Successful Commercial Painting Projects Require Plenty of Upfront Planning

By Maryellen Lo Bosco March 2017 – Paints & Coatings

In an era of tight facility budgets and lean facility staffs, facility managers look for every opportunity to save time and money. Painting may seem like a routine task, but if facility managers wish to maximize their painting dollars over the long term, they will need to carefully plan and execute each project.

The bottom line is simple: “You get what you pay for,” says Cris Crissinger, a consultant who was formerly director, corporate specifications, McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture. It may be more economical in the short term to use cheaper materials, but such a system will cost more money to maintain over a period of years, he says. The same principle applies to surface preparation and application. A paint job can last a couple of years or even 20 years or more, depending on how well the painting was done and how good the materials used.

That’s not to say that every project should be budgeted so that it can last for 20 years. “In some cases it is more cost effective to spend money up front, but if people are changing their brand every six to ten years, then why spend a lot of money?” asks Ken Trimber, president of KTA-Tator, a third-party inspection company for infrastructure, and a member of four ASTM committees that deal with coatings, building performance, and durability. “If you are going to tear a building down in a few years, for example, all you may want is a Band-Aid.”

Finding the right paint

The choice of paint or coating will depend on a number of factors. Indoors, aesthetics become important, says Terry Carroll, commercial services business unit manager for KTA-Tator, and the sheen chosen will vary by substrate. In hospital buildings, antimicrobial coatings will be put down to resist contamination, especially in laboratory settings.

Dry-fall paint is used to coat exposed, metal-deck ceilings, which is literally dry when it hits the floor. In choosing colors, it is important to consider how much fade is allowable. That’s because fade varies according to hue. Earth tones will wear better than bright colors, for example.

The first place to get information about paint is from the product data sheet, which lists paint characteristics, including VOC (volatile organic compound) level, how many square feet will be covered by a gallon of paint, how fast the paint will dry, and how soon the applier can re-coat.

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Flat Paint Finishes – The Latest in Designing Techniques

There is a new technology that allows for flat-finish paints to offer washable performance plus the sophisticated elegance of a shine-free finish.

by Amanda Lecky Stir Magazine

Flat paint finishes are second to none when it comes to creating a rich, velvety look on the wall, but in the past this effect came with a price: The porosity of flat finishes made them more prone to staining and more difficult to clean, since washing and scrubbing often caused color change and burnishing.Happily, improved paint formulations have eliminated these worries. “Today’s premium flat finishes from Sherwin-Williams use coatings technology that wasn’t available just a few years ago,” says Jeff Winter, Vice President, Residential Marketing for Sherwin-Williams. “These proprietary formulas allow customers to get the flat finish that they desire, with the washability you’d expect from a higher sheen.”

“I love flat finishes,” says Sue Wadden, Director of Color Marketing for Sherwin-Williams. “They help hide surface imperfections in a wall because light doesn’t reflect off the high points — which is great if you have an older house with bumpy walls, like I do. And premium flat finishes like Duration Home® Interior Acrylic Latex Paint or Emerald® Interior Acrylic Latex Paint are very washable. I have kids and I have to clean my walls all the time.”

Beyond the practical considerations — Winter says that flat finishes are well-suited to large, open, sun-washed spaces that are prone to roller lapping — flat finishes are also having a trend moment.

Flat Finishes Supporting image 1
“Scandinavian influence is very strong right now, and when you look at those interiors they’re full of dull finishes,” Wadden says. “Chalky finishes on furniture are also very hot at the moment. So there’s a big appetite for dead-flat finishes. It’s a very sophisticated and subtle look.”

Using flat finishes, inside and out, is easy — if you pick the right paint. “You can’t just tint flat standard paint and expect durability and washability,” she says. “It’s not designed to withstand abrasion the way technologically advanced flat-finish paints like Duration or Emerald are.” Wadden offers more simple tips and ideas:

  • Stick with walls. “Even though flat finishes are very durable and cleanable, I’d still use a finish with a bit of gloss for trim and doors, and for horizontal surfaces like floors,” she says.
  • Don’t forget siding. “Flat exterior finishes are ideal for siding because they hide all those little bumps and dings. I painted my house in a flat finish,” she says.
  • Commercial projects aren’t off-limits. “You can use flat finishes on walls in commercial spaces, too. Maybe not in a commercial kitchen or bathroom, but they’re definitely good choices for hallways or gathering spaces.”
  • Go a little lighter. “Flat finishes tend to look richer and darker because they absorb light in a space. So you may find the color you like on the chip looks darker once it’s on the wall.”
  • Vary the sheen. “You can create tone-on-tone patterns by varying flat and eggshell or semigloss: think stripes or stencils, or just pair flat walls with glossy trim in the same color for a little variation.”

