Home school? Working from home? The color of your environment may help productivity!

Colors are all around us! They are part of all aspects of our daily lives and a big part of how we learn and remember things. Red means stop. Green means go. Colors send signals to our brains that make us hungry or sleepy. They can help us focus or distract.

According to a study by the University of British Columbia, certain colors can help concentration, attention span or help facilitate memory and learning. This study found that red and blue colors are the best for improving brain function. Red helps draw attention to important things. It can be stimulating, but can also cause nervousness and hunger. While blue seems to increase productivity. It is a “cool” color and actually can cause the body to produce chemicals that can slow down a your heart rate and relax/focus you.

Some research suggests that people doing intellectual work, are more productive in a blue environment. However, to “warm-up” a blue room, you should always balance it with warmer colors like yellow or orange.

A person’s age also impacts how color effects their learning environment. For instance, young children are more attracted to warm, bright colors, elementary-aged children prefer tints and pastels, middle school children like greens and blues, while high school students prefer darker colors like burgundy, gray, navy, dark green, and violet.

Although many families can’t afford to renovate their homes for school or work, they CAN redecorate. A fresh coat of the right color paint may help make you and your children more productive!

Cedar Shingle Stain

Is it better to paint or stain cedar shingles?

Cedar shingles offer a unique charm to a home.  They are incredibly durable and resistant to rot and insects and, when properly installed and cared for, can protect your house for decades.   However, many homeowners wonder how to renew their cedar homes.  Over time the shingles gray and must be coated to assure the best protection.  So, the debate begins, whether to use paint or stain.

The fundamental difference between paint and stain is the way it adheres to the cedar.  Paint is a pigmented, opaque (solid color) coating that comes in almost any color, and acts as a coating applied over the shingles.  It completely covers the old wood and lets less grain of the wood grain show through. Since the paint “sits” on the surface of the shingles, it will eventually peel and need to be scraped and reapplied.  It’s important to note that after shingles are painted, they cannot be stained unless the paint is sanded or has worn off completely, which is cost-prohibitive.

Stain has less pigment and is more translucent.  It allows some of the wood’s original color and grain to show through.  If the shingles are porous, the stain will soak into the wood rather than coat it, making it last longer than paint.  Stains penetrate the cedar, and help to make it resist moisture from rain, snow, and ice.  Stains are available in semi-transparent or solid-color forms.  Semi-transparent stains have a light pigmentation enhancing the wood’s natural color, and solid-color stains offer heavier coverage and resembles a flat paint that is monochromatic.

So, which is it? Paint or stain?  The best answer is based on your home’s current cedar condition.  Stain lasts longer and often looks more natural, but can only be applied if cedar is paint-free.  Paint offers more protection and can be a good choice for badly worn homes with previous peeling issues from past painting applications.

Before making your decision, walk around your home with your painting contractor.  Here is a checklist to help you get started:

  • Look under the eaves and in the shaded areas of your home to discover the original material applied. Sometimes old cans of paint or stain can be found in basements and garages to gain knowledge of the past supplies used.
  • Do a test cleaning and see how well the current stain or paint will come off on worn and protected areas.
  • Discuss if you want a solid color or if you want to see the wood’s color variations.
  • Examine the cedar to assess repairs and discuss types of cedar you would like to use. Generally, there are two options:  Grades A and B (knots or no knots).  Please note that newly installed cedar will have less grain than older cedar, it will not look the same or absorb stain or paint equally.
  • Remove old brackets, cable, and phone lines that are not in use.
  • Discuss caulking needs.  Some cedar homes are caulked, while others are not.  If you currently do not have caulk, it is better not to.  When cedar is installed correctly, it is meant to breathe!

It is vital to mention that you should inspect cedar every spring for water and sun damage.  Areas under gutters and around dormers or roof lines may need a touch-up.  This is perfectly acceptable.  Your painting contractor can touch-up areas that wear out the quickest, helping to avoid costly repairs.  In most cases, you will only need to touch up the shady side of the home, and stain the sunny side every 7-10 years.

