Paint Failure and What to Do About It

Paint Failure and What to Do About It

Home Painting Interior Painting

Blistering and peeling paint is a serious and prevalent problem. Older home and buildings are the most common places where blistering and peeling paint become an issue. If you own a home that was built prior to the 1960’s, you are more likely to be experiencing this problem.

Paint failure is both unsightly and potentially damaging, and it’s important to have enough information to make informed decisions about how to address the problem. While there are many different types of and reasons for paint failure to occur, including weather, neglect or abuse, in today’s post I will describe the symptoms of the problem and address a common paint failure issue that can even occur immediately following a fresh application of paint.

Here’s how to know you’ve got a paint failure problem:

If you see bubbles or “blistering,” which can vary in size and may appear as tiny blisters or large bubbles which appear intact or are breaking through the paint, you definitely have a paint failure issue. You may also see moisture seeping through the bubbles, or water stains which would be a sign of previous moisture. These symptoms can easily lead to peeling paint, which can lead to an unsightly and damaging mess.

Here’s why:

If you see signs of moisture, as described above, you can be certain that any blistering and/or peeling is being caused by moisture. Moisture can build up in siding for many different reasons, most commonly:

  1. Heat transference
  2. Lack of moisture barrier
  3. Siding which has not been properly primed or protected on the underside
  4. Paint layer film build
  5. Pipes that form condensation in the walls.
  6. Improper construction so the house is not breathing properly
  7. Water leaks

Of all the reasons listed above, the most common problem is heat transference.  Have you ever seen your windows steam up on a cold winter day?  That condensation is not only building up on your windows, it’s also building up inside your walls.  The science behind this can be explained by the temperature variance between the inside and outside of the house.  The space between the wallboard and the siding is the perfect place for the cold air and the warm air to collide and form moisture.

This condensation is what builds up in the siding and causes moisture. Under ideal circumstances, the condensation will evaporate and dry out and you would be none the wiser. Unfortunately, ideal circumstances don’t allow for extremes in temperature, and it can be difficult to protect your house, especially if you live in an older house, from the elements and keep temperatures steady.

Turning up the heat increases inside temperatures, and increases condensation. When the sun comes out and warms up outside temperatures, any condensation in the wall is converted to steam and, voila! This can create a perfect scenario for exterior paint failure. This problem is most commonly seen on the south side of the home; I see it often on some of the most beautiful old Portland Craftsman style homes. When I go out to inspect a property, checking the south side for paint failure is the first clue to discovering a moisture issue.

Here’s what can be done:

Unfortunately, this is a problem that cannot be simply addressed with a good paint job. However, there are some remedies I can suggest.

SIDING REPLACEMENT: If your house has severe blistering and peeling, siding replacement may be the only viable solution. No amount of prepping, painting, priming, sanding or stripping will resolve this issue. The siding needs to come off and a moisture barrier needs to be installed. There may be other structural defects that need to be repaired. This is the best option if you never want to be bothered with this issue again.

SIDING REMOVAL AND RE-INSTALL OF ORIGINAL SIDING: If you have a historical home and you wish to preserve the siding, you could remove the siding, install the moisture barrier, prime the undersides of the siding, repair defects in construction, then re-install the old siding. This option may work best for cedar lap siding. Other sidings might not hold up to this kind of process. Additionally, if there is a buildup of film (many layers of paint), stripping off the old layers of paint may be necessary. This can be a very extensive and expensive process and you will definitely want to hire the right professional for the job.

STRIPPING: Another option is stripping the siding. Your house needs to breathe properly in order for the condensation to evaporate. Multiple layers of paint could be preventing proper ventilation. Stripping will work in some cases; however, it does not address the lack of moisture barrier or the fact that the siding is not primed on the back side. So, stripping the paint, while helpful, does not guarantee that you won’t have future paint failure issues.
Recently, I was called out to look at a house where the customers paid over thirty thousand dollars to strip and paint, yet it was failing within a few years because the stripping process did not resolve the moisture issue. This is a heart breaking situation. After seeing this, I’ve become wary about recommending stripping as a solution to blistering and peeling caused by moisture.

