Caulk failure? Your siding may be the problem

Caulk failure? Your siding may be the problem

Exterior Painting Home Contractors Uncategorized Women In Construction

 

Repainting your home is an investment. Under normal circumstances, if you hire professional painters who properly prepare and apply two coats of quality paint, and if you maintain your property between paint applications, you can expect your new paint job to last 10 to 15 years.

Unfortunately, sometimes other factors affect the longevity of a quality paint job. One of the most common, if unexpected, factors that can affect the appearance and longevity of paint is siding caulk failure.

Caulk is the waterproof filler and sealant used in building work and in repairs. It is often used by painters to fill cracks or repair holes in order to create a smooth and uniform surface on which paint can be applied. When caulk separates or fails to adhere to a surface it can result in unsightly cracks, breaks or openings into which moisture can seep and cause a secondary, and serious, problem.

This failure can happen for a variety of reasons. The most common cause is directly related to the substrate (siding material) to which the caulk (and paint) is applied. Due to exposure, weather and outdoor elements, siding wears over time. Some types tend to wear well while others tend to experience caulk failure at an alarming rate.

We have seen the majority of caulk failure occur with the most popular brand of siding used by today’s builders and remodelers: HardiePlank®.

HardiePlank® siding is very popular because it is an extremely durable alternative to vinyl or wood siding. When it’s new, it actually holds paint longer than any other siding and does not require back brushing or rolling, under normal circumstances, which makes it easy to work with.

The problem is mostly with HardiePlank® siding which was manufactured before 2008. This siding has had serious issues with cracking and breaking due to expansion and contraction of the product as temperatures vary.  The obvious fix for this problem was to caulk at the butt joints in order to close the gaps; however, the same expansion and contraction that caused the initial cracking causes the filler caulking to fail. As a result, the seal is broken, allowing water penetration to occur, even on a freshly painted house.

The manufacturer of HardiePlank® addressed this serious issue in 2008 by requiring builders to install flashing behind the butt joints and recommending that painters did not, from that point forward, caulk in the butt joints.  Thankfully, as a result of this change in policy, newer homes with this siding should not have a caulk failure problem. Unfortunately, because the “fix” for this problem is not widely known by all builders and painters, we still run across this type of caulk failure fairly frequently, even in homes built after 2008.

If you are a homeowner or manager for a property with HardiePlank® siding, it is important to understand that paint will not wear as well nor look as good when applied over siding that is failing due to cracking or breakage or caulk failure.  We cannot guarantee results when working with this type of siding, because the problem is with the product, not with the paint.

There are some things you can do to minimize the issue, however.  If your home was built before 2008 and you have HardiePlank® siding, you should regularly maintain it by:

  1. Replacing caulking as soon as you notice it failing.
  2. Touching up the paint after any caulking repairs – this will help maintain both the appearance and the seal.
  3. In extreme cases, siding replacement may be needed.

Home renovations are stressful even under the best of circumstances. Things like caulk failure can complicate your otherwise straightforward job; but, more knowledge about your property and your potential problems can help to assure a quality end product. If you have HardiePlank® siding, check it often for caulk failure and hire a well rated and well informed painter whenever you choose to re-paint.

Until next time,

Nancy

 

 

The Pros and Cons of Medium-Density Fiberboard (MDF)

The Pros and Cons of Medium-Density Fiberboard (MDF)

Home Contractors Interior Painting

Medium-Density Fiberboard (more commonly known as MDF) is a man-made building material used as a substitute for real wood millwork in homes. We most often see it used in trim, cabinetry and interior doors.

This man made material has become very popular in new construction and remodels for a couple of reasons; it’s cheaper than real wood and it looks very nice after it’s been painted.

Remodelers and homeowner alike love this product because of the extra money it puts in their pockets and it looks amazing once the work is complete.  Real wood is expensive.

However, our painters have a different take on this product.  Painting this product the first time around doesn’t really pose any issues worth mentioning, but when it comes to repaints, it’s a whole different story.

When MDF gets wet, it swells.  Attempts to fix the problem in the traditional way (Bondo or other fillers and sanding) are futile and can even make the problem worse.  The only way to fix moisture damaged MDF is to replace it.

There are a few areas where MDF should never be used – kitchen or bathroom cabinets and trim in the bathrooms. These are the two areas we see the most failure because of moisture.  Window sills are also problematic if the windows have any sort of condensation or leaking problems.

