Category Archives: Home Painting

Painting Slump Block: What You Need to Know

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Slump block is a construction material found widely in Phoenix home construction. Used for outdoor walls, fireplaces, and even interior walls, these concrete blocks can often be dressed up with a coat of paint. Because concrete has a porous surface that both collects and expels moisture, slump block takes some know-how to ensure an even paint application that will not peel or flake.

Along with the normal preparation that must be done before any exterior or interior painting project, which includes cleaning, scraping and patching cracks, painting slump block has some extra steps. First, efflorescence, that powdery white substance that is often found on blocks, needs to be removed either with a wire brush or pressure washing prior to painting.

It’s essential to use a specialized concrete and masonry primer. This product seals and adheres to slump block and other types of masonry. It’s efflorescence resistant and should be painted over with a high-quality acrylic paint.

Interior Walls and Fireplaces

When it comes to slump block inside a home, paint can go a long way toward making it look less unsightly. Consider painting it to match the rest of the room to make the block blend in. Alternatively, you can make it a unique architectural feature by painting it a contrasting color. For example, painting a slump block fireplace charcoal grey amidst a white wall. You’ll want to choose flat paint unless the room is prone to high humidity, such as an unventilated bathroom. The sheen in high-gloss, satin and eggshell paint will make the texture and mortar stand out.

Exterior Walls

For exterior slump block walls, use a power washer for cleaning and to remove any existing paint. Fill cracks with acrylic caulk and a putty knife. Apply primer and let it dry before applying latex exterior masonry paint.

Choose Painting Professionals

For the best results, choose a professional contractor for painting slump block. It’s well worth the investment. With Ellsworth Home Services, we can help you determine the best options for your home’s slump block and provide quality work that will last for many years. Call us today for a free quote.

The Perils of Exterior Painting (or Not Painting) Under HOA Oversight

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Homeowners are often shocked when they’re politely put on notice by their homeowners’ association (HOA) because their exterior paint requires a new coat. However, it’s simply a reality of our region. The desert sun is intense, colors can fade, and paint jobs take a beating. If you’ve been told it’s time to paint, it’s important to know how to navigate the rules and guidelines of your HOA.

At Ellsworth Home Services, we understand the ins and outs of working with Arizona HOAs. Many people purchase homes in Arizona without fully realizing the advantages and limitations of living within the rules and regulations of an HOA. Though it can occasionally be exasperating, compliance with the HOA is always the best course of action. Resistance is futile, or as the old saying goes, why not ride the horse in the direction it’s going?

Steps for the Exterior Painting of Your Home

After scheduling a consultation with one of our expert representatives, a full inspection will be performed, an estimate provided, color samples chosen, and a timeline established. The HOA generally provides guidelines for homeowners and online forms to fill out. Often the HOA will request a color swatch be provided. Submitting the forms may take a while, so it’s important to plan ahead and leave plenty of time for the process. In many cases, HOA decisions are made by committees comprised of community members which means approvals won’t happen overnight.

Appeals, Revisions and Special Requests

Over the years, we’ve worked with countless homeowners, thousands of color combinations and finishing requests and various HOAs – some strict and some relaxed. The fact is, not every color request is going to be approved, and some HOAs are tougher than others. Submitting correct forms in a timely manner and acting within the HOA guidelines is always the best policy. If at first, a color is rejected, there are generally guidelines for making an appeal to the HOA committee. Patience is the number one quality generally required in these situations.

Choose Ellsworth for Experience and Expertise

Choosing a new color scheme (or repainting your present faded color) is one of the most visually rewarding home improvements you can make. Repainting breathes new life into your home. In fact, new colors can add a whole new dimension to the look of your house.

At Ellsworth Home Services, we are with you every step of the way. If you are planning to repaint your home, it’s never too early to get the process started.

Summer Exterior Paint Projects: What You Need to Know

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Tired of looking at cracks, chips and faded paint on your home’s exterior walls and trim? In the bright Arizona sun, there’s no hiding a paintjob that is past its prime. However, there are factors to consider before painting your home, especially during the summer.

