Painting Guide...

The Guide | Introduction | Paint Failures | Surface Preparation | Surfaces | Caulk
Primers and Paints | Stains | Maintenance | Colour | Painting Pointers


Identifying paint failures, and understanding surfaces and surface preparation are crucial in the prevention of future paint failures. When the homeowner makes a decision to go ahead with a particular paint project, an inspection of the project is required to determine the surface, and the surface conditions. Is the surface wood, hardboard siding, drywall (sheet-rock), vinyl or aluminum siding, steel or galvanized steel, or masonry, including, brick, concrete block, and stucco?

Equally important is the condition of the exterior surface. Is the surface peeling or chalking, rusty or mildewed, rotten or stained? Has the surface been previously painted? Perform the same inspection on interior surfaces. What are the conditions of the walls, trim, windows, doors, and ceilings? Do holes and gouges need repairing? Are there any water stains, finger prints, dirt, or dust? Are there any cracks?

Once an inspection of the surface is complete and the surface and paint failures have been identified, preparation of the surface is ready to begin. Preparation begins with a thorough washing of the surfaces. Interior surfaces can be washed by hand with household or commercial cleaners. Washing exterior surfaces by hand can be time consuming. A more conventional way
to wash exterior surfaces would be with a power or pressure washer. Pressure washing may cost a little more financially, but the trade off comes with having the surface washed in a fraction of the time it would take to do it by hand.

Interior walls need to have cracks, gouges, and holes repaired and sanded to a smooth finish, after the surfaces have been washed or wiped. Nails or screws used to secure the sheet-rock that have "popped" need to be reset, repaired and sanded to a smooth finish. Stripping, scraping, or sanding of loose paint needs to be completed on exterior surfaces. Loose nails need to be replace with galvanized nails and exposed rusty nail heads need to be reset, primed with a rust inhibited primer, and caulked. Replace rotten wood and siding, and gutters or other metal objects that have deteriorated beyond repair. Sometimes a wood door may have rotted and needs replacing. Windows will need reglazing if broken glass has to be replaced or the old glaze is cracked, loose, and falling out. A homeowner may find similar problems on both interior and exterior surfaces. Whatever the problem, it needs to be addressed to ensure a properly prepared surface.

Caulk is primarily used for interior and exterior painting to prevent moisture from entering surfaces and causing decay, sealing drafts to help enhance insulation, sealing rusty nail heads that have been reset, and to help provide an excellent looking finish. It is recommended that new and repainted surfaces be primed before caulk is applied to enhance adhesion, however this can be optional on cleaned and properly prepared repainted surfaces only.

Surface preparation is the most important part of any paint project, and is probably the single greatest cause in paint failures. Whether interior or exterior, all surfaces need to be cleaned and in good repair to allow the paint to have good adhesion. A properly prepared surface is essential to a longer lasting paint job.

Priming a cleaned and properly prepared surface is important in providing longevity for any paint project. It enhances adhesion, can prevent stains and bleeding, and will assist the finish coat in achieving a uniform and even finish. It is highly recommended that primers be used
on all new and repainted interior and exterior surfaces. Interior repainted surfaces can be adequately finished with the standard primer and finish paint combination.

Top quality primers and paints are the only primers and paints recommended for use on any paint project, because they provide better durability and coverage, and are easy to apply. Top quality paints are also excellent at resisting mildew, offer better colour retention and a longer lasting sheen, offer better resistance to paint failures and weathering conditions, and provide great value in the form of lower long term maintenance costs. Cheap or low quality paints are less durable than top quality paints and fail prematurely due to changing weather conditions. Low grade paints do not adhere well to well-prepared surfaces causing early repainting. Inferior
"bargain" paint, thinned paint, improper surface preparation, and moisture problems are commonly associated with poor construction. Money that can be saved on "bargain" paints does not justify the shorter paint life that these paints provide.

The reasons stated for the use of top quality paints can also be stated for stains. Although stains can provide a different finish to a particular surface, top quality stains will perform as well as paints. Stains may out perform paints when the time comes for surface preparation
and recoating. Stains are guaranteed to never peel or crack like paints, so there is never any sanding or scraping to do during the preparation of a previously stained surface. Adequate washing of the surface and caulking, with the occasional spot priming of surface area's to prevent bleeding, is all that is needed during the preparation of the surface. One coat is
usually adequate to stain previously stained surfaces. Two coats may be required for colour changes and are highly recommended for new wood surfaces. Staining is highly recommended if the homeowner has the option of staining exterior surfaces instead of painting. One disadvantage to all stains is they are very difficult, if not impossible, to touch up. If a stained surface has been sealed it can not be touched up.

Keeping up with home maintenance is a key in extending the life of any paint project. Annual checkups will alert homeowners to coating breakdowns. Immediate repair of future decay or coating breakdowns is essential to a longer lasting paint life. Surfaces are always expanding and contracting with changing weather temperatures causing cracks. When cracks are left
unattended, moisture is allowed to enter these surfaces causing excessive paint problems. Mildew should be cleaned when applicable. There is no such thing as maintenance free.