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Exterior Paint Preparation Techniques

Although using superior quality paint is certainly a step in the right direction, it is with proper paint preparation that a new paint finish will last its intended lifespan. Adequate paint preparation is a crucial process in ensuring that the finish will not prematurely fail, as is the major cause of most failures in the integrity of a finish. Furthermore, exterior painting projects often require the most diligence in preparation due to the harsh weather and sunlight conditions in which the finish will have to endure.

Nearly 50% or more of most painting projects are spent in the preparation of the finishing surface. The term used by professional painters is “surface profiling”, and the extent of the time and resources needed to properly prepare a surface depends on the existing surface conditions:

1. Is there an existing coating? What is the condition of that coating; from sound (which can be repainted), to de-laminating/poorly adhered which needs to be removed before painting.

2. Does the surface have contaminants? Contaminants can be dirt, grease, or chemicals; or a combination of all three. Contaminants need to be removed before painting. One process to remove contaminants is to pressure wash the substrates.

Exterior paint prep how to scrape before painting

Exterior paint prep

In laying the foundation to quality paint finish; it is pertinent to know the extent of surface preparation in its entirety. It is essential to make sure the setup is thorough and takes into account the whole home. It is absolutely necessary tackle these projects one-step at a time and provide extra care in addressing any areas that require repair.

Most often fascia boards, windows, doors and wood trim are areas that require more care in preparation. Though light rot and damage to these surfaces can be addressed with epoxy wood filler or bonding glue, it is necessary to replace any wood that is critically fatigued or rotten. In the course of our work we frequently complete home repairs; restore window casings, fascia boards, and other exposed substrates. In some cases replacement is a cost effective alternative to repair.

Prevention can save future headache

Certain additions can drastically improve the longevity of a paint finish and save the hassle of repairs down the road. This includes such items as metal flashings to protect from rain and ice. Many homes are constructed without these, using merely calk to try and fend off the elements. It is essential that all fascia boards have metal flashings that extend from the underside of the roofing material and overhang beyond the fascias. Metal flashings are crucial in providing proper roof drainage. Such flashings can be installed if not present.

Other trouble spots involve the flashing over windows and doors called drip edge. Though most homes have these in place during initial installation, some older homes are lacking and use only caulking to seal the frame edges.

Often times, the condition of the old paint can be an indicator of areas that will require attention. Water leaks can be evident by the blistering and peeling or discoloration. Areas that are exposed to heavy moisture are likely to have peeling paint and even mold or mildew. If present, any mold or mildew must be completely removed and leaks must sealed before applying the primer to prevent future problems

Exterior Preparation

Shearer Painting pressure washes siding, shingles, and stucco in order to remove chalk deposits on the existing finish. Clean surfaces are key in providing a proper base for the new finish and are one of the first steps that must be taken.

If a home is being restrained extra attention to detail in cleaning the surface is of the utmost importance.

After washing, preparation is continued by scraping and sanding to find loose paint. It is a good practice to use both techniques and alternate between the two to ensure no loose paint is left on the surface.

In preparing rough-cut wood, such as rough sawn cedar, a wire brush will be the necessary tool in paint removal. Wire paint stripping attachments for power drills can help ease the process.

Though one of the most physically demanding steps to exterior refinishing, it is by far one of the most important. In removing any and all loose paint from the surface, it is crucial in laying the groundwork for a lasting finish.

Getting the job done right.

In many homes built before 1978, lead paint can be a major concern. Do the right thing and take the proper safety measures and precautions in protecting yourself and your family. In any project, safety always comes first and foremost. Research how to handle the situation. Shearer Painting is an EPA certified lead renovator.

When caulking, masking and priming, be sure to use the best quality products available to ensure the finish comes out looking right and will not deteriorate prematurely. The same care in selection should be taken when purchasing paint and using proper technique.

When consulting a painting professional, proper exterior paint should be included as well as many repairs, saving time and money.

Some repairs require a building permit and inspection. Such repairs a contractor may or may not be able to repair depending on their qualifications. In the US, one can contact their local building authority for information on repair permits and inspection.

In Canada, websites such as About Building In Canada provide excellent information on Canada’s building permit as well as the definition and when permits will be required for a project.

By taking time and care in properly preparing your painting surface, it is possible to achieve a finish that will last 10 years or more

Some homes of historical value, such as those listed on the National Historic Registry, require considered planning and resources to properly prepare a surfaces while preserving the integrity of the original architectural elements (wood, stucco, etc). The prep and paint of these buildings can amount to three times the cost of normal buildings.

1. Pressure/Power Washing: Blast that house!

Special Notes on Power Washing:

2. Scraping, Priming, and maintenance: Peeling off the ugly

3. Painting: The middle stages of a beautiful home

4. Clean-Up