Additionally, if you have a hectic lifestyle with kids and pets, MDF may simply be the wrong choice. If your wood work is going to take a lot of abuse, spending the extra money now on real wood could save you money and headaches down the road.

Most people seem to be satisfied with the MDF product and have experienced great results, but I don’t see this honeymoon phase lasting too much longer. As the product ages, the true test of time is going to bear results and I’m afraid some of the results are not going to be as satisfying as they are at the present time.

Natural materials tend to outperform man made substitutes.  This is true for all kinds of materials; not just building materials. For example, natural materials used in clothing and the food we eat are better than man made.  Budget restraints may require the use of MDF, but it’s better to make the choice with your eyes wide open so you aren’t disappointed down the road.

Whatever choice you end up making, I hope your project turns out better than you dreamed.

Best regards,

Nancy

 

Brush, roll or spray; Which is the preferred method

Brush, roll or spray; Which is the preferred method

Exterior Painting Home Painting

 

Exterior paint can be applied using a variety of methods. The purpose of this post is to compare and contrast the most common methods and to explain how the processes we employ at Sisu Painting are guaranteed to get the best results.

Brushing and Rolling

Brushing and Rolling is a manual process that involves the application of two coats to meet manufacturer specifications.  While this type of process is both time and labor intensive, the painter is able to control the process and achieve an even coat and desired thickness.   This method provides excellent overall coverage, particularly important on “rough” siding surfaces such as cedar shakes or T-111.

If your siding is hardy plank construction that is smooth and non-porous, back brushing or rolling may not be necessary or even the best application, however; eaves, corner boards and trim almost always require two coats of paint with back-brushing or rolling for an even and attractive paint application.

Spraying

Airless sprayers are commonly used for exterior paint applications because the spraying method allows for a uniform paint application (in terms of thickness) as well as a relatively fast drying time. However, when working with rough siding such as cedar or T-111, the airless spraying method does not allow the paint to absorb into the siding and often results in an inconsistent coverage and eventual paint failure.

At Sisu we bring the best of both methods to your exterior paint job…

To achieve the quality results you’ve come to expect from Sisu, our painters apply the first coat of exterior paint using an airless sprayer followed immediately by back-brushing or back-rolling to assure that the paint is worked evening into the siding surface. They finish with a top coat. This method combines the best of both worlds to achieve the most attractive and longest lasting paint application possible.

Enjoy the sunshine,

Nancy

Choosing Paint Colors for Your Home

Choosing Paint Colors for Your Home

Exterior Painting Interior Painting Paint color

I am mad about color! I love how color looks and the way it affects my mood.  I love taking a space and transforming it with color or updating a house and watching people fall in love with their home again.  I am not an interior designer or professional decorator, but never-the-less, I offer a complimentary color consultation to each of my customers once they enter into a contract with us.  My eye for color and many years of experience are what I draw on to help choose the right color.

If you’ve ever stood in front of one of those displays in the paint store with the myriad of color swatches, pouring over magazines, checking out colors on line and fanning through the decks of color, you already know that choosing color can be hard!  How many colors should you choose?  Are accent walls all the craze they used to be? What color do you paint the ceiling?  Can I use more than one color on the trim?  Should I stay neutral and play it safe or should I go hog wild?

I will address each of these questions in this article and give you a few tips to help you achieve that beautiful palette you’ve been dreaming of.

How many colors? One of the first questions clients ask is how many colors for my walls.  Most of us have seen (or maybe even had ourselves) homes where each room is painted a different color.  This may have scared you enough that you are afraid to choose too many colors; and, rightly so!  More is not always better; in fact, more is just more.  I recommend sticking to three or four nice colors and that’s it!

Accent walls: I do not care for accent walls unless there is a specific reason for it, such as drawing attention to a fabulous piece of artwork or bringing focus to an architectural feature such as a fireplace.  I do not recommend using an accent color to add interest to your space.  If your space is that boring, focus on bringing in something of interest first, like an exceptional piece of furniture or artwork.  If you are struggling, this is where my interior designer friends excel.

Ceiling color: If you have vaulted ceilings, painting a color on the ceiling will bring it down and make your space cozy. If the ceilings are high enough, going darker on the ceiling than the wall can come off nicely.  I also like color added to tray ceilings, such are often found in dining rooms and master bedrooms.  Don’t be afraid to go dark or bold in these spaces; otherwise, I like white for ceilings.