Hot, Hot, Hot

There’s no getting around the fact that it’s darn hot in the greater Phoenix area. The average summer high hovers around 107 degrees. This means that your home’s walls top out at about 120 degrees. It’s also a fact that the ideal paint temperature is about 70 degrees.

Not only is it more difficult to paint in the heat, the heat also affects the quality of the paint before it goes on the wall, causing it to thicken. At Ellsworth Home Services, we’re experts in exterior painting in these tough conditions. We know which side of your home to start on to avoid direct sunlight and to maximize shade. We understand the fine details of prepping, drying times, double coats and more.

Monsoon Challenges

The desert heat becomes more complex during monsoon season. Fast-paced storms with high humidity, pounding rain, dust and wind can also damage a newly painted home. Timing is everything when it comes to painting. Let us time it right for you so that you get a quality paint job that you can be proud of all year long.

Quality Materials

Your paint job will only be as good as the materials that are used. In Arizona, with its harsh conditions, you definitely don’t want to scrimp on paint, brushes and rollers. You’ll get the best outcome if paints are designed for all weather. At Ellsworth Home Services, we are proud to work with only the highest quality professional paints and materials. Don’t trust your home to anything less. Call Ellsworth Home Services today!

Interior Paint: 6 Shades of Not So Grey

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Are the walls of your home ho-hum and leaving you less than inspired? A fresh coat of interior paint can make a big difference. Yet, it’s not always easy choosing the right color. Many of us are fearful of making a long-term commitment to a vivid shade, so we end up painting walls a tried-and-true white, beige or grey. Not that there’s anything wrong with these colors, but there’s a whole rainbow of hues to consider.

Others of us flip through design magazines or watch home improvement shows on TV and choose a color that is the latest fad. While a trendy shade may look cool for 30 minutes, it’s not likely that you’ll want it on your walls for the years ahead. So, what other options should you consider to keep your walls looking fresh and inspired? Here are a few options you may not have thought of:

Pale pink – Many are surprised by the versatility of a fleeting shade of blush pink. It is warm, welcoming and makes vintage furniture look amazingly beautiful. While pink is ideal for a feminine bedroom, it can be an unexpected choice in a living room or even a kitchen.

Cobalt blue – A deep shade of blue can add drama and pizzazz to any room, including small spaces like bathrooms and hallways. Try it with a high-gloss black trim and a pearl-grey ceiling to transform any space into a designer abode.

Hunter green – The color of fresh-cut herbs or a favorite flannel shirt, this tried and true shade of green adds richness and depth to any home, even here in the Valley of the Sun. A true classic, hunter green looks fresher than ever when paired with contemporary or mid-century modern furniture.

Lavender – A unique, unexpected shade, lavender is both warm and cool, changing throughout the day. Downright sophisticated when paired with burnished metal fixtures and neutral furniture, lavender is a favorite shade of designers that is here to stay.

Brick red – Red stirs emotion and instills confidence along with making a room feel cozy and inviting. Oddly, it’s also a neutral that pairs with almost any other shade. Even if it’s used on a single wall, red offers a tremendous impact.

Chocolate brown – Don’t be reluctant to try a rich shade like chocolate brown. It’s surprisingly versatile and can add character to an otherwise ordinary space.

At Ellsworth Home Services, we take interior painting seriously. This is why we use quality materials from Dunn-Edwards and Sherwin-Williams for every job. Why keep putting off that paint project? We’re here to help, and you’re only a call away from turning those boring walls into the stunning backdrop of your amazing home. Call us at 480-593-2265.

Protect the Exterior Paint of Your Home – Protect Your Biggest Investment

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For most Americans, purchasing a home is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream and generally the largest investment a person, couple or family will ever make. Caring for your home can be a challenging yet satisfying experience. It’s a never-ending honey-do list filled with everyday jobs, seasonal chores and yearly projects. It’s ironic that the one aspect of home maintenance with the highest visibility is often the single most overlooked project on the long-term list – exterior painting.