THE MAINTENANCE PLAN: After reading all this information, you might be panicked at the thought that you can’t possibly afford any of these solutions.   Fortunately, there is good news and another option to consider: The Maintenance Plan.

The maintenance portion comes AFTER the paint job is completed.  As long as you are prepared, you won’t be shocked to see bubbles appearing, especially after a good cold, wet period.  Spring time is a great time for bubbles to make their appearance.  Our warranty does not cover paint failure due to moisture, but we do offer maintenance painting as a service.

The maintenance plan consists of:

  1. Scraping off the loose paint (contractors must use EPA approved lead safe practices if the house contains lead paint)
  2. Apply a thick coat of XIM Peel Bond or similar water based high build primer that contains glue; back roll if applied by airless sprayer
  3. Apply two coats of paint specifically formulated for blistering and peeling
  4. Inspect the paint job regularly to watch for blistering and address the problem in a timely manner by scraping the bubbles and loose paint, spot prime with Peel Bond, then touch up paint to match.

Here’s how the maintenance process works:

  1. By scraping, any loose paint (only that which is currently failing) is removed. The paint that is intact may fail down the road and it’s even possible that it will bubble right after or during painting.  This happens because the old paint absorbs moisture from the wet paint which can loosen the old paint that was intact.  Additionally, the fresh layers of paint can add enough weight to pull even more paint off. If this happens during the painting process, the painters will address the problem.  Unfortunately, this can continue to be a recurring problem.  Moisture may blister off more paint as time goes by, but regular maintenance will maintain your property (and save you lots of money).
  2. After scraping, Peel Bond is applied.  Peel Bond is a water-based, high build bonding primer that contains glue.  During application it goes on opaque and dries clear. We use this product because of its incredible bonding properties and because it applies thicker than regular exterior primer.  The only way to get the look of brand new siding is to install brand new siding.  Peel Bond is limited in how much it will improve the appearance; however, it will fare better than regular primer. The high build properties can smooth out some of the roughness in the substrate, but it won’t make it look brand new or “fix” your siding.  We apply this with an airless sprayer, brush or roller.  When spot priming, we use brushes and rollers; when applications are over a large area, we use an airless sprayer and back roll when the product is applied.  The back rolling is a critical piece of the prep.  Using a roller to work the product into the substrate helps the product adhere and fills in minor cracks and raised grain, which improves appearance. Generally, only the areas that have paint failure need the Peel Bond, so spot priming these areas with brushes and rollers is recommended.  If the area is large, such as with massive paint failure, we recommend using an airless sprayer for application (the sprayer has to be powerful enough to push the thick product), and back rolling. Important Note:  Never use oil based primers on substrates where there are moisture issues.  You need the siding to breathe as much as possible so you will get better results with a water based product.  One concern is tannin bleed, but if the siding has aged long enough, this will not be an issue and a coat of Peel Bond with two coats of paint will suffice to block any tannins. If tannins are an issue, a water based solid color stain will work to block the bleed.
  3. Next, two coats of paint are applied, per manufacturer specifications.  It’s important to follow recommended drying times before coats, apply the recommended coats and back roll/brush between coats.  Benjamin Moore’s Ben and Sherwin William’s Resilience are both formulated for blistering and peeling substrates and therefore, recommended by Sisu Painting, Inc.

By putting a maintenance plan in place, you shouldn’t have to deal with massive paint failure again in the future.  Grab a scraper, remove the bubbles, apply a bit of Peel Bond and touch it up.  It’s really that simple.  Easier yet, hire a professional to do it for you.  The paint on the house can fade and the touch up may be slightly visible, but it will protect your house and your investment until you can replace the siding or move.

It’s important to be realistic about how your house is going to look after a paint job.  The process of painting does not smooth out the substrate sufficiently to make it look new and depending on the extent of damage, you may have to accept that your house is going to be less than perfect, although it will be protected.  If you are able to accept the imperfections, then you will appreciate the charm of owning and maintaining and older home, but it all depends upon your perspective.

Interior paint failure

Blistering and peeling paint on the interior of your home is also likely to be caused by moisture. This is a serious issue, especially if it’s accompanied by mold.  If you have a problem on the inside of your house, it would serve you best to call in a general contractor that deals with water intrusion.

