Great Expectations Painting

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Signs It’s Time To Paint Your House

We all know that an exterior house-painting project can be inconvenient, expensive, and time consuming. But if you do prepare and do it right, it can be much easier than you think. Hiring painting professionals can make the entire process completely painless. Exterior painting is an excellent investment that extends the integrity and appearance of your home, your greatest asset.
When it comes to the elements, paint is your home’s first defense. The outside of your house is also the very first impression that guests and potential buyers receive. Sometimes, it’s obvious that you need to repaint. When paint fades, chips, or peels, those are sure signs that your home needs a new coat. However, there are some more subtle signs that you need to paint your house as soon as possible.

Your house is new

When a new house is built, contractors spray a single coat of paint over pre-primed wood. This one coat is usually insufficient to prevent swelling or shrinkage. As an owner, you should plan on painting your new home within five years to ensure a good layer of protective paint, before much damage has occurred. This steps tends to be overlooked by new home owners, leading to more severe damage down the road that is more costly to repair.

Flaking, bubbling, or cracking


If you’ve noticed any flaking, bubbling, or cracking in your paint, this signals some problems. These problems include dry rot, wet rot, or mold caused by failed weatherproofing. This damage can also be caused by strong sunlight, harsh North Idaho winters, extreme humidity, or storms. If your visual inspection brings up any of these signs, it is time to paint, and soon.

Fading

Different paints fade at different rates. Darker colors will always fade faster than lighter ones. Abnormal fading rates can indicate problems with the vapor barrier or with water intrusion. To determine if this is a problem, look with stains dripping downward on the paint. If you can’t pinpoint the source of the problem, don’t be afraid to reach out to an expert for professional help.

Hardened Caulk

Caulk is designed to move and settle with your house. However, as caulk ages, it begins to lose its elasticity. This can be caused by extreme weather cycles common in North Idaho, like sunny days and freezing cold nights. If your caulk is hard to the touch and lacks give, start thinking about re-caulking. If your caulking was done at the same time as your last repaint, it may be a good idea to throw on some fresh paint as well.

Altered Paint Color

UV light tends to fade paint. It can even transform the pigment into a different shade. Beiges can turn into pinks very quickly when exposed to harmful sun radiation. A good-quality exterior paint with UV protection will prevent this change from occurring and make your paint last longer.

Painting is a costly project in more ways than one. It costs money, time, and energy that you may want to spend elsewhere. However, it is important to consider the long-term benefits of painting your house regularly. By increasing the lifespan of your home’s exterior to boosting curb appeal, there is truly no better investment for your home. If you are looking to hire a professional company to complete your exterior paint project to your expectations, contact Great Expectations Painting. Our experts are always available to give you a free, no-obligation bid to help advise you in the right direction. We will make sure that you’re able to give your guests the best first impression of your home possible.

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How to Choose Your Perfect Interior Paint Color

Choosing a color for your interior paint project can put a lot of pressure on you. This is the color you’ll be looking at every single day for (hopefully) a very long time! All of the different colors, sheens, and brands available can seem overwhelming at first. But with these tips, we hope you’ll be able to choose your colors with confidence!

Where do I start?

There’s a lot of colors out there. That being said, the easiest way to choose your perfect interior paint color is to start with colors that you love. When you pick your very favorite colors, you aren’t trapped within the confines of traditional color schemes. By using a unique and personal color, you can create your own color palette that is unique to you and doesn’t look common or boring.

Look for inspiration

Magazines and catalogs are great sources of inspiration and information. Home improvement stores have been using these for decades to help spark colorful ideas in their clients. More modernly, the internet is the best place to search for color ideas. Pinterest, instagram, and even Google images are great places to start your hunt on the perfect color scheme.

Get Creative With Neutrals

Neutrals don’t have to be blah. You can bring beautiful life to a neutral palette by being creative with how the colors are used. Consider stripes and texture to add style while keeping the room relaxed. Neutrals leave lots of room for fun decorations without looking visually overwhelming. Some homeowners like to paint the walls with neutral colors and use a brighter pigment on the ceiling. This is a subtle way to bring excitement to an otherwise mild room.

