A Word About Interior Paints and Sheens
Interior Paints

You have two options for wall or ceiling paint when discussing "sheen" or the amount of shine the paint will have. For our purposes we will only discuss "flat" and "egg-shell" (satin) sheens. The trend today is away from shiny paints - nothing says "rent house" faster than shiny walls. So, we will discuss the positive and negative traits of flat paints and eg-shel paints for your interior surfaces.

Flat paint

Many people complain about the paint the builder applied to the walls and ceilings of their homes. People say, "When you try to wash these walls the paint comes right off." Homeowners think this is horrible and somehow think the builder was trying to "pull a fast one". On the contrary, the builders select paints that serve THEIR purpose of selling houses. They have one job - to get you to close on the house with the least hassle possible. The paints that make this possible are those that:
  • Are easy to touch-up, that is the touch-up area blends into the surrounding paint easily
  • Hide texture imperfections, sheet rock imperfections and, to some extent framing errors
  • Are standard colors that are made in bulk in consistent colors
  • Do not cost a lot of money
  • If "color" is of supreme importance, flat paint will provide the most true color
  • If you have a room with two-story walls (entries, family rooms, etc.) I strongly recommend using flat paint (to hide surface imperfections)
  • If you have selected an ultra-deep color it will look better in a flat
  • Flat paint is opaque so it will cover walls and other colors easier requiring less paint and less labor ultimately costing you less
  • Flat paint DOES hide surface imperfections better and provides a "softer" look
  • Touching-up the walls is more successful when using flat paint
  • Flat paint costs less
If you've concluded that we think flat paint is a good thing, you're right. Modern flat paint formulations for "repaint" purposes are much more livable and much better than what the builder used in the home.

All of the above is in favor of flat paint and I promised this would be pros and cons. So what's wrong with flat paint? You can't wash it and it shouldn't be used in high-humidity areas. With that in mind, I don't recommend using flat in bathrooms, utility rooms, or kitchen areas.

Eg-shel paint

Flat paint isn't washable but eg-shel paint is, to a degree. In addition to the areas mentioned above where flat paint shouldn't be used you might consider using it in children's play rooms or along discrete stairway walls where little hands tend to touch. Eg-shel allows you to do a fair job of cleaning soiled areas more easily.

Some people like the soft sheen that eg-shel provides but you should be aware that your selected color will look different (usually lighter) in an eg-shel sheen. Again, if color is important, make sure you double-check the color in eg-shel before you commit to painting a large area. Similarly, colors that are what I call "sun colors" (yellows, golds, ambers) can look quite different in eg-shel; and they are greatly affected by the sun (looks different in the morning than afternoon - different still on cloudy days versus sunny days).

Be aware too that the tinting agent (colors that get added at the paint store to make your selected hue) adds shine. This means that if you have dark red walls in eg-shel that are next to lighter walls painted in eg-shel; the red walls (or any ultra-deep color) will look shinier. This can be disconcerting because the dark walls will look like semi-gloss. There, so now you know everything. Let's get started!

Customer Pre-Painting Checklist
In an effort to ensure your safety and the protection of your personal property we ask that you follow the Customer Pre-Painting Checklist Prior to the arrival of our painting crew.

Interior Checklist
  • Please have your paint colors, stain colors and sheen chosen the day before we arrive.
  • Disconnect all audio equipment, electrical and computer equipment.
  • Remove knick-knacks, breakables and other personal items from tables, shelves, china cabinets and counter tops, and place in boxes or another room.
  • Remove pictures, wall hangings and lamps and place in a safe location.
  • If closets are to be painted, clothing and other items must be removed prior to our arrival.
  • If cabinets are to be painted, they will need to be emptied prior to our arrival.
  • Pets should be cared for so that our crew can complete their work and for the safety of your animals.
Exterior Checklist
  • Please have your paint colors, stain colors and sheen chosen the day before we arrive.
  • Pets must be secured and pet waste removed from the yard. Carnival Custom Painting will not be responsible for pets that get loose from the premises.
  • Tree, shrubs and vines must be trimmed away from the house to allow access by our painters and prevent damage to the new paint.
  • Remember to reschedule your lawn service, turn off you sprinklers and pool cleaner/skimmer. The spraying water will ruin the new paint.
  • Remove personal items and breakables from the patio areas.
  • Finally, make sure all windows are closed.
  • We appreciate your help in preparing for our arrival.

