Exterior Painting

  1. The paint is coming off the exterior of my house even though I used an expensive paint and applied two coats. Why is this happening, how can I correct it, and what will it take to prevent it in the future?

    Without taking a look at your specific situation, it's very difficult to give a specific answer. There are simply too many different types of problems that involve paint not adhering to exterior surfaces. For example, there are terms such as alligatoring, blistering, checking and cracking to describe different problems that can occur. However, almost all paint failures are due to poor or improper surface preparation. Another cause is improper application. The use of quality paint also is important, but, as in your case, will not ensure against adhesion problems if the surface is not properly prepared and the paint is not applied correctly. 

    To briefly answer both your second and third questions, yes, you can correct your problem and by properly doing so avoid the same problem in the future. Remove all loose, flaking or peeling paint, clean, spot prime where necessary, solve any moisture problems you may have and repaint with a quality paint using correct application procedures.

  2. Is it always necessary to apply two coats of an exterior paint?

    Actually, if you are painting new siding or where all of the previous coating has been removed, you should first apply a coat of primer followed by two coats of paint. However, if the surface was previously painted and that old paint is still sound, a single coat of a quality paint will probably suffice.

  3. How do I select a good color for the exterior of my house? I want something to set my house off yet that is in good taste.

    Your home's exterior is the first impression visitors have of you. You should want it to look good. First, be sure to take into account the fixed colors of your home -brick, stone work and the roof color. You may want to consider choosing a paint color that will pick up the color from one of these non-painted areas such as, for example, a brown that appears in your brick. In addition, the style of your home may play a role in the colors you select. If, for example, you have an architecturally accurate reproduction of a colonial-style home, you may want to use authentic exterior colors from that period. Or, if you have a Victorian-era home you may want to use a number of colors to accentuate the architectural details (gingerbread) on your home. Generally, you can't go wrong selecting a light color for the body of the house and a darker, complementary color for the trim. Another way to set your home off is to create an interesting welcoming entrance by painting your front door in a bold color scheme.

  4. I want to have a professional paint my house. How do I find a good house painter and what information should I require in the quote?

    Those are both good questions. To find a good painting contractor, ask friends and neighbors for recommendations or see if your local independent paint retailer has a list. once you're ready to talk to them, ask for and check references. When they give you a quote, get a firm price and both a start and finish date, find out who will actually do the work, check to see if the contractor hasWCB insurance, and never pay in advance. A bid or contract also should include a list of the work that is to be done, how many coats for each surface, the type of paint to be used for each part of the job, the preparation work that will be done, and who furnishes the paint and other materials.

  5. I have vinyl siding that I thought was going to look like new forever. Now it has started to fade and has weather-damaged areas. Must I replace it or can I paint it and save some money?

    Painting your old vinyl siding makes good sense both economically and aesthetically. Not only can you make it look like new again, you can, if you wish, change the color and give it a whole new look. Note that you can do the same thing with aluminum siding. Surface preparation and the use of a quality paint are the keys to painting both vinyl and aluminum siding. (However, check with the siding manufacturer to make sure that painting does not void the warranty.) 

    For vinyl, the first step is to remove any chalking and stains as well as any dirt by cleaning with a power washer or by hand-scrubbing with warm, soapy water and thoroughly rinsing. one caution: Never try to remove stubborn stains on vinyl siding with a wirebrush, sandpaper or a power sander. These can permanently damage your siding. After the surface is dry, paint using a quality paint. Note that you should not paint with a color darker than the original color of the vinyl siding. Why? Because dark colors can absorb the sun's heat, causing the siding panels to warp. 

    For aluminum siding, any surface oxidation must be completely removed by careful, light rubbing with steel wool. If mildew is present, remove it by scrubbing with a bleach solution (one part bleach to three parts water). Power-wash or hand-scrub with warm, soapy water and rinse. Be sure to remove all chalking, loose paint, dust, dirt, and bleach solution. Spot-prime areas where bare aluminum may be exposed. After the surface is dry, paint as you would any siding using a good quality paint. 

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