While the problem of blistering and peeling paint is a serious issue, it does not have to ruin your life.  Accept the fact that your house needs a little TLC and turn it into the charmer that you always knew it would be.  As always, we are here to answer your questions and to help you take the next step in protecting your home and making it beautiful along the way.

Good luck with your project – and let us know how we can help!

Sheen – Choose the Correct One for Your Project

Sheen – Choose the Correct One for Your Project

Exterior Painting Home Painting

The term sheen refers to the degree of shine or luster in the paint. Paint can be usually be ordered in the following levels:

  • Flat
  • Matte
  • Low-sheen/Low lustre
  • Velvet
  • Eggshell
  • Satin
  • Semi-gloss
  • Gloss
  • High gloss

The catch is sheen from one company may not match the sheen from another… even when they are labeled similarly. It can be tricky to select the right one for your project, so here are some helpful guidelines:

When selecting paint, always ask to see the sheen chart, which is something every paint store will have on hand. Some paints are only offered in a few levels, while other lines come in a vast array of options.

Kitchen, bath and high traffic areas

Picture of Benjamin Moore sheen chartI recommend you stick with a bit of luster in the kitchen and the bathroom because flat paint can take on water stains. Also, if your home is bustling with children and pets, you may want to select paint with a bit of shine, which makes it easier to clean.

For these higher traffic areas, I recommend a washable flat, low-sheen, velvet, eggshell or satin sheen.  The lower the shine, the better it will look, so ask your painter or the paint store which is the lowest sheen up from flat in the product line you have chosen. Many times, it will be satin or eggshell.

Flat is beautiful

A flat sheen will always minimize the imperfections inherent in any surface, which makes flat ideal for most walls other than kitchen and bath.  If your lifestyle is such that you don’t expect a lot of clean up on the walls, I recommend a flat sheen for the most beautiful finish.

Semi-gloss shows everything – proceed with caution

I never recommend using a semi-gloss for walls, even in a bathroom, because high sheen results in more light reflection and that means greater visibility for any imperfections on the wall.

Trim with Satin

Cut pieces of trim showing sheen differencesFor woodwork or trim, I prefer a satin sheen. Because baseboards and trim tend to take some abuse, satin enamel won’t accentuate the imperfections but will allow for easy clean-up because it dries to a hard surface. Important: NEVER use wall paint on woodwork. If the woodwork is in exceptional condition, then a semi-gloss can be a suitable choice as well.


So, now you’ve got the scoop on sheen.

Until next time,


How Much Does It Cost to Paint a House?

How Much Does It Cost to Paint a House?


The cost of painting a house can average between $5,685 to $6,749. Customers often ask for a square footage cost based on the size of their home; when in reality, it’s the square footage of the wall surface that we base our calculations on. This is why we measure when we provide a quote. Other factors can also influence the cost to paint a house.

Exterior vs Interior

In addition, the cost to paint exterior of house is calculated differently than the cost to paint interior of house. So, how can you budget for your home maintenance or remodel? My formulas for the cost to paint a house are proprietary and I really don’t want to give my hard-earned calculations to my competitors, so I’ve done the next best thing. I searched my records for the costs of the past 20 interior and 20 exterior paint jobs. These amounts encompass a variety of jobs and are a base for knowing the average cost, big or small:



Exterior of house painted by Sisu


Portion of interior painted by Sisu

Contributing Factors

Many factors contribute to the cost of painting a house: the size of the project, the detail involved, the number of colors, the age of the home, the amount of prep work, and so on. Recently, we painted a stairwell for $350 and the owner supplied the paint. We also got paid over $18,000 for painting the interior and exterior of a new build pool house. All in all, the best way to get the cost of your painting project is to schedule a bid.

If you’re just looking to have a room painted, the average price to the paint walls of a 12’ x 12’ bedroom with 8-foot ceilings is about $556 for a two-coat color change. If you paint more rooms, the price can come down, so there’s always that to consider. The time of year can affect pricing. Currently, we are running a 25% off special because our exterior season is over and we naturally slowdown in the winter. This discount brings the cost of interior house painting way down. We hope this information helps you to budget your painting project.

