{expert painting tips : painting plastic shutters}

Finishing touches make all the difference when it comes to the overall look of your home. The window boxes full of colorful flowers, the paver stones winding through the backyard, and the classic shutters adorning your windows.

Even though these “finishing touches” may be subtle, they still deserve the proper attention and upkeep needed to keep them looking great, and your home looking fresh and well-put-together.

If you are noticing that your plastic shutters are in need of some touch-up work, investing in some paint and elbow grease should be all it takes to make them look like new again. However, there are a few tips you’ll want to keep in mind as you’re working.

expert paint tips Minnesota

House Beautiful

Mark Masica, a color and paint expert at Hirshfield’s, offers these tips for painting plastic shutters:

  • Consult the guidelines: The most important thing to keep in mind when buying or painting plastic shutters is to refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines. Some may need to be primed, while others may require a specific kind of paint. Most plastic shutters will call for a good quality, 100% acrylic paint.
  • Choose your paint color carefully: Be cautious when going darker with the color of your plastic shutters. Darker colors absorb more light, causing the plastic to warp and ripple. You can always go lighter with your paint color, but consult the manufacturer’s guidelines or an exterior paint professional when considering going more than a few shades darker. (Check out Mark’s picks for the best exterior paint colors for your home.)
  • When in doubt, prime: Older shutters need to be Read the rest of this entry »

{when is it too hot to paint outside?}

painting outsideHas the heat and humidity kept you inside this summer, forcing you to neglect some of your exterior home improvement projects? Maybe you’re feeling guilty (or maybe you’re not?) that you’ve chosen the comfort of your air conditioned home over your desire to up your home’s curb appeal. And now here we are, half way through summer and you’re wondering if those projects will ever get done…

Well the paint experts at Hirshfield’s are here to help clear your conscious. When it comes to exterior paint work, if the temperatures are too hot you may be better off spending the day indoors. The outside temperature should be above 50 degrees Fahrenheit before you start painting, but if the outside temperature is more than 90 degrees Fahrenheit, the paint can end up “baking” rather than drying, resulting in a less than favorable outcome.

Wind and humidity also have an impact on whether or not you should start an outdoor painting project.  If the wind is too strong, it can blow loose debris onto wet or damp paint, and it can also dry things out too quickly. If the humidity is high then condensation can form on surfaces in the late evening or overnight.  This can cause streaks, fading, or poor adhesion to the surface. If it’s too hot with low humidity, or too hot with high humidity, you can have application issues. Uncertain? Pick up the phone and call your local Hirshfield’s paint expert!

Read the rest of this entry »

{top exterior paint colors for your home}

This time of year, the paint experts at Hirshfield’s are busy helping customers select the best exterior paint color for their home. So I decided to ask Hirshfield’s color expert, Mark Masica, what colors he would choose as his top exterior color picks for the season. And the results are in!

Mark says the overall trend in exterior colors reflects colors that are found in nature. There’s just something about natural colors that Minnesotans relate to! These colors make us feel peaceful, happy and at home.

Grays with a warm undertone also remain popular for interior and exterior paint. Grays with warm undertones tend to look better on a home’s exterior throughout the year, as the seasons change.

Sage green is also a popular choice for exterior paint color this year. This color reflects the “nature” trend and looks great year round in Minnesota weather.

Here are Mark’s favorite exterior paint color picks:

Minneapolis paint

0561 Indian Hills

Hirshfield's paint

0568 Cloudy Today

Minneapolis paint 0574 Shark Fin Read the rest of this entry »

{gifts for mom from Hirshfield’s}

“A mother’s love is the fuel that enables a normal human being to do the impossible.”
- Marion C. Garretty, quoted in A Little Spoonful of Chicken Soup for the Mother’s Soul

Moms give us strength, encouragement and a loving place to call home. The least we can do in return is show our appreciation on Mother’s Day!

The team at Hirshfield’s paint in the Twin Cities and surrounding area knows that moms do a lot inside and outside the home to keep things running, organized and looking beautiful. So why not offer her a little reprieve or assistance with these tasks this Mother’s Day?

A Hirshfield’s gift card allows mom pick out the right paint, stain and/or window coverings to create the living space she has always dreamed of. And like they say, a gift card is always the right size!

best paint colors Twin Cities

Wall: Hirshfield’s Millennium line: Still Creek

Mom might also like to be treated to a Hirshfield’s color call. Whether she is looking for a fresh coat of paint on the interior or exterior of her home, a Hirshfield’s color professional can come out for an in-home color consultation to help her select the perfect color. To read more about how a color call works, check out our blogs on Hirshfield’s Color Calls and Painting your Home’s Exterior.

Twin Cities paint

Dining room background is 0401 Bamboo Forest and 0634 Day Spa is the accent color. Bachman’s Fall Ideas House 2011.

Happy Mother’s Day from the team at Hirshfield’s. And if there are any moms out there reading this post, we would like to honor you with the Mom’s Opera Saga! (And feel free to send this blog link along to your family members as a “hint, hint” for gift ideas!)

