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

 

 

Hiring a Painter – Subcontractor or Employees?

Hiring a Painter – Subcontractor or Employees?

Home Contractors Women In Construction

When I started my painting business, I was astonished by the unprofessionalism of some of my competitors.  I don’t want this to sound like a rant, so let me state that there a many hard working and legitimate companies that are providing top notch service and following the letter of the law. Absolute Painting, Mountain Painting, ESP Painting, Sundeleaf Painting and Pearl Painters are just a few of the companies that I know that are out there doing it right. But, we’ve all heard horror stories about contractors and I’m going to address one particular area that really has me concerned about our industry.

When you hire a painting company, you may not be getting what you think you are paying for.  If the painting company wants to dodge paying the high cost of workers compensation insurance premiums, then they will subcontract to their employees and file a 1099 form.  What does this mean?  If you are a subcontractor, you can work as a sole proprietor. As a sole proprietor, you are not required to carry work comp insurance.  If you are working for yourself and you get hurt, that risk is on you as a business owner.  It’ not like you can sue yourself.  So, the painting companies are taking employees and classifying them as 1099 subcontractors, which is wrongly implying that they are individual painting companies.  The problem is they are not licensed!  If they are not licensed, they are not legal subcontractors.

If the subcontractor is legally licensed and carries general liability insurance, there is no risk to the home owner.  That’s contract law – the risk is on the contractor, not the home owner. Not so true if they are not licensed. If they are not licensed, then there is no exemption for home owner liability.  The onus in on the home owner at that point.

The bottom line is that if a 1099 employee that is not legitimately licensed were to get injured on your property, you could be held liable for that injury. Think about the implications if there was a serious injury or even death.

What can you do?  Make sure that all subcontractors are legally licensed to practice in the state of Oregon by checking on the CCB website; http://search.ccb.state.or.us/search/ . Check with your contractor to see if they have employees or 1099 employees.  If they have 1099 employees, run for the hills.  A legitimate painting company is going to have their own legal employees and not a bunch of 1099 employees.  Once in a while, a painting company will get too busy and hire another company as a subcontractor to do the work. In that case, you will need to check the subcontractor’s business detail to make sure they are not using 1099 employees as well. It’s a lot of work and unfortunately, almost impossible to monitor 100 percent.

Our policy at Sisu Painting, Inc. is that we never use subcontractors to do our work.  We use our very own highly skilled and trained employees, who are all covered by work comp insurance.  I recommend you hire companies that follow this practice.

Until next time,

Nancy