August 2020 – Exterior Paint





Office: 843 846 2500


August 2020
Number 79

George celebrated his fourth birthday his past month. It was a really big deal!


From the Desk … Of Bill

Question: how many 2x4s would you need to deck a porch that was 8 feet (96 inches) wide?

Simply divide 96 by four and you get 24, the wrong answer. How can that be? It is because “2×4” is the name and not the description of the board. A “2×4” is really 1½ inches by 3½ inches. Thus, it would take over 27 2x4s to cover an 8 foot wide deck.

George Orwell in his novel 1984 predicted people would be deceived and kept off balance by simply changing the meaning of words. He called this distortion of the language Newspeak (if I remember correctly). This concept of changing the language seems to show up often in our country today. I remember when I was a boy (and FM radio had only classical music) that “long hair” music was classical music. Not many years later, “long hair” music was suddenly anything but classical music.

When I was in about the 10th grade, the term that indicated something was really good was “wicked.” “Wicked”? In the past, wicked meant evil or mischievous at best. Now it meant “cool”? I am sure you can think of many more words that have changed meaning over the past few years.

Do you remember when a cookie was a snack and not something left on your computer? Ping used to be a sound like a bullet striking a metallic object. Now it is sending a brief electronic message. A tablet used to be a pad of paper. Text used to be a noun.

Not only have word meanings changed, but other curious ideas have popped up to further confuse things. Oxymorons typically are two words that are contradictions – rendering the term confusing at best. “Old news,” “working vacation,” negative income” are just a few oxymorons you are likely to hear. Is it new or is it old? Are you working or are you on vacation? Is a negative income really a positive outgo?

Oxymoron: a figure of speech by which locution produces an incongruous, seemingly self-contradictory effect. Oxymoron is a combination of two Greek words: sharp & dull thus the word oxymoron is an oxymoron.

Still another way our language can get confused is one I alluded to in the opening paragraph. It seems to me this might be the most dangerous way we are often tricked. Today, we are often given a name for an idea or object that we are to assume describes the object. These show up many places. If you see the name Quality Insurance Company, what is your first thought? They must be a quality (whatever that is) company. Maybe they are and maybe they are not. Just naming a company “Quality” anything unfortunately has nothing to do with their product.

I remember when ISO-9000, the very popular international standard for quality management, was a hot topic for corporations. We had a lot of meetings and discussions where I worked. We even dealt with the definition of quality. In the program, quality was defined as meeting the specification you established. That sounds nice, but if your specification was for making a widget as cheaply as possible then your super cheap widgets were “quality.” Crazy, but true.

Perhaps the name describes what the company wishes they were. After all, who would visit the Lousy Customer Service Insurance Company although I can think of a number of companies who could put lousy customer service in their name and be accurate.

When you read the name Affordable Care Act, you might think this was going to bring down the cost of health care. Like it or not, the Affordable Care Act, for whatever reason, did not bring down the cost of insurance in most places. Never forget, the name is not necessarily the description. Often, it is not the description and the louder one shouts the name, the less likely it seems it is the description.

The Holy Roman Empire which existed for about 1,000 years in central Europe is another good example of a name, but not the description. The Holy Roman Empire was not holy. It was not Roman. It was not an empire. When you hear the name, Holy Roman Empire, what thoughts come to mind? Maybe that it was holy, Roman and an empire? Nice thoughts, but wrong.

How about “landscape timbers”? You know the ones. They are the timbers with rounded sides that are used for flower beds and various other landscaping needs. If you look at the treatment tag on them, it often says, “Not for ground contact.” What? Where do you put a landscape timber except on the ground? Maybe landscape timber is again the name and not a description.

With social media seemingly giving more “educational” instruction to our young people than our not-so-great schools, the structure of our language may continue to slide. Perhaps it is a variation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics (without outside influence, everything tends toward disorder). Perhaps we need to supply some outside influence….

An ancient writer wrote, “…people are destroyed for lack of knowledge….” When what you knew is no longer knowledge, be on guard.

At Willis Sinclair, we are old fashioned in our approach. We say what we mean and mean what we say. No tricks, no “name, but not the description” games. Just a best effort to be upfront and honest with our clients (or anyone, for that matter) and do (real) quality work using quality materials. When we do make mistakes, we will fix them.

Our overhead is low, so for the excellent work we do, you will get an excellent price. If you want cheap (i.e., substandard work at a lower price), we might not be the best fit. When you are comparing contractors be sure to check with your friends. Ask us for a list of references. We have done work for scores of clients in the area. We will provide you will a list of all of them (not just the ones who have agreed to give us a good recommendation) if you like.

