NORTHERN VIRGINIA PAINTING AND DESIGN - FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What does your 2 year warranty cover?
Our 2 year warranty covers any and all potential defects, issues, or touch ups needed, caused by us or our work, in the unlikely event they occur. This warranty is comprehensive, covers the cost of all labor and materials, and protects you for a full 2 years from the completion date of the project. The warranty does not cover things not caused by us or our workmanship, such as inclement weather after project is completed, homeowner or occupant damage, etc. (Warranty claims are rare with our company, as we pride ourselves in following all required steps and performing work with high quality workmanship, but it is good to have a warranty nonetheless.)
What does your proper workmanship guarantee cover?
Our proper workmanship guarantee, guarantees that we will do all work of a high quality to meet all industry standards, and it covers any defects, issues, or touch ups needed, caused by us or our work, and also includes any clean-up needed at end of project. Customer has the right to point out any and all touch ups, clean up, or any other work fixed prior to payment, and we will fix them free of charge prior to final payment. As we are extremely professional and careful, touch ups are typically minor, and common touch ups include fixing a couple lines, drywall imperfections still needing patching, or minor vacuuming/clean up. Customer's exact standards or tastes may vary, but we aim to please everyone. We do all touch ups to completion prior to final payment. If any room is unable to be touched up/done to industry standards, (and we have the opportunity to fix all touch ups/work), then you do not have to pay for that room. Your satisfaction is our top priority!
What are your certifications/qualifications that set you apart?
We are a fully licensed and insured painting contractor, a professional painter, with a professional designer and a certified mold inspector and remediator on staff (certified by both PMII and OSHA). Ana has been painting professionally for 9 years, and has worked hard to cultivate the highest skilled staff possible. Ana is also active in the community, assisting with Habitat for Humanity and Food for Others. Northern Virginia Painting and Design has an A rating with Angie's List, and a 5 star rating on Google, Houzz, Facebook, and Yelp. We constantly stay educated on the newest design trends, paint technology, and new paint brands/lines/finishes. Our goal is to be loving to our community, helpful and professional with all of our customers, provide the highest quality service to everyone we meet, and then give back!
Our licensed designer is also highly qualified. Her qualifications include:
IFDA, WFCP, CAPS
Certified Residential Design Consultant
Window Fashions Certified Professional
Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist
-Over 30 years of experience
-Was voted ‘Best Interior Designer’ by Northern Virginia Magazine as well as ‘Best Decorator’ by I AM Modern Magazine
-graduated from Virginia Tech with a Bachelors of Science
- Interior Design Certification from the Council of Qualified Residential Interior Designers
-certified Window Fashions Certified Professional
-Professional Member of the International Furnishings and Design Association
--WCAA Former Co-President (Window Coverings Association of America)
How do I pick out my colors?
Our on-staff designer will help! Every customer who's project is larger than 1500 square feet, receives a free professional design consult with our designer. She will help you pick out all your colors and finishes. She will go over things such as your tastes and preferences, modern/different design trends, color schemes, shading, accent and feature walls, and your furniture and household items, to help you come up with a perfect color scheme that matches your family, tastes, and situation! You will be proud to show off the color scheme you and our designer come up with, to all your friends and family!
NOTE: During the Coronavirus until further notice, our designer is doing all virtual consults (her choice not ours, due to overabundance of caution for the virus). The virtual consults will still be free and included. If you need an in-person designer, we have another designer we can use who is more expensive. This cost would be passed on, and is just an additional $95.
What are the different types of paint finishes?
Flat finish: A flat finish is opaque, non-reflective, and sophisticated. It works great on interior walls and ceilings. As the least shiny finish available, it doesn’t clean well and isn’t suited for kitchens, baths, and isn't ideal for children’s bedrooms, or homes with pets that may run into walls frequently. However, it hides imperfections well, and is great for older homes or homes with uneven wood framing behind the drywall, or for homes where running into/touching walls frequently will not be an issue.
Washable Matte finish: Washable matte combines the best qualities of flat and eggshell, but it is more expensive. It comes in a very low sheen, so it resembles a flat, and hides imperfections well. However, it is also washable, durable and more scuff resistant. This paint is ideal for customer's that want to have it all!
Eggshell finish: An eggshell finish is often used for decorative finishes because it provides a low sheen. It cleans up better than a flat finish, but not as well as you would want in a kitchen or bathroom. It has shine, and shows imperfections, but not as much as satin. This finish is a great choice for people that like having a little sheen to their paint, and want something relatively washable.
