Monday, 27 May 2013

Disposing of old paint

Below a great post on how to dispose of old paint by a painting company in New York. 
Latex paint is very similar to Acrylic paint, both are water based. Acrylic is a bit more elastic than Latex paint and more suitable for harsh weather conditions when used as for exterior painting.
I get asked alot about how to dispose of old paint.  There a few safe methods of disposing of old latex paint. These methods are a safe alternative to just throwing the paint into the trash.
1) Contact your local recycling center. Latex paint is recyclable and a lot of paint companys are recycling old latex paint.
2) You can donate it to an organization, such as Habitat For Humanity.
3) Latex paint is not hazardous, as of 1992 it has not contained mercury, you can leave the lid off of it, add cat litter to it, let it harden and put it out with your regular trash, but it has to be hardened.
Kellogg's Painting donates all paint that we do not use

Banks Building recycles old Acrylic paint.

Happy painting,

Friday, 24 May 2013

# 10 of 101 tips on house painting and decorating - building maintenance - wallpaper removal

Painting and Decorating today is made easier with the wide range of easy to use DIY products and non toxic paints and repair compounds.
Still the elbow grease is needed  to complete any painting and decorating task.
Anyone will tell you that preparation is the key to a fine finish, so tackling the finishing plastering of any wall or ceiling should be left up to a professional plasterer.
However the laborious task of removing wallpaper you can tackle yourself and in most cases it will save you thousands of dollars.

Tools you will need-
Wallpaper stripper solution
Flat paint scraper 10cm wide (stiff)
Tungsten paint scraper
Steamer (hire one from your local hire center)

The time it will take to strip a room will depend on the type and age of the wallpaper.

Vinyl wallpaper from the 60's onwards is realitively simple to remove as all you will need to do is rip the surface layer of by lifting a corner and pulling.
For tough glues you will need to steam the surface after perforating the vinyl layer. You can buy a small mouse like device with spiky wheels that will do the job.
Once you are left with the paper backing this can be steamed off or some will just need to be run over with a mop or cloth to wet it and a flat scraper will do the rest

Older wallpapers are tougher to remove as they only come off in annoyingly small strips and often have been painted or papered over a number of times. Your steamer will get a lot of use here. Test a small area first before you decide how to tackle this part of your house painting

Start in one corner and concentrate on one area at a time moving only when that area is finished. It will seem slower than running around the easy bits first then going back to the difficult bits later, but you will get a better finish in the end.

Use a flat scraper only on the flat side only. This may sound obvious but don't gouge your wallboard if you can help it, let your steamer do most of the work.

Before you repair or plaster make sure the board is secure to the framing, here is where a few screws or nail will stop any cracks or nail pops from coming through you finished painting and decorating job.

If you are planning to re wallpaper make sure you 'size' or seal the wall board first.

If you are planning to paint you will have to plaster first as the original finish wont be up to a high quality painting and decorating standard. Make sure your professional plasterer uses paper tape on the sheet joins.

You may also need a coat of 'pigmented sealer' to stop any residue of glue coming through your house painting top coats. Unfortunately the best sealer is oil based so wear a mask and have good ventilation.

Don't worry if you make a mess of the wall due to stubborn glue, your plasterer will skim  a flat coat of plaster to hide any damage.

Unfortunately  there are no real short cuts to a proper painting and decorating job. 
The finish is the reward to your efforts.
Happy stripping

More on house painting - windows

In today's post relating to house painting I'll give some detail on painting timber windows or painting joinery.
This has to be the single most expensive and important part of your house when it comes to painting, maintenance, insulation, noise control. Windows are also the most common point of entry, not only for thieves, but for water as well!
If you are like me, and own a house built before the 1970's, or if you just like the look and feel of timber joinery you will be facing regular maintenance if you want to keep on top of any issues.

In your house painting schedule you may want to tackle the windows twice as often as the  rest of the house. Your joinery will need more care as they attract moisture due to condensation and due to the many angles and faces will be harder on your painting and decorating efforts.