WE HAVE THE CURE FOR YOUR PPPSS! (Post Pandemic Paint Season Syndrome)

I’m sure you are seeing the signs of it now… as you see your kids bouncing off your walls (literally) , you have wiped things down so many times the paint is actually wearing off, you can’t stand the colors that you loved so much a few weeks ago… AND it is only going to get worse!

However, if you prepare now, you will become immune to PPPSS (Post Pandemic Paint Season Syndrome) . Some people will ignore this warning and think once quarantines are a distant memory, scheduling painting with qualified painters will be easy. Think again!


  1. Schedule an estimates NOW for interior and exterior painting, staining, and power washing, to be completed AFTER quarantine regulations have been lifted.
  2. Exterior Estimate will be completed with COMPLETE social distancing/NO CONTACT.
  3. Interior Estimates will be conducted via sending us your pictures and measurements or virtual review.
  4. No deposits. Just a signed contract.
  5. Work will be scheduled on a first come, first served basis with names going on a wait list after estimate is completed.
  6. Plus, take advantage of our 10.9% off (COVID-19 SUCKS) discount.

COVID-19 Updates

A Note to Our Valued Customers,

As has always been our mission, our efforts are aimed to ensure that your experience with us is worry free. Guaranteed. To that end, during thisunprecedented time, Hands On Painters, Inc. is carefully monitoring the COVID-19 situation as it evolves and fully understand the concerns associated with transmission.

Since it is the season for painting outdoors, we wanted you to know that for exterior paint projects all estimating, inspecting, measuring, and evaluating – can be done outside of your home without one-on-one contact.

Regardless of what type of work you need, should you wish to meet with us in person, we will respect your space and your time. We can meet with you for as brief a time as you choose, or for as long as is necessary. Our staff will always respect your personal space.

Communication throughout your project can be done electronically via phone, e-mail, or video chat. Additionally we have a mail slot at our office rear entrance, should you choose to hand deliver any paperwork to us.

Additionally, Hands On Painters, Inc. is taking extra steps to ensure the safety of our customers and our staff.

What we are doing: 
• Our employees are thoroughly disinfecting our offices daily, focusing especially on high-touch common areas, and personal work spaces. Special attention is being given to our tools and vans.
• Hand sanitizers have been placed throughout our offices, work spaces, and vehicles.
• Anti-bacterial soap is available in all restrooms.
• We are requiring employees who are sick to remain home until they are well.
• We frequently conduct meetings as we are monitoring and implementing all updates and guidance available from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

We will continue to be open Monday – Friday from 7:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. 

Should you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us directly by phone at 410-242-1737. We can also be reached via e-mail at info@handsonpainters.com

From our family to yours, we wish you good health and safety.
Thank you!
Jonathan ZawackiOwner/OperatorHands on Painters, Inc.

Do only what you do well

A friend in business once said to me: ‘If you don’t do the work in the office, don’t do the work in the field.’ When you run a painting company, your clients can ask for a lot more than painting. We have been asked to refinish furniture, grout tile floors, and do electrical work. “Keep It Simple, Stupid” is almost a daily mantra I repeat to myself. Every time I have wandered off course to work on something that is not in our scope and expertise, we’ve lost money. It becomes a huge headache, and worse, it can tarnish your reputation. Do what you do and do it well. It is that simple.

Jonathan Zawacki, Hands On Painters, Baltimore MD

15% Off Winter Painting

GET 15% OFF any winter interior painting service during the months of December 2019 and January, February & March 2020. (Minimum purchase $475. Cannot be combined with other offers or discounts. Certain restrictions may apply, call 410-242-1737, for details.)