Waterborne vs Oil-Based Paint That is the Question

Waterborne vs Oil-Based Paint That is the Question


Water-based paints have come a long way since they were first introduced in the 1940s and 50s. Today we use water-based paints on exteriors because oil-based paints tend to get brittle and will crack and peel. Interior wall and ceiling paints are almost exclusively waterborne paint with few exceptions. But, when it comes to trim paint, the options become a little broader and occasionally oil-based paint is appropriate.

As waterborne products become more advanced, the oil-based options seem to dwindle.

Here’s what we love about oil-based paints

Example of oil-based eggshell sheen

  1. Best sheen – nothing compares to the sheen of oil-based paints. It is sophisticated and subtle and has an appearance you cannot attain with water-based products
  2. Best leveling properties. The paint takes longer to dry so it levels out better, especially when brushed. This makes for a beautiful finish that’s hard to achieve with the water-based product

What we don’t love about oil-based paint

  1. It’s bad for the environment – oil-based paints have VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) that gas off and pollute the environment
  2. The finish yellows over time. Recent regulations lowering the VOC content allowed in paint has increased the amount of yellowing that we encounter
  3. The finish gets brittle and will chip and chip and crack over time. This problem has also increased with the recent regulations
  4. The finish does not clean well. The paint will pick up grime and oil that is impossible to keep clean. This problem is especially bad on cabinetry, which tends to be a high traffic area
  5. The finish does not touch up well

What we love about waterborne paints

  1. Waterborne paints are more durable than oil-based products
  2. The product dries quickly
  3. The finish does not yellow over time
  4. The product touches up easily
  5. The paint cleans up with water
  6. The finish is easy to maintain
  7. The product sprays out beautifully

What we don’t love about waterborne paints

  1. Waterborne paints don’t level as well as oil-based paints, so they show more brush strokes and stipple if painted by hand
  2. The sheen is not as nice as oil-based paints

The hybrid water-based enamels on the market, called modified alkyds are performing quite well. The drying time is a bit slower, so they level better. We love these products for their durability, ease of application and beauty.

Benjamin Moore Advance Satin Water-Base Acrylic-Alkyd PaintSherwin Willaims ProClassic Water-Based Acrylic-Alkyd Paint

I prefer to use oil-based over waterborne paint on trim, if the house has historical significance and the paint will be applied with a brush. Brushed oil-based paint is lovely and gives the look that older homes seem to call for, especially if you are not painting the entire house. It’s always best to keep the finishes as uniform as possible. If you have previously hand painted oil-based paints that you are matching up to, then I recommend sticking with the oil-based products.

If you need help deciding which paint will be appropriate for you next painting project, we are just a phone call away and we are always happy to help where we can.

Until next time,


Painter’s Tape – Choose the Right One

Painter’s Tape – Choose the Right One


Wandering through the aisles of a paint store trying to pull everything together for your DIY painting project can feel overwhelming. From painter’s tape to drop cloths and paintbrushes to sponges, the options are practically endless. Some of these things won’t make a difference in your end product—the plastic you put on the floor probably won’t mess up your walls—but things like brushes and tape can make a huge impact on your lines and finish.

Let’s focus on the tape

Painting without tape is like trying to color in the lines on a tiny picture with a giant marker. It’s going to end in tears. Painting with the wrong tape can be just as bad. If it’s not sticky enough, you will end up with squiggly lines instead of straight ones. If it’s too sticky, you can end up with glue residue on the walls and other adhesion issues.

Recommended types of tape

Most of the tapes that we recommend are 3M™ products, the makers of Scotch® brand tape. These types may be more expensive than other options; but you really will get what you pay for. Cheaper means less quality when it comes to tape.

Scotch Masking Tape for production painting Scotch® Masking Tape for Production Painting 2020 is a high adhesion tape with a 3-day safe release.

Where: Use this tape in places that require high adhesion, mostly exteriors or hard to tape places inside.

Why: With 2020, you won’t have to worry about the wind blowing down your paper or plastic once you’ve stuck it to your trim and windows. You’ll have three days to use and remove this tape without risking sticky, messy residue on your surfaces. This is the shortest release period and the stickiest tape we’ll recommend, so be careful where you choose to use it. Make sure to take it off promptly.

