Serving The Greater Boston Metropolitan Area
(617) 734.1696

Problem Solving

If your home renovation project involves paint and plaster challenges, you can trust the professional craftsmen at Catchlight Painting for just the right solution.

Paint Failure

All paint fails for the same reason; lack of adhesion. Whether this is the consequence of moisture transpiration, inadequate preparation or insufficient drying between coats, the result is the same. Each cause presents differently and studying the dynamic of the failure typically leads to the resolution.

Moisture-related failure is typically accompanied by staining of the paint film as wood tannins are extracted by water migration. Plaster and masonry surfaces will leach efflorescent salts onto the surface of the paint film. Once the source of water is addressed, most repairs are quick and simple and painting is often just touching up.

Where more significant repairs are required, we can replace plaster and wood, carefully matching profiles, depth and height to ensure a seamless repair.

Plaster Restoration

Flat plaster shows its age in a number of ways from sagging ceilings to hairline cracks. Fortunately, these problems are easily remedied and the inherent sound absorbing qualities of original plaster can be retained. Where the plaster 'key' has broken (the key is the part of the original coat that is forced between the gaps in the lath and so hold the plaster to the ceiling or wall) plaster buttons are used to secure sagging plaster through the lathe to the studs and joists.

Obscured or damaged ornamental plaster requires the touch and skill of a professional. Some repairs can be made to the original detail by hand; in many instances, the damaged section is removed altogether and a mold constructed to replicate the original profile. The section is then replaced and matches the field exactly.

Commonly used at the turn of the century, we are experienced with the distinct characteristics of horsehair plaster and with resolving the problems that are inherent in this material.

Wood Restoration

A properly restored home is only complete when the woodwork is returned to its natural luster and color. Multiple coats of varnish and shellac over the years can lead to alligatored finishes and nearly opaque coloration. At Catchlight Painting, we distinguish ourselves from other companies by attending to this vital aspect of your living space. Replacing durable, old-growth wood with new plantation-grown and engineered materials is a poor substitute. You do not add to the value of your home by placing cheap products over valuable, albeit worn material.

The restoration of your woodwork can create a luxurious feel in your home. The woodwork is further highlighted by your freshly painted room. We take great care in the handling of your natural woodwork. At Catchlight, we use a variety of non-toxic materials to remove old finishes and restore the original beauty of your wood.

  • French Polish
    For a beautiful finish for your wood furnishings, we utilize a technique called French Polish. French polish is a sophisticated method that creates its affect using shellac and extensive rubbing. The result is a high gloss and deep color. Please inquire if a French Polish is right for your home.
  • Swedish Putty
    If the restoration of your natural wood services requires repairs to the wood surface, Swedish putty may be used. Swedish putty is dries hard and can be used as a filler for wood surfaces.
  • Epoxy Restoration
    Small areas of rotted wood can be restored to paint-ready condition with specially formulated epoxies. Click here (the epoxy page) for an example of what Catchlight Painting can do.


Mildew is a superficial coating or discoloration of organic materials, caused by fungi, especially under damp conditions.

  • Interior
    The high humidity, darkness, and accumulation of condensate mineral deposits and soap residue on the paint film combine for a three course meal for the mildew spore. Most often found in bathrooms, mildew can be removed with commonly available, and environmentally friendly, mildewcidal solutions. Bleach alone is not enough!
  • Exterior
    Typically mildew presents as a problem on shady sides of the exterior of a house. It takes the form of green or black surface discoloration, but does not permanently damage the paint film. Removal is accomplished with pressure or hand washing with a solution of bleach and detergent and rinsing.