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Paint & Design Center

Frequently Asked Questions List

Q: What are the steps in preparing the exterior of a building for painting?

A: 10 steps to a quality paint job:
  • If your building doesn't have a weep screed the painter should trench dirt away from the foundation so that the paint begins 3 inches below the surface; otherwise, you may expect peeling imminently.
  • Hydroblast to remove dirt, dust and contaminants from the surfaces. Use the chemical injection attachment to inject a mild solution of T.S.P. and household bleach.
  • Scrape all remaining loose paint and sand as necessary.
  • Repair all damaged areas with appropriate repair materials. For severely damaged areas your painter may recommend replacement or restoration with epoxy type materials.
  • If mildew was present have your painter add mildicide treatment to the paint. This will retard any fungus or mildew growth.
  • Caulk all open joints that pertain to keeping the home weather-proof. Discuss any additional aesthetic caulking that you desire with your painter prior to commencement of work.
  • Mask all fixtures and protect all critical areas with drop-cloths or painters plastic.
  • Prime all repaired areas, this will seal the surface and ensure proper adhesion.
  • Apply one or two finish coats. One finish coat is sufficient when you are keeping the same color. Otherwise two finish coats is always recommended when changing to a new color.
  • Clean up, label all paints with color name and location used, and remove all trash.

Q: How long should interior and exterior paint jobs last and is the duration different for wood, stucco and iron with respect to exteriors?

A: In the case of interior walls, every time there is a change in ownership or 8 to 10 years because of pictures, nail holes and general wear and tear. Exteriors: stucco, wood and iron will last 10, 5 and 2 years, respectively.

Q: How does one go about choosing the appropriate colors?

A: A painting contractor, in conjunction with a paint manufacturer's representative, will provide this service free. Ask for draw downs or a 4foot by 4foot sample be painted on the wall next to a small section of the trim color. Evaluate the colors in both the morning and evening light.

Q: When is it appropriate to use elastomerics?

A: Elastomeric coatings are uniquely formulated to stretch and bridge cracks that may form due to movement that can occur despite the hardness and strength of stucco. In addition, elastomeric wall coatings can prevent water intrusion by literally shrink-wrapping your building. Any home that has been remodeled or had windows replaced is a likely candidate for elastomeric coatings.

Q: Is there any reason why I should not regularly choose the low bidder?

A: Any painter can start a job. It takes a professional with the proper budget to purchase the best materials, pay his overhead and leave with a satisfied customer. Most likely the low bidder won't be around when there are complications or you need customer service.

Q: What is backrolling and when should this technique be used?

A: Back rolling is going back over surfaces that have been spray-painted to close pinholes or ensure evenness. Backrolling also ensures that the paint will touch up.

Q: When is it necessary to use a primer?

A: Wood will usually require an enamel undercoat which will seal the pores of the wood and promote topcoat adhesion with minimal lifting of the grain. Other woods, containing extractives, cause stains which can be avoided by using a primer with stain-sealing capabilities. Drywall or plaster may use either a simple primer that equalizes the porosity of the surface to promote uniform paint results or a stain sealer to cover water damage and other stains.
A bonding primer, designed for surfaces where adhesion may be difficult to create (previously painted surfaces where intercoat compatibility results in excess chalking), should be used in these cases.
Stucco does not need a primer though there are 100% acrylic self-primers available.

Q: How do you protect the landscaping from paint and painters?

A: For plants and bushes, it is essential to use lightweight dropcloths but to remove them each afternoon. Saw horses can be used to prevent dropcloths from crushing extremely fragile plants. Painters need to be trained in the use of ladders and their placement to avoid damaging flowers and shrubs. It is always best to have the landscaper cut back bushes and trees prior to painting.

Q: What kinds of paints should be used?

A: Basically, there are latex (water-based) and alkyd (oil-based) paints. The former is used on wood, stucco and concrete; the latter on metal and utility doors. Acrylics, which are bonders, are added to latex. The higher the percentage of acrylic the higher the quality of the latex and the higher will be the price of the paint. If specifications do not specify the percentage of acrylic, (100% acrylic is common today) ask the contractor exactly what he is using; otherwise, your competing contractors will not be bidding apples to apples.

Q: Our wood decks have turned grey, some to black, and some of the wood is cracking. What should we do?

A: First, the greying of the wood is a natural process as the wood ages. You can have the deck pressure-washed professionally, using a commercial deck cleaner. The blackened areas are usually a combination of mildew and decayed wood that must be removed with the cleaning. Cleaners are available that will clean and brighten the surface and clean the mildew. Drum sanding is an excellent way to restore a clean and level surface.
If your deck was never treated with a water-repellent, the wood absorbs the moisture and this coupled with expansion and contraction due to temperature changes causes cracking. The deck must be treated with a water-repellent. A pigmented water-repellent will last longer than a clear water-repellent.

Q: What is the best way to handle mildew?

A: Mildew and fungus can be removed by washing surfaces vigorously with a solution of one tablespoon of detergent, one to two pints of liquid bleach and one gallon of water. Then the area needs to be rinsed thoroughly. Treat severely infested areas a second time after an interval of 1 to 2 weeks to further promote elimination of growth. Allow walls to dry a minimum 24 hours before the application of a primer.

Q: What kind of a painting maintenance program do you recommend?

A: On a regular basis, but no less than every six months, walk your property looking for dryrot, cracks in the stucco, water penetration, rusting iron and chalking. Once a year rinse you home with the garden hose to remove the accumulation of surface dirt. It's a good idea to have your window washer scheduled for the same day if you have hard water.