How to Choose a Deck Stain


We all dream of a maintenance free deck.  The new composite material comes close to that, but the price is high!  Most of us build with spruce, pressure-treated or cedar.  There is definitely a life cycle and maintenance cycle with all of these.  This is generally how things go:


Year one:  It looks so good, you decide that you’re not going to do anything to it at all. Then by the end of the season, areas are already starting to look a little bit gray as dead wood cells start to emerge.

Year two:  You think you should protect it, so you look at a “natural” finish that will not change the colour but just enhance the deck and keep it from graying.

Year three: Traffic patterns emerge, and you try to “touch up” those areas and you notice that the colour looks a bit different than the boards you didn’t need to re-do.

Year five: In an attempt to even things up, you go with a deeper shade of a semi-transparent stain over the whole surface and you’re surprised how good it looks.  This lasts a couple of years until the dreaded traffic patterns emerge once more.

Year six: You try to use your semi-transparent stain and again it happens.  The worn boards do not look like the ones that have less traffic.  Now what?  The answer is a solid stain.  It can be any colour and will even out the colour so that you have a uniform finish.  


This is how it goes for everyone.  You are not alone!  Some decide to just let it weather and turn grey, but remember that grey wood is dead wood, and that’s not good.


Fortunately, we have several options for your deck no matter what stage you are in!


We have Naturals in alkyd, acrylic, and hybrid formulas.  All of them will give your deck a warm amber tone of protection.


For those that want a bit more colour we have semi-transparent stains in a variety of factory mixed colours (which have better colour retention than tinted ones) in acrylic, alkyd or natural oil & acrylic blends.


When it’s time for a solid stain or if you really just prefer that “painted” look, we have several options including hybrids, acrylics and dual resin formulas. 


What is the difference? 

A straight acrylic resin cleans up with water, has good colour retention and flexibility.

A hybrid is an alkyd (oil) paint that has been modified to clean up with water. It has a slightly slower dry time than an alkyd. 

A dual resin has both and alkyd and acrylic resin together so the alkyd portion penetrates like a primer while the acrylic portion remains on top as a flexible top coat.






The Trouble with Winter

Even without the current pandemic, many of us find ourselves spending more time indoors over the winter months.  For many, it is the perfect time to repaint and with the majority of paints now being low or zero VOC, there is no worry about lingering paint odor.  The reduction in VOC's has, however, made painting inside in the winter months a bit trickier.  Let me explain.
In the winter months we are all using some time of forced air heat source; furnaces, electric heat, wood stoves.  This vastly reduces the humidity in our homes.  Has anyone noticed the static in their hair, or the fact that you get a shock everytime you get up from the microsuede couch?! This is all due to the lack of humidity in the air.  
So what does that mean for your paint job?  The dry times listed on the information section of the paint can are based on temperatures of 25 degrees Celcius and a relative humidity of 50%.  In the winter months, our homes have a humidity of less than 20%.  Without moisture in the air, your paint is going to dry significantly faster.  While that sounds like good news, it can make it difficult to work with.  It also doesn't give the paint time to level out on the surface resulting in a rough finish.  Ceilings in particular are extremely difficult to do in the winter because along with the low humidity conditions, the temperature at the ceiling level is about 10-15 degrees warmer than at the floor level.
What can you do to combat these issues?  Here are some very simple fixes that really make a huge difference.
1. Lower the temperature in the room you're painting.  Open the window, and remember that the ceiling is still much warmer than the floor.
2. Raise the humidity in the space.  Use a humidifier if you have one.  If you don't and you are painting near or in the bathroom, turn on the shower and let the room steam up.  Similarly if you are near or in the kitchen, put on a pot of boiling water or plug in the tea kettle.  This increase in humidity will really make a huge difference.
3. If you are still struggling with a ceiling paint drying too quickly it might be easiest to switch to an alkyd (oil) ceiling paint.  They really aren't that much worse than using a latex ceiling paint, but the benefit to you is that it has a much longer open time.  That means fewer roller marks, more working time and often just one coat required.
4. The final thing to try is a paint extender.  This is an additive for latex paints that makes them dry more slowly.  
We hope these tips will keep you re-decorating all winter!


 Eggshell, Eggshell, or Eggshell?? How to Select a Product Line.