Before you start painting

First thing to do is to check to see if there is any place where water can get in and fill using the appropriate Selleys product such as No More gaps or Permafill. Check your flashings for rust and architraves for rot. If you are unsure ask your house painter or building maintenance specialist. You can give us a call at Banks Building. Before you start painting, make sure all your opening sashes are not touching on closing as this will cause them to stick when the paint dries.

Choosing paint

Choose a light colour as darker colours will attract more heat from the sun and need more maintenance. High gloss paints are the best as they have less surface area creating a stronger chemical bond between the timber and the paint. However, when you use high gloss paint, extra preparation will be required to achieve a good looking finish on your painting and decorating project.

Repairing windows

Next get your window putty replaced by a professional if it is falling out. Then scrape and fill as per normal painting preparation. Now is the time to repair any cracked window panes and rusty hinges. If repairing windows looks a bit daunting, give us a call at Banks Building. Go the extra mile and get thicker laminated glass and stainless steel hardware, its worth the small extra expense. If you are considering any draft prevention get a quote and advice from your maintenance professional at this stage. I'll cover this area in a later post.

Final tips on painting windows

  1. Remember; the extra preparation now will save you thousands of dollars in the future and will give you a longer lasting result on your painting and decorating project. 
  2. Use only high quality paints and fillers such as Dulux, Resene and Selleys brands they are worth every cent in the long run.
  3. To finish use oil based undercoats and acrylic enamel topcoats, lighter colours may require 3 coats.
Well that's all, till next time
Have a great weekend

# 11 of 101 tips on house painting and decorating - building maintenance - Painting over your old wallpaper

Here are a a few more tips on house painting and decorating, to help with your home renovations projects.

You leafed through a few magazines and got inspired with some great interior design ideas and fantastic paint colours. You'd like to freshen up a room in your house, which has this super ugly wallpaper on the walls. Ok... so you've tried removing some of the ugly wallpaper and you've realised what a mammoth task it actually is (painting and decorating is not as easy as it looks!).
Now you're thinking........lets paint over it instead!

Before you get your house painting gear out, let's first check the state of the wall paper. You will have to make sure the wall paper is glued down well enough to paint over. Well...... we can fairly safely assume its well glued down, since you gave up on the wallpaper removal job. Either that, or you want to keep the painting and decorating to a minimum effort.

If the wallpaper is lifting away from the wall anywhere, then now is the time to glue it back down with some PVA or wallpaper glue. If it keeps curling away from the wall, you may need to tape or staple it down temporarily until the glue dries.

Next you need to roll the area with pigmented sealer to make sure you paper doesn't lift during painting and decorating. If there is already a coat of paint on the wallpaper, you can skip ithis step.
Apply the pigmented sealer. If the paper bubbles, don't panic straight away. Just wait untill the paper is dry, as often these bubbles go away by themselves. If there are lots of bubbles and they don't go away when dry,  I'm afraid you will just have to give up and strip the paper off the wall before painting and decorating. Or give us a call at Banks Building Maintenance to get a free quote on doing the painting and decorating for you. We have good house painter on the books.

Tip: Yes you should use the oil based sealer.
Next, plaster repair any holes or scratches you want to hide. This may not be easy due to textured paper, but get creative, you can hide lots under and good painting and decorating job. In your house painting kit you should have a few textured rollers to roll over fresh repairs to add texture.
If the wall is really bad you may consider a skim coat of plaster over the whole wall. I suggest you leave this up to your professional plasterer. Please give us a call at Banks Building Maintenance for a free quote.

Finally use a low sheen washable paint like Dulux Wash n Wear or Resene Space Coatto paint your wall.

Remember don't be too critical of your finished work. You will always see any tiny fault, because you are up close and personal with your latest house painting efforts.
Happy house painting

Friday, 17 May 2013

How to fix small cracks in plaster walls: tips on Plastering and Painting

Repairing Gib Board Walls

In my previous blogs I’ve given a few tips on painting and decorating. But before you paint a room, you better make sure the walls are in good condition. Paint won’t hide any cracks or dips and dents; on the contrary, paint is far more likely to highlight any flaws.