Just Listed! - Seven secrets to successfully staging your home
1. It's no longer your home

One of the most important things you can do when getting ready to sell your home is to accept that it will soon belong to another owner. Disassociate yourself with your home and see it as a product that you are now selling. Next, de-personalize your home by removing personal photos and family items. You want a potential to buyer to imagine their own family living in the home, not to see how your family is living there.

2. Increase curb appeal

The exterior appearance of a home is one of the most underemphasized factors in preparing a home to sell, but one of the most important. When a potential buyer drives up to look at your home, you want them to be immediately impressed. To ensure a great first impression, realtors recommend applying a fresh coat of paint to your exterior. When you do so, make sure you go with a neutral color and make the paint congruent. This is not the time to experiment with exciting new color schemes.

Here are a few more quick tips for increasing curb appeal:
  • Keep the lawn mowed and looking nice
  • Trim the bushes and trees
  • Pull out weeds, plant yellow flowers, and lay down new mulch to give your garden a fresh look
  • Pressure wash the sidewalk, drive, and exterior to make them like new
  • Clean the windows and make them sparkle
  • Make sure you have lively, green grass to attract buyers
3. Messes don't sell houses

It's not much of a secret, but a cluttered house detracts from your home's appearance. And if you do nothing else, clean up the messes around your house and clear the clutter. Remember, you want a buyer to be able to imagine living in your home, which means making it look like no one lives there. Think of a model home staged by a builder. Notice any clutter? If a buyer sees that things are picked up and well organized, the home will not only be more appealing visually, they will also assume that you have taken care of your home.
  • Pick up junk and clutter
  • Remove all books from bookcases
  • Do not leave things on the kitchen counters, including appliances like electric can openers and blenders
  • Put items used daily in a box out of sight but easily accessed
  • Neatly stack dishes in the cupboard
  • Clean and organize closets with shirts buttoned and facing the same direction and shoes lined in a row
4. Some things have got to go

Most houses show better with less furniture, so rent a storage unit and store furniture that crowds your rooms. Remove furniture that block paths and walkways. Since you have cleared your bookshelves, put those in storage too. Anything you can do to make rooms feel more spacious without making them seem desolate is advantageous. Take a leaf or two out of your dining room table to expand the size of the room. You still need furniture to showcase each room, but chances are good you could remove some.

5. Want to keep it, then store it

Remove any items you want to take with you that are currently a part of the house. If the grill bolted into your patio out back is going with you, do not leave it out back for potential buyers to see. Any light fixtures that you are particularly attached to should be remove, put in storage, and replaced. When people see something and find out they cannot have it, they suddenly want it. Avoid this hassle by removing it before you list your home.

6. Make minor repairs

You do not have to spend a fortune, but look at your budget and find out what minor repairs you can make to increase the value of your home.
  • Fix the leaky faucets
  • Replace cracked tile
  • Paint your walls neutral colors
  • Patch holes from walls, even little nail holes
  • Replace burnt-out light bulbs
7. The little things count, too

Walk through your home with a fresh set of eyes, and do the little things around the house to make it shine and keep it looking nice.
  • Dust (do not forget to dust the top of ceiling fan blades!)
  • Vacuum daily
  • Sweep and mop
  • Clean out the pantry and refrigerator
  • Clear out old cobwebs
  • Get rid of raggedy old rugs
  • Get the carpets cleaned and remove stains
  • Keep the beds made
  • Have fresh towels in the bathrooms
  • Bleach or clean dirty grout
  • Get musty rooms smelling fresh

Painting It Green and Keep It Clean
One of the first questions many homeowners ask before painting their home is "What effect will a new coat of paint have on my family's health?" Rightly so. According to the EPA, the concentration of harmful pollutants is several times greater inside your home than outside, and paint is certainly a contributing factor.