Try to pick one white for all your ceilings.  This will help the flow of color from room to room and give your home a nice airy feel.  I prefer the whitest of whites for ceilings, such as Benjamin Moore’s Super White.  A warmer white that goes with just about any color is Sherwin William’s Dover White.  These are two whites that work well in almost any space with most colors.

Trim and wood work color:  White woodwork is gorgeous, but adding a bit of color to your woodwork can be just as beautiful!  The same whites that look good on the ceilings, look good on woodwork; but, white isn’t the only option!  Here’s one way to add a bit of color to your woodwork: Paint your kitchen island a dark color that compliments the rest of your woodwork, then carry that island color into another room, such as your study.  I also love painting the woodwork the same color as the walls, except with a different sheen.  If you decide to go this route, choose a flat for the walls and a satin for the trim.  This is great for both traditional and modern spaces.

Is a neutral palette the best choice?  A neutral palette is almost always reliable and beautiful.  Decorating rules tend to state that the walls should complement your furniture, not the other way around.   It’s the job of the wall color to make your belongings look better.  In fact, you’d be surprised how the correct color can make that shabby sofa look acceptable again. If you are picking colors for yourself, pull neutral colors out of your sofa, rug, artwork or other “inspiration” piece.  Pick colors that are related on the color wheel from room to room and don’t go crazy!  A few nice colors that feel related will go a long way in giving you the dream space you are looking for.

If you love bright, bold or unique colors that reflect your personality, don’t be afraid to use them.  Just use them sparingly.  A pop of color here or there, whether in a room or brought in with accent pieces is an excellent way to brighten up your house.  I love the extraordinary and unexpected – in limited amounts.

I’ve given you a lot of Sisu rules for choosing paint colors, but I have one caveat: “Decorating rules are made to be broken!”  Following all the rules would be rather boring, right?  But, unless you are experienced with decorating or have enlisted the help of a professional, it may have better results if you stick to the rules.

Happy decorating

Nancy

Color Wheel Basics – Choosing the Right Color Scheme

Color Wheel Basics – Choosing the Right Color Scheme

Exterior Painting Interior Painting Uncategorized

 

You’ve probably noticed that we focus on color a lot. Whether we’re talking about your interior or exterior paint color or choosing the perfect pops of color to complete your look, color is important to us! And why shouldn’t it be, it’s all around us. Talking about color can be difficult, however. We wanted to give you a leg up on the conversation and cover a few of the color “language” basics.

Primary colors

The primary colors are red, blue and yellow. All other colors are made by blending these three primary colors together.

color wheelColor Wheel

A color wheel is a circle with different colored sections that helps to show the relationship between colors. Color wheels can be simple, only showing the primary colors and their basic, blended counter parts (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple); or they can be complex, showing a large variety of hues and lightnesses.

warm colorsWarm Colors

These colors are the colors on the right half of our color wheel; specifically, the reds, yellows and oranges are all warm colors. When you think of warm colors, think about the amount of energy you want to give your space. They are “advancing” colors, meaning they appear closer, and will make a space feel cozier and slightly smaller.

cool colorsCool Colors

On the left half of our color wheel are the cool colors. These colors—blues, greens and purples—are receding. A cool color can be useful to calm down any space in your home, which is why they are commonly found indoors and in living spaces. They will make any area feel more open and tend to have a relaxing effect.

complimentary colorsComplimentary Colors

Color wheels can be awesome tools for easily choosing colors that match. Complimentary colors are one of these perks. Want to find colors that are very different but still look good together? Look across the color wheel for some complimentary color pairs like the one shown here. Opposites really do attract in this case!

monochromatic colorsMonochromatic Colors

Another color scheme that is relatively popular uses the variety of values (lighter or darker shades of the same color) to its advantage. We’ve seen monochromatic looks making a come back, specifically in terms of using different sheens to play colors up rather than changing the hue. A monochromatic look uses only one slice of the color wheel.

analogous colorsAnalogous Colors

If you’re not digging the contrast provided by complimentary colors, analogous colors may be more your speed. Look at a wider portion of the color wheel for your analogous options, including several different slices, and pick a pallet which appeals to you.

Do you have other color terms bogging you down? Let us know and we’ll do our best to help you out!

Until next time,

Nancy