Eggshell, Eggshell, or Eggshell?? How do I choose which product line?
Here we are.  You’ve chosen a colour, you’ve selected a sheen.  Now you have to decide which product line to use!  We carry 4 product lines from Benjamin Moore, plus some specialty products; so 4 different “quality levels,” if you will.  What is the difference besides price?  Here is how to look at it:
We feel that the paint we carry is a “good, better, best,” scenario.  Even our commercial grade “Superspec”performs well for certain purposes.  Next up is “ben” which we like to consider an entry level product.  A well priced option for those who’ve never used Benjamin Moore products and want to give it a try.  “Regal” was, for many years, the best you could buy from Benjamin Moore.  You may remember it by it’s former names (Regal Aquavelvet, Aquapearl, Aquaglo, or the Benjamin Moore Collection).  Then Benjamin Moore created Aura.  The cream of the crop, Aura is particularly amazing in deep rich colours.
So now you know the options, but why choose one over the other?  As you go up in paint quality you tend to gain better coverage, mileage (the paint covers more surface) and often the paint is somewhat more viscous (thicker) so it tends to have less spatter.  Essentially the paint is easier to apply to achieve the desired look.  
Is an eggshell in the Regal more durable than in ben?  The answer is no.  An eggshell, is an eggshell.  Durability is really based on sheen (see How to Choose a Sheen).  The decision about which line to use is based on application performance and your budget. 
Superspec- Our commercial paint line.  Used by professional painters.  Available in flat for ceilings, eggshell, pearl and semi-gloss.  Great for use in rental properties.
Ben- One of our best selling lines.  Available in a flat for ceilings, eggshell, pearl and semi-gloss.  Excellent coverage in “whole house” neutral colours.
Regal- Formerly our topline, Regal is a heavy bodied product with excellent hide and leveling.  Available in a washable matte, eggshell, pearl and semi-gloss
Aura- The best of the best.  Aura has unmatched coverage for deep, bold accent colours. It has a very quick recoat time (1 hour) so it dries very quickly.
Specialty Products
Ceiling Matte- Made specifically for ceilings, this ultra matte finish is great at hiding imperfections.
Kitchen & Bath- Made to contend with the high humidity in these areas, this product is a pearl finish with great durability.
Aura Bath & Spa- Made for bathrooms, this product is a one of a kind matte finish for those who prefer a lower sheen, yet still has the durability required for this space.
Scuff-X- A revolutionary new product, it repels scuffs on walls.  Available in a matte, eggshell, pearl or semi-gloss. 
Advance- Made for cabinets and furniture, Advance is available in a matte, pearl or semi-gloss finish


Kitchen Cabinet & Furniture Make Overs

We spend a lot of time in our kitchens.  If your cabinets are getting tired and you want a new look, why not consider painting them?  Paint is an inexpensive way to really update the look of your kitchen, and it’s easier than you might think!
The key to success is in the preparation.  Kitchens are greasy. It doesn’t matter how often you clean your kitchen (no judgement here!). Your first step will be washing the cupboards with a degreaser.  We sell one ready to go in a spray bottle. When you spray the surface it turns the grease into a soapy film which you scrub and rinse off.  It’s like magic!  And it works great at cleaning your stove top and barbeque…
The next step is to scuff sand the cabinets.  It really isn’t necessary to use an electric sander.  A sanding block or sanding sponge will be sufficient.  This step just roughs the surface up enough that it gives the paint a little extra to adhere to.
If your cupboards were very shiny originally, you may need to use a primer coat before your cabinet paint.  We have a great bonding primer called Stix which is available in both quart and gallon sizes.  It cleans up with water and dries quickly.
In most cases, you can skip the priming step when using Advance, our furniture and cabinet paint from Benjamin Moore. Advance is a waterborne alkyd (an oil based paint which has been modified to clean up with water).  It replaces the former melamine paints that we used to use for this purpose.  As an alkyd, it does have a slower dry and recoat time (16 hours) but this allows for it to level into a beautiful smooth finish when applied with a flocked foam roller.  
The Advance is available in gallons or quarts in three finishes; matte, pearl and semi-gloss.  The matte is a nice choice for decorative pieces such as shelves.  The pearl is the most popular choice for kitchen cabinets and other furniture pieces, though some prefer the shinier lustre of the semi-gloss.
We have all of the things you need to update your kitchen and it will cost about $200 for everything you need!

 Choosing the Right Sheen

Congratulations!  You’ve finally made the perfect colour choice.  You come to the paint counter, proud that you know exactly what you want and then we ask…”What sheen would you like?”


 Sheen?  Another decision to make? It can all be a little overwhelming, right? Let’s try to make it a little easier by discussing the pros and cons or the features and benefits of each one.


 First of all, what IS sheen?  Sheen refers to the reflectiveness of a dried paint film; in other words, how shiny it is.  This is measured by the percentage of light reflected off of the painted surface at an angle of 85 degrees. That is the technical description, but what does that mean for you? For the most part, the shinier the paint is, the more durable it will be.  You need to choose a sheen that is both aesthetically pleasing to you and that will perform best in your environment.  Let’s discuss.