The harmful, airborne chemicals in paints and other products are known as VOCs-volatile organic compounds-and can eventually cause damage to our bodies. Air pollution from the odors and VOCs in paints, especially when a house is freshly painted, can potentially cause headaches, dizziness, fatigue, and asthma. However, new eco-friendly paints allow a painter to reduce the amount of VOCs applied when painting and help prevent the harmful effects of painting to our health and our environment.

New environmental regulations and consumer demand have caused paint producers to develop paints that limit VOC content and emissions by using natural alternatives to traditional, petroleum-based oil solvents. In addition, unlike with earlier natural paints, you no longer need to sacrifice quality to stay green when painting.

Newer eco paints are more durable, washable, and longer lasting than those that preceded them. Sherwin-Williams, the largest producer of paints and coatings in the United States, has come out with its own line of eco-friendly paints that have proven to hold up to high quality standards.

A couple of paint options that will cover your home without the harmful side effects:


Sherwin Williams' Harmony® latex coatings are a good option for anyone looking to cover occupied indoor areas while meeting the most stringent environmental coating specifications. The coatings are durable, zero-VOC, and low-odor. They also withstand frequent washings and resist mildew on the paint film because of their anti-microbial properties. The product is available in a Flat, Eg-Shel, Semi-Gloss, and Primer.

Duration HomeTM

Sherwin Williams' Duration HomeTM is also good for indoor jobs and offers low-VOC and low-odor paints. This paint is the best option for environment-friendliness and maximum performance. It is eco-friendly but is still a superior paint in quality:
  • Low VOC, lower odor
  • Most stains will wipe clean from the paint with water or mild soap
  • Stains will not easily penetrate the paint
  • Has superior burnishing resistance
  • Inhibits growth of mildew
  • Resists moisture and water streaking
  • Provides good hide and touch-up
  • Applies very easily and smoothly
Keep it green when the job is done

Whether painting with a standard oil or latex based paint or a more eco-friendly paint, it is important to follow certain measures and precautions to keep stored paint fresh, and to store and dispose of paints without harming the environment.

Storing paint:
  • Make sure the lid on the paint can is closed and sealed completely! Remember, if the lip on the lid is sticking up above the edge of the can it is not closed and sealed completely. It is helpful to use a rubber mallet to seal a lid onto a can.
  • Once you are sure that the lid is on correctly, store the can upside-down. This will ensure that the lid is on tight and prevent air from flowing in and out of the paint can. Storing a paint can properly will preserve the paint by keeping it from thickening and drying and preserve the environment by preventing any pollutants from escaping.
  • Be aware of where you store your paint. It's probably best to store paint in a garage, outside of people's living space, but be aware of temperature. Many eco paints are water-based, which means freezing will ruin them.
Disposing of old paint:
  • It is always best not to buy more paint than you need and prevent needing to dispose of unused paint. You can also keep paint and use it for touch up rather than disposing of it.
  • When disposing of paint yourself, dry out the paint first and scrape all dry paint from the inside and outside of the can. This can be done by simply exposing it to air or purchasing paint hardener to solidify the paint. Make sure you keep paint away from children and animals when allowing it to dry.
  • Dispose of the dry paint in a trash receptacle and recycle the medal can.
  • Never pour paint down a drain or into a storm sewer.

The Art of Selecting Color - Choosing Colors
Choosing colors for a space may seem complicated, but with a few key tips in mind, finding the right colors to suit your personal style can be simple and fun. In a space, color sets the mood and brings everything together, so it is important that it reflect your personality and décor.

Key Color Concepts

Before you get started with color, you should know a few simple terms and concepts that will help you along the way.

Color Wheel

The traditional color wheel consists of twelve colors: red, red-orange, orange, yellow-orange, yellow, yellow-green, green, blue, blue-green, blue-red-violet, violet and blue-violet. For a striking contrast, combine colors opposite each other on the color wheel in one room. These colors are called complementary colors. For a little variation but less contrast, pick analogous colors, colors directly next to each other on the color wheel. Choosing different shades of colors all from the same hue or color family creates a monochromatic color scheme.


