Mistakes House Painters Make – Common Causes

Mistakes House Painters Make – Common Causes

Exterior Painting Home Painting Interior Painting

Mistakes can be made on house painting projects, whether you are tackling the paint job yourself or you’ve hired a professional. First, let me state clearly, errors are made by hard working painters and homeowners alike and most can be corrected. Sometimes things are missed because of oversight, other times there are issues that aren’t apparent until the job is done. Here are four of the most common glaring issues.

The lines aren’t straight. 

Painting is a skilled trade and I’ve seen painters with 20 years of experience that still haven’t learned to paint a straight line. There’s also an art to taping off. If you’ve ever painted for yourself, you know the frustration of the paint bleeding underneath the tape. The solution is to hire a professional to repaint the straight lines. Choose a company that has a great reputation for clean lines and you won’t be disappointed. The simple act of straightening up the lines can make a night and day difference on how your final product looks.

The paint is peeling.

The three prevalent reasons that paint peels are: inter-coat adhesion failure, moisture, and lack of appropriate prep or primer. Let’s look at these in more depth:

  • Inter-coat Adhesion is caused by two paint products not bonding. Most of you have heard that you cannot apply latex paint over oil without the proper prep. If waterborne paint is applied directly to oil-based paint without sanding and/or the correct primer, it will peel. If you apply a low sheen over a glossy paint without sanding, it will peel. When the paint doesn’t bond, it peels off easily. Inter-coat adhesion failure can be time consuming and expensive to fix. Sometimes a light sanding and bonding primer applied with a high-quality paint will correct the issue; however, in the worst case, the paint will need to be completely stripped.
  • Moistureif paint is bubbling and blistering, then moisture is most likely the cause. This is very common with older siding. You may not see moisture, but condensation in the substrate can cause the paint to blister and peel. Also, moisture intrusion in the house or places that are not properly ventilated can create issues with paint. Paint will not fix a moisture problem; the cause of the moisture needs to be addressed. Once you have fixed the root of the problem, then a good primer and two coats of quality paint will take care of the paint failure.
  • Lack of appropriate primer can cause problems. You could be dealing with the paint not properly adhering to the substrate, inter-coat adhesion, and/or tannin bleed. Mistakes like applying paint to bare wood will make the paint not stick. Most wood requires an oil-based primer. MDF (medium-density fiberboard) requires an oil-based primer as well. If you prime MDF with a water-based primer, you will have moisture issues because the water in the primer will penetrate the substrate. If you have a glossy surface, then I recommend a bonding primer. Also, cedar and other wood products require an oil-based primer to block the tannins. Tannic acids are the oils that bleed out of certain woods, especially cedar, mahogany, redwood, fir, and pine. They cause a yellowish-brown stain in the paint, more prominent with light colors.

There are paint drips and splatters.

Nothing is more frustrating than cleaning up these from a freshly finished paint job. It doesn’t take long for paint to dry and you may never fully remove the paint, if it lands on certain fabrics and belongings. Once, we were hired to take over a paint job because the previous painters didn’t cover anything and got paint on the homeowner’s antique cello. While painting, mistakes can happen, you should NEVER have paint slopped on your surroundings because someone didn’t take the time to tape off and cover everything. Avoid the worries of having to clean up dried paint by making sure EVERYTHING is covered with plastic, paper and drop cloths. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Lack of prep isn’t pretty.

painting prep, mistakes, common causesIf the surface you are painting isn’t properly prepped, all sorts of problems can ensue. Prep work includes cleaning the surfaces, sanding, caulking, filling holes, wall repairs, primer, and taping among other various steps required for a fine finish. These can be tedious, time consuming and cost extra labor; or they may cut into your personal time, if you are attacking the project yourself. But, if you are anything like me and appreciate a beautiful paint job that lasts then it’s worth the extra effort or expense to have the job done right the first time. My advice? Mistakes are less likely to happen, if you don’t skimp on prep work!

If you’ve found yourself at the end of a paint job and you aren’t satisfied with the workmanship, you may need a professional opinion. As always, we are only a phone call away!

Happy painting!

Nancy

House Painting in Wet Weather – When is it Safe?

House Painting in Wet Weather – When is it Safe?

Exterior Painting Home Painting

Weather can affect exterior house painting and the Pacific Northwest has its challenges. You may already realize that our greatest threat is moisture.

Let’s address the obvious questions:

Can you paint exteriors in rainy weather?

The answer is a resounding “NO!” If your contractor is telling you they have a method for painting exteriors when it’s raining, I would be very skeptical. The only safe way to paint in the rain is to have the areas completely covered and not in danger of taking on any moisture. That means, for most exteriors, you would need a giant plastic enclosure protecting your home. This is a spendy undertaking.