Use a Print

Have a favorite comforter, pillow, or rug? Use it to design your color scheme! Using your favorite pattern as a focal point for the room is a great way to tie the space together. It is also a sneaky way to draw attention to the best parts of the room. You can take a fabric swatch to the paint store, or bring the whole thing! Choose the brightest colors in the print for accent walls, or the smaller details of the fabric for a larger space.

Find Your Color in Art

This is a trick used by successful interior designers. Choose colors from artwork. You can choose colors directly from the piece, or create a unique color scheme using complimentary colors. Take a photo of your artwork to match at the paint store to be sure you get it right the first time. You will be amazed at how the space comes together!

Sample, sample, sample

Arguably the most important tip on this page, this one should be considered a rule. Never skip sampling your paint colors. You may be surprised at how different paint will look on your walls and under the lighting of your home during different times of the day. Paint also tends to look much different when it dries, depending on the type of wall you are using it on. When you are spending this much money and time on a project, you want it to be right the first time. Do NOT skip this step. If you go to the back of any paint store, you will find stacks of cans of returned paints from those people who didn’t sample before they committed. You don’t want to be one of them.

Use A Color Consultant

There is a lot to know about color. If you find yourself doubting your knowledge and would prefer professional help, don’t be afraid to reach out to experts. Our amazing color consultants are more than happy to you at any step in your progress. They will consider the lighting of your home, the architecture, and your personal style to choose the perfect colors for you. We can provide paint ideas to sample, all the way to a custom-designed color palette for your entire home, interior and exterior. Feel free to contact us any time for a free estimate!

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Choosing the Right Paintbrush

When it comes to brushes, you really do get what you pay for. A good brush is worth the investment, as choosing the wrong brush can lead to unfortunate results. Whether it’s bristles stuck in your paint or huge streak marks, the brush may be the culprit. If you’ve ever chosen the cheapest brush assuming they were all the same, you were probably met with a subpar finished product – and now you know why! The brush makes all the difference. Quality paintbrushes hold more product, allowing you to apply the paint more evenly. Good brushes are also easy to clean, letting you finish your job faster. Fortunately, paintbrushes aren’t too complicated, so let’s dive in!

Know your options

Several different types of paintbrush styles line paint stores across the country. Natural-bristle brushes are fairly common and are great for oil-based paints, varnishes, shellac, and polyurethane. Natural bristle brushes are made from animal hairs that absorb more paint and assure a smooth release and finish. Hybrid brushes, also known as blended nylon/polyester brushes, work well with all types of latex paints. They are easy to clean, durable, and produce a quality finish. Best of all, hybrid brushes have a lifespan of several years or more. Polyester brushes also work with latex paints. They do a great job of applying paint evenly and smoothly.

Consider your job

Knowing your paint is an important first step in choosing the right brush. If you are working with an oil-based paint, it is best to use natural-bristle or hybrid brushes. On the other hand, water-based latex paint agrees best with synthetic brushes. Synthetic brushes are made from nylon or polyester. Hybrid brushes contain a combination of both.
Also consider the different styles of brushes as well. While it is easy to pick a bristle type and end there, know that different end types exist and some are better than others for certain jobs. Flat brushes are best for wide, flat surfaces like siding. Wider angled brushes work well for cutting in around corners, doors, and windows. Thinner angled brushes are great for trim.

Compare

When examining potential paintbrushes, look for tightly-packed bristles from top to bottom that spring back when you bend them. Also look for bristles that vary in length, as this allows for more detailed work. Our experts recommend that you also gently pull on the bristles. A good-quality brush won’t release many bristles, if any.
At the end of the day, you should choose the brush that feels best in your hand. In order to get a feel for how the brush will perform, try “painting” the floor or wall of the store. Note the control of the brush and the feel of the brush in your hand.

Our experts here at Great Expectations Painting are available to help you choose the perfect brush. We have great connections with the best paint companies in town that can hook you up with the perfect tools for your job. A great paint job starts with a great brush, and we are here to help you every step of the way, from ceilings to trim.

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Fighting Mold: When To Call In Experts

Once, when working on replacing a floor at my old home, we came across a dark, smelly, unhealthy problem that affects millions of Americans: mold. What is household mold and when is it too big of a problem to fix by yourself?