Hue identifies the color group, such as red, blue, and yellow. Different shades of yellow are in the same hue.


Colors can be perceived as 'warm' or 'cool' depending on the particular color and the colors surrounding them. Cool colors - blues, greens, violets - tend to condense a space, bringing serenity and relaxation, while warm colors - reds, yellows, oranges - are more playful and tend to expand a space. Certain colors are inherently warmer or cooler than others, but colors in the same family can have a different temperature depending on their undertones and the colors that surround them. A red with violet undertones will seem cooler than a red with orange undertones. Likewise, a red next to a calm blue will seem cooler and more subtle than the same color next to a stark yellow.

Value and Intensity

These terms indicate how light or dark a color is. Intensity or chroma refers to how bright or dull a color is. A purer color contains less grey and is more intense, such as lime green or cherry red. Intense colors bring energy an excitement to a room; duller colors calm a room down.

Now, where to begin?

When exploring paint color options, first consider different architectural features and existing décor that you wish to match, highlight, tone-down, or compliment.

Decide what décor will stay and what will go, so you can base your color scheme on that which you already have in your home. Look at things such as tile, cabinets, and your stone fireplace. If your kitchen cabinets have a mahogany finish, pick a hue that works well with mahogany. You may have drapery that you like; make note of that and pick colors to match. Determine also what architectural features you may want to highlight such as crown molding or a niche. You may want to paint these with a contrasting paint or glossy finish for different effects.

Choose your colors

Color brings character into your home, so your paint colors should covey the character and feel that suits you.

Begin choosing your colors by creating a portfolio. Collect samples of colors you like from magazines, fabrics, paint samples, flowers from your garden, and pictures you've taken of your favorite scenes from nature. Also, look at the colors in your closet, as the clothes you wear daily will likely reveal the colors you are already comfortable with. Don't worry yet about matching colors or coming up with a color theme until you have your portfolio ready.

Now that you have decided what existing décor and features you want to work with in your home and have gathered inspiration in your portfolio, it's time to decide how you want the room to feel. Is it a social room, meant to be exuberant, open, and energized? Or do you want an inviting but relaxing ambiance? Look at the color samples you have gathered in your portfolio and find what colors you are drawn to. Consider different questions: Where do your colors fall on the color wheel? Are you drawn to intense colors or duller, calming colors? Warm or cool? Do you have many different colors or many shades of the same few colors? Try to group colors with these questions and other key color concepts in mind and decide what colors and themes most appeal to you.

It's time to see how the colors you have chosen will look in your space. Pull the color samples and see how they will look with the existing décor and lighting present. The colors and color schemes you choose will determine the look of the room. Here a few tips for choosing color:
  • To make a small space seem open, use light colors.
  • Repeating colors in different rooms will pull rooms together and create a sense of harmony.
  • Accent colors can highlight architectural features to define specific areas of your home.
  • Darker colors will bring out light colors in a room and can create a focal point in a room.
  • For a soft look, use a lighter color in a hue; for more drama, pick mid-range colors; for a bold look, select the darker colors.
  • Use existing features in your home as a natural break for color, especially in open spaces.
  • Consider how colors will flow throughout your home from room to room so you will have continuity.
These tips, along with the key color concepts will help you get an idea for the color schemes and choices that are right for you, but ultimately it's up to you. Choose the colors you are comfortable with and reflect the mood you want for your home.

Be Careful. Lighting and color affect color!

Lighting and surrounding colors will affect the way a color looks on your wall, so take color samples home with you and find out how they will look in your space.

A color will always appear different under natural light from what it does under artificial light. Condition of natural light and the type of artificial illumination also affect appearance. Most people consider direct sunlight the ideal light source, as it reveals the truest form of a color. However, natural sunlight changes throughout the day and with the seasons, which can also influence the appearance of a space. Under incandescent and halogen lights, warm colors are enhanced and cool colors are culled. Florescent lights, on the other hand, tend to enhance cool blues and greens while subduing warm yellows and oranges.