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Study: Paint Colors Affects House Price

Homeowners looking to sell should immediately paint their slate gray walls a new color, according to findings from Zillow Digs, a website where users can browse millions of photos for home improvement and design inspiration.

Zillow Digs analyzed photos of nearly 50,000 homes sold across the U.S. over the last 10 years and determined that a room’s paint color influences the selling price.

The report took into account the wall color and the type of room, with controls for all other wall colors, square footage, the age of the home, the date of the transaction, and the location.

Creamy yellow or wheat-colored kitchen walls were most alluring to buyers, increasing a home’s sale price by as much as $1,360 above the expected Zillow estimate (or Zestimate). Light green and khaki were also popular, with bedrooms painted in those colors fetching $1,332 more than expected. Purple was found to be a nice fit for dining rooms, and homes with mauve, eggplant, or lavender walls earned $1,122 above the expected price.

When it comes to colors that exert a less-than-positive influence on home price, buyers shied away from terra-cotta and orange-toned living rooms (houses with these hues sold for $793 less) and dark-brown bathrooms ($469 less than normal). But slate and dark gray hues were found to be the biggest turnoffs. Homes that featured dining rooms in those colors sold for $1,112 less. Lighter grays, particularly living rooms painted in a dove tone, fared much better, earning $1,104 more than expected.

White and eggshell-color in kitchens, surprisingly, could also have a negative effect on a home’s sale price. Generally a popular choice for designers because of the color’s versatility and clean, timeless appearance, homes with kitchens painted white sold for $82 less than expected.

“A fresh coat of paint is an easy and affordable way to improve a home’s appearance before listing,” said Svenja Gudell, Zillow chief economist, in a statement. “However, to get the biggest bang for your buck, stick with colors that have mass appeal so you attract as many potential buyers to your listing as possible. Warm neutrals like yellow or light gray are stylish and clean, signaling that the home is well cared for, or that previous owners had an eye for design that may translate to other areas within the house.”

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Sherwin-Williams selects ‘Poised Taupe’ as 2017 color of the year

August 29, 2016 |


CLEVELAND (AUGUST 29, 2016) — Sherwin-Williams announces Poised Taupe (SW 6039) as the 2017 Color of the Year. A modern take on a timeless classic, Poised Taupe signals a new direction in society’s ever-growing thirst for beautiful neutrals that bring warm and cool tones together to create one irresistibly versatile color.

“Poised Taupe celebrates everything people love about cool gray as a neutral, and also brings in the warmth of brown, taking a color to an entirely new level. Not cool or warm, nor gray or brown, Poised Taupe is a weathered, woodsy neutral bringing a sense of coziness and harmony that people are seeking,” says Sue Wadden, director of color marketing for Sherwin-Williams.

As the Sherwin-Williams team traveled the world to identify the latest trends and make this year’s selection, it became clear that neutrals are beginning a transition from the monochrome gray of the past five years to a more complex taupe and brown. In a recent homeowner survey conducted by Sherwin-Williams, nearly 40 percent of the respondents agree that they would like to incorporate warmer neutrals, such as warm grays, taupes or beiges, into their home décor. Additionally, more than two in five people identified taupe as a timeless neutral they would choose.[1] Move over cool toned colors. A new trend is here.


The well-lived life in the home

Drawn from the Noir palette, one of four palettes in colormix™ 2017: The Sherwin-Williams Color Forecast, Poised Taupe addresses the search for authentic spaces that recharge the spirit in uncertain times and where perfection can seem like the ideal.

“Consumers yearn for spaces that feel welcoming and hug them as they enter. Earthen brown combined with conservative gray, creating Poised Taupe, embodies all of these emotions,” says Wadden.

With its cool-yet-warm vibe, Poised Taupe is an ideal backdrop for a wide range of color combinations, from pastels to brights to jewels. For example, when paired with the faded indigo of Stardew (SW 9138), it creates a charming palette reminiscent of a French countryside. Used in tandem with vibrant Rave Red (SW 6608), it evokes the natural feel of red-stained bedrock. And with the deep teal of Marea Baja (SW 9185) and sunny hued Bee (SW 6683), it transforms into a super-graphic look.


A warming trend is coming to commercial spaces

In 2017, the subtle shift to warmer colors reaches commercial spaces too, which tend to move in more conservative color cycles than residential or designer directions. Influences such as natural or organic materials, weathered and worn finishes and global cultural preferences have suggested alternatives to the primarily gray existence that has been the star of commercial color direction over the past five years.

“Since commercial color direction tends to enjoy longer lifecycles, Poised Taupe is on the forefront of this trend, offering the ability to endure over time, yet complement a wide range of designs,” says Wadden.

Aligned with this burgeoning trend of moving away from the stark, cold and barren commercial environments, Poised Taupe gives developers, builders and interior designers a warm color that offers dimension and complexity, but is neutral and subtle to work with for nearly all aesthetics.

Anchored by the 2017 Color of the Year and taken from colormix™ 2017: The Sherwin-Williams Color Forecast, a new set of commercial neutrals such as Mudslide (SW 9113), Sealskin (SW 7675), Casa Blanca (SW 7571) takes their place in center stage, showcasing the best of 2017 and the beginning of the warming trend that patrons crave.

Poised Taupe is truly a color poised to go in many directions.

For more information visit


Ask Sherwin-Williams™

For 150 years, Sherwin-Williams has been an industry leader in the development of technologically advanced paint and coatings. As the nation’s largest specialty retailer of paint and painting supplies, Sherwin-Williams is dedicated to supporting both do-it-yourselfers and painting professionals with exceptional and exclusive products, resources to make confident color selections and expert, personalized service at its more than 4,000 neighborhood stores across North America. Sherwin-Williams has been ranked “Highest in Customer Satisfaction among Paint Retailers, Four Years in a Row” in the J.D. Power 2016 Paint Satisfaction Study℠. For more information, visit Join Sherwin-Williams on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr.

Super-Powered Paints Take on Bacteria, Odors, and Mildew

May 16, 2016

The latest generation of interior paints focuses on indoor air quality. “We’re kind of entering a renaissance period for paints right now,” says Chris Connelly, director of brand management for Benjamin Moore. “The [paint industry] is doing one really good thing: It’s starting to put the end user at the center of its development instead of [introducing] technology for technology’s sake.”

Here are four examples from Sherwin-Williams and Benjamin Moore, two leading U.S. paint manufacturers.

Bacteria Killer

Sherwin-Williams NEW Paint ShieldA new paint designed to kill bacteria in hospitals could find its way onto the interior walls of homes where germs are a concern.

In February, Sherwin-Williams launched Paint Shield (shown, left), the first paint registered with the Environmental Protection Agency for its ability to kill common bacteria on painted surfaces. The microbicidal paint reportedly kills greater than 99.99 percent of five harmful types of bacteria within two hours of exposure on a painted surface. The paint’s pathogen-fighting property lasts up to four years, according to Rick Watson, Sherwin-Williams’ director of product information.

Among the bacteria that the paint kills is Staphylococcus aureus, the bug that causes most staph infections. In about a quarter of healthy adults, S. aureus is present in the nose and on the skin and doesn’t cause an infection or symptoms. But when staph-associated illness does occur, it can range from skin infections to conjunctivitis to food poisoning. If Staphylococcus bacteria manage to enter the bloodstream, joints, bones, or heart, the result can be serious or even deadly. The risk is higher for people with a depressed immune system, which is why Paint Shield is often used in hospitals.

The paint also kills methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA. This antibiotic-resistant bacteria often causes skin infections and is very tough to treat. The pathogen can infect surgical wounds, the bloodstream, the lungs, and the urinary tract.

Although most MRSA infections are seen in medical settings, the bug has also caused problems in the general population. Known as community-associated MRSA, it generally begins as a painful boil and is spread by skin-to-skin contact. At-risk populations include athletes, child care workers, and people who live in crowded conditions.

Paint Shield is designed to kill three other bacteria as well. Escherichia coli (E. coli), which affects people who eat tainted food or drink tainted water and typically causes fever and diarrhea. VRE (vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus), which can infect the intestines, urinary tract, and open wounds. And Enterobacter aerogenes, which can cause serious infections of the skin, abdomen, eyes, and respiratory system.