To clarify, in this blog I’m talking about repairing walls lined with Gib board. Normally these walls have timber frames. These are the most common interior walls found in New Zealand houses.

Plaster walls usually have cracks due to the house "settling" in its foundation, or are damaged where furniture or doors have struck the plaster. At first, repairing plaster damage seems like a daunting task. But take your time to plaster and paint properly, and you will get solid, long-lasting results. If it still seems a bit daunting after reading the below, call me at Banks Building Maintenance.

Fixing small cracks in a plaster wall

Note that in today’s blog I will focus on fixing small cracks in a plaster wall. For large cracks which run through the entire Gib board (so the board is basically cracked right through, this usually happens where boards are joined) a more extensive repair is required. I’ll write more on fixing larger cracks and holes in another blog. Can’t wait? Call me for a quote to plaster and paint it for you.

Tip: Safety first, so make sure you are wearing a dust mask, eye protection and work gloves. Keep the area where you are working well ventilated. If you are repairing a larger crack, you might also want to move furniture away and put down drop-sheets to protect from dust.

Before you start your plaster and painting project, clean the area with Sugar Soap. This will take all the fat and grease of the wall, which will help the repair products stick a lot better. Selleys sells a great product for this purpose, called Selleys Liquid Sugar Soap. Wait for wall to dry thoroughly. 

First make sure the crack is dry. Then clean the crack, using a scraper to rake out any loose material. Remove dust from around the crack, you can use a vacuum cleaner for this. Loose dust can prevent your new plaster or filler from bonding with the existing plaster.

Ideally the crack is at least 1-2mm wide, which helps to make sure that the filler gets into the crack. With a very fine crack, open it a bit further if necessary, using a utility knife.    

Using a putty knife, fill the crack slowly with filler. Rigid fillers are designed for filling gaps, cracks or holes in a solid surface where a smooth and even finish is required, for example repairing walls and ceilings.

Selleys sells a good product which you can use for this: Selleys Spakfilla Squeeze & Scrape. Make sure that the product gets into the crack. You will only need to use one application.

Wait 30 minutes for the filler to dry (or longer, if the crack is deeper than 2mm), and then sand the area until it is smooth and level. 

Clean any dust or filler particles away, and then you’re ready to paint. If you’re using water-based paints, you can apply the paint straight away. If you are using oil-based paints you should wait for 24 hours before painting.

Tip to achieve a high quality finish: After repairing the cracks, apply sealer/primer before painting your 2 topcoats of coloured paint. You can use a product like Resene Broadwall 3 in 1 or Resene Broadwall Surface Prep& Seal. These products are easy to sand and help to smooth any minor surface irregularities. This will help you to achieve a professional looking finish. 

Lack the time to repair your walls? Call Banks Building Maintenance.

If the job is too large for you to fix, or you simply lack the time, please give Banks Building Maintenance a call to help you with your plastering and painting project.

Cheers,  Andre

Monday, 13 May 2013

#12 on 101 tips on house painting and decorating

Exterior house painting

A new coat of paint tells the world that your house is new and valuable. Exterior house painting will improve how your house looks and at the same time it will help to protect your house from the weather. In Auckland, with plenty of water coming down from the sky and with the harsh sunlight, maintaining a solid paint job is important to keep your house in good condition.

Painting the outside of your house is definitely something you can do yourself. You’ll need materials and tools, paint, a bit of elbow grease and of course some knowledge on how to do a great job. I’ve given some info on painting in my previous blogs, and in today’s blog I’d like to give you a few tips on painting tools.

However, first of all, painting your house is not a small task, and if it seems all a bit too daunting, or if you simply don’t have the time, don’t hesitate to give Banks Building a call for a free quote on exterior painting.  

Buy the best painting tools you can afford. 

If you have to spend a few dollars more for top quality, it will be worth it in the long run. Quality brushes and rollers make any painting task go more easily and quickly, and will give better results. When well looked after and thoroughly cleaned after each job, good tools will last for many years of home maintenance.


What kind of tool to use. 

