July 1996 Edition

Exterior Painting Procedures

We are preparing to paint the exterior of our house. Since this is a major undertaking, we want to do it right. Would you please tell us the procedure required to do a proper job?
You are right about one thing - it is a major undertaking. The preparation required is far more time consuming and important than the actual painting. If you do not properly prepare the house, then the painting will be in vain. There are basically six steps to a successful painting.
 First - go around your house and look for damaged or rotten wood. This is the time to make those repairs you have been postponing. If the damage is minor, you may be able to just caulk over it or fill the area with wood filler. If it is a larger area you will probably need to replace the wood.
One of the main reasons paint peels is because the surface was not  properly  cleaned   before   painting. 
Paint  will  not adhere to a dirty surface. You can either rent a pressure washer or have a professional tackle the job. If you decide to rent, pick up a package of TSP or Tri Sodium Phosphate as a cleaner to be added to the pressure washer. If you have a problem with mildew, add laundry bleach to the solution. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for mixing and safety precautions and be sure to protect your shrubbery.
After the cleaning is complete, any loose paint must be removed. Scrape or wire brush any peeling paint and be sure to cover an area 10” to 12” around it.
If you are sure the paint is not lead based, sand all of the edges well, feathering the edges of the paint so it will be smooth at any bare wood. Be sure to clean off any sanding dust when you are finished
Any joint in the wood must be sealed to prevent moisture from causing deterioration. Caulk all end and butt joints in siding, around all window and door  trim, all eave and corner trim and any nail that will not be  sealed  by  painting. 
If  you can see a crack between two pieces of wood, caulk it! The only place you do not want to caulk is the bottom lip of trim and siding since water does not run uphill. Use a good quality siliconized acrylic caulk (see June ‘96 Home Tips). You can smooth the caulk by using a damp rag or a sponge. Just be sure to rinse it out regularly.  
All new wood or any areas where the paint peeled off to bare wood must be primed before painting. The primer is a bonding agent between the wood and the paint. You can use either an oil-base or water-base primer sealer. Both have excellent bonding characteristics and are designed for all types of woods and most metals. Ask your paint supplier which would be the best for your particular application. 
Now that you have the preliminaries out of the way, you can finally get down to the actual painting. Unless you enjoy painting often, buy only a top quality house paint. Almost all companies offer a line of paints with varying price and quality. As a rule, the higher the price, the higher the quality. Look for a warranty. The top of the line will carry a warranty of ten to fifteen years. The next step down will be seven to ten years. The label should say “100% or all acrylic. All top of the line latex paints are acrylic. Lower quality paints have vinyl added.            
If you have a mildew problem, choose a paint that has mildewcides in its ingredients or they can be added to the paint. It is important to note that mildewcides are generally not permanent and will gradually lose their effectiveness.
When painting lapped siding, be sure to first coat the bottom edge before painting the surface of  the siding.
If one coat does not totally seal it, add another coat. Most siding will begin to deteriorate along this edge by separating and allowing moisture in. When that happens, it is hard to stop it.
Protecting your investment is part of home ownership. Preventative maintenance such as painting is the single most important item you can do for the exterior of your home.

If you have a question, change of address, comment, home tip or would like to send Home Tips to your clients, send your letter to Home Tips, Christian Building Inspectors, Inc., 3697 Habersham Lane, Duluth, Georgia 30096. You can E-Mail your questions to us at rodharrison@christianbuildinginspectors.com. We reserve the right to edit questions for length.

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Quote of the Month

“Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort.”


A Tip Of The Hat To:

Susan Ozburn

Northside Realty

Duluth, Georgia

**** Thank You****