What Is Mold?


Mold is classified as a fungi (like mushrooms) that grow in colonies of millions of cells. Fungi reproduces by releasing spores into the air. This can cause people to become sick when these spores enter the airways and affect the body. Just like mushrooms outside, mold grows well in dark, wet places. In your home, your main areas of concern include basements and bathrooms. Water-damaged houses after flooding tend to attract mold as well.

Types

However the mold got there, it has to go. But what exact type you are dealing with will change the best course of action to remove it. Four main types of mold grow in homes in the United States:

  • Alternaria – Often found in carpets and textiles, causes hypersensitivity and allergy-like symptoms.
  • Aspergillus – Very common in our atmosphere, breathed by most people with no side effects. It grows indoors in very wet and humid conditions.
  • Cladosporium – An abundant outdoor type that rarely causes hay fever-like symptoms, often collecting in porous, wet areas like damp wood.
  • Penicillium – A very common indoor type that will grow on wallpaper and decaying fabrics.

None of these molds listed are called “black mold.” Although often a worry of homeowners, the dangerous “black” Stachybotrys is fortunately rare. However, if you have long-lasting unexplained allergy-like symptoms, you should investigate to find the cause. Check up on your basement and bathrooms regularly to ensure that you haven’t been infested without your knowledge. 

What do I do if I have mold?

If you do have one of these species in your home, won’t know until someone tests a sample of the fungi. You should call a local professional to perform these tests. The inspector can tell you the type as well as the health implications and removal process for whatever biological enemy you are up against. If the tester can advise you how to remove the problem, and the infestation itself doesn’t take up a large area, it could be a good choice to save money and remove the problem yourself. This is easily done if the material is easily cleaned or replaceable.

If the infestation is very large, caused by flooding, or inside your heating, cooling, or ventilation systems, leave the problem to professionals to handle. Additionally, those with autoimmune disease or negative health effects from the mold should seek outside help. Our best advice for owners involves preventing mold altogether. Remember to check up on the hidden, dark, wet, or underground parts of your home regularly. Keep air moving and humidity as low as you can throughout the year. Also, check for leaky pipes and fixtures to keep your house spore-free.

Once you get rid of the culprit, our experts here at Great Expectations Painting are happy to advise you in the best next steps for recovering what was lost. Mold can rot or destroy paint if left untreated. For all of your follow-up repainting needs, we are here to help!

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Should You Stain or Paint Your Fence?

Refinishing your fence with either paint or stain is a great way of improving the look of your home. Painting or staining can also help your fence last longer. Putting in a bit of extra work can extend the lifespan of your fence by providing some additional protection against insects, rot, and normal wear and tear from the elements. Here in North Idaho, we tend to experience extreme temperatures. High temperatures followed by extreme lows can cause your fence to wear out faster than it would in more neutral temperature zones.

Paint or Stain?

So how do you choose between staining and painting? While there are benefits to both, our experts recommend staining a fence over painting it. Wood tends to absorb stain, while paint likes to stay on top of most wood. This means that as paint ages, it peels, chips, and appears worn. In comparison, since stain is absorbed deep into the wood, it just fades as it ages. Stains don’t chip or peel like paint does over time.

Paint can start peeling off of a fence in a year or less. Especially during harsh winters like those seen in the Inland Northwest, the lifespan of outdoor painted wood is greatly reduced. Depending on the quality of paint used, your fence job may last a bit longer. However, you can expect to see significant wear on a painted fence within the first 4 years. Cedar, in particular, doesn’t agree with paint very well at all. Cedar needs to breathe. Covering this wood with paint basically suffocates it, greatly reducing the lifespan of the wood. This is especially important to consider because most contractors recommending using cedar for fences due to its long lifespan. Of course, if you follow this direction, be sure to stain the wood and avoid painting it so this remains true.

Colors

Contrary to popular belief, staining a fence doesn’t mean you will have to compromise on fun colors. You aren’t limited to different shades of brown. Many great quality stains exist in vibrant reds, blues, greens, pinks, and purples. There is truly a stain for every style. You just have to know where to look! Our experts here at Great Expectations Painting will help you pick out the perfect stain for your project. If you prefer the natural look of wood, you can always choose a semi- or transparent stain, allowing you to see the true beauty of the wood itself.