Another important thing to consider is what colors are in the room you are painting. Pay attention to all the colors in a room: furniture, carpet, wood floors, brick fireplaces, etc. When you bring a color home and paint it on the wall behind your red sofa, it probably will not seem the same as on the color wall in the paint store.

Most painting manufacturers have sample paints you can take home with you to explore. Try various paint samples directly on your wall in splotches or paint a poster board with different sample colors and hold it next to your wall to see how each will look. Think about the lighting and surrounding colors in the space you wish to paint and always preview colors in a room before making them a permanent part of your home's décor.

Remember, picking colors is not a science, and there are no guidelines you must follow. The colors you choose should be pleasing to your eye and generate the mood and feeling you desire. Most importantly, the colors in your home should express your personality and style.

Touching Up Your Paint
First the bad news. We get calls from time to time from homeowners who want us to "just touch up" some walls and trim. Most people are surprised when we tell them that there's almost no way we can do it and have them still be happy with our work. In most cases, we just can't be successful "touching up" your walls or trim. There are a host of problems associated with touching up; here are just a few:
  • You don't have the right paint in the garage. You think you do but you don't.
  • Paint store "matches" don't work. Different paint grades, different paint base stocks, computer matches, different paint sheens all conspire against you.
  • The paint in the garage is too old. Even high-quality touch up paint will not last forever in the can, especially if it isn't kept in the house.
  • The paint is IN the garage. Bringing paint from a 110-degree garage into a 76 degree house and trying to touch up is a recipe for problems.
  • The paint on your walls is probably darker now than when it was first applied. This is especially true if you still have the builder-grade paint on the walls.
  • You didn't shake/stir your touch up paint enough. You can't. If you are lucky enough to have some current paint, take it to the paint store and ask them to shake it for you.
  • You used a brush. Most people touch up with a big paint brush - wrong! If you ARE going to attempt to do some touch ups (after you've had the paint store shake/stir your paint) just use your index finger to touch the spots. Do a final, manual paint can shake before you start your touch ups; take the lid off the can; set the can aside and carry the lid around with you. Just touch your index finger into the paint on the lid and touch it to the walls. Think "small" when you're touching up and you'll have a greater chance of not seeing the new paint spots.
  • You didn't check a dry spot to make sure the color was right. Happens all the time; "looks" like the right color while it's wet but when it dries it's completely wrong. Most people, in an attempt to get "touching up" off of their task list, will just have at it and touch up the whole downstairs only to find that "Latte" isn't "Cafe Americano". So, touch up ONE TINY SPOT, let it dry and then go from there if it looks right. Stop it, you're using too much... Think Q-Tip...
  • Your oil enamel is all different colors throughout your home now. The oil enamel (base boards, doors, door jambs, window sills, crown moulding, cabinets) will turn yellow over time. All you have to do is open your pantry door to see an example of this. The oil enamel does turn yellow but it does this at differing rates throughout your home. Good luck on this one. Our recommendation? Reset everything to SW Alabaster.
So, by now you're asking, "What's the good news?" Well, the good news is that we're not going to be party to this fiasco unless:
  • We're there doing another project for you, and...we've checked and verified that your touch up paint is available and that it is "good"
  • You agree that some walls will require repainting completely to achieve a good result. This may mean that some walls will need a corner-to-corner/floor-to-ceiling repaint to get it to look right. This is about the only way that most touch ups "work".