Satin finish: Satin has more sheen than eggshell, and also cleans better. This finish is a good choice for powder rooms and kitchens. It’s also great for younger kids' bedrooms.
Semi-gloss finish: A semi-gloss paint is very washable, scrubbable and gives more shine than satin. Semi-gloss is the standard go-to finish for cabinets, trim, moldings, doors, windows, and bathrooms that have showers.
Gloss or High-gloss finish: A high-gloss finish has a shiny, polished look. It’s also stain resistant and very scrubbable, which makes it a good choice for the areas of a home that get the most wear and tear, such as kitchens and baths. Food splatter or even crayon marks will clean up easily on a high-gloss finish. High-gloss is generally used for accent walls, to make a statement, and Gloss is often used for exterior trim.
Not mentioned due to being atypical, are low lustre, medium lustre, and industrial high gloss. Also, there are specialty paint finishes/types, such as chlorinated rubber paints for marine/ship coatings; epoxy blends or 100% solids epoxies, often for garage floors or commercial spaces/factories; catalyst coatings; whiteboard or chalkboard coatings; elastomeric coatings; and more. If it exists, we do it- just ask! If you have a commercial or special situation and need professional guidance, we are here to help.
What time of the day do you typically start and finish work?
For painting and general construction work, we arrive between 8-9:30 am window, and generally leave between 5 and 6pm. We aim to work about an 8 to 9 hour work day. End-of-day completion times may vary slightly, depending on project circumstances.
For pressure washing, we may arrive in morning, afternoon, or evening depending on availability. Please do not wait around for the pressure washer, as we cannot guarantee the exact time for the pressure washing, only the day, as we do many pressure washing jobs per week.
During the estimate, we will discuss more in detail our start and finish times, if they would need to vary from these guidelines at all, or if you have any additional questions.
We work 6 days per week, and our workers prefer to take Sundays off.
What process/prep do you do for interior painting?
Our process is designed to make it easy for you, and also to keep you informed, and assisted with colors, while minimizing any stress and adhering to the timeline. We prioritize high quality work, straight lines and good patching/sanding/caulking, protecting your belongings and home surfaces completely, and being very friendly, respectful, and as quiet as possible.
Here is our process, from consult to finish, for a typical home painting project:
1) We meet for your free estimate, and walk through your project in detail. We give you an exact price for the exact scope of work desired, either on the spot, or as soon as possible in the next day or so. (If you are waiting on a quote, feel free to remind us via text! We will hop right on it.)
2) You agree to move forward with us based on price/scope. If you have a specific budget that is close to our price, feel free to let us know, sometimes we are able to be flexible! It doesn't hurt to ask.(We also can price match any licensed competitors, with equal classifications, for equal work scope, terms, warranty and materials.)
3) We discuss dates, and find a start date and approximate completion date that works for you
4) You send us your information for the contract - full name, email, phone of all homeowners, and we send over the contract for approval and e-signing.
5) Immediately upon signing, we get you in contact with our designer Laura within 24 hours, and send you over the payment form for the down payment (typically 1/3 of contract cost). We also will send you brand, line, and finish recommendations (finish may change based on design consult- we highly recommend taking our advice on brand and line)
6) You pick out your colors and finishes with Laura, during your design consult. She will go over everything with you (mentioned above in another FAQ question) and take the "colors and finishes" sheet Laura leaves with you
7) During the morning of, we arrive between 8-9:30 am and our crew leader will greet you and go over your project with you, confirm everything, get all of the crew members briefed, and then get started
8) The workers will begin covering the floors with thick, butyl drop cloths, and moving all furniture and objects to the center of the room, along with putting any blinds or curtains in a safe place. Then, we cover all furniture, items, blinds, curtains, cabinets, countertops, rails, chandeliers, etc with plastic to prevent dust or paint splatter.
9) We patch all imperfections in all drywall being painted- any dents, holes, cracks, nail pops, corner piece issues, tape issues, and any other drywall imperfections. Then we sand patch spots with the sanding sponge, and entire drywall surface with pole and block sanders, to create an even finish. Then we spot prime, prior to painting. Then we clean off dust from walls/trim.
10) We recaulk all cracks in trim in any room we are painting walls, even if only painting walls. We use a high quality, siliconized acrylic blend, paintable caulk.
11) We paint two full coats on ceilings (if doing ceilings), then 2 full coats on walls, then 2 full coats on all trim and doors last. (Unless customer has requested that contract specify otherwise, in terms of number of coats)
12) The crew looks at the finished job, and examines it for touch ups themselves. Our project manager checks the work for final quality.