Cost

So which costs more- paint or stain? It all comes down to lifespan. Stain won’t have to be replaced as often as paint, which means you’ll spend less on it in the long run. Initially, stain costs less than paint, but you will need more of it. The initial investment of staining your tends to be around equal to or slightly more than the initial investment of painting your fence. It is also important to take time into account – as we all know that time equals money. You have to take into account the amount of time you’ll spend scraping and sanding away peeling paint. This time won’t have to be taken for a stained fence. You can simply clean the fence and reapply the stain, saving you tons of time.

In conclusion, it is ultimately your decision whether you should paint or stain your fence. Both projects result in completely unique and beautiful finished products. Though we are a painting business, we at Great Expectations Painting understand the difference between painting a house and painting a fence. Overall, if you’re looking for an easy project and a beautiful product, choose staining. If you’re willing to invest in the right wood and put in some extra time for touch ups, you may enjoy painting your fence instead. Either way, you will add interest and value to your home.

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The Popcorn Ceiling: Gone Stale?

We all have fond memories as children of lying in bed and looking up at the bumpy white ceiling. Perhaps you used your imagination to make shapes and faces in the patterns. Or, if you were like me, maybe you tried to scrape the bumps off with your fingernails and were met with a face full of dust and temporary blindness. But why was this ceiling style such a common memory in our childhoods? What is the purpose of the bumpy ceiling? Why aren’t we seeing them as much anymore? Is it worth the time, money, and effort to replace yours? Let’s dive into the history and significance of the ceiling we all know so well.

The history

The popcorn ceiling, also known as a cottage cheese ceiling, stucco ceiling, or acoustic ceiling, began its rise to fame in the 1930s and retained its popularity until the late 70s. A Styrofoam or stucco mixture gives the famed texture. The effect is achieved by spraying the mixture directly on the ceiling. By doing this, the homeowner could avoid repairing and painting their ceiling altogether. This proved to be much more affordable than other ceiling painting methods, and thus began its increase in popularity. Spraying a ceiling with the texture is quick, easy, and cheap, so it is no surprise that many families opted in.

Unfortunately, scientists soon discovered asbestos as the binding agent in most of these ceilings. Asbestos is a known carcinogen when inhaled. The traditional popcorn ceiling was consequently banned. However, contractors began replacing asbestos with Styrofoam to continue this process legally. Though the popcorn ceiling isn’t nearly as popular as it was in the mid 20th century, they are still commonly found in older homes. This is why popcorn ceilings appear old-fashioned or even vintage.

Should you replace your popcorn ceiling?

The decision to replace your popcorn ceiling is ultimately up to you. While some prefer the look of a smooth, even ceiling, others prefer the dimension and depth given by the bumpy texture. There are benefits to having a popcorn ceiling. These ceilings don’t need to be painted as often. They also do an excellent job covering imperfections, like holes, cobwebs, dirt, and scuffs. In addition, popcorn ceilings (also known as acoustic ceilings) absorb sound waves and provide great noise insulation. Texture helps muffle noise, especially beneficial if you have downstairs neighbors!

While there are upsides to keeping your popcorn ceiling, there are several drawbacks. The texture is known for being very difficult to clean. It is also nearly impossible to repair without hiring outside help. Many popcorn ceilings will also test positive for asbestos, so be sure to have it professionally tested before attempting to repair or replace it.

Overall, there is no right answer when it comes to deciding to replace a popcorn ceiling. However, in general, replacement is a good idea if you want to increase resale value of your home. But if you appreciate the sound insulation and texture that these ceilings provide, there is value in keeping your popcorn ceiling. Here at Great Expectations Painting, our interior painting experts will help you navigate this decision. We can handle the entire replacement process if you so choose. Our painters can also paint over the texture, or totally leave it alone. We will present your options and offer advice, but overall, your ceilings are the last thing you see before going to sleep every night, so it is important to us that you love what you see.

