Russ and Wendy Fortier are both Francis Marion University graduates and have two sons, Tyler and Davis. They have lived in the Florence area for more than 30 years. Together they own Fresh Coat Florence, SC, which is a national franchise based in Cincinnati, OH. They purchased the franchise and brought it to Florence in December of 2017, then launched their business in April.
Fresh Coat offers residential and commercial painting services including: interior and exterior painting, light commercial painting (offices, small stores, apartments), wood staining and finishing (deck, fence), popcorn ceiling removal, wallpaper removal, small drywall repair. and more. Russ and Wendy are committed to providing the best customer experience possible and leaving customers with a finished project they will love every day.
Russ Fortier shares with us his expertise on “painting done right.”
What basic supplies are needed for an indoor and outdoor DIY painting project?
“The key is to purchase tools and paint that are quality products, not the cheapest you can find. At a minimum you’ll want:
• Quality brushes (3 inch is a must, but smaller brushes can also be helpful). Make sure that the brush is designed for the paint you’ll be using.
• 5-gallon bucket with paint screen
• Cut bucket (small bucket you can hold in your hand for cutting trim)
• Contractor grade roller handle (cheap rollers flex when applying paint and can leave streaks in your work)
• Sanding blocks or sandpaper (for prepping your surface and finishing out your application
• Drop cloths
• Plastic sheeting (cover your furniture and valuables)
• Roller handle extensions
• A four or six-foot step ladder”
What are the different types of sheens and what surfaces are they best for?
“There are multiple descriptions in sheens across all paint products. You’ll want to consult with a local paint store representative for advice on sheens to use. Here are some to consider:
• Flat- for walls and ceilings. Flats hide imperfections better than other sheens.
• Satin, Matte, Egg-Shell- used commonly on walls. Each has a slightly higher sheen and is a personal choice of the home owner. Check also for durability in each paint sheen/brand. You may want to use something with a high “scrubbability” rating for bathrooms and kitchen walls.
• Semi-Gloss & Gloss – commonly used for trim, doors, windows and cabinets.”
What steps should we take when searching for exterior paint before jumping in and painting our entire house?
“If you are doing it yourself, definitely talk with your local paint store. I recommend them over the big box stores. They work with both paint contractors and homeowners and they are experts in their products. They’ll also be able to give you advice on cleaning and preparation for painting, optimal outside temperatures for applications, dry time (keep in mind you are going to be watching the weather on exterior projects), and other items such as the degree of mildew resistance in their product (in the south, mildew resistance is an important factor).”
How can we identify if we have lead paint? What steps do we take with a lead renovation project that would be different from a regular project?
“If your house was built before 1978, there is a chance you may have lead paint present. The farther back in time your house was built, the more likely it is that you have lead paint. In Florence, we encounter lead paint with most of the houses in the downtown district. Lead paint projects require a contractor who is lead certified. A certified lead contractor can test for lead prior to the beginning of your project. If lead is present, they are required to notify you of the presence of lead and take additional precautions on the project to contain the lead dust and lead paint according to EPA rules. You can test for lead paint yourself with a simple kit available online or in some paint stores. Lead paint renovation projects will cost more, because the contractor must contain the area where any lead paint surface is being disturbed, contain the dust, and perform the appropriate cleaning techniques to ensure that the area is no longer contaminated. There’s also the disposal of the lead paint materials that has to be done as well.”
What qualities make a reliable paint contractor and why is it necessary to have one?
Here are some basic things to ask for:
• How long has the contractor been in business? How much experience do the painters have?
• Does the contractor require money upfront? How much?
• Are consumable supplies and paint included in the price? If not, be prepared to have additional cost added to the project.
• Is this estimate firm? Meaning, is the price turnkey for the entire project.
• Is the contractor licensed, bonded and insured? Ask for copies of each of these before accepting any proposal. Check for coverage limits and make sure that the certificate of insurance dates are valid. This is for your protection if something should happen to any painter or your property. If they aren’t insured, your homeowner policy may be required to cover the loss.
• If your project involves disturbing lead base surfaces, request copies of the Lead Renovator Certificate and the firm’s lead certification
• Lastly, request references and check them out. Ask questions like: Does the contractor show up when scheduled? Did they complete the project in a reasonable timeframe (or as promised)? Did the crew respect and maintain the homeowner’s property? Were you satisfied with the outcome of the project?