13) We do a final walkthrough with you, the customer. If there are any touch ups, you can point them out to us prior to payment. If you need the day/tomorrow to look for touch ups in more detail, that is okay with us too. However, if at all possible, we would appreciate you pointing out any touch ups that you see during final walkthrough, just to potentially save gas and time for everyone. You can point it out to the crew leader, Ana or our office, whomever you feel most comfortable with.
14) After the painting and touch ups are all completed (or if you need a day to double check for any you may have missed), then we carefully remove plastic and dispose of it off-site. We roll up drop cloths carefully and dust them off outside or off-site. We throw away any trash. We vacuum floors to remove dust if there is any dust.
15) If you need any touch ups or additional cleaning, please do not hesitate to contact Ana or our office directly via text, and we will be happy to accommodate you, free of charge of course, for the touch ups or clean up! If you feel a swiffer would also be desired at end of project, let Ana or our office know and we will take care of that for you. Please understand that we cannot fix something we are not made aware of in a timely manner- communication is key!
16) Once you are 100% satisfied, you make final payment, and we keep your contract on file permanently, in case you ever have any (unlikely) warranty requests within the 2 years or ever have any questions for us regarding homeowner maintenance of your paint project. =) We also offer good discounts to repeat customers!
How do I select interior paint finishes?
During our consult, Ana will be able to answer any questions you have regarding finishes. For colors, our designer Laura will go over everything with you and can provide a second opinion on finishes as well. For a more polished and complete design look, we highly recommend taking advantage of our professional design consult. We highly encourage you to let us and our designer know your desires; how the spaces will be used; if you have kids or pets; whether you plan on selling the home, and if so, how soon after we paint; and anything else pertinent to the paint job, as these may impact which will be the best finishes.
How do I select exterior paint finishes?
During our consult, Ana will be able to answer any questions you have regarding finishes. For a more polished and complete design look, we highly recommend taking advantage of our professional design consult. We highly encourage you to let us and our designer know your desires; any potential exterior water issues or flooding issues in your home area; what finishes you like; if you have kids or pets; whether you plan on selling the home, and if so, how soon after we paint; popular neighborhood exterior finishes; and anything else pertinent to the paint job, as these may impact which will be the best finishes for your situation and how we tackle your particular project.
Can your Northern Virginia Painting company remove water stains from interior drywall or wood trim?
Yes. For water stains, first we check the drywall or wood to make sure there is not mold or current moisture. If the drywall/wood is currently wet or moldy, then we will need to replace it. If the drywall or wood is not moldy or wet, then we will apply 1 coat of an oil-based stain-blocking primer to the entire surface (if small ceiling/wall/piece) or 3 feet in every direction past the stain, if a large ceiling or piece. This will help prevent the stain from re-occurring. After waiting 24 hours for the oil primer to fully cure, then we will paint 2 full coats.
What are the drying times on paints? Also, how long should I wait to use my bathroom, after it has been painted?
Latex based interior paints take between 14-30 days to fully cure, 1 hour to be dry to the touch and around 4 hours to recoat. Latex based exterior paints take around 14-30 days to fully cure, 2 hours to be dry to the touch, and around 4 hours to recoat.
For bathrooms, ideally wait 14 full days before using the shower/tub after painting it; if that is not feasible, at least wait a minimum of 48-72 hours. The longer you wait, the better the paint will hold up. The goal should be to minimize wall exposure to moisture while the paint cures on the wall. Taking baths instead of showers, or quicker showers, with less hot water, and keeping the fan on while showering and afterwards, also helps.
What are the dark (black and green) spots/circles on my home's exterior?
Unfortunately, this is very likely mold/mildew. Don't worry, your situation is very common with virtually every homeowner in this area, and we know how to fix the problem. We live in a high-moisture area, with a lot of rainfall and trees, and a temperate climate. Mold thrives in this situation!
How do I avoid mold and mildew in the future, for my exterior paint job?
We take many steps to prevent mold growth on your home after your paint project. First, we use a special detergent that- mixed with our HVLP pressure wash- kills mold and denatures mold spores, while being safe for your home's siding, wood and brick, providing a good surface for the new paint. Second, during our estimate for any exterior projects, we will do a free check for any potential moldy, rotten, dry-rotted or water damaged pieces of wood. Third,, during the first day of the project, our crew leader will take another inspection to see if there is any rotten/moldy/water damaged pieces that should be replaced, that were perhaps not seen or able to be seen during the initial inspection. Sometimes, if very high off the ground, rotten wood can be missed during estimate, so a second look is valuable. If they see any, they will forward the pictures to our office, and we will follow up with you ASAP to give option to replace it ($60 per piece wood replacement, flat rate). Fifth, we highly recommend adding the M-1 moldicide additive to the paint, at only $6 per gallon. (This additive provides broad-spectrum fungicidal capability, without hurting the environment. It kills or inhibits mold and mildew, denatures mold spores, and provides leading protection against new surface microbial growth. It is non-toxic and does not contribute to the odor or VOC of paint. It is compatible with virtually every available aqueous and non-aqueous paint formulation tested, making it both versatile and cost-effective.) With this tried-and-true exterior formula, our exteriors stand the test of time far better than our competition's!