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Interior Painting: How to Choose the Right Finish for Each Room in Your House

Finishes & Interior Painting

If you have just jumped in to your first interior painting project, things can get very overwhelming very quickly. There is so much more to paint than just color. When ordering your paint, you’ll need to choose a brand, base, quality, and sheen for each color and amount. First and foremost, let’s talk about price. The shiniest, high-sheen paint will always cost more than flat or matte. As you go up the “sheen” scale, price increases by a few dollars at each step towards high gloss.

When it comes to finishes, a typically good rule to follow is that sheen = durability. The higher the shine, the more damage it will be able to withstand and the longer it will last. A high sheen means high shine, and high shine means a longer life for your paint. The lowest amount of sheen is flat/matte, slightly higher than flat is eggshell, and then satin, semi gloss, and high gloss is the highest sheen available. While a painting novice may be tempted to paint the entire house in the cheapest type of finish, it is actually incredibly important to choose the right sheen for each area of your house in order to save as much money as possible and increase the lifespan of your paint job.

Kitchen

For kitchen painting projects, your best choice is always going to be a high-gloss finish. High gloss is the most durable sheen available. Because your kitchen will typically experience more chemical-based daily wear and tear than your other rooms (think smoke from burnt bacon, oil splatters from frying chicken, and residue from cooking spray), you must choose a finish that can withstand damage and constant cleaning. The paint sheen required for this must be tough, and high gloss is a perfect choice. This sheen is ideal for doors, trim, and 

cabinets, but isn’t best for interior walls due to its light-reflective nature. Extra care must be taken when using high-gloss paint due to its super high shine, which causes any imperfections to be super-visible. Be sure to take your time during this portion of your painting project, or hire some professionals to help you.

 

 

Family Room

For a family room, you’ll want a paint that can be easily cleaned and stand up to high amounts of traffic. The best choice for this lively room would be a satin or semi-gloss finish. Semi-gloss has a high level of durability that can handle moisture, pet dirt, and grime, and is also ideal for trim and anywhere that takes a significant amount of daily damage. Satin is another great choice due to its ability to be very easily cleaned. A satin finish also has a uniquely beautiful luster. However, it does show flaws more than semi-gloss and doesn’t do as well when touched up. For this reason, satin tends to be cheaper than semi-gloss. When it comes to paint, you do get what you pay for, and investing in the integrity of your home is always a good choice in the long run.

Dining Room

Your dining room area is typically low-traffic and well-decorated. In order to impress your guests, you’ll want a clean and smooth-looking finish with no imperfections. The best choice for this would be eggshell. Eggshell is a fairly flat finish with little luster, similar to a chicken egg. This sheen does a great job of covering imperfections like brush strokes and drips, and is ideal for an area with lower traffic and bright lights.

 

Bedroom

For the lowest-trafficked area in your home, you will likely want a flat or matte finish. The high-pigment wall coverage will help reduce your overall paint costs. Flat sheens are always the cheapest price point for finishes and provide the most pigment and therefore the most coverage.This means you can use less paint in the same amount of space. Eggshell paints tend to absorb light rather than reflecting it. This makes it ideal for covering imperfections. Eggshell finishes are harder to clean and this makes it ideal for low-trafficked areas such as the master bedroom.

The highly-trained painters at Great Expectations Painting will always choose the right sheens for each area of your home. Whether it’s interior or exterior, we know which level goes where. Keeping your budget in mind, our professionals will help direct you in choosing the perfect paint to make your home shine in the best way possible.

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Pressure Washing In Fall

Pressure WashFall is here, and with it, a build-up of leaves, sticks, moss, mud and other debris. Before things start to freeze, pressure washing can be a good way to clean up before the winter snows arrive. Great Expectations Painting in Coeur d’Alene offers pressure washing services to any size property that needs it!

Why So Much Pressure?

When you force your thumb over the end of a hose, that reduces the stream and increases the pressure of the water leaving the tube. Pressure washers use electric or gas motors with a water pump to artificially increase the pressure of water coming from your hose. This water is so powerful it can be used to remove leaves, caked on dirt, paint, and even damage stone.