There’s no doubt that having a professionally painted home increases curb appeal and makes a positive statement in pride of ownership. After all, the color of your home and the quality of the paint job are the first things people notice when they drive up to your house. Painting is especially crucial in Arizona because the harsh temperatures and intense weather conditions are brutal on exterior surfaces. Here are compelling reasons to protect your largest asset by having your home professionally painted.

Weather – You Like It or Not

Springtime in Arizona is heavenly with weather as near perfect as weather can be. People from all over the United States flock to Phoenix for the winter season. However, as March turns into April and May gives way to June, the unforgiving sun reminds us we live in a desert, and it’s known as the Valley of the Sun for a very good reason. Summer in Phoenix is a sweltering pot boiler. Soaring triple digit temperatures, unforgiving UV rays, heavy humidity and monsoons complete with dust storms and frightening thunder and lightning. It’s enough to make your house wilt. Intense UV rays degrade the exterior finishes on your house. That’s why you see so many faded buildings and discolored homes when driving around Phoenix neighborhoods. Though the national average for exterior painting is once every 8 to 10 years, in Arizona it is recommended to paint once every five to seven years. Southern exposures are particularly susceptible to sun damage.

Summer Humidity and Storms

Paint and moisture are not a good mix. Summer storms and humidity cause problems with paint jobs, especially on surfaces which were not prepared properly in the first place. Water in the surface under the paint causes poor adhesion and bubbling. Wind storms and blowing sand are another example of weather extremes that are tough on surfaces.

When’s the Best Time to Paint?

The ideal climate for golf also happens to be the perfect weather for exterior home painting. In golf, if you’re shooting in the low 60’s to the mid 80’s, you’re doing just fine. The same is true for temperatures when you paint the exterior of your home – low 60’s to mid-80’s are ideal. Now is the perfect time to have a painting professional from Ellsworth give your house a full inspection and let you know your options for returning your home to its perfect color.

Call us now at 480-593-2265.

What You Need to Know about Lead Paint

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If you own a home that was built before 1978, when the Federal Government banned lead paint in residential structures, you received a lead disclosure as part of your sales transaction. In other words, there is the potential of lead hazard in your home environment, and it’s a good idea to be informed of the risks related to this common problem.

What Is Lead and Why Was It Ever Added to Paint?

Lead is a heavy metal that was added to paint until 1978 to make paint durable and water resistant. Unfortunately, it’s also toxic and can cause a wide range of symptoms in individuals who are exposed to it. These include developmental delays, learning disabilities, weight loss, headaches, fatigue and abdominal pain. Unfortunately, children are particularly susceptible to lead poisoning, and the most common source of exposure is consuming chips of deteriorating lead-based paint.

The good news is that lead paint with no cracking or chipping is unlikely to pose health risks to loved ones. However, areas of wear and tear can expose underlying layers of paint that can produce lead dust, particularly on stair railings, window sills, door frames and banisters. This dust can be inhaled and produce symptoms.

What Can You Do to Reduce the Risk of Lead Exposure from Interior Paint?

As a homeowner, there are strategies to reduce the risk of lead exposure in your home.
These include:

  • Cleaning up paint chips as soon as you spot them
  • Wiping down painted surfaces on a weekly basis
  • Washing children’s hands frequently
  • Preventing children from chewing or picking at painted surfaces

As well, it’s important to keep paint, particularly baseboards and trim-work in sound condition. If your “vintage” home is showing signs of wear and tear, new paint can reduce any potential exposure to lead. While lead paint does pose some risk, there are strategies for ensuring the safety of your home.

Learn more about painting old surfaces from the paint experts at Ellsworth Home Services. Call us today at 480-593-2265.

