Frequently Asked Questions


How are you sustainable?

Well, sustainability is a multi-faceted subject including everything from equity, justice, environmental impacts, and work-life balance; however, most people are usually referring to our environmental commitments, so I will include them here…

  1. Minimize Waste
    Not only is the purchase of low VOC paint important, but minimizing the amount of paint purchased is always the green way to go. Sustainable painters will determine how much paint is needed for the painting project by taking the square footage, then subtracting the height and width of windows and doors in the room. We will take the final room measurements to the local paint supply center and calculate the amount of paint needed for the job, thus minimizing waste.
  2. Eco-Friendly Paint Supplies
    When purchasing the other needed painting supplies, Sustainable Painters tries to think green by using recycled, recyclable and re-usable paint supplies. Many painting supplies like drop clothes and paint trays can be made from recycled materials and are biodegradable. Sustainable Painters tries to purchase paint supplies that have already been recycled, or re-use items on hand for the next painting project.
  3. When the Painting is done
    Leftover paint and empty paint cans can be disposed of in an eco-friendly way that won’t pose any environmental threat. If leftover paint needs to be stored for touch-ups or other paint projects, we will store the paint in the original can – with the lid hammered tight, and the can stored upside down to create an airtight seal. We will then write the paint name, color, and location used on the bottom of the can for future reference. All empty paint cans will be taken to the nearest recycling depot.
How should customers prepare their home for interior painting?

At sustainable painters, we require that all articles are taken off the walls, and furniture is moved a couple feet from the walls (we can also do this if a customer is unable to move certain items). Secondly, we ask that our customers leave any nails or screws in the walls where they want to return an item to the same location after painting is complete. Sustainable painters will assume that any holes (without a nail or screw left in) will need repairing. Finally, Sustainable painters’ expert staff with methodically mask and cover all furniture, lay down drop cloths, and close off any doorways to adjoining rooms in order to keep the majority of drywall dust contained to the project area.

What is the difference between flat/matte, eggshell, satin, and gloss paints?

First, I will rank them in order of low – high gloss for simplicity. The main thing to remember is the higher the gloss content, the higher the durability and ability to wash. However, the higher the gloss – the more surface imperfections are exposed.

Flat/Matte finish – 0-10% gloss.

  • Usually used on ceilings and older plaster walls that have a lot of imperfections.
  • This finish has no sheen or light reflective qualities.
  • Not ideal if you have children or pets because it is difficult to keep clean.

Eggshell finish – 10-25% gloss.

  • Often used on newer interior walls.
  • Slightly more reflective qualities – similar to that of a real eggshell.
  • It is more washable and durable than most flat paints, but not as durable as satin or gloss.

Pearl or Satin finish – 25-35% gloss.

  • A durable paint with a smooth, velvety texture.
  • Satin is great in high traffic and food preparation areas because it can endure heavy cleaning and light scrubbing.

Semi-gloss finish – 35-70% gloss.

  • Reflects 35 – 50% of the light that hits it.
  • Higher gloss paints are very durable and resistant to dirt and stains.
  • Gloss paint is also very washable and is typically used on baseboards, trim, doors and cabinets.
When do I use primer?

I often get asked this question on both interior and exterior painting projects, so I figured I would simply put some information on my website.

First, bonding primers are used to create an adhesive bond between a hard, slick surface (such as metal) and the final coat of paint. You should always use a bonding primer when painting over a hard or slick surface. Also, bonding primers are needed anytime you are moving from an oil-based paint to a latex paint. There are good bonding primers (I use a couple, but prefer “Gripper” brand from Dulux). You always need to prime over oil-based paint before applying a new latex product.

Secondly, stain blocking primers are great for sealing crayon, smoke, markers and many odors. Stain blocking primers will block bleed-through from water damage and will also seal both the discoloration and the smoke odor from rooms that were occupied by a heavy smoker.

Thirdly, drywall primer creates a uniformly absorbent surface for the final coat of paint and should always be used as the first coat over new drywall or any (drywall or plaster) patching. If the new drywall, or drywall patches are not primed before painted, there will be a noticeable difference in sheen where you have patched a hole.

Finally, any time you are changing the sheen of the wall paint – such as satin to flat, or semi-gloss to eggshell – you will need two coats of paint for uniform sheen. Since most primers have a flat finish, you will normally need two coats of paint after priming. You should never need more than one coat of primer.
I hope that helps!!