Scotchblue Painter's Tape for multi surfaces

ScotchBlue™ Painters Tape for Multi-Surfaces 2090 is a medium adhesion tape with a 14-day safe release.

Where: Use this tape for most of your painting projects, especially if they’ll take more than a few days, both interior and exterior.

Why: With 2090 you’ll have good adhesion without worrying about removing it in the three-day time window that 2020 provides. While you’ll have two weeks to finish your project before being concerned with adhesion issues, you also won’t have to worry about the tape coming off before you’re done.

Scotchblue Painter's Tape low-medium adhesionScotchBlue™ Painters Tape 2080 is a low-medium adhesion tape with a 60-day safe release.

Where: Use this tape for interiors, especially on delicate surfaces or on projects that may take a few weekends.

Why: With 2080 you’ll have an easy to work with tape that produces awesome straight lines. This tape is our favorite for interiors both because of the two-month safe release and because you don’t have to worry about paint seeping (bleeding) under the tape as much as you would with 2020 or 2090. We’ll warn you that this product is a lot more expensive than either 2020 or 2090, however. Like we said before, you get what you pay for!

Frogtape comes in a variety of adhesion levelsFrogtape® is not a 3M product and can be purchased in a variety of adhesion levels (multi-surface or delicate surface).

Where: Use this tape for interiors and special projects, like painting patterns/geometric murals. There is also a variety specifically for heavily textured surfaces.

Why: With Frogtape® you’ll get the added bonus of PaintBlock® Technology, which is a special film on the tape that reacts with wet paint to form a seal. The idea is that this will mean no bleeding, or minimal bleeding, and straighter lines. Our painters have mixed feelings about Frogtape®; but, if your lines are the most important part of your project, it may be a good choice for you. They also offer Shape Tape ™ which lets you create custom designs with much less work than standard tape as it’s already patterned in a couple of different shapes.

 Tape Width

Once you’ve picked the tape that’s right for you, all that’s left is to decide what width you’ll need. As professionals, we use one or one-and-a-half-inch tape. As a homeowner, using tape as wide as two inches gives you a bit of wiggle room—not that we’d ever accuse anyone of being sloppy!

It’s pretty much downhill from here as far as the tough choices go. Our painter’s tip to you: make sure to take the time to tape off properly and run your finger along the edge of the tape once you’ve applied it. The friction from your finger against the tape will create heat to activate the glue. This helps to achieve the straight lines you’re looking for.

Good luck!


Will Paint Fix It? Sisu Tips on What to Expect

Will Paint Fix It? Sisu Tips on What to Expect

Home Painting Interior Painting

Painting always comes with a unique set of challenges for each client. Things that weren’t apparent before painting become visible once we’ve started and customer expectations can be unrealistic. I get it. You’ve paid god knows how much for this interior paint job and darn well expect it to look exactly like you’ve dreamed it would. We want the same thing! Not only are you our customer, you are our lifeline–the people who keep us afloat in this crazy world. We love you and want the best for you! Unfortunately, there are some things that a good paint job just won’t fix.

Got cracks, holes, or texture that looks like the rough side of a bad day?

As much as paint can transform a space in an amazing way, it will not fix all your wall issues. If there’s a visible structural defect before you paint, chances are good it will still be noticeable after you paint. Structural defects can be sneaky, only showing their ugly faces once the wallpaper is off or the furniture is out of the room. Sometimes they’re obvious from the get-go. If your painter claims he can fix the waves, cracks or holes in your walls using paint, he’s probably lying to you. If you’re working with us, we’ll let you know as soon as we find any issues.

 Woeful Woodwork

Trim, baseboards and door casings all tend to suffer from woodwork neglect. Years of wear and tear can leave them looking rough and dinged up. Moisture damage on exposed wood can cause raised grain. As a professional painting company, we know a couple of tricks of the trade that can give you beautiful results. We’ll sand, fill with Bondo or wood filler, use PeelBond or TrimMagic, prime and do anything else we can think of to improve the finish of your wood. Paint will protect and clean up your woodwork. It won’t fix any flaws inherent in the substrate. Additionally, if you find dry rot anywhere, don’t paint over it! Dry rot needs to be removed and the wood replaced by a professional. Hiding the problem won’t help in the long run.