{back to school: painting 101}

School is in session! As most Minnesota students are heading back to class this week, we thought now would be a good time to host our own little education session on something we love teach about – paint! So take some notes, this information will be on the test!

Before you get started on any painting project you need to understand some basics:

Choose your paint- there are five sheen levels for interior painting. Tim from Hirshfield’s in Lakeville explains the differences between the five levels:

  • Flat is the lowest sheen level and is best used for low traffic areas and ceilings.  Flat paints touch-up wonderfully but aren’t the most washable.
  • Matte finishes are relatively flat looking on the wall but offer an amount of durability and are commonly referred to as washable flats.
  • Eggshell is the most common sheen and is appropriate for many different uses. Its level of durability makes it washable in high traffic areas and bathrooms.
  • Satin finishes are great for very high traffic and high moisture areas such as busy laundry rooms and bathrooms where condensation is common.
  • Semi-gloss works well for walls that see abuse everyday and is very durable and washable.

Read the rest of this entry »

{curb appeal}

You only get one chance to make a good first impression – and the same goes for  your house! Whether you’re getting ready to put your house on the market, or you just want to do a little sprucing up, the curb appeal of your house is what makes that so very important first impression. If people don’t like what they see on the outside, chances are they will be less inclined to want to see what’s on the inside, and vice versa. So take a little time this spring to invest in the curb appeal of your house. Here are some tips to get you started.

Create beauty with symmetry: Symmetry is not only pleasing to the eye, but it is also simple to arrange. Light fixtures, potted plants and outdoor art work can all be easily arrange in a symmetrical fashion to accent your front door.

Better Homes and Gardens

HGTV

Give your home a facelift: Whether you need to replace some old hardware, install a new mailbox or give your entire house a fresh coat of paint, there are many ways to freshen up the exterior of your home. Mark Masica of Hirshfield’s shares some tips for choosing the right exterior paint color in parts one, two and three of this series on painting the outside of your home.

HGTV

HomeIdeas.com

Add architecture: Adding a cute fence or romantic archway can add instant curb appeal. Using these elements, you can define outdoor spaces and gardens to make them feel like an extension of your home.

Better Homes and Gardens

HGTV

If you have any questions about choosing the right paint color for your exterior paint project, or you just want some advice or more inspiration, stop in to your local Hirshfield’s!

{when is it too cold to paint outside?}

The leaves are changing, temperatures are dropping and your mother’s hotdish recipe seems to be the only thing that can take the chill out of your bones. Yes, Fall has arrived in Minnesota.

But what about all of those home improvement projects you had hoped to complete over the summer? Do you still have time to fit one more in? If you’re thinking about doing some exterior painting, the answers depends on Mother Nature.

Temperature plays a major role in the success of your exterior painting project. Paint must set before the temperature drops below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, so it is best not to paint within two hours of sundown if temps are predicted to drop below that. Extremely high temperatures can also cause a problem, so avoid painting in temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit (but we don’t have to worry about that for awhile now, do we!).

Moisture also affects paint, so wait several days after a rainfall and allow morning mist to evaporate before beginning your project.

Always make sure to check the label on your paint can for additional information or talk to your local Hirshfield’s paint expert. Hirshfield’s does offer a wide selection of paint for your exterior painting projects, including Hirshfield’s House Coat, Hirshfield’s House Coat II, Hirshfield’s House & Trim and Hirshfield’s Platinum Exterior.

Let’s all keep our fingers crossed that Mother Nature has a few more warm days left up her sleeve so we can all finish up those last minute projects!

{national swap ideas day}

Our experts at Hirshfield’s are always full of good ideas. Whether it’s about choosing the right paint color for the exterior of your home, picking the perfect tool to stain your deck or selecting the appropriate finish for your interior paint, they know exactly how to help.

September 10 is National Swap Ideas Day – a day dedicated to sharing great ideas amongst friends, family and industry peers. In honor of the day we thought we would share with you some tips from our experts.

Exterior fabrics
Don’t shy away from using brightly colored fabrics in your outdoor entertainment area (for fear of fading). There are hundreds of fabulous “fade resistant” fabrics to choose from. They come in a wide variety of patterns and textures and are very soft to the touch.
Kathy Basil, Hirshfield’s Design Resource

 

Window treatments
If you are looking to purchase a window shade for privacy, remember if you can see out of it during the day, people can see in at night when your lights are on. Shades with filtering technology, such as the Sunscreen Shades, are meant to block UV and filter the sun’s rays, they are not designed for privacy.
Shannon Scarrella, Hirshfield’s Shop at Home

 

Exterior paint
When you’re choosing colors for a home’s exterior, people have a tendency to choose their favorite color. I always remind people to consider choosing a color your home is going to feel good in, not to mention all the people that look at it.  Always remember that curb appeal is the # 1 selling point of a home. Sometimes it’s better to use your favorite color on the inside instead. Get a sample pint of the color & take it for a test drive!
Mark Masica, Edina Hirshfield’s

 

