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The Inside Outside Guys ~ Painting – Not a DYI Project


From The Detroit News | By Ken Calverley and Chuck Breidenstein

DETROIT, March 23, 2023 ~ Show of hands. How many of us have treated a painting project like a DIY chore and regretted the results?

Once you talk with a professional company that paints and then see the type of work they do you will never again think you are a painter.

Start with the product. Paint manufacture is a science unto itself. While all those containers on the shelf may look alike, the industry and people like John MacFarland, owner of MacFarland Painting in Livonia, tell us there is a huge difference in the product they contain.


March 19, 2023 ~ Chuck “The Inside Guy” Breidenstein and Ken “The Outside Guy” Calverly offer the knowledge and resources you need to make the home of your dreams a reality. Catch them every Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to noon on 760 WJR.


MacFarland tells of a project one of his top people was just beginning; using a high end product the company was very familiar with.

The technician called and reported something was different with the paint; it just didn’t “feel” right as it was being applied. Further investigation revealed the manufacturer had reformulated the product without informing anyone and MacFarland quickly found a higher quality paint that met his standards and the expectations of his customer.

There are four basic parts to a paint product and any one of them can make the difference, not only in cost, but in how the material will perform. Pigments provide the color. In a higher quality paint, there will be more of them by volume and the use of prime pigments give the paint better hide of brush and roller marks, greater durability over time and conditions, higher resistance to fading from UV exposure and a better sheen.

These characteristics can help avoid what we have all witnessed where a newly painted surface might begin to chalk or fade and spots where we have washed off the fingerprints of young children appear to be burnished.

Binders are another ingredient. They might be a type of oil like linseed or, more commonly today, an acrylic. Their purpose is to bind the pigment  and hold it in place as the product cures. Typically, the higher the ratio of binder to pigment, the higher the quality of product.

Solvents are mixed into the pigment and binder paste to allow the product to flow onto a surface. The solvent, sometimes referred to as a paint thinner, will evaporate as a surface cures. Lower quality product may have a higher ratio of solvent.

The fourth ingredient in a paint product can actually be a variety of possible additives that enhance the performance of the paint, including materials that give the paint better hide, dispersing agents that help keep the pigment evenly distributed, and mildewcides to resist growth of organics on the cured surface.

MacFarland tells us that surface preparation is equally important to successful paint application. Whether dealing with removal of old wallpaper from plaster or patching abused drywall or dealing with older wood surfaces where he may have trained carpenters remove rotting material and replace it with new, the paint substrate is critical to a professional job.

And those same carpenters might also install multilayered moldings at the top of the dining room walls or a wainscot trim detail prior to painting the room.

Primer must be compatible with the finished product that is being used and can help avoid future flaking, blistering, chalking and other issues.

A professional company can not only handle the resurfacing of interior and exterior walls, they will also have the ability to take old, faded, kitchen cabinet fronts and apply commercial grade finishes in a paint booth designed to control application and cure.

Color choice is something that can make or break a project. Popular today are off-whites, subtle green shades, blues and greys. Use of bolder color may be reserved for a single accent wall in a room which might also be covered by a wallpaper mural depicting a client’s favorite scene.

A professional paint company also must understand how light affects what you see. In his showroom, MacFarland invites clients to bring in their color swatches before engaging in discussion about the type of light the surface will be exposed to. His staff can then actually demonstrate how a color may change when subjected to the harsh white light of a work surface compared to the softer glow of ambient lighting.

Besides the benefit of enhanced living spaces, professional painting can also provide increased value to the home.

A recent Zillow study informs us that a new exterior finish can provide a return on investment of 107% and the real estate industry tells us that a fresh coat of neutral colored paint in a home will expedite the sale and often bring a higher sales price.

Your home is too valuable to trust to amateurs. Plan on giving that favorite space or even the entire exterior a fresh update.

And use trustworthy professionals. Like those you can always find at InsideOutsideGuys.com.


For housing advice and more, listen to “The Inside Outside Guys” every Saturday and Sunday on 760 WJR from 10 a.m. to noon, or contact them at InsideOutsideGuys.com.