Selling Exterior Paint & Stain Projects
Paint & Stain Projects
Exterior paints and stains are all about beauty and you’ll win the best outdoor finishing jobs if you can help your clients understand the details behind great results. Building trust by confidently delivering technical knowledge to your clients during the selling process is key to your success. Part of this comes down to product choice and part to an understanding of the all-important prep work that goes into successful exterior refinishing jobs. Painting and staining are the two main options for exterior wood finishing and they’re sufficiently different that you need to talk about them separately.
Explaining Exterior Paint
Paint quality is the most important factor behind long-lasting exterior results and there are three main things to explain to your clients. First, 100% acrylic latex formulations are the most durable, though not all latex paint is 100% acrylic. The higher cost of this kind of premium latex is more than worthwhile because of the added working life it delivers. The biggest part of the cost of an exterior paint job is not the paint but the labour of prepping the surface and applying that paint.
Another issue to talk about is sheen level. The shinier the
paint the more it shows surface flaws. This is one reason low sheen and
even flat paints are gaining in popularity. Accurately understanding and
communicating sheen levels to your clients should be an important part
of your sales process.
The third issue to consider is primer. Today’s best exterior acrylic
latex paints combine paint and primer in one, saving the time and
expense of applying an initial primer coat first. Beauti-Tone Designer
Series exterior paint covers all three of the most important technical
bases: 100% acrylic formulation; low-sheen options; built-in primer. The
Designer Series can also be applied down to temperatures as low as 5ºC.
It’s mildew resistant, it blocks stains and even the lowest sheen suede
versions are highly durable and scrubbable.
Explaining Exterior Stains
It’s always best to begin by explaining the difference between stains and paint. Stains soak into wood and impart colour mostly below the surface while paints always form a surface film on top of wood. Stains come in two different main categories - solid and semi-transparent. Solid hides the appearance of wood grain, though unlike most paints it lets the texture of the wood grain show through. Semi-transparent stains allow some of the natural colour variations of wood to show through and all of the texture.
Stains are usually more durable than paint on horizontal surfaces such as decks, but since stains are easier to apply than paint and require less surface preparation they’re often the best choice for large exterior wood surfaces, even vertical ones like fences.
Stains last longer if applied over a surface that’s been pressure washed and sanded first. This is especially true when you’re working with new lumber. The smooth, planed surface of new boards are often not as absorbent as they should be for best results. Your cost estimates should include enough time for prep. Prepping a previously stained surface for re-staining is usually less work than with an old painted surface, but surface prep is still important. Scrubbing the surface with a brush on a garden hose is the safest pre-stain surface prep option. Try to avoid pressure washing before staining, except with new wood. Pressure washing an existing stained surface can leave a mottled appearance that will show through after stain application. If you do need to pressure wash as part of re-staining prep because of heavy soiling, wash as lightly as possible then sand afterwards to restore an even appearance.
When it comes to choosing exterior stains, 100% acrylic offers the greatest durability, just as with exterior paints. Beauti-Tone Wood Shield Best is a Canadian-made stain that comes in both solid and semi-transparent. Semi-transparent stain is available in 36 colours and solid stain, as with paint, can be tinted to one of 1800 colours in stores. It’s also self-priming and cleans up with soap and water.
As with many things in life, communication matters. The time you spend educating clients about exterior painting before you strike a deal may be the most profitable time you spend on the whole project.