 Flat Finish

Flat paints have very little sheen (3-5% reflective) and are mainly used for ceilings because they hide imperfections well. Due to their porous nature, flat paints cannot be washed or scrubbed without causing burnish marks (shiny spots on the painted surface) which is why we don’t suggest them for walls.


Matte Finish

For those wanting that nice flat look for walls, you may want to consider a matte finish which has the same low sheen look at a flat (3-5% reflective) but is formulated to give a bit of durability.  It can be wiped, but not scrubbed.  It is often used in bedrooms, living rooms and dining rooms. It is perfect for hiding walls that may have imperfections, especially in rooms with a lot of natural light.


 Eggshell Finish

By far the most popular, an eggshell finish has a slight angular sheen (10-20%). It can be wiped, but not scrubbed.  It is an excellent finish for most areas of the house, bedrooms, living rooms, dining rooms and hallways.  For high abuse areas you may want to consider a slightly higher sheen for more durability and washability.


Pearl/ Satin Finish

This is the sheen between eggshell and semi-gloss.  It has slightly more angular sheen than eggshell (25-40%) and is much more durable.  Pearl is used in areas that take a beating; kitchens, bathrooms, mudrooms, entry ways, hallways, stairwells and kid’s bedrooms.  It can also be used on trim and doors.


 Semi-gloss Finish

This durable finish is shiny (50-60% reflective).  It is rarely used on walls because it emphasizes any imperfections, but it is perfect on trim, doors and crown molding. 



Colour Trends

Every fall we await the announcement of different paint company’s colour trends for the upcoming year.  What colours will be “in” next year?  Will it be soft greens? Grey blues? Red? A better question to ask is what colours do you actually like?! Colours are personal.  Some make us feel warm and cozy inside, others seem rather dull in comparison.  The thing to remember is that YOU are the one living with your colour choice.  It’s not your helpful neighbour, your best friend or your stylish daughter.  You need to find your own inspiration and choose something that makes you feel good.

How do you do that?  Where do you begin? People often come into the store and ask for assistance in choosing a colour for a room they are redecorating.  They get easily frustrated trying to choose a wall colour.  This arduous task can be made much easier if you find a starting place.  It can be as simple as finding a pillow with a design you like, or bedding that you love.  Maybe it is a piece of artwork, a painting, a print or a ceramic piece that brings you joy when you look at it.  All of these things are great tools for choosing a colour scheme.  Bring the piece into our store and we will help you pick out the colours from it.  It doesn’t mean that you will end up with red walls if you’re not a “red person.” Maybe you end up with a neutral setting and a red accent wall, or even just a red throw to add some colour to the room.  The key thing is to find something that inspires you and expand on it. 

The other place to look for colour inspiration is in your closet.  I can’t tell you how many times I have had customers come in looking for the perfect shade of green (or pink, or blue) and when we find it, I point out that it is actually the colour of their jacket (or shoes, or sweater).  They look at me in total surprise, shocked that they are choosing a colour that they are wearing.  But to me it makes total sense.  We gravitate toward the colours we like and we wear them.  Why not wear them on our walls, too?!

So don’t feel pressured into following the latest colour trends.  Dare to be you, and choose the colours that make you happy to enter a room.

Carrie Lynn

Painting.  The most bang for your redecorating buck!

 Every time we turn on the television there seems to be some sort of home improvement show on.  Like many of you, I love watching the transformations.  But what if a major renovation just isn’t in the financial cards for you. What if  you’d love a new look but can’t afford to change flooring and light fixtures, or rip out cabinets?  The answer is PAINT. 


Changing the paint in a room is the single most cost effective way to update the space. The cost per square foot (as many items are sold) is significantly less than anything else. For example: Hardwood starts anywhere from $3-$8 per square foot and up.  Vinyl floors from $2-$5 per square foot and up, while ceramic floor tiles or backsplash tiles are anywhere from $2-$17 per square foot and up. 


Paint (our very best Benjamin Moore Aura) is $0.22 per square foot of wall space.  22 CENTS! It covers like a dream and will instantly transform a room.

Our Benjamin Moore Advance cabinet paint is $0.19 per square foot.  For under $100 you can repaint your tired kitchen cabinets or bathroom vanity and give them new life. With all the money you saved by not replacing the old ones, you might even be able to splurge on the “fancier” back splash tiles you’ve been dreaming of.


So come see us.  We have paint for every budget and for every home improvement project big or small.  We will make sure that you get the most bang for your buck. 


Carrie Lynn

Management Login