Author Archive for jmccary

Can I paint the exterior of my home or stain my deck during pollen season?

Over the past several years we’ve had a couple of high pollen seasons. The question we always get asked is, “Does the pollen affect the painting process?” or “Are you able to stain our deck during pollen season?” Not only do we get asked these questions, but we also hear a lot of people say, “We’re going to wait until after pollen season to have the work done.” More than anything else, you should have peace of mind in making a decision as to when or when not to have work done on your home.

From a business standpoint, I can’t remember a time when pollen prohibited us from doing our work. Whether it’s pressure washing, painting, deck refinishing, or any of our other services – we don’t have any problems with the pollen. There are a couple of reasons why we don’t have any problems: 1) Pollen is like a dust, and it can be easily wiped, blown, or rinsed off before applying any products; and 2) The materials we use dry very quickly during this time of year. The materials are dry before any pollen can stick to it.

Again, what’s most important is that you as a customer have peace of mind in your decision. If you think it’s best to have your work done before or after, and not during pollen season – that’s what you should do. We know if doesn’t affect the quality of our work, and DFW Finishers can give you the same quality job no matter what time of year it is – even during pollen season.

How to Remove Wallpaper – The Easy Way

Wait a minute, there is no easy way to remove wallpaper! Right? Well that is the case many times, but sometimes it’s not. Believe it or not, often wallpaper removal is quite easy. We just removed wallpaper from two separate bathrooms in the same home; in one bathroom the paper came off very easily, and in the other bathroom it was very difficult to remove.

You may or may not have the most needed tools in removing wallpaper – they are patience and consistency. If you’re in a hurry to get that wallpaper off, you probably shouldn’t get started. More often than not, you’re going to need time and patience to get the wallpaper off the walls.

The amount of difficulty in getting the paper off the walls usually depends on what’s underneath. If the walls were sized, or primed with a wallpaper primer before the paper was hung, it will remove much easier. Many times you will discover that this step was skipped when hanging the wallpaper initially.

Besides your time and patience, you’ll need a few other tools to help you remove the wallpaper from the walls. You’ll need a couple of scraper blades, some wallpaper remover concentrate, a pump sprayer or spray bottle, and possibly a scoring tool. Be sure to cover the area with some tarps and plastic, this will help with cleanup.

Wallpaper usually comes off in two layers – the outer decorative layer, and then the under layer of paper and glue. Before doing anything, see if you can pull the paper off. Sometimes the top layer will come of, and possibly both layers will come off. If the outer layer doesn’t come off, it will probably be best to use the scoring tool to lightly score the paper. This punches tiny holes in the paper allowing the liquid to penetrate better. If the outer layer comes off, you won’t need to score the wallpaper. Mix your wallpaper removing solution with hot water and spray it on. Keep it wet for 10-15 minutes, and then start scraping the paper off.

Be patient, keep scraping, keep it wet, keep going – and the wallpaper will come off. Make sure you get all the paper and glue off. Then let the walls dry good, patch them if necessary, sand them well, and they’ll be ready for a new finish.


DFW Finishers of Holly Springs, NC are: Experienced house painters including exterior painting, interior painting, furniture painting, and wallpaper removal; Experts in deck staining and deck cleaning; and a Professional painting and deck restoration company providing how-to and DIY information in the Raleigh, NC area.

We service the areas of Apex, Cary, Holly Springs, Fuquay-Varina, Raleigh, Morrisville, Durham, and Garner, NC.

Winter Offers and Scheduling – DFW Finishers

Hi! I hope you have had a Merry Christmas and are looking forward to a Happy New Year. Many of you are still enjoying the holiday times and aren’t thinking about home improvements and maintenance, but the New Year will be here soon. We hope that you will consider us when it comes time for your next project. We specialize in interior and exterior painting, deck staining and cleaning, wood door refinishing, pressure washing, furniture painting and refinishing, carpentry repairs, gutter cleaning and window cleaning.

