How Painting Your Home Saves You Money and the Environment, Too!

The biggest problems facing people today are the state economy and the state of the environment. And often it seems impossible to save your money and be good for the planet, too. Well, we can’t solve all the problems of the world by ourselves but we can do our part. By preserving what we have instead of replacing with new, by improving the efficiency of our home climate control and by keeping it from escaping it into the wind, a good paint job may all you need.

Yes, painting. “Painting” is the name we use for the trade of “finishing”. But it takes a whole lot more than painting to produce a quality finish. In fact, the most important part of the entire painting process is the prep work: filling and caulking. In essence, sealing your home!

Once all the cracks and holes have been filled and somewhere between priming and painting, a good painter will seal the gaps and seams around all your doors, windows and baseboards with a good quality paintable latex caulking. This not only gives you clean straight lines between wall and trim surfaces, it also eliminates air transfer in these areas between inside and out. And that means better climate control for greater comfort, lower energy bills and lower gas emissions into the environment. All in all, energy and cost savings for you AND the planet!

Another good tip while you’re painting is to take advantage of this opportunity to have your painter install insulators around the house in other places where air leaks traditionally occur. Many older homes are poorly insulated leaving structural gaps where air can easily flow between the interior and exterior. The most obvious, of course is your exterior doors. While you’re having the doors and door frames painted, have the weather stripping replaced at the same time. It makes the painting process easier to have the old weather stripping removed first anyway and leaves a cleaner finish in the end with new stripping installed after the painting is finished. And bear in mind, if your weather stripping has paint on it from paint jobs gone by, it’s not providing you the draft protection it should. Paint causes the weather stripping to become stiff and rigid leaving these area vulnerable to cracking, splitting and creating gaps instead of sealing them with a snug, pliable fit.

Electrical wall outlets are another classic spot for air transfer. Particularly electrical boxes mounted on the inside of exterior walls. One of the first things any good professional painter will do before he begins prepping is to remove all the wall plates to paint the surface behind them. So before the plates go back on when the painting’s done, take a moment to install an inexpensive pre-cut foam insulator for electrical boxes found at any any local hardware store. These little foam pads can reduce air flow between exterior walls dramatically enough that the Canadian government, as part of their eco-energy program, actually pays home owners to install them!

Right now, the best thing you can do is reduce waste and save money wherever you can. Painting your house may seem like a decorating luxury but in fact, it’s the cheapest way to maintain the integrity of your building’s structure and increase the value of your home while paying off in energy cost savings. And in these times of economic uncertainty, go with what you can be sure of. Your home is your castle and castles can be plenty drafty. Take care of your home with a simple and cost effective paint job and it will take care of you for years to come.

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