When you use a pressure washer, remember that it can remove bark from trees and cut skin. This (and the fact many people do not own pressure washers) is a good reason to seek professional assistance. Wood and vinyl siding will hold up to pressure washing, but aluminum might dent unless you use a very low setting. Often the machine’s pressure is set to one constant setting, and you need to use a different nozzle to control the intensity of the wash.

Asphalt and concrete hold up well to pressure washing. You can also remove dust and pollen from windows, wash decks, and clear gutters before winter rain and snow fill them up.Pressure Wash

Some people attempt to pressure wash their roofs to remove moss and other debris. This is dangerous, can damage tiles and is not recommended. There are alternative ways to remove moss such as using a bleach/water mixture.

Regular maintenance throughout the year will keep paint lasting longer, cause less damage to wood and keep your property looking clean and beautiful. We at Great Expectations Painting are confident we can pressure wash whatever you need in this fall season.

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Halloween Painting Ideas

As the scariest holiday of the year approaches, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the possibilities of arts and crafts that you can make with your family. From pumpkins to over-the-top front yard graveyards, Halloween can be a creative bonanza! Here are a few painting ideas to get you on the right path for the trick-or-treating holiday.

HalloweenPainting Pumpkins

Everyone knows how to carve a pumpkin. It’s as American as apple pie. But did you know that you can paint a pumpkin for even more creative applications? Have your kids paint their favorite cartoon characters, or write a message to the children coming to your door. One stylish option to last all of autumn is to use metallic or high-gloss paint. You can paint a few stripes or other patterns outside of your gourds.  

Painting CutoutsHalloween

Give your house a classic photo opportunity with a wooden cutout. Grab an old piece of plywood, screw a couple of 2 by 4’s to the bottom corners to keep it upright. Now, you can cut a few holes at different heights in the wood. Next, have the neighborhood kids paint witches, mummies, and vampires around the face holes. Add a “trick or treat” message or something equally festive. Now you’ve got an easy, fun project that you can bring out of the garage every Halloween for the next group of kids to remember.  

Painting WindowsHalloween

Painting the panes of windows can seem like heresy to some, but buying an old barn window from the antique shop can create a fun little project for Halloween. Buy some transparent glass paints and some opaque acrylics and make the illusion of a ghost or skeleton looking out from behind a window!


At Great Expectations Painting, we will complete any project, no matter how big or small. We also have interior designers that can recommend colors and paints that will be more versatile and long-lasting than just Halloween, to keep your projects useful for longer.

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Painting In Rain And Water

Northern Idaho is seeing its first taste of fall rain this week! And while we aren’t seeing downpours the likes of hurricanes Harvey and Irma, it can feel like the time for finishing building, construction, and painting projects is running short. Here is some advice on how to keep painting even in the midst of rain and bad weather:

Only Stop Painting When It’s Actually Raining

 

It’s easy to miss the obvious, but you only have to stop painting when it is actually raining. Overcast skies and “smelling rain” isn’t going to ruin your progress. Keep painting even if the weather isn’t favorable until raindrops start to fall from the sky. If you feel rain, take a break and waPaintingit for it to pass. Modern latex or water-based paints become tacky dry very quickly in the thin layers most people apply. Whatever you just started to paint before the rain began is unlikely to be ruined by a drizzle. In the Northwest a lot of our rain comes at night, so most mornings you can get started painting again if it persists all day.

 

Unless It’s A Downpour, You Probably Won’t Have To Repaint


Like I mentioned earlier: Modern paint dries quickly enough to withstand most precipitation. However, if a large downpour begins within an hour of your last coat, it will probably need to be redone. How resistant your new paint is to the elements is obviously variable: Oil paints take longer to dry and the impact of rain becomes greater in areas of more humidity. Use your own judgment and see how it turns out.

 

You Will Have To Wait Longer After Power washing Than After Rain

PaintingIf you are power washing your painting surface, it will take much longer to dry than if it had merely rained in that area. This is because the high pressure soaks water into the wood and other materials instead of resting on the surface. Rain is much lower pressure than our mechanical inventions, and materials will be ready to paint after rainfall much faster.

Hopefully, these tips will give you some confidence to continue painting in the rain and tough weather fast approaching this fall! Remember, if all else fails the teams here at GEP will brave any weather (until winter!) to give you the service you need.