You may be wondering if the winter months are a good time to be doing any painting, deck staining, fence staining, pressure washing, or door refinishing – well let me give you the honest truth. While things always slow down, they definitely don’t stop. In the Raleigh, NC area the winter-time temperatures usually don’t prohibit us from doing exterior work (of course interior work can be done anytime of the year). There are always days when it is too cold or too wet to paint or stain outside, but there usually aren’t many. Also, the shorter days give us a shorter window to work outside; lower nighttime temps don’t allow us to start very early or work very late.

The exterior products we use at DFW Finishers allow us to work professionally throughout the winter months. Our Ready Seal stain and sealer soaks into the wood and will dry in a short period of time. Our exterior SuperPaint from Sherwin-Williams is a low-temperature paint and when the temperature is between 35 and 45 degrees it will dry to touch in 2 hours time. We always guarantee our work and professional results. So if you have a need, we can help and you don’t have to wait until the Spring.

We are currently filling our winter schedule and would welcome the opportunity to serve you as our customer. Our Winter Specials are: 1) 20% off all labor on jobs booked now through March 1, 2012; and 2) Schedule an interior or exterior paint job now through March 1, 2012 and receive power washing for free. As always, the prices on all our services are fair, honest and affordable. I hope you will contact us for a free estimate, free consultation, or free how-to advice.

Thank you and Happy New Year.

- James McCary

DFW Finishers

“Making your surfaces like new again”

(919) 552-3305 (office)

(919) 285-1311 (mobile)


DFW Finishers of Holly Springs, NC are: Experienced in DIY deck staining including deck cleaning, fence staining, and fence cleaning; Experts in DIY house painting including interior painting, exterior painting, furniture painting, and residential and commercial painting; and a Professional deck restoration and painting business providing how-to and DIY information in the Raleigh, NC area.

We service the areas of Cary, Apex, Holly Springs, Raleigh, Durham, Morrisville, Garner, and Fuquay-Varina, NC.

Keeping Your Wood Front Door Looking Brand New – Wood Door Refinishing

Most of you don’t see your front door too much because you go into the house through the garage, but for everyone that comes to your home – It’s one of the first things they see. If you were to “visit” your home, you may find your wood front door needs some attention. It may seem like another burdensome task, but it’s really not that hard to keep your door looking brand new all the time.

The worst enemy of your wood, whether it’s a door, a deck, or a fence, is the sun. So it definitely needs to be protected from the sun’s harsh rays. The clear coat is your protection; once the urethane is worn your wood door is vulnerable to decay. If the clear coat breaks down, the sun begins to attack the stain (the color) underneath. The stain will break down quickly at this point leaving the pores of your wood door open to the elements.

When your door gets in this condition, a complete chemical stripping is needed. This is the most difficult step in the process – and it’s messy. You will need a strong stripper that is formulated to remove varnishes, polyurethanes, and enamels, so make sure you get the right one. You can pick up the Klean-Strip brand at most hardware stores, and it will do a great job for you. You’ll also need to make sure you cover any glass, floors, hinges and hardware to protect them from the caustic stripper. We find it easiest to remove the front door and place it on sawhorses while working on it, but it can be done in place. It will probably need to be stripped several times to get all the coatings fully removed.

After you’ve got it stripped down, it’s time to sand. You’ll need some medium grit and fine grit sandpaper to get the wood properly sanded (you may also need a coarse piece of sandpaper for any stubborn areas). Remember, always sand with the grain of the wood; sanding against the grain will leave noticeable scratches in your door. A power sander will work well on the flat areas of your door, and the intricate places will need to be hand-sanded. Sand it until the wood is looking fresh, new, and clean again.

Now you’re ready to apply the stain. Make sure you dust it down good, mix your stain well before applying, and use quality exterior grade products. The easiest and most uniform way to apply the stain is with a rag. Let it soak into the wood and wipe off any excess. If you want a darker tone, apply a second coat after the first one is dry. Then the door will be ready for the final step in the process – the clear protective coating. This can be brushed or sprayed. We recommend three coats of clear finish for maximum protection on your wood front door. You will need to sand with a fine sandpaper and dust with a tack cloth in between coats.

