Study” (Volumes I through IV, completed in 1985) found levels of about a dozen common organic pollutants to be 2 to 5 times higher inside homes than outside, regardless of whether the homes were located in rural or highly industrial areas. TEAM studies indicated that while people are using products containing organic chemicals, they can expose themselves and others to very high pollutant levels, and elevated concentrations can persist in the air long after the activity is completed.” – EPA

Even though lacquer has such a HIGH VOC level painters still choose to use it because it dries quickly and is a good resistance to household chemicals.

Click here for all of the chemicals in lacquer.

Symptoms of Lacquer Poisoning:

Home Care

Now we will share some information about the LOW VOC  – Emerald Urethane from Sherwin-Williams.

Emerald Urethane has a less than 50 VOC level.

Click here for the data sheet from Sherwin-Williams site with all of the chemicals in Emerald.

The higher the VOC level, the longer it will take for it to clear the air. High VOC levels can cause harm to the painters and those who are in the home, even after the painting is complete.

Possible health effects include:

  • Eye, nose and throat irritation
  • Headaches, loss of coordination and nausea
  • Damage to liver, kidney and central nervous system
  • Some organics can cause cancer in animals, some are suspected or known to cause cancer in humans.

Key signs or symptoms associated with exposure to VOCs include:

  • conjunctival irritation
  • nose and throat discomfort
  • headache
  • allergic skin reaction
  • dyspnea
  • declines in serum cholinesterase levels
  • nausea
  • emesis
  • epistaxis
  • fatigue
  • dizziness

Tips to reduce your VOC Exposure:

Tip 1: Buy only what you need

When it comes to household chemicals, break the habit of buying in bulk to save money and simply buy what you need. Stored chemicals are a major source of VOCs, even when the container is closed up tight. Whenever possible, buy low-VOC versions of products. Many “green” brands are only slightly more expensive than conventional versions.

Tip 2: Store smelly stuff in a detached shed

Paints, paint thinners, pesticides, and gas cans are a major source of VOCs. The further away from your house you store these smelly items, the better. A detached shed is ideal. Use it to store gas-powered tools, too—lawn mowers, snow blowers, and chain saws.

If you have leftover pesticides, paint, and other chemicals, contact your municipal waste department to find out where you can dispose of them safely.

Tip 3: Seal off your attached garage

If you have an attached garage, you’ve got vehicles with VOC-producing gas tanks right next to your living area. Plus, if a detached shed isn’t an option, you’re likely to use your garage to store your chemicals, gas cans, and other VOC-spewing products.

If that’s the case, seal up any connections between your garage and living area. Weatherstrip your garage access door, and make sure that the threshold gasket is snugged up tight.

Sometimes connections aren’t obvious—loose holes around ductwork can leak garage air into your basement where an air return duct collects and disperses VOCs all over the house. Button up these gaps with caulk and foam sealant.

Tip 4: Your nose knows

Weather permitting, open windows and run exhaust fans when you’re working with paints and pungent cleaners. Trust your nose—if you can smell it, you’re whiffing VOCs. That includes any time you bring vinyl or plastic items (say, a new shower curtain) or dry-cleaned clothes into the house.

If weather permits, remove covers and packaging from items and set them outside for a while to off-gas—at least until they don’t smell. Schedule major interior paint jobs for good weather so you can open up windows.

Tip 5: Exhaust your possibilities

Bathroom and kitchen fans are great for removing VOCs from the air, especially because cooking and cleaning can release some potent, even carcinogenic, compounds. But if you run exhaust fans constantly, you create negative air pressure inside the house that may draw air—and VOCs—from your attached garage into your home.

Run fans until any chemical or smoke smell dissipates, then turn them off. If you use your garage as a regular work area for VOC-generating hobbies, such as woodworking, install an exhaust fan to the outside. Exhaust fans cost $250 to $400, installed.

Tip 6: Ditch the air fresheners

The health evidence against plug-in and spray air fresheners is mounting; many emit chemicals and ultra-fine particulates that aren’t identified on the label. Some also contain terpene, a fragrant chemical that’s widely found in natural substances, such as pine resins.

But when confined inside a house, terpenes react with naturally occurring ozone in the air and form compounds that have long-term effects on the respiratory system (asthma, for example).

