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

Drywall (Sheet-rock)
Drywall is made of gypsum that is covered with paper and used mostly for interior wall and ceiling construction in residential and commercial buildings. Very porous drywall can lead to peeling if low quality primers and paints are used. Assuming the homeowner has made all the proper surface repairs, new drywall should be primed with a top quality acrylic latex primer-sealer. This will provide a good surface for the application of the new paint and allow a uniform and even finish. Drywall that is being repainted can be painted with a top quality acrylic latex primer/finish paint combination.

Hardboard Siding
Hardboard siding is primarily made from wood chips, cooked with pressurized steam, and refined into fibers. Resins are added to glue together the fibers and provide strength, and wax is added at pressing to repel water. Although hardboard siding is factory primed, it is highly recommended that new hardboard siding be primed with one coat of a top quality alkyd primer and finished with two coats of a top quality finish paint. Any cut or exposed area’s showing through the factