The History and Science of House Painting

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The purpose of house painting and decorating is to make a house, home or building look better or to protect it from damage by severe or ongoing weather, wind, sunshine, water, rust, corrosion, termites and other insects and/or mold. It feels good to have a good looking house, and it increases its value.

History of House Painting

Not much is known about house painting in the United Kingdom before the late 1200’s, when guilds began coming into existence. Two prominent guilds in particular were the Painters Company and the Stainers Company, which eventually merged with the permission of the Lord Mayor of the City of London in the early 16th century, forming the Worshipful Company of Painter-Stainers.

Tools of the Trade

In our modern era in which we live, paint composition consists mostly of latex formulations used for both exterior and interior use, greatly minimizing painting cleanup, as well as the strong and unhealthy smells normally associated with petroleum and polyester based paints.

Another common, modern house painting invention is the computerized paint scanner that precisely calculates how to get new paint color to match faded paint color on old walls, or to match fabric colors, flowers and other patterns. Paint in our day and age can also be made to smell nice and resist fading, chipping and bacterial growth. Paint can also be made to lay very flat on a surface, resulting in a very smooth look.

When and why should primer be applied? Why not just put paint on and get it over with? Wooden surfaces generally don’t take paint too well, resulting in flaking, due to excessive thickness of the paint. Primer is thinner and so soaks into wood much better, and since it allows the paint to adhere better, it saves you money in allowing for fewer layers of paint and primer to have to be applied.

Many professional house painters offer free consulting services, and additionally save you money by adding 5 to 20-year guarantees of adhesion and water resistance. Professionals are also very good at their use of time when applying tape, sanding surfaces, etc., before the house painting is started.

Another modern house painting tool is the foam brush, which is commonly used for precision work and smoother coats of paint that use less paint and less time to dry. And foam used on a roller can create beautiful patterns in the painted surface. Finally, the spray gun allows for the painting of extremely large surface areas in short amounts of time.

How to Clean and Store Brushes

An older style bristle brush is best to store in a box hanging from a wire within, allowing it to soak in a cleaning solution without being disfigured by having its bristles spread apart.

Paint Surface Preparation

Modern paint-tape prevents damaging the taped surface, having less than half of the adhesive power of masking tape, and thus being able to remain on a surface for up to 30-days without creating damage.

Then versus Now

In times past, a house painter was responsible for mixing his paint and maintaining a ready supply of pigments, oils, thinners and driers, and use his painting experience to determine an optimal combination. Today, he is primarily responsible for the entire house painting process, including cleaning the surface to be painted, scraping, sanding, wallpaper removal, caulking, drywall repair, wood repair, patching, stain removal, filling nail holes with putty, taping off areas not to be painted, drop cloth placement, priming, applying the paint and then finally cleaning up when he’s finished.

A professional house painter also needs to have a thorough knowledge of his tools of the trade, including sanders, scrapers, paint sprayers, brushes (foam, bristle, etc.), paint rollers, ladders, scaffolding, and the many different kinds of paint to choose from.

Exterior House Painting Tips

Do you like to save money when you need your house painted? You can do it yourself if you’re careful in your preparation and application, or you can pay a little more and have house painting experts worry for you and get the job done quickly, accurately and beautifully with results that will last a very long time.

Article submitted on behalf of co-author Dave Hofert.



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