The alternative? Keep a clean house, use environmentally friendly cleaners, and get a whiff of pine scent while taking a nice long walk outside.

Tip 7: Read the label

Before hiring a painting company or purchasing your own products, read the label and know the product!

Refuse the use of ANY high VOC products in your home.

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🏠Exterior Prepping🏡

👋Hi everyone!!👋 Thank you for reading  blog!

Exterior Prepping…We are local painting contractors in the Central Illinois Area. Today we are going to discuss the preparation process to paint the exterior of your home!

1⃣ The first step is going out to the home at least a  week before you begin painting to examine and pressure wash. Doing this takes off any build up that may be on your home, as well as chipping off any loose paint or any chalking that has happened over the years. Pressure washing helps ensure the surface is clean and the new paint will adhere.

Preperation Steps

  • Mildew treatment to kill existing growth. This operation can be time-consuming however is fundamental to ensure a quality and lasting paint
  • Scrape, any and all loose or chipping paint, sand and prime wood where necessary. Primer is vital; it is sealer as well as a base for your paint to adhere to for years to come.
  • Loose window putty will be replaced. As a complete and quality exterior painting job we will replace missing or loose window putty as needed, ensures exceptional service.
  • Caulk windows and doors. A small, tedious task, however infinitely important when it comes to quality and lasting paint job. This prevents moisture from seeping behind the newly applied paint, additional protection. We do it right.
  • Loose trim will be re-nailed. While we are up there working on eaves and fascia we will re-nail any loose trim.
  • Rusted metal will be sanded and primed. Not only wire brushed but sanded too. You must remove all areas of rust to prevent it from reoccurring.
  • We mask and cover with plastic windows and doors, to protect, and prevent overspray.
  • We also carefully cover all plants, bushes, and concrete and asphalt surfaces. This again is just courteous and clean. We will leave your property as we found it.
  • On occasion, we will offer to trim your trees. This will be at no additional cost.
  • Clean up at the end of each workday. We respect your Residents, Business or job site. We treat it as our own.

**Make sure to take around all doors and windows** 

2⃣ Next, we protect everything around the house. We first lay drops clothes along the ground where the painting will be completed. We also lay drop clothes over any plants to protect them from any  over spray. Next, we tape plastic over all the windows and lights. Finally, we take off all the shutters and set them to the side. The shutters will be painted separately. 

3⃣ Now we begin the first coat. We use an airless sprayer that goes up to 3,000 psi. ALWAYS keep clean tips in an airless sprayer; this will help prevent any over over-spray and keep a constant amount of paint flowing out. If you do not change the tips often, old paint will get mixed in with the new paint and there will be issues with running.

4⃣ After painting the first coat go back with a brush and cut in on all the corners, trim, and around all windows and doors. While the first coat dries, you can paint the shutters and anything else that is being painted (Ex: Any doors, metal awnings, or patio furniture)

Exterior Prepping
Exterior Prepping

5⃣ Next, after waiting at least five hours to dry, paint the second coat.

6⃣ Finally, after allowing at least 5 more hours to dry, carefully remove the tape and plastic from all windows, lights, and doors. Reattach the shutters and anything else that was taken down. 

For a estimate, please fill out the form below

Skylar at 309-205-3641

🏘Kitchen Design Ideas🏘

Hi everyone, thank you for reading Exterior and Interior Painting Specialists blog!

Today we are going to share some of the most common themes customers choose to use in their homes!

Hopefully, this blog will be able to help spark your creativity to bring out your homes own personality!

  1. The first look is just a typical repaint. Updating your kitchen with a fresh coat of paint can take your kitchen cave and turn it into an elegant hangout. Currently one of the most popular colors is a shade of grey.

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2) Another way to give your kitchen its own personality is by having one of the detached sections an accent color while keeping the rest of the cabinets the same. It’s a way of having an accent without drawing too much attention away.

one accent.jpg

3) Accenting the island. Something about the center of the room being a darker color than the rest brings it all together. It gives the heart of the home its own heart.

island accent.jpg

4) Having the top a lighter color and the bottom a darker color. This nice accent separates the room in a nice clean line. It brings a sophisticated feel to the room.

top and bottom dif.jpg

⤵️If you have any questions or would like a FREE estimate, fill out the form below!⤵️

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