Terrible Texture

Once we landed a job repainting ceilings. It would have been straight forward enough, except for the fact that the homeowner’s main motivating factor for painting was more complicated than a tired color. The texture was peeling off! We looked closer at the damaged area and were amazed that the texture and drywall were not primed. That may not mean anything to you, but to us it was apparent that this was going to be a huge issue. Due to the lack of primer, any paint or texture we applied would just fall off again. We explained to the homeowners that this was a pre-existing condition (something we hadn’t accounted for in the scope of work and couldn’t guarantee in the long run).

As with all of our clients, we did everything in our power to resolve the issue. We called in a drywaller to repair the places where the texture had failed. When they were done, we sprayed the ceilings with an oil-based Z-Prime coat which we let dry overnight. The primer sealed the texture so that we could paint without re-damaging it. When we painted, we used two coats of paint applied with an airless sprayer, making sure not to back roll so the texture wouldn’t be damaged. The results were miraculous (if I do say so myself) and our efforts probably saved the customer thousands of dollars! The moral of the story? Just because paint can’t fix your texture doesn’t mean that it can’t be fixed by a painting pro and a fantastic drywaller.

 Revolting Repairs

We’ve been called in to right the wrongs of other contractors. Shoddy wall repairs can ruin the feel of your whole space and leave you feeling jaded towards contractors generally. First, we’d like to apologize to anyone who’s ever been of a victim of this type of disservice! How terrible, to put your home and your money on the line and have results which are less than pleasing! You have all of our sympathy. Secondly, there is a glimmer of hope. Although sometimes these repairs can be too time consuming to fix (a nice way of saying too expensive) and outside of the services we offer, painting can still perk up your space.

For everything else there’s spackle and caulk. Minor holes and slight cracks can be filled in using one of these two products, but they aren’t guaranteed to succeed. Proper prep work should include fixing what can be fixed and letting you, the customer, know about everything else. Sometimes, there’s nothing to do but call a drywaller. If you have any doubts about your space and its inherent flaws call us, email us, or tweet us! We are happy to help.


Old Paint – Don’t Let it Take Over Your Garage

Old Paint – Don’t Let it Take Over Your Garage


A lot of our blogs focus on the “befores” of painting – how to pick colors, how to prep and common problems – but we haven’t talked a lot about what to do after, when your garage is packed three layers deep with hundreds of old paint cans. Well, hopefully not literally hundreds…

Like most people, you probably don’t have any idea what to do with all those old gallons and quarts. Can you throw it away? Should you recycle them? What colors do you need to keep? What does it all mean? Rather than pushing you into an existential crisis, let us help you out when it comes to your stock pile of interior and exterior paint.

First, figure out which paint cans you can ditch

Our advice is this: if it’s up on your walls hold onto it. Your existing project might require touch ups and you’ll want to have the leftover paint on hand to make those go smoothly. If you don’t have a ton left, transfer it into a quart can (which are available at your local paint store) for easy storage. Eliminate the guess work and endless can opening by clearly labeling each of your colors using the product/color name, sheen and color code—especially if you transfer cans.

Once you’ve figured out what to keep, make sure that the cans are properly sealed. Knock the lid down tight so that your paint won’t dry out before you get a chance to use it.

For the rest of your half empty, old, dried out (or drying out) paint we’ve got a few suggestions.

Are your gallons still pretty full?

If so, we suggest recycling. Oregon, California and Connecticut all have built in paint fees (like an alcohol or cigarette tax) which were included when you purchased your gallon/quart. The fees go towards the PaintCare program which provides drop off sites for recycling old paint. Looking for a location near you? PaintCare Oregon has at least 101 drop sites for paint recycling, click here to find the most convenient one.

Are your cans empty?

If they are just dump them in the trash. There’s nothing wrong with putting them in your regular garbage and the recycling centers will not take empty cans.

Do your cans still have wet paint in them, but not enough to recycle?