Fall is the best time to paint outside. You don’t have the blistering heat to deal with, there are fewer bugs and you don’t have to worry about the paint drying too quickly. Use a 100% acrylic paint and a nylon/polyester brush. Make sure the house is clean, scrapped & sanded (where needed) and bare areas are primed. I always suggest two coats. The benefits are tremendous, and the labor is minimal as all your prep work is done. We ask so much of a coat of paint in Minnesota, it has to withstand over a hundred degree temperature swing, snow, rain, you name it, we get it, so go ahead put that second coat on.
Mark Masica, Edina Hirshfield’s

 

Deck staining
Decks are a maintenance type surface and require staining every two to three years to keep them protected and looking good. We normally recommend a high quality semi-transparent oil base stain such as Sikkens, Cabots, ABR, Super Deck, or Benjamin Moore (All of which we carry here at Hirshfield’s). Only one coat is recommended to avoid the product laying on the surface. Although these stains can be applied with a roller or pad, the preferred method of application is a good quality natural bristle brush to assure an even coat and also to push the product down into the pores of the wood.
Ron Clarin, Roseville Hirshfield’s

 

Surface preparation is of the utmost importance to allow the stain to penetrate properly. This can be accomplished by using a deck cleaner, scrub brush, pressure washer, or by sanding. And sometimes a combination of these methods is required to sufficiently clean the surface. It is important to have an even surface to achieve the desired penetration and even appearance of the stain. It is also important that after cleaning and washing the deck that it is allowed to dry a minimum of 48 to 72 hours so the stain may penetrate properly.
Ron Clarin, Roseville Hirshfield’s

 

Interior paint finishes
One of the questions we get asked the most at the counter is “what finish should I use?”  There are five sheen levels for interior painting, each with specific characteristics.

  • Flat is the lowest sheen level and is best used for low traffic areas and ceilings.  Flat paints touch-up wonderfully but aren’t the most washable.
  • Matte finishes are relatively flat looking on the wall but offer an amount of durability and are commonly referred to as washable flats.
  • Eggshell is the most common sheen and is appropriate for many different uses. Its level of durability makes it washable in high traffic areas and bathrooms.
  • Satin finishes are great for very high traffic and high moisture areas such as busy laundry rooms and bathrooms where condensation is common.
  • Semi-gloss works well for walls that see abuse everyday and is very durable and washable.

As one increases sheen level on the wall, durability and washability increase while the ability to touch up goes down.
Tim Rollwagen, Lakeville Hirshfield’s

{time to paint those plastic shutters?}

Shutters can add character, charm and overall curb appeal to any house. But after a hard winter, those quaint shutters may be in need of a little TLC. Or maybe you are just ready to update the look of your shutters by changing up the color. Either way, all it really takes is a fresh coat of paint to take your plastic shutters from dingy to delightful.

Here are some tips from Mark Masica of Hirshfield’s to keep in mind when it comes time to paint your plastic shutters:

  • The most important thing to keep in mind when buying or painting plastic shutters is to refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines for proper care. Some may need to be primed, while others may require a specific kind of paint. Most plastic shutters will call for a good quality, 100% acrylic paint.
  • Be cautious when going darker with the color of your plastic shutters. Darker colors absorb more light, causing the plastic to warp and ripple. You can always go lighter with your paint color, but consult the manufacturer’s guidelines or an exterior paint professional when considering going more than a few shades darker.
  • Older shutters need to be thoroughly cleaned and usually require a coat of primer before painting. When in doubt, always go with a coat of primer. It’s cheap insurance and can never hurt.
  • When selecting a color, keep in mind the colors of the shutters typically matches the color of the outside of the inside door. Meaning, if your front door (as opposed to your storm door) is painted red, your shutter would also be painted red. This creates harmony in the exterior color scheme of the house.

{beyond beige – choosing the right exterior paint color part 3}

Choosing exterior paint colors doesn’t have to be rocket science.  Our expert Mark Masica of the Edina Hirshfields teaches us some new things about color that will help you the next time you’re up to your ears in paint chips.

Use the LRV (light reflective value) rating of a color. LRV is sometimes found on the back of the paint chip, but always found in the index of a fandeck.  Percentages can be referenced by: 0% = black, 100% = white and 50% = an exact midtone.  Then choose your colors from there, and take the guesswork out of color choice.

Generally colors look lighter outdoors. The little chip you’re looking at while sitting at the dining room table trying to make a decision won’t look the same outside. This is because of the sheer size, and the amount of light.  Generally I suggest people use a darker color outside than their comfort zone dictates, except for yellows.

ALWAYS take your paint for a “test drive.” Purchase a quart of your preferred color and paint out a good size area – a 6 foot square or more.  (You can also paint plywood and put it up on the house if you don’t want to paint a section for real.)  Live with it for at least a few days, look at it at different times of the day, in different light and solicit opinions.

Periscope your test color. Use a tube left from a used up roll of paper towels, and let your eye judge the color.  The goal is to eliminate the colors around your “test” so your eye can see it on its own merit!   Tinted paint is not returnable, so make sure of your decision before ordering.

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