Spring – The Perfect Season for Exterior Painting Projects

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There’s an old saying here in the Grand Canyon state. “Arizona – where summer spends the winter.” In the Valley of the Sun, spring comes especially early. The moderate temperatures in the months of February, March and April are ideal for all kinds of outdoor activities including golf, tennis, baseball, hiking and… house painting. OK, some activities are best left to the professionals. Scheduling your exterior house painting projects before the temperatures climb into triple digits is a smart idea and a wise investment in your home.

The southwest is the hottest region in the United States. At an elevation of 1,000 feet, Phoenix experiences phenomenal sunshine year-round and extreme sun exposure during the long months of summer. Protecting your exterior siding or stucco with quality paints and workmanship is essential to the upkeep of your home. It may be over-simplifying, but paint is like sun block for your house. You don’t need to be an expert or professional painter to recognize the damage done by the intensity of the sun’s ultra violet rays as you drive through the neighborhoods of Phoenix. In more moderate zones, it is recommended to apply a fresh coat of paint every seven to 10 years depending on wear and tear. In Arizona, it’s ideal to paint exteriors every five years. Here’s three reasons why spring is the ideal time of year for your exterior home painting project.

Perfect Temperature

Average springtime temperatures in Phoenix hover between 75 to 80 degrees, which is absolutely perfect for exterior house painting. In summer, the surfaces and siding can get so hot it’s not beneficial to apply paint. Cooler temperatures in spring allow for ideal application of paint with normal drying times.

Dry Surfaces, Less Rain and Humidity

In spring, the exterior surfaces of your home (wood, stucco, brick and metal) are naturally dry and ideal for painting. As June approaches, the humidity and summer storms pickup, which create unique challenges for house painters. Wet surfaces or a torrential downpour on freshly painted houses can wreak havoc on the curing process of the paint. Drying and hardening of the paint is best in a totally dry environment.

Happier Painters

Exterior painting in the middle of a Phoenix summer heatwave is a tall order. Working outdoors in springtime, on the other hand, is a pleasure. The paint is literally easier to apply and let’s face it, happy painters make the jobs go smoother.

To speak with an expert, friendly painting professional, contact Ellsworth Home Services at 480-593-2265.

Interior Paint Finishes – Know Your Sheen

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Perusing the paint department of your local hardware store, you’ll likely notice a variety of paint finish options. Paint manufacturers have many names for their different sheens to make this even more confusing. Because the sheen chosen is just as important as getting the paint color right, you want to choose carefully. For most paint projects, you’ll likely have to choose two or more types of finish. Here are the basics of interior paint finishes to help guide your decision.

Flat

Flat paint looks just like it sounds. It creates a dull, almost velvet-like finish that is ideal for living rooms, home offices and formal dining rooms. Flat paint is the easiest to touch up and adds a particularly nice depth of color to walls. However, it absorbs stains and can’t be effectively washed. So, it’s not a good idea in children’s rooms or other highly-used areas.

Low Sheen

Also called eggshell, satin, low-luster or silk, low sheen paint is less porous than flat paint, but not shiny. Because it can be wiped down, it’s a smart choice for kitchens and bathrooms. It can even be used for kids’ bedrooms, hallways and family rooms.

Medium Sheen

This type of paint is sometimes called semi-gloss or soft-gloss. Highly durable and easy to clean, it’s most often used for doors, windows and trim. Yet, don’t be tempted to use medium sheen for entire walls as it will result in a cheap, plastic-like look.

High Sheen

With the hardest, smoothest finish, high sheen paint, also called gloss, is the right choice for doors, windows and trim that get a lot of use. Dirt and stains don’t stick to high sheen paint, making it especially easy to clean. This finish is never used on walls or ceilings.

It can be challenging to determine the right interior paint finish for your painting project. This is why it’s always a wise idea to work with a painting professional. At Ellsworth Home Services, we have the experience and know-how to help you choose the finishes that will work best for your home. Call us at 480-593-2265 to find out more about how we can help you.