Unscrupulous painting contractors “red-eye” their paint so that it will dry quicker. This is a bad practice, because it voids the manufacturer warranty. Red-eying the paint comprises solvent-based additives that flash off quickly and cause the paint to dry at an accelerated rate. I suggest you tell your painter to hit the road if they try to use this method.

Switching to oil-based paint during a rainy stretch is another practice which is frowned upon. New construction runs year-round, so painters may switch the gutter and/or trim paint to oil-based paint because it skims over and won’t rain off nearly as easily as their preferred water-based counterparts. The problem is that oil-based paints do not hold up to the elements and will crack and peel off the gutters. We’ve cleaned up a lot of gutters because of this problem, and sheesh, what a mess! To be fair, when there’s a deadline to meet and the general contractor is on your back and the buyers need to get moved into their home, painters aren’t left with a whole lot of options. As they say, the show must go on. But, with repaints, there shouldn’t be such pressure, so there’s no reason to rush and deliver anything but a proper paint job.

How soon can it rain after a paint job?

This answer varies with humidity, dew point, temperature, wind, paint color and the product that is used. Under normal circumstance, most paints can withstand a shower or two after about 4 hours of drying time. The gutters are at the highest risk for issues because they are the most exposed. The water collects on the top rim of the gutter, runs down the front edge and then collects in big drips underneath on the bottom of the gutters. If the paint hasn’t had sufficient time to dry, this can turn into one ugly mess! If this happens, the best solution is to wait till weather clears then repaint.

High humidity, dark colorants, cool temperatures and reaching the dew point all slow up the drying time. Wind and warm temperatures speed up the drying time. Heat and air movement are critical for the paint to dry.

The dew point will affect the drying time the most. The temperature needs to be at least 5 degrees above the dew point in order for the paint to dry properly. The dew point is the point when moisture appears on surfaces. Unfortunately, if the paint gets wet from dew, it delays the drying process and can cause problems.

What’s the preferred air temperature for painting?

It’d sure be nice if it was sunny and 72 degrees with just a hint of a breeze every day, because then we wouldn’t have to worry about the weather. But, that’s unrealistic, so we’ve had to rely on the drying agents in paint to help us extend our season. Otherwise, there’d only be about three optimal days to paint in Oregon!

When it comes to painting, I am more concerned about the dew point than the temperature because most exterior paints are rated to 35 degrees. If the paint re-wets from the dew, it can ruin a perfectly good paint job.

If you must paint during the off season, a good rule of thumb to follow is to apply paint with an airless sprayer between the hours of 10 am to 2 pm. This way you are starting late enough for the air temperature to raise a bit and stopping to give the paint plenty of time to dry before nightfall.

If, while you are painting, the weather turns on you, take a deep breath, stay calm and think your options through. First, stop painting immediately. Second, check your work site to see if there is any wet paint that is in danger of raining off. If the paint has skimmed over, you may be okay. If you find areas that are washing off, try to find a way to protect those areas, such as draping plastic to provide a cover. If that’s not possible, you may have to let Mother Nature follow course and deal with a mess later. If paint starts raining off your house, try your best not to let it dry out once the rain subsides. If you get to the paint while it’s still wet, flushing the areas with plenty of water will dilute the wet paint and make for a much easier time of cleaning. This is where a pressure washer comes in handy, especially if the paint is dripping onto surrounding surfaces, such as concrete or the roof.

If the paint has cured to the point that it won’t wash off easily, you best run to the paint store for help. There are products, such as Krud Kutter that are made to remove dried latex paint. Just be sure to read and follow the instructions of the label.

And, most importantly, r-e-l-a-x. A paint disaster really is a miniscule problem in the grand scheme of things. As with most problems in life, there is a solution. A glass of wine won’t hurt either. If you’ve done your due diligence and hired a reputable painter, then trust your painter to take care of weather related issues. Weather is unpredictable, so there is no fool proof way to completely avoid Mother Nature’s wrath.

Bottom line – whether you hire a painting company to complete the job or you choose to do-it-yourself, I recommend waiting out inclement weather to help you achieve the spectacular results you hoping to achieve.

Wishing you a happy, sunny day!

Nancy

Front Door Color Options – Make a Great Impression

Front Door Color Options – Make a Great Impression

Exterior Painting Home Painting Paint color

Choosing the right color for your front door can seem intimidating at first, but will help create a great first impression of your home. Curb appeal is a hot topic in the real estate market and can improve the value of your home. What’s more inviting than a freshly painted and vibrant front door? I prefer selecting neutral tones for the exterior siding and trim in the Pacific Northwest because the neutral palette blends well with the landscape and ever changing cloudy skies. But who wants a boring house? I know I don’t, so I encourage my clients to use a color that pops on their front door.