Scientists from Sherwin-Williams collaborated with microbiologists to formulate Paint Shield. The paint contains bacteria-fighting microbicides, which are sometimes prescribed as medicine to prevent infections in high-risk patients. The effort was in response to requests from hospitals, schools, day care centers, hotels, cruise ships, and similar facilities for tools to prevent the spread of pathogens on surfaces, Watson says. Paint Shield comes in 550 colors and an eggshell finish. It can be applied to nonporous interior ceilings, walls, doors, and trim.

Enhanced Mildew Fighter

Homeowners sometimes shy away from mildew-resistant bathroom paint because of its glossy sheen. “The industry was forcing people into a finish they didn’t want,” says Benjamin Moore’s Connelly. “Designers want to achieve the true depth of a paint’s color. That comes with a flat finish.”

Benjamin Moore’s Aura Bath & Spa (shown, right) “tries to take that shackle away from people,” Connelly says. The interior water-based paint, formulated to resist mildew growth in humid rooms, is made without surfactants—the ingredients that help stabilize the product. Surfactants sometimes leach from the paint and can create spots and drips on the surface of the wall in a humid room. Aura Bath & Spa is a paint and primer in one, cleans up with soap and water, comes in all of the manufacturer’s colors, and offers a matte finish.

Odor Eater

Not only does Sherwin-Williams’ zero-VOC Harmony interior latex paint contain no formaldehyde, it removes formaldehyde that other products, such as insulation, carpet, cabinets, and fabrics, have released into the home’s air, the company says. The GreenGuard-certified product is also designed to reduce pet, cooking, and cigarette odors.

A study by Sherwin-Williams and the UL-GreenGuard Institute demonstrates that the paint’s formaldehyde-reducing technology can decrease those airborne VOCs by up to 45 percent. And a separate odor-eliminating technology reduces pet and cooking odors. The paint also contains anti-microbial agents that inhibit odor from mold and mildew and combat their growth on the paint’s surface, the company says. Harmony paint doesn’t lose its abilities when color is added, Watson says, as long as the colorant is VOC-free. Harmony is available in flat, eggshell, and semi-gloss finishes.


Benjamin Moore’s Natura paint has been certified by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America as “asthma and allergy friendly.”

“It’s the company’s most environmentally friendly paint,” says Connelly, noting that it contains no VOCs and produces zero emissions. Even the painter will not be exposed to harsh fumes, and the company calls the paint “virtually odorless.” Natura has zero measurable emissions at the time it’s applied and zero emissions three days later. And the company achieved this without sacrificing quality, Connelly notes. “Historically, when you made a choice that you want a greener, safer paint, you made a compromise in durability and washability. If we were having this conversation in 2000, we would be talking about a reduction [of those things].”

Since then, however, Benjamin Moore has developed resins using greener, safer raw materials, officials say. Natura comes in flat, eggshell, and semi-gloss finishes.


About the Author

Sharon O’Malley has covered the home building and remodeling industries for 20 years. She is based in College Park, Md., where she is a member of the adjunct faculty at the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism.

Let’s talk about Maintenance

Are you wondering what home improvement project delivers the best return on investment?  In a word: maintenance.

Hiring a professional to catch small problems before they balloon into major expenses, will allow you to breathe easy, knowing your residence is in good hands.

Exterior - Rear Deck - Partial View

At Rule4, we understand that most people are simply too busy to maintain their home themselves with any regularity.  But, it is vitally important that your home’s interior and exterior be preserved.  Lack of time, cost considerations, and a general misunderstanding of what jobs are the most important for home longevity and good health, rank among the top reasons why homeowners look the other way when presented with home preservation items.  Most of us endeavor to lead a lifestyle of healthy eating and exercise to ward off premature illness.  Why not adopt the same philosophy for your home?

Unfortunately, some homeowners have been led to believe that there is a specific home maintenance time clock.  Paint the house exterior every 5 years; pressure wash your deck every 2 years, etc…  The fact is, the more often you maintain, the less you need to do, each time.  Do know that the period of time between these projects varies, depending on some important factors.  Consider the following:

1.  The quality of the previous job.  Were corners cut?  Were items inadvertently overlooked?  Were repairs properly made before finishing?

2.  The products used.  Inferior products, inferior job.

3. Experience and expertise of the contractor.  Did the contractor come with references?  Did you follow up on them and ask them how many years between maintenance the workmanship allowed?