Once the door is done correctly, it’s easy to maintain and keep looking brand new all the time – you just need to keep up with it. Depending on how much weather your door gets, it will need to be maintained at least once a year. Maintenance is a snap if you keep up with it. Simply clean the door off, lightly sand the outer clear coat, and apply another clear coat for your wood door protection. Now you can enjoy your wood front door and keep it looking brand new all the time.


DFW Finishers is an experienced and professional painting and deck staining business providing how-to and DIY information to Holly Springs, Apex, Cary, Morrisville, Raleigh, Durham, Fuquay-Varina, and Garner, NC.



How Much Will it Cost to Paint the Exterior of My House?

Well the inevitable time has arrived to paint the house and you’re wondering how much it is going to cost you. Just in case this is your first time having to paint a home, let me prep you for the future – Your house will need to be repainted on an average of every 5-7 years. There are several factors which will determine the final price. Some of these are: the size of the house; the condition of the house; the colors of the house; the number of coats being applied; and the quality of paint used on the house. Of course if there’s any rotten wood on your home, it will be an additional cost as well.

Obviously the bigger the house is, the more the cost is going to be. If the windows need painting, it will be more; if the windows are vinyl and don’t get painted, it will be less. An intricately detailed 2 or 3 story house will cost more than a simple, single story house.

The condition of the house is another factor in pricing a house painting project. In the area we service – Holly Springs, Apex, Cary, and the Raleigh-Durham NC area, many of the homes are newer, in good condition and won’t require excessive preparation before painting. An older home that requires a lot of sanding, paint removal, and preparation will cost more than others.

The colors you choose will determine the cost of painting your house also. Normally, if you’re painting the same color it will be less expensive than if you are changing colors. The difference will be in the number of coats it takes to cover the previous coatings. For instance, if you want to paint your white house blue – it’s going to take 2 coats. The quality of paint will also make a difference in pricing. Exterior house paints range from around $20-$30 a gallon up to $55-$60 a gallon. Most homes will easily take 15-25 gallons of paint, and we recommend a high-quality exterior paint.

All of these variables can make a sizable difference in the overall cost. Yet, exactly how much will it cost to paint my house? It’s difficult to give a number due to the many factors that affect the price of painting a home. As a measure, in the area we service for a common one coat repaint you can expect to pay $1,500-$2,500 for a home up to 1,500 square feet; $2,500-$3,500 for a home up to 2,500 square feet; and $3,500-$4,500 for a home up to 3,500 square feet. For homes over 3,500 square feet you can expect to pay upwards of $4,000. Of course these are all just approximations, and you will need to get a professional, trustworthy painting contractor to come give you an exact price on your home. Again, because of all the possible factors listed above – it could be more or less than these approximations.

You Can Paint Latex Paint Over Oil-Based Paint

Wait a minute; I’ve always heard that you can’t paint latex over oil! My grandfather was a painter and he always said not to paint water-based paint over oil-based paint! I know, but you can paint latex paint over oil-based paint if you take the right steps in the painting process. What are those steps? I’m glad you asked; please read on to learn how to paint with latex over oil.

First, you’ll want to make sure your surface is oil-based paint before you proceed with the work. You can use a rag dipped in denatured alcohol to determine if the paint on your house or surface is water-based or oil-based. Just rub some on the home or surface; if it softens up it is water-base, if it doesn’t it is oil-based. Oil-based paint produces a very hard, slick surface which isn’t good for a latex top-coat to adhere to. So if it’s oil, you’ll need to go on to step #2.

Second, you’ll want to use a good primer before putting the latex paint over the oil. It’s always best to sand the surface before priming too; this will scuff it a little and give even better adhesion. There are many good oil and acrylic primers on the market today – either primer will do a good job. Once you’ve primed over the old oil-based coating, you are ready to re-paint with a latex finish coat.

Applying a primer coat over oil-based paint before painting with water-based paint will always ensure good adhesion and great results. Yet it is amazing how much paint technology has improved over that last 5-10 years. Both Sherwin-Williams and Benjamin Moore boast that they have latex paint products that will go directly over oil paint products without priming. Still, you should never try to paint latex over oil on the exterior of your home without priming first – it’s too risky due to the harsh environment outdoors. Although with some of these quality paints they are making now you may be able to get away with it on the interior of your home. Even then I would make sure it was cleaned and sanded thoroughly in order to get good adhesion.