What assurances can you give me that your workers are someone that I can trust, and want in my home?
For your protection and peace of mind, all of our workers go through drug screening and background checks when hired. All of our current workers have also been working for our company for over 3 years. But it goes beyond that- we consider our workers as family, and get to know them, their interests, their families, their goals, and their moral values. We also had them fill out a questionnaire before hiring, to determine that they were somebody we would want on our staff. We put all painters through a full week of training, and have company codes of conduct. We would not keep anyone on our staff who was not respectful, intelligent, safe, and trustworthy. We also, of course, prioritize our painters having high skill and experience in painting. All of our painters have over 7 years of industry experience, with many having over 10 or 15. We use 3 full-time painting crews, and do not ever use random painters. We are a small, woman-owned business so we understand firsthand the importance of being around people you can trust. All of our workers are instructed that the customer is always right, and to treat your home as good as they would treat their own. We also have a crew leader on-site every job to maintain quality control and safety and ensure the job gets done exactly as specified.
Do all contracts include this 2 year warranty and 100% satisfaction guarantee? Will it cover mine?
We include the satisfaction guarantee on 99.9% of our jobs, unless it is a special custom request where a specific look can be random, such as a faux finish or whitewashing of brick; your job will come with the satisfaction guarantee unless we specifically tell you otherwise. Your contract will specify the 2 year warranty and 100% satisfaction guarantee in writing.
We will have to politely decline to enter into contract for a project if the homeowner does not want to do the steps required for it to be properly done (i.e. a customer not wanting their exterior to be pressure washed prior to painting, or not wanting to have a surface primed when primer is needed for proper adhesion). We care about your home, and we only will do your project if we are able to do it completely the right way. We thank you for understanding, and we don't compromise on quality because we have your best interests in mind. We provide a high-end product.
Should I use wood or PVC, when replacing rotten/damaged wood?
PVC trim is superior to wood in the sense that it looks like wood, especially from a distance, yet it is impervious to water and insect penetration, and is naturally resistant to mold and mildew growth. In this high-moisture area, PVC is always a smart choice. Because PVC resists deterioration, mold, mildew, and water damage/rot, it is great at showcasing your home's trim lines, looks great on most all homes, and stays looking new and fresh for decades longer than wood.The main 2 drawbacks to PVC are that 1, it doesn't show the detailed grains of wood that wood shows, so for older style homes, it may lack a certain charm... and 2, PVC is slightly more expensive. (On average, PVC is about $30 per piece, compared to wood's $15 per piece. These are rough averages, prices vary depending on length and type). Generally, we highly recommend PVC except if you are saving money trying to sell the home soon after, or if you very much like the look of wood. However, the choice is up to you!
For exteriors, why is a pressure wash needed prior to painting in almost all situations?
Prior to a surface being painted, it must be free of dirt, grime, contaminants, loose paint, etc for the paint to bond properly. (PDCA craftsman manual, page 67, "Surface Preparation"). The surface pH must also be neutralized. Pressure washing between 2000-4000 PSI (varies depending on surface) takes care of all of these things. Pressure washing with our detergent removes dirt, soil, grime, pollen, surface mold/mildew, loose or peeling paint, chalking paint, and neutralizes the surface pH, all in one step! This is a great first step to doing your perfect paint job. Skipping this step can lead to a multitude of issues- peeling, flaking, scaling, spider cracks, paint falling off with clumps of dirt behind it, mold that was on surface under it eating through the new paint, and small dirt or objects that were on the home creating an uneven surface for the new paint.
Won't pressure washing damage my siding, shutters, or trim?
A novice or DIY pressure wash can damage your home, but our pressure washer from our company has over 10 years of experience in total, over 4 years with our company with hundreds of happy customers. First we apply the detergent to your home from the bottom up, and spray it away from the top down. The key is using the right PSI for each surface, doing the correct angle (generally 20 degrees downwards), and maintaining 12"-18" from the surface depending on the surface.