On flat surfaces using a roller will go a lot faster than using a brush. Most painters use brushes for trim work and around windows and doors, then turn to rollers to fill in the big blank spaces. If the cladding is very smooth, or if you are painting weatherboards, you might want to look into using paint pads, especially 100mm or 180mm sizes, as an alternative to rollers or brushes. 


Choosing a roller. 

All rollers they are fiber-covered or urethane-foam-covered cylinders, which soak up paint from a tray and then release it when rolled over a flat surface. The rolling action creates a vacuum that pulls the paint off the roller. Roller covers can be made from different materials, for example wool, acetate or polyurethane foam. The label on the roller will tell you the kind of paint you can best apply with it.

The label on the roller will often also tell you the length of the roller cover's nap, or pile. For rough surfaces, use the long naps; choose short ones for smooth surfaces.

Paint trays are made of aluminium or plastic and come in different sizes. Choose the size that fits the roller you will use. Some trays come with hooks that allow you to attach them directly to a ladder.

What to look for when buying a brush. 

With few exceptions, there are two kinds of paint brushes
  • Natural bristle brushes, made of animal hair;
  • Synthetic bristle brushes, usually made of nylon.
Previously the naturals were considered the best, but today the synthetics are every bit as good.

Tip: Use a synthetic brush when applying waterbase latex paints, because water makes natural bristles limp and more difficult to paint with.

Here are a few tips on how to distinguish between a good brush and a bad one by examining them closely at the store: 
  • Spread the bristles and inspect the tips. The more split ends, the better the brush and its paint-spreading capabilities.
  • Tap the brush on the edge of a counter; a good brush may lose a few bristles, but a bad one will lose many. 
  • Find a brush with long, tapered bristles, especially on narrow brushes. As a general rule, the length of the bristles should be about one-and-a-half times as long as the width of the brush (the exception is with wider brushes, often called wall brushes). Longer bristles will make it easier to paint into corners and around trim. 
  • Finally, choose smooth, well-shaped handles that fit in your hand comfortably.


Look after your painting tools, as this will increase the life of them. 

Clean brushes and rollers after you finished painting. Use turpentine if you’ve been working with solvent-based paints, use water if you’ve been using water-based paints.

  • Work the brushes in the turpentine cleaner or water until all the paint has come off. 
  • Make sure you get all the paint out of the metal plate that holds the bristles in place. 
  • Always store brushes flat or hanging up. Don’t store them in a jar standing on the bristles.
  • Rinse rollers under running water or remove the paint by working turpentine through the nap. Then wash in warm soapy water and rinse well.
  • Rollers should be set on end or hung up to dry. If you stand the rollers on the nap, the nap will be flattened and will not work well next time when you are painting.

Started your project, but no time to finish it? Give Banks Building a call to get the job done! We've got some great house painters on the books.
Happy painting!
Cheers, Andre

Thursday, 9 May 2013

DIY: How to fix wood rot in 6 easy steps

Wood, especially if it's untreated, can easily start to rot once it comes in contact with moisture – and we have generally plenty of water coming down from the sky here in Auckland. Wood rot usually starts when water gets into cracks or when water penetrates a wood finish and can’t dry out.
My customers often think that rotted wood in and around the house is beyond repair, but this is usually not the case. You will have to consult an expert like Banks Building for structural rot, but small areas you could tackle yourself if you’re game. Get yourself a bit of epoxy , woodhardener and know-how, and fix those rotted areas of wood on decks, architraves, doorway and window frames in your house. 

Let me provide you with a bit of know-how, so you can give it a go. 

First of all you’ll need some advice on how to diagnose wood rot. Test the wood by tapping it with a blunt knife. If it feels very soft or crumbles, it's rotted. Now, as long as the area of rot is less than fifty percent of the total area of the wood, follow these steps to fix the problem:

1.       Before you start please:
a.       Read all warning labels
b.      Make sure you wear protective gear:  goggles, gloves, a dust mask and any other recommended protective equipment.

2.       Use a screwdriver (flat head is best) and chisel to remove all rotted wood. This part is relatively easy, as the rotted wood will crumble into pieces. Don’t worry too much about carving and digging out every last bit of rot. The liquid epoxy will soak into areas that can be saved.