So you can paint latex paint over oil-based paint, but you have to make sure to take the proper preparation steps. First, make sure you are dealing with an oil-based paint (test it as described above); secondly, sand and prime (this will ensure professional painting results); thirdly, you may want to look into some of the innovative quality paint products from your local paint store. For more information check out thisproduct page  or preparation and process page. As always, DFW Finishers is here to help and serve the Holly Springs, Apex, Cary, and Raleigh-Durham community with all their painting needs; feel free to contact us for free consultation and how-to advice.

How to Stain Your Deck like a Pro

So you’ve decided to tackle your deck staining project yourself – that’s great. If you want to get professional results, then you need to know how the pros do it. In just a few simple steps (and with a little patience) you can have a great looking deck – easy as 1-2-3. Here’s how – One, the deck needs to be cleaned thoroughly; two, a quality stain product needs to be used; and three, the application needs to be precise.

By far, the most important step in staining your deck like a pro is to get it clean. There are several products available to clean your deck. The most commonly used material, which is bleach, should be avoided completely. Bleach is not necessary to get the mold and mildew removed from your wood, and can damage your wood if not used properly. Most of the “deck cleaner” solutions at your local hardware store will work well and are easy to use. You can use a garden pump sprayer to get it on the deck quickly. Once your cleaning solution is on the deck, you’re going to need a pressure washer to finish the cleaning process and to rinse the deck thoroughly. Be careful, all you need is very low pressure to lift and remove the dirt, mildew and weathering. After the deck is cleaned and washed, one more step is necessary in the cleaning process – a brightening agent (in some stores it may be called an “after wash” or something similar). This can be sprayed on with the same garden pump sprayer. Again, this is the most important step of all – Get your deck really clean.

Once the deck is cleaned, it will need to dry (usually around 48 hours). Now, you’ll have much better success at professional results by using a quality stain product. A good oil-based semi-transparent stain is always going to be best; it will penetrate the wood better and look better for a longer period of time. Don’t let the labels on some products fool you – a flat surface like a deck floor is not going to last 6 years; it will need to be maintained before then. We recommend Ready Seal stain and sealer; it’s a high quality product and it’s really easy to work with. Doing it right the first time with the right product will make future maintenance much easier.

O.K. your deck is really clean, you have a quality stain product, and you’re ready to apply the stain. You’ll need a few things: 1) A garden type pump up sprayer (you can get a deck pump sprayer for around $20). The same pump can be used for washing and staining; 2) A 6’ x 9’ paint tarp (plastic will not work); 3) Several rags (stain is messy); 4) A good 3” or 4” brush; and 5) Paint thinner. The pump sprayer will allow you to stain your deck in record time. The paint tarp will be used to go over the rails so you can spray those too (this will save a bunch of time); it will also catch the spray as it passes through the rails. The brush is needed for around the house (you’ll need to brush out about 3’ from the house to avoid overspray). The rags and thinner are to clean up any messes that are made, and to clean your tools at the end of the job. Do both sides of the rails first, then the floor, working your way off the deck and down the steps.

As always, DFW Finishers will be glad to give you free consultation on your home projects, and teach you how to do it yourself. If you follow these easy 1-2-3 steps, you shouldn’t have any problems. You can tackle your deck staining project yourself and achieve professional results.

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At DFW Finishers our mission statement is “to give our customers peace of mind by outstanding professionalism, quality products, and a fair, honest price.”  We believe our outstanding professionalism + quality products + affordable prices = your peace of mind.  We’re not interested in just selling a job, but want to give our customers peace of mind.  The peace of mind that comes from knowing you have chosen a trustworthy and professional company that can perform your service with no hassles, excellent service, and fair pricing.  We strive to treat every customer as if they were the only customer, and it is our privilege to work with you on your project.  Thank you.

James L. McCary

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