Exterior Painting

Tips for quality exterior painting

    A quality exterior paint job will not only make your home beautiful, but will provide a crucial barrier to the elements.  A home should be checked every year for signs of paint failure;  loose caulk, flaking paint, bare spots, cracking, peeling, and fading.  Fading, or chalking, is normal for today's modern paint coatings for homes;  When a coat chalks, rain (or washing) will expose a brand new surface.  If you wash the exterior regularly, it will look like new for a long time.  Whenever evidence of failure is found, those spots should be cleaned, scraped, primed and recoated with new paint.  When the failure rate has reached about 10%, usually after 5 or 6 years, then a complete coat of new paint should be considered.

    Most of the work involved in any good paint job is preparation of the surface.  For paint to adhere (to the old coating) properly, it must be applied to a clean dry surface.  If it is not properly cleaned, the new coating will adhere just as well, except that it will adhere to the dirt, chalk, and other contaminates instead of the old coating. The quality of preparation is a bigger factor in the life of a paint coating, rather then the quality of the ingredients in the paint bucket.

    The first step in a good paint job, is inspecting all areas where the paint is peeling or cracking.  Is there structural or water damage?  Find out where the moisture is coming from and correct it.  In other words, correct the real problem before you treat the symptoms.  Check for poor ventilation near bathrooms, laundry rooms, and kitchens.  Look for damaged gutters, downspouts, rotted wood.  Replace any wood trim that shows signs of rotting.

    Wash and clean the entire house with a soap solution and brushes, or rent a good power washer.  You wouldn't wax a dirty car, so why paint a dirty house?  Use caution when power washing;  avoid serious injury from the washer, and avoid damage to the surface by spraying too close.  After power washing, scrape any loose, cracking, or peeling paint, rinse, and let dry.

    Spot prime all bare wood, metal, or masonry with a quality primer;  The primer must be compatible with the finish coat, and compatible with the surface that needs to be primed.  Caulk will last longer if it is applied over primer, because the correct primer will provide better adhesion.  Another tip:  If you intend to apply a finish coat over the caulk, you do not need to purchase caulk with silicone!  The cheaper caulk without silicone will last just as long if the surface under it is primed and the caulk is covered with a finish coat.  (check Consumer Reports magazine)  Professional painters have known that for years!

    When the primer is dry, caulk all open cracks around window and door frames, casing, fascia, soffits, columns, and all "dissimilar" (wood next to metal, wood next to brick) material.  The average house will require about 6 to 12 tubes of caulk.  Sealing all the air leaks on the house with caulking will decrease the amount of heat used in the winter, decrease the amount of air conditioning in the summer; decrease the amount of dust that penetrates the house, and decrease the amount of outside noise that is heard inside the house.   An airtight house will have less water penetration;  meaning your paint job will last longer, and you will clean less often with a well caulked house.   Dollar for dollar, caulking does more to maintain and protect your home than anything else that you can buy.

    If you have any questions, please call or email me (Larry) at estimater@earthlink.net