Are you thinking about having some work done? Call or text (843 846 2500). We will listen and then make suggestions. We will shoot straight with you. No cost or obligation on your part.

Willis received his General Contractor License from the state of South Carolina this past month. He has been a licensed Residential Builder for over 16 years and this is a very impressive step up.


Exterior Paint

While interior paint is selected primarily for aesthetic reasons, exterior paint has an additional purpose: protection against the elements. They can be quite harsh here in South Carolina.

There are a few things you need to keep in mind when you are considering exterior paint. Perhaps first is that cheap paint costs a lot. When you compare the cost of paint and the cost of applying paint, the labor is far more expensive than the paint. If you use cheap paint and have to repaint in just a few years, it will actually cost more than choosing a quality paint.

Why is painting so expensive?

While it seems brushing, rolling or spraying paint on a wall should not be difficult, that is only a small part of a quality paint job.

If the job is repainting, the existing paint has to be cleaned well to remove any dirt or dust. Next, any loose or flaking paint has to be scraped so only solidly attached paint remains. The scraped areas have to be sanded or filled and sanded to insure the finish will be smooth.

Cracks and holes also need to be filled. As your home is being prepped, it is not uncommon for rot or other issues to be discovered. They need to be repaired. Often, but not always, priming (a special paint that adheres and provides an excellent base for finish coats) is needed to make sure the new paint adheres as it should.

If the job is to paint a new home, prep work has to be done too. The siding and trim have to be cleaned if they are dirty or dusty. Nail holes and cracks have to be filled and sanded. The house has to be primed before the final coats are applied.

Once these initial steps are complete, the painter usually has to mask or cover areas that are not to be painted (or painted the color being used).
Finally, the painter can brush, spray or roll the finish coats.

After the paint is applied, then masking has to be removed and any touch up done.

Adding to the complexity of painting is the need for ladders and scaffolds to reach all portions of a home. Not only do the painters have to use ladders and scaffolds, but they have to continuously move them. Keep in mind, painting is not a “once around the house and done” sort of job.

It is once around to patch and fill holes, another time to sand, yet another time to prime. Still another time to paint.

Since painters often work on ladders, their Workers’ Compensation insurance is expensive.

Durability is only one reason to choose a quality paint. Another reason is that quality paints cover better than cheap paints, so you don’t need as many coats of quality paint as you do a cheaper paint. Remember labor costs are about the same, so if you need three coats instead of two coats, that is a 50% increase in labor.

Since cheaper paint is thinner, often brush marks show. Less expensive paints also tend to splatter more. Painters know this and that they will have to spend more time cleaning splatters, so they may well charge more to use the cheaper paints, cutting into potential “savings.”

When should you repaint?

All paint fades here in the south, so even if there is no evidence of peeling or flaking, you may need a paint job just to freshen up the look of your home. Fading is a very gradual phenomenon and often won’t be noticeable unless you specifically look for it. Fresh paint really brings out the pleasing aspects of your home.

Some materials never need paint (although you certainly can paint them) such as brick or stone. This might be something to consider if you are building. These materials are more expensive initially, but are pretty much maintenance free.

Cement board (Hardie) siding is a material that does not need painting for protection, but is painted in essentially all cases for appearance’s sake.

It is true that Hardie can be purchased as pre-painted siding which theoretically saves painting costs, but savings might not be as great as expected. Pre-painted siding is more expensive than primed siding (of course). The packaging materials also add to the cost since the siding has to have packing material to keep the paint from being scratched or scuffed during shipping. The exterior trim carpenters then have to exercise more care when they unpack, cut and install pre-painted siding, taking extra time (and cost). It is often the case, that the paint will be scratched or damaged and will still need a touch up, again cutting into the potential savings of pre-painted siding.

When you are choosing exterior paint, another thing you need to consider is your home owners’ association rules. In some places, they use a reflective index (LRV or Light Reflective Value) for a guide. This is a measure of how much light is reflected from the paint. Higher numbers means more light is reflected; lower numbers, less light is reflected.

The LRV or Light Reflective Value is a measure of how much light is reflected from a particular color. Some homeowners’ associations use the LRV as a guide for acceptable exterior colors. The LRV can usually be found on paint chips.

In summary

If your paint is getting faded or you notice flaws (cracks, chips, flaking, et cetera), you should think about repainting. Paint protects your home. If it is flawed, your home’s protection is weakened.

When you do decide to repaint, keep in mind quality paint is a bargain. Cheap paint is expensive.

Select an excellent painter so the prep work is done well. If it is not done well, your new paint job will not last.

If you need help deciding or if you just want to discuss options, call us. We can help. No cost or obligation, of course.

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