Interior Paint Trends for Phoenix Area Homes in 2018

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Just as fashions change over time, so do interior paint color trends. Here in the Valley of the Sun, paint colors tend to reflect our unique landscape and climate. As well, there’s a natural desire to choose colors that create soothing, comfortable, yet casual spaces. Still, interior paint trends continue to evolve, and the following are some of the most prevalent for the year ahead.

Muted Modern

Mid-century modern continues to be a popular style in the greater Phoenix area for good reason. Inspired by once part-time resident Frank Lloyd Wright, this architectural style is found in many valley neighborhoods. Colors, such as cool grey, robin’s egg blue and other soft muddied pastels serve as a neutral but sleek backdrop for the sleek angles of these homes and their furnishings.

Defined Spaces

With many homes being renovated with large open concepts, painting one wall or even half a wall can define a space, such as a dining area or reading nook. A pop of color, such as vermillion, aqua or fuchsia, can turn an otherwise empty area into a unique space.

Cozy Retreats

With our surplus of sunshine, many of us crave a break into a darker haven, particularly in a bedroom or study. Deep, light-absorbing colors can create a cocoon-like effect. Paint colors such as slate, midnight blue and yes, even black, produce a stylish and dramatic, yet comforting vibe that can create a space perfect for introspection and relaxation.

Ethnic Vibes

Phoenix residential architecture is incredibly diverse. From homes inspired by Tuscan villas to estates that reflect the style of Moorish palaces, there’s plenty of inspiration from far-flung places. Choosing interior paint colors that reflect a cultural connection is a growing trend away from the tried-and-true white walls. Even if you have a home that lacks unique exterior style, you can still create a global look by choosing paint colors inspired by ethnic prints, tropical motifs and indigenous handiwork. Rich, spicy colors such as cinnamon, plum, and cerulean can transform even the blandest room into an exotic, bohemian space.

Natural Reflections

Here in the desert, we are surrounded by natural beauty. Bringing the colors of our landscape inside can create a seamless, rustic and soothing environment that just feels right. Consider interior paint colors like rusty browns, goldenrod, terracotta and sage.
It’s surprising just what is possible with paint. Of course, this starts with professional interior painting. Call Ellsworth Home Services today to schedule a free estimate.

Fall: The Ideal Season for Exterior House Painting in Phoenix

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Most national house painting experts will tell you that late spring and summer are the best times to paint your home. Yet, things are different here in the Valley of the Sun. When it comes to exterior house painting in Phoenix and the surrounding areas, exterior painting is possible all year long, and fall is particularly favorable. What makes fall a great time for house painting? Here are some reasons why you may want to schedule your exterior paint project now.

Less Temperature Fluctuation

The fall months in the greater Phoenix metro area are known for being delightful – not too hot, not too cool. It’s an ideal time for painting when daytime and nighttime temperatures fluctuate the least.

The temperature range at which it’s best to paint the exterior of a home varies on the type and brand of paint. In general, it’s optimal to paint between the temperatures of 50 degrees and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. This will give time for the paint to cure properly while not drying so fast that brush strokes can’t be evened out.

Less Moisture

Monsoon storms and summer humidity can create a challenge for painting homes in Arizona. For the best results, paint needs to be applied to a dry surface. When there is a hard rain, it’s important to let the surfaces sit for at least one full day before painting. For more porous surfaces, like wood and masonry, it may be necessary to wait even longer. Once monsoon season is over, there is typically an ideal window of time of low humidity before winter storms set in. This is the perfect time to schedule your exterior paint project. The ideal amount of moisture in the air for exterior painting is between 40 and 70 percent.

At Ellsworth Home Services, we take all weather variables into account to determine the best time to paint your home’s exterior. As your professional home painting team, you are always assured that we will paint only when we can apply a long-lasting coat of paint. In other words, we will wait for the right conditions. Now is the right time to discuss your exterior painting needs with us. Call Ellsworth Home Services now at 480-593-2265 for a free estimate or for answers to all your home painting questions.