Rule4 Group prides itself in being Your Contractor.  We want you to feel that we are a team, looking out for the best interest of your dwelling and your bottom line.  We want your business for life.  We are not your typical home improvement contractor.

Think: Quality workmanship.

Think: Long-term association.

Think: Worry-free relationship.


Could we low bid a project, just to get your business?  Sure, we could.  But, we won’t.

Could we use inferior products to save you money up front, but that will cost you more down the road?  Sure, we could.  But, we won’t.

Could we cut corners where you won’t notice, just to get the job done more quickly and to save time?  Sure, we could.  But, we won’t.

Lastly, could we send out workers who are inexperienced or untested, just to save you money?  Of course, we could.  But, we won’t do that, either.

At Rule4, our main goal is to do things properly.  During our first visit, our experienced maintenance contractor will evaluate the job and give you a thorough cost-considered estimate.  Initial pricing will guarantee a job well done, requiring fewer – though regular – future maintenance visits.  Just ask our former customers.

Consider signing up for a yearly maintenance contract.  Allow our team of qualified service workers to take care of everything, before it becomes a problem.

Call today for a consultation, (443) 757-0431.  Spring is just around the corner.


Rule4 Presents: Fall 2012 Color Trends

Fall is fast approaching and a time for refreshing and updating your home before the holiday season.  There’s still plenty of time to repaint your dining room with new color before you begin planning your Thanksgiving Meal. So what are the trends this Fall? Pantone ( released their take on the 2012 Fall Trends for fashion – the can also be applied to the home. Tangerine Tango has been voted color of the year – but how can you use it?

HGTV have done a good job of showing you where you might some of the colors above, or at least color similar to them.  HGTV – painting with fall colors

Here’s their idea for Tangerine Tango, plus a lovely blue to match.  We love the teaming of white with Chartreuse as well.  Not to mention Raspberry (or Pantone’s Pink Flambé).



Rule4 Lite provides interior and exterior professional painting services.  Once you have chosen your color, Rule4 will ensure a professional job from start to finish.  A customer recently posted on Angies List:- “excellent job from start to finish.  true professionals who know what they are doing. clean and efficient. highly recommend.”

For more information about Rule4’s custom paint and other services, visit Rule4 Lite

Love White Jeans? What About White-on-White Rooms?

by Kayla Kitts in Design Inspiration, Designers & Shops, Paint Colors & Palettes

Are white jeans the fashion equivalent of the white room? A crisp, clean (and glamorous) look but impossible to keep, well, white? I have an awesome pair of white jeans that I never wear. Ever. Because it seems that any time I wear white, I manage to dribble something on myself, like bright yellow mustard. Likewise, I doubt I’ll ever enjoy the luxury of a white-on-white room. (Can you say pet owner?) Design icon Syrie Maugham popularized the all-white room in the 1920s and ’30s, earning the nickname “White Queen.” Fast forward to 2011. Designer Jonathan Adler never hesitates to don his signature white jeans, and many of his top decor pieces are in a bright white. The author of Happy Chic Colors calls white “the ultimate soothing backdrop.

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The New Lead Paint Rule… What it Means For You…

What is RRP?

  • RRP stands for Repair, Renovate and Paint
  • RRP is a new rule which forms part of the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) regulations regarding potential harmful lead in your home

What does the new rule mean in practice?

  • Since April 22 2010, the new EPA rule requires all contractors performing renovation, repair and painting projects that disturb lead paint in pre-1978 homes to be certified.
  • Contractors must follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination in your home
  • The work practices are based around 3 simple procedures:
    • Contain the work area
    • Minimize dust
    • Clean up thoroughly

What is the scope of the certification?

  • All companies must be lead-safe certified  – a requirement of Federal Law
  • Individual employees within companies must have passed an accredited RRP Lead-Safe training course

What should the homeowner do?

If your home was built before 1978 and you are planning to paint or renovate you should:-

  • Ensure all contractors you work with are a lead-safe certified
  • You can easily verify contractors are lead-safe certified via the EPA website where all certified firms are listed by zip code
  • Ask your certified contractor to explain how they will comply with the new rules and how it will affect your project

Where can I find more information?

  • Ask your contractor’s trained staff to answer your questions
  • EPA website
  • EPA publication – Renovate Right – gives detailed information about lead in your home and is also available from their website