If you’re left with just a little bit in the can, remove the lid and let it dry out. Once it’s dry, feel free to throw it away just like you would with an entirely empty can.

If you have paints or solvents that PaintCare will not take care of, you can check with Earth 911 to find current drop off sites for all your recycling needs. Hopefully we’ve answered all your questions; but, if not the office staff here at Sisu Painting, Inc. would be happy to assist in any way possible at (503) 646-1211.

Happy painting!


Tips for Choosing Exterior Paint Colors

Tips for Choosing Exterior Paint Colors

Exterior Painting Home Painting Paint color

I love this time of year! The sun is shining, the neighbors are barbecuing and I’m doing what I love best – helping clients choose colors for their homes. With every paint contract, I offer a complimentary color consultation. I have to admit this is the part of my job that I enjoy the most. It gives me a little extra time to build a relationship with my clients. And, I learned early on that no matter how expertly we’ve applied the paint, the client gets the most enjoyment when the color is perfectly suited to their taste and lifestyle.

Along the way, I’ve learned some tried and true tips for choosing exterior paint colors. Here we go…

Be a pioneer – think outside the box

Occasionally, I check in on the big-name painting sites to see what they’re saying about the latest color trends. On one such recent visit, I read some really poor advice: consider your neighbor’s house and make sure your color selection doesn’t clash.

I couldn’t disagree more! In my experience, when the time comes to update your exterior paint colors, chances are the majority of homes in the neighborhood are also using outdated colors. Painting provides a great opportunity to make a bold move and bring in some contemporary colors… or select a color scheme that you just love, regardless of what the neighbors are up to.  Don’t let the fact that so many people choose run-of-the-mill beige stop you from moving into a more interesting or vibrant palette. With a little guidance and reassurance, we can bring in an improved palette with current colors to set a new and refreshing trend in the neighborhood.  Chances are, the neighbors will appreciate it as much as you do!

How to choose colors – look for inspiration – it’s all around you

Does the house have a brick or stone facade? Consider the landscaping features and the roof color. Look at pictures in magazines, online or in brochures provided by the paint stores; these are great resources for paint colors. I often ask my clients to take pictures of houses they like when they are out and about. The website is another great place to collect ideas and inspiration.

When choosing exterior colors go darker – don’t be afraid

Natural lighting washes out color, so you can hardly go wrong by going darker. I can’t remember a client ever saying they wish they had chosen a lighter color, but I’ve heard many remarks about wishing for a darker palate. When selecting colors, even in the darker palettes, it pays to consult with a professional who understands which colors are best with regard to fading.

 Add emphasis and accent to your exterior

The house will look bigger if the garage door is painted the same color as the main color on the house. This strategy works great, unless you have a custom, fancy garage door that is a beautiful accent all by itself.

 Give your front door a pop of color

I love red doors; they are just so Portland!

Black doors are classic, but there’s risk of blistering if the door gets too many hours of full sun. There is an endless selection of fun colors and palettes to match or compliment your house color, which can create a unique and beautiful focal point.

 A little is enough – don’t overdo

It’s tempting to add splashes of color here, there and everywhere, but this approach is only really effective with certain architectural styles such as Victorian, craftsman or bungalow. The most common and best combination for most homes is 1) a base color, 2) a trim color and 3) a door accent color.Exterior of house showing base color, trim color, and front door color

When in doubt, call in a professional to consult. Most of all, remember that the colors you choose say a lot about you… so don’t be afraid to let your style and preferences show!

You never need to go it alone. Give me a call and I’ll bring my color swatches over.


Until next time,


Essential Maintenance Projects You Should Do Now!

Essential Maintenance Projects You Should Do Now!