Voted Baltimore’s Best – Painter

“So this guy named Jonathan Zawacki who had a B.S. in psychology from Towson University decided to start a fix-it business to pay back his mother for supporting him while he took a 4,000-mile, cross-country bicycle trip. That quickly morphed into Hands On Painters, one of the most highly regarded brush brigades in the area, with endless recommendations from customers. And true to Zawacki’s odd-job roots, they do lots of other things, too, like minor repairs, hanging fixtures, faux finishing, and tile and drywall work. 4503 Leeds Avenue, 410-242-1737.”


Hands on Painter’s Senior Tradesman Program

Starting a new business can be daunting. Jonathan Zawacki, owner of Hands on Painters, knows this all too well. He started his first business called Jonathans Odd Jobs way back in 1996. Three years later Hands on Painters, Inc. was in full swing. Over the next  23 years Jonathan has hired, trained and employed hundreds of painters, dozens of which have gone on to establish successful painting companies themselves.

Arising from a mutual need, Jonathan is now partnering with some of these past individuals to provide a solution to retaining current employees and bringing back the best who had left. Under the HOP Senior Tradesman Program, only superior-HOP trained painters are eligible. These individuals have been chosen due to their complete understanding of the quality preparation, integrity and painting execution that Hands On Painters expects. 

“This is a win-win opportunity for all. These business owners get the benefit of our advertising and administrative resources and we maintain some of our most talented  painters…AND our customers get quality workmanship!” says Jonathan.

These Senior Trandesman are fully  insured and backed by Hands on Painters!

CEDAR IS A LEADER! Caring for cedar shingles on your home.

Cedar…smells great and offers a classic, warm and inviting feel to your home! It has natural antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, which allow you to leave the wood untreated without the worry of rotting, warping or cracking. However, as beautiful as cedar is when it is first put on your home, it can quickly turn grey. The rugged result is appealing to some, but for those who like the stained or painted look it can require regular maintenance .

However, because it is one of the most durable softwoods and is resistant to wind and all types of weather, it has been a popular choice on homes for hundreds of years. Luckily, cedar siding takes stain and paint well and when properly maintained, can look beautiful for decades. Paint and solid stains offers an opaque coating and can be applied over other coatings. Paint and solid stains can completely cover an old color, gives a monochromatic look and elevates dark and light areas on the cedar siding. Semi- transparent stain  or semi-solid stain has much less pigment and is more translucent which allows some of the natural wood color, texture, and grain to show through. 

Our rule of thumb is to keep the semi-transparent stain on cedar for as long as possible then as the years go by and the home darkens from multiple coats of semi-transparent  stain, make the switch to a solid/opaque stain. The heavier solid stain will give the added protection your older cedar needs and bring out some definition and pop next to your trim boards, windows and gables features.

Helpful hints !!

• Look for “hot spots” on your home (areas that wear down faster such has roof lines, dormers, tops of gables and chimneys)

Maintain hot spots every 2-3 years

Re-stain the most exposed side of your home every 5- 7 years. The other three sides should be fine for 10-15 years except for areas of heavy water damage and/or problems arising from gutter issues.

Keep the old can of stain even if it is empty !!!!  It helps to match your product close as possible for future painting.

And lastly…. Never go vinyl…. After 10-15 years it looks awful and costs a lot to replace…

If you follow some basic maintenance your home will look great for decades for a fraction of the cost!

To preserve the look you prefer, you will need to re-stain or re-paint on a regular basis.

Why is EPA Lead Certification Important?

Buildings built before 1978 are likely to contain lead-based paint. This paint has a heavy mercury-like substance that has been identified as a public health hazard. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has put guidelines in place that help regulate the renovation of older homes that may contain lead paint. In April 2008, the Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (RRP) was adopted to improve how painters and other contractors approach work in these older buildings.

Companies with an EPA lead-safe certification have been specially trained to ensure that lead-based paint removal and handling is conducted in a way that is safe to your family. Hands On Painters is proud to be an EPA Lead Certified contractor!