3.       Drill small holes (a honeycomb pattern works best) at an angle to help the epoxy penetrate throughout the decayed area.

4.       Apply a liberal amount of wood hardener onto the area using a disposable brush or spray bottle. Let the hardener saturate and allow to cure/dry.

5.       Mix the two-part epoxy on a piece of scrap wood and apply into the areas you’ve cleaned the rot out.
Tip: Epoxy dries very fast and is very hard to remove- great points, except when it comes to you and your tools! Apply and fill quickly and clean up as you go along.

6.       Let dry and sand the area to match the shape of the original wood. You can also use a rasp, when you need to remove quite a bit of the dried filler to match the original shape. Rasps come in a wide variety of shapes for flat and contoured surfaces.

You can cut, shape, smooth and drill into cured epoxy just as you can with wood.

If you feel a bit daunted by the above, or if you have to deal with rot in structural parts of your house, please give Banks Building Maintenance a call to get a free quote on fixing any wood rot issues.

Last but not least, you'll also want to preserve your wood to prevent future damage. We at Banks Building Maintenance are happy to give you a hand with that, but there might be some things you could do yourself as well. Here are a few tips: 

  • Use treated timber for decks and other outdoor structures. Never allow untreated lumber posts or lumber to rest directly on concrete.
  •  Waterproof and seal any natural wood that might be exposed to moisture. 
  •  Regularly inspect your house for peeling paint or other paint failures, especially near joints. This is where water might start to seep in. Have a close look at window frames and window sills, wooden architraves and door frames. Repair rot as soon as it starts appearing to help prevent further damage. 
  •  Seal large cracks and gaps with a product like Selleys No More Gaps. If you are working on the outside of your house, make sure you use products which state that they are suitable for outdoor use. You might also want to check if they are paintable (for example, silicone is not paintable), otherwise the end result might look a bit shabby. If possible, use screws to close any open miter/corner joints. 
  •  Sand any bare wood and apply wood preservative before you apply a primer. Seal joints with No More Gaps after priming and before the top coating.

Cheers, Andre

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Help, my roof is leaking!

Help, my roof is leaking!

On average Auckland receives 1240mm of rain each year and Auckland weather can turn from brilliant sunshine to showers within minutes. Inside your home you’d like to stay warm and dry, but what do you do if you suddenly find that your house is leaking? The torrential rainfall of the last few days brought in a flood of calls about leaky roofs and windows. 

A leaking house can be quite a frightening thing. The main problem with water leaks is that you rarely know of the damage until it’s too late and timber has started to rot. So, what can you do if you find that you have a leaky roof? Well, the first thing to do is to get as many buckets and bowls as possible to catch the falling water. It’s likely that there more water than you can see, and the occasional small drop might well turn into a huge puddle. 

The second thing to do is to try and get in touch with someone who can help you fix the leak problem. You might want to call Banks Building Maintenance. Try to get water leaks repaired as soon as problems become apparent. This will help prevent further damage, and help minimise additional repair costs as a result.
It is important that the source of any leak is identified and dealt with. This may take several attempts, even when you have an expert from Banks BuildingMaintenance look at it, as it is not always immediately clear where the source of the leak is located. Water travels in funny ways, and a small damp area of carpet on one side of the room might initially be the only visible sign of what later turns out to be a major problem in another part of the house.

If the leak is an isolated loose flashing, a small leak in the roof, or a broken gutter, then this can easily be fixed.  However, if the leak is due to an issue that is repeated around the house, such as a lack of window flashings, or is caused by lack of regular roof maintenance, storm damage or general wear and tear then the problem is likely to be much wider. If the problem has been happening over some time we might need to remove and replace all the timber and other materials affected by mould and rot

When you are looking at getting a roofing company to price your roof repair or roof restauration, please make sure you get references and testimonials. The same of course goes for any other leak repairs. And make sure that one of your quotes comes from us here at Banks Building Maintenance :)
Cheers, Andre