Spring is here. And you know what that means! Here are 7 of the most essential maintenance projects to get started on. Oh, and a special offer from one of our cleaning professional partners!
Don’t wait until the next paint job to wash your house. Washing your house will make your paint job last longer, your house look better, and it’s a great way to inspect your exterior from top to bottom to see if there are any hidden issues. We recommend washing your house every one or two years. Sisu Painting pressure washes year-round, so we are here if you need us.
Cut back your landscaping at least one foot away from your house. Did you know that plants have airborne mold that will attach to your house and ruin your paint job? And, let’s not talk about how unsightly it looks. We’re all about being green here in Oregon, but green mold on your house spells nothing but trouble. Stay ahead of the problem by cutting back your bushes. A little household bleach and water can arrest mold growth.
Check your air conditioner. Hot weather will be upon us before you know it! Perform essential maintenance: remove the cover, change the filter, check the hoses, add Freon, have an inspection or whatever it is that your air conditioner needs to keep you calm and cool this summer.
This is on everyone’s home maintenance list, but nothing is more embarrassing than having your smoke alarm go off at midnight, calling 911 and waking up the whole neighborhood with ambulances and fire trucks only to find out the alarm is outdated and that it was only an internal warning alarm to let you know. This seriously happened to someone here at Sisu Painting this month. Spoiler alert: it was the owners.
No seriously, purge it! You have summer projects coming up, you need the room and you don’t need all that junk. Someone out there does, so clear your space and your mind and donate those wares to your favorite neighborhood charity.
Not too many people are willing to dig out the 30-foot ladder and clean their roof and gutters and luckily you don’t have to. We recommend All-Clean Soft Wash for this service and they are kindly running a special for our customers. Click on the coupon below!
This is starting to sound more like a spring-cleaning guide than a maintenance list, but ‘tis the season! Contact All-Clean Soft Wash and don’t forget your coupon for half off dryer vent cleaning with a window service or any one of their other services! Not only will you get a better view of all the spring flowers, keeping things clean is the best way to spot problems and address them before they turn into remodel projects.
We hope these tips help you achieve the results you are looking for. And remember, we are always more than happy to bid a job for you! CLICK HERE to get your FREE QUOTE for your next painting project.
Fresh Paint – Keep it Looking New

Fresh Paint – Keep it Looking New


There’s nothing like a fresh coat of paint to brighten your space and lighten your spirits. But once tarps come down and the painters are gone, what do you do to keep your new paint job looking bright and “like new?”

Handle with care

Fresh paint will feel dry to the touch, but it actually takes several weeks for the paint to fully cure. Latex or waterborne paint cures in approximately 30 days; whereas, oil based paints can take around 60 days.

Protect your investment interiors


During the time when interior paint is curing, it is important not to clean or otherwise disturb the surface. Allowing the paint time to cure will significantly increase the longevity of your new paint job.

New paint – proper care and cleaning

  • Flat paint, which is the sheen I almost always recommend for walls, requires special care. Use a damp cloth to wipe away any smudges or dirt. Avoid rewetting the surface if at all possible. In cases of difficult marks or stains, it may be best to touch up the area with the original paint.
  • Trim work is generally painted with sheen, usually satin or semi-gloss, which is easier to clean. Trim paint can rewet with excessive scrubbing, however, and you should never use an acidic cleaner on any paint surface as it can actually strip the paint away. A simple solution of Dawn dish soap and water is recommended for cleaning trim work. This also works great for stubborn stains on walls.

Touch up instead

Sometimes, a painted surface cannot be cleaned without damaging the paint. In this case, I recommend touching up the paint with the original paint (leftover from the paint job). After a certain period of time, which varies depending on environment and lifestyle, regular wear and tear from daily living will necessitate a fresh paint job rather than a touch up.

Protect your investment exteriors

Freshly painted house exterior

Exterior paint surfaces require extra care due to environmental exposure of weather and outdoor elements. If exteriors are not maintained, mold and mildew can develop – a condition which will eventually ruin the paint job. To avoid this, take the following precautions:


A visual inspection of the house will reveal signs of mold/mildew or excess dirt from rain or weather conditions.


I recommend pressure washing the exterior surfaces as needed. Treat any mold or mildew buildup with a dilute household  bleach solution or a mildewcide.

  • Loose paint may come off during the washing. If this occurs, it is an indication of a paint failure situation that must be dealt with. It is recommended that you use a professional painting company for any paint failure issue.
  • Avoid the use of TSP (tri-sodium phosphate) for maintenance cleaning. This chemical can de-gloss the paint.


Until next time – keep smiling!