Consider a vibrant orange, Kelly green, or even a warm, sunny yellow. This is the time to think of your favorite color and just go for it. Be daring and outrageous, really let your personality shine. Go for a color much deeper than you feel comfortable with or so bright that it scares you. This is one area where I’ve seen the risk of making a big, bold statement pay off.

Another consideration for your front door is to pick the right product and sheen. I love Rust-Oleum Sierra Beyond in a high gloss sheen. You can find this product at Powell Paint Centers.

Here are a few color choices to consider – all from the Benjamin Moore color line:

  1. Fresh Lime 2032-30: Choose this bold color to tie in with your green landscaping. This color replicates the green of spring.
  2. Patriot Blue 2064-20: If blue is your favorite color, there’s no better place to use it than your entrance.
  3. Sunflower 2019-30: Even the grumpiest neighbor can’t help smiling at this bright and sunny color.
  4. Vintage Wine 2116-20: A bold classic that will pop with the right amount of sheen.

The possibilities are endless, so have fun exploring the colorful side of you.

Until next time,

Nancy

How To: Wall Repairs for Holes Smaller Than A Fist

How To: Wall Repairs for Holes Smaller Than A Fist

Home Painting Interior Painting Uncategorized

Drywall is not the strongest substrate in the planet.  In fact, without much effort or completely by accident, it’s easy to put an unsightly hole in a wall.  Drywall damage often happens during picture-hanging, due to an accidental drop of a heavy object, or the occasional hole-punching teen tantrum.  Believe me; I’ve seen it all…

The good news is, small drywall holes are quite easy to repair!  Just follow these simple instructions:

Repairing nail or screw holes – flush fill the hole:

Simply dab a little lightweight spackle on your index fingers to fill the hole, wiping any excess away with your finger or a light cloth.  No need for putty knives and sanding.  Keep it simple and it’ll blend quite well with your orange peel texture.  If the edges of the holes have flared out from the fastener that you removed, you may want to knock down these edges with your putty knife before you fill.  Smooth walls can be a little more finicky, so you may need to sand it smooth after proper drying time.  With small holes like this, less is better.  We see a lot mistakes when homeowners overdo the putty, which usually creates more work later.

For larger holes that require patching – gather these commonly available items:

  1. Putty knife – size depends on the size of the hole you are repairing
  2. Yellow fiberglass drywall mesh tape – self adhesive
  3. Drywall mud – 20 minute mud will work just fine
  4. Utility blade (snap knife works great)
  5. Sponge
  6. Rattle can texture for textured walls – I recommend Homax Oil Based Wall Texture for Orange Peel; they also have one for knock down, but most walls have an orange peel texture.
  7. Primer – water based wall primer will be sufficient
  8. Touch up paint
  9. Paint brush/roller and frame

Here are the steps for repairing the hole:

  1. Trim back the drywall paper about a quarter to half inch around the perimeter of the hole.  The drywall paper will peel off the drywall after you score it, exposing the bare drywall.
  2. Apply strips of dry wall mesh over the hole to cover the hole; overlapping the strips of mesh and attaching it to the exposed drywall, then trim the excess off with your blade so that the edges of the yellow tape do not overlap onto the textured parts of the wall.  This gives you a base to apply the drywall  mud so you don’t need to patch in with a piece of drywall
  3. Apply the drywall mud over the top of the yellow tape with your putty knife, gradually building it up to create a smooth surface; “feather it out” over the edges onto the textured wall to create uniform converage
  4. Allow the drywall mud to firm up, but not completely set (about 10-15 minutes)
  5. Take a wet sponge and start working the drywall mud in a circular motion, keeping the sponge wet at all times to smooth out the drywall patch.  Be patient and work slowly.  It will create lather as you gradually smooth out the patch
  6. Once the patch is smooth and flush, clean out your sponge and wipe the patch clean
  7. Allow the patch to finish drying
  8. Apply a coat of primer with a brush or roller and allow to dry
  9. Warm your rattle can texture under water to build pressure and shake the can for a full two minutes – DO NOT SKIMP ON THIS STEP
  10. Practice spraying on a piece of cardboard or paper.  When you are spraying, spray in a continuous, circular motion
  11. Adjust the nozzle till the spray pattern matches the wall
  12. Spray the texture as you practiced.  Do not over apply the texture.  This only takes a few seconds.  It’s better to spray too little than too much, because you can always add more13.Allow to dry 5 or so minutes, then apply the final coat of primer
  13. After the primer is dry, apply the touch up paint

If you follow these steps, you can repair a hole in the wall in just a couple of hours.  If you have trouble with the wet sanding step, you can allow the patch to completely dry and use drywall screens to sand it down. This creates dust, so we prefer to wet sand.

I hope these directions will help you achieve great results!  Let us know how your project turns out.

Best regards,

Nancy

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