In addition, we follow these general rules before pressure cleaning your house siding:
Vinyl Siding – We repair any damaged siding before pressure washing. We avoid where the panels overlap like into the door or window frames.
Aluminum Siding – We avoid angling the power spray up under the panel overlaps.
Fibre Cement Siding – We repair damaged areas before starting, to avoid damage.
Wood Siding – We fix or repair any cracked or damaged wood panels and we wet the surface before applying detergent.
Stucco Siding – We repair any chips or cracks before cleaning. To avoid damaging the surface we hold the pressure washer 2 feet from this surface and use a 25 degree nozzle.
Brick and Stone Siding – We patch and repair any damaged joints before we begin to clean. We spray down the brick before starting with a light spray, to prevent the detergent penetrating too deep into the brick.
Rest assured, your home's surfaces will be protected while being thoroughly cleaned!
Will the detergent used in pressure washing, hurt my plants or grass?
No. We use EPA-approved detergents. The detergents we use to pressure wash homes, decks, and driveways are also used very diluted. This, in combination with the rinse water, further dilutes our already mild EPA-approved detergents down to nearly harmless levels.
In the event a stronger chemical is needed to achieve desired results, precautions are always taken to ensure the safety of your plants and grasses, and we will only use stronger chemicals with the permission of homeowner, to achieve a mutually desired result. Pressure washing with EPA-approved detergents is an industry standard practice, and recommended by PDCA.
Will pressure washing harm my deck?
A deck can easily be harmed with a pressure washer if it is used improperly. However, when used properly pressure washers are an efficient tool for removing old sealer and weathering from the surface of the wood leaving behind the natural wood color. An experienced person can achieve this result without causing any harm to the wood.
How do I know how much paint will be needed?
We measure for exact paint amounts free of charge, the morning of your painting project. If you agree to the price during the estimate and would like to move forward immediately, then we will get you taken care of and measure for exact paint amounts right on the spot! Generally speaking, 1-2 gallons per room for walls is typical. To arrive at our measurements, we measure the linear feet of wall space, multiply it by the height, then we subtract the space for windows and doors, then we multiply by 2 for 2 coats, and divide by 400 (sq feet per gallon). For ceilings, it's based on the sq footage, multiplied by 2 for 2 coats, and divided by 400. For trim, you have to eyeball it based on sq footage and types of trim in home, but we are excellent at getting your amounts correct. In the very unlikely event we overestimate for paint, then we will refund you for wasted paint!
Can you remove pre-existing oil stains from my driveway, during a powerwash?
Partly, but not completely. Driveways are usually made of concrete or asphalt. In the case of concrete driveways, the concrete is porous. This causes it to act like a sponge when oil is spilled on it. Because of this, the oil can be removed from the surface and lighten the oil stain, but will most likely leave behind a stain.In the case of asphalt, the asphalt itself is made from oil. The stains are more easily removed from the asphalt, but cannot be complete removed due the fact that it would degrade the asphalt itself.
What can I do to help make the paint job go smoothly?
You do not have to do much! We transport and pick up all materials for the job (including materials you pay over the phone to store for, such as wood and paint), and we give you the professional color design consult to help pick out your colors and finishes. The morning of the project, we call when we are on the way. We ask that you please be available to meet the crew leader in the morning for the first day of the painting, and that you be available that morning to pay for paint over phone to the store. (You are also free to go into store with the crew, if you'd like.)
Also all we ask is that you move any small items to the center of rooms being painted, and please remove pictures off of walls, and move any breakables or valuable items out of the areas to be painted. If you have valuables you don't want to move or can't move, we will be able to find a solution.
We will move and cover all items, countertops, cabinets, etc with plastic, and cover all floors with paint-proof, scratch-resistant thick butyl drop cloths. We remove all blinds, curtains, and outlet covers, and cover them with plastic as well.
I don't think I will be able to be there during the painting project. How can I give you guys access?
We have lockboxes that we can temporarily put on your door, and you can lend us a key to put inside the lockbox. We return the key as soon as project has been completed and paid for, or upon request. We make sure to lock the door whenever we leave the house at the end of the day, or to grab lunch.
Do you take credit cards?
Yes, we take all major credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, AmEx, and Discover). We also accept cash or checks. For everyone's convenience, we do not accept mailed checks unless agreed upon prior to contract signing, due to special circumstances. We are happy to drive to you to pick up checks. We can take debit or credit over phone. We do not charge any fees for down payments made by debit/credit card; final payment by debit/credit card incurs a slight 2.8% fee.