Caulk failure: Your siding may be the problem…

Caulk failure: Your siding may be the problem…

Exterior Painting Home Contractors Uncategorized Women In Construction

 

Caulk is a waterproof filler and sealant used in building work and in repairs to protect the substrate and improve appearance. When caulk fails to adhere, it can result in unsightly cracks 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 of caulk failure is expansion and contraction, which is a normal and expected occurrence that happens over time. We have seen excessive caulk failure occur with the most popular brand of siding used by today’s builders and remodelers: HardiePlank®. HardiePlank® is great siding, it tends to hold paint longer than any other siding. It also does not require back brushing or rolling, under normal circumstances.

Before 2008, HardiePlank® siding was installed differently than it is today. Caulking was used in the field joints (the joints where the siding boards meet up). This failed because of excessive expansion and contraction (the boards are quite flexible). The manufacturer of HardiePlank® remedied this serious issue by requiring installers to install flashing behind the field joints making caulk unnecessary at these 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 installers and painters, we still run across this type of caulking problem, even in homes built after 2008.

If you are a homeowner with HardiePlank® siding and your siding does not have flashing, it is important to understand that the caulk can still fail even after it is replaced. 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.

  1. Replace caulking as soon as you notice it failing. We use an elastomeric caulk as recommended.
  2. Touch up the paint after any caulking repairs – this will help 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 trusted 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

 

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

 

Metamerism – The Metamorphosis Of Color

Metamerism – The Metamorphosis Of Color

Home Contractors Home Painting Interior Painting

Have you ever chosen the perfect color for your walls at the paint store, only to get home and find that it looks like a completely different color? How about pairing up a paint color to a pillow or other item only to discover it doesn’t match at all once the paint is up on the wall. Or, maybe you painted a room and one of the walls looks like it was painted a different color? All these scenarios are most likely caused by a phenomenon called metamerism.

Following is Wikipedia’s definition of metamerism: In colorimetry, metamerism is the matching of the apparent color of objects without matching the spectral power distributions. Colors that match this way are called metamers.

In the painting world, metamerism describes the effect that light has on color that results in changes to the appearance. If you take a board with paint on it and move it around the room, lay it down or hold it up over your head, the color will change, depending on how the lighting is hitting it. If you leave the board in one spot, you can watch the color change throughout the day as the sun rises and sets.

Metamerism can make choosing a color for your room a challenge. The color might be exactly what you are looking for at 2:32 p.m., but as the sun moves and lighting changes, it may turn drab or go a little too bright. A world without metamerism would be boring and flat, so I appreciate metamers. I enjoy the variations in colors that occur because of lighting.

Most commonly, we run into trouble when we take a paint color and change the sheens. Sheen refers to how flat or shiny the paint is. There are a myriad of sheens, but the most common are flat, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss and high gloss. We generally choose a color based on a paint chip, which is made of ink. Then we choose a sheen and that changes how much light the paint will absorb or reflect. This sheen variation can make it look like the color is different or wrong, when in fact, it is a spot on match.

I hope you have enjoyed this lesson in metamerism and that it helps you to appreciate the ever changing colorful world around us.

Until next time!

Nancy