Color Schemes for Exterior Painting

Selecting a good color scheme for the exterior façade of your house can be tough. But there are a few tools out there that can help. Sherwin Williams has a Color Visualizer App. (check it out here.)  And below you can see how to change the look of a house, virtually! One of the color schemes that I like is the mid range field color with a black accent color. This is a simple but bold two color scheme.Image

See what the house on the left looks like in SWP Rumba Orange.

Front Facade color selections - SWP Visualizer.


Another cool trick that I like with matching colors — especially between different brands — is using an online tool like an RGB decoder.

WSSC System Development Charges.. A hidden cost for homeowners to watch out for in renovations!

When renovating a house, if adding brand new kitchen and baths, WSSC can add a big cost which can be hidden or at least easily overlooked from the outset.

WSSC charges for new fixture hook ups. The costs can sometimes be very high.  Consider that these costs are in addition to all other permits and permit fees.  See the pdf.


DC’s Code requirement for porch stair handrails… What the Code considers a Handrail versus a Guard

To get a BBL for renting a house and to pass inspections for construction and sales, DC homes are required to meet the 2006 IRC Code. But there are certain things in the code that seem to be missed in homes more often than found. Front porch handrails are one of those items.

The Code says the following:

AJ601.1.2 Handrails.Every required exit stairway that has four or more risers, is part of the means of egress for any work area, and is not provided with at least one handrail, or in which the existing handrails are judged to be in danger of collapsing, shall be provided with handrails designed and installed in accordance with Section R311 for the full length of the run of steps on at least one side.
R312.1 Guards. Porches, balconies,ramps or raised floors or faces located more than 30 inches(762 mm) above the floor or grade below shall have guards not less than 6 inches (914mm) in height. Open sides of stairs with a total rise of more than 30 inches (762 mm) above the floor or grade below shall have guards not less than 34 inches (864 mm) in height measured vertically from the nosing of the treads.
So, technically, every time you see a front porch stair with treads over 30″ above the adjacent grade, there is supposed to be a guard on the side (both sides if both sides are open to below). We see many many houses that do not have this, but many of them are just above the cut off of 30″.
DC started using the 2006 IRC on December 26th of 2008. See the full text at

How to paint metal, Part I – Epoxy primer vs. Self etching vs. DTM

We use a variety of paints for painting metals.

For residential painters, typically a spray primer and a brush-applied oil-based paint is the most common and work well.  However, to go the extra mile, a specific group of paints last a lot longer and perform a lot better over time. To paint metals for a long lasting high performance coating, we use one of the following three applications:

  1. Self etching paint
  2. DTM
  3. Epoxy primer

Self etching primers work on bare metals by etching and galvanizing (in a sense) at the same time. There is both an acid component and a zinc component to the primer.  The acid component cleans by through any chemicals, like oils, on the surface of the metal.  Then simultaneously, the zinc or clear coat component of the self etching primer seals.

DTM paints are “Direct to Metal Paints”.

In the next article in this series, we talk about induction time, pot-life, and flash point with epoxy primers.