Interior & Exterior Painting - What to Expect
Exterior Painting: What to Expect
  • Carnival Custom Painting will not be held responsible for pets that cause accidents around the work site or for pets that get loose while we are working.
  • The painters may store some of their equipment (ladders, etc.) on your property overnight, if required.
  • The painters will use your exterior house water supply faucets to clean their brushes, rollers, and other equipment.
  • Children should be discouraged from playing around the work site. We always strive for safety, and we will be using power saws, nail guns, lumber, loose nails, etc. while completing any repairs on your home.
  • We always check to make sure all of your exterior water supply faucets are completely turned off before we leave.
  • While we prefer you to move vehicles into the garage, or down the street while we are painting, we may cover vehicles left in the driveway with painter's plastic to ensure no paint gets on them.
  • Carnival Custom Painting will not be held responsible for damage to any items which are not removed or prepared according to this checklist.
Interior Painting: What to Expect
  • Carnival Custom Painting will disconnect any washer, dryer, or refrigerator ice-maker water supply as required for painting. It is your responsibility to reconnect them.
  • The painters will use your house water supply to clean their brushes, rollers, and other equipment.
  • We will remove and reinstall all wall switch plates and wall electrical plates, but we will not remove cable TV, cable internet, or wall phone jack plates. Due to liability issues regarding phone service, home security systems, and/or interruptions to internet service, the painters have been instructed to mask around these types of wall plates. Please feel free to remove and reinstall these types of connections yourself if you prefer us to paint behind them.
  • Carnival Custom Painting does not allow our painters to touch, paint, or manipulate the smoke detectors in your home at any time.
  • We normally do not remove ceiling or wall air conditioning vents for painting. They are left in place and we paint around them. We are happy to paint them the wall or ceiling color if you like, just let us know.
  • Carnival Custom Painting will not be held responsible for pets that cause accidents around the work site or for pets that get loose while we are working.
  • The painters may store some of their equipment (ladders, etc.) on your property overnight if required.
  • Carnival Custom Painting will not be responsible for damage to any items which are not removed or prepared according to this checklist.

Straight Talk on Working with Contractors
Your home is probably your most valuable financial asset. That's why when hiring a painting contractor, it's important to follow these simple common sense guidelines.

Beware of painters who:
  • Pressure you for an immediate decision.
  • Ask for money up front.
  • Can't produce a current certificate of insurance.
  • Only accept cash instead of a check or credit card.
  • Don't specify the material or just happen to have paint left over from another job.
Follow these tips for selecting a reputable trustworthy contractor:
  • Don't be pressured into a decision by a pushy salesperson. Get quotes from at least three reputable painting companies. Get a referral from a family member, friend or co-worker who has recently had a painting project completed. Other great resources include your local Better Business Bureau and Angie's List. Look for companies who are "Accredited" and have great ratings.
  • Beware of a contractor who requires a substantial down payment before any work has begun. An unscrupulous contractor will take your money and disappear. On larger projects it is not unreasonable for a contractor to require a deposit of 30% when work begins and draws as the project progresses based on work completed.
  • Any reputable contractor will carry and can produce proof of commercial liability insurance. This insurance is necessary to protect your home and its contents, as well as the contractor from any accidental damages.
  • Be wary of a contractor who works on a cash basis only. This may be an indication that they aren't paying taxes and can't be found if the project doesn't go as planned. A reputable contractor has a known history, references, Better Business Bureau ratings and long term advertising in place.
  • Products and materials that will be used on your project should be specified in writing. Be wary of painting contractors who "just happen to have some paint left over from a previous job". Remember, price and quality often go hand in hand.
It is important to choose a painting contractor you can trust, so outlined below are a few additional common sense guidelines to consider:
  • Get a detailed written proposal specifying scope of work, products, pricing, etc. When getting proposals from several contractors make sure you compare apples-to-apples keeping the criteria the same for each contractor.
  • Make sure you have your paint colors selected in advance to ensure a smooth start to the project.
  • Remember, you are going to allow this contractor and crew into your home. Do you trust him and have a good rapport?
  • Don't consider price alone. Trust, paint quality, the company's reputation, and years in business are just a few factors that should be considered before deciding.
  • What warranties or guarantees are offered on the materials and workmanship?
  • Get specific answers on how long the project will take and how many workers will be required to complete the project on time.
  • Incidental responsibilities such as moving furniture, removing window coverings, and clean up should be specified in the contract to avoid confusion.
  • Beware of painting contractors who solicit door to door, have no listing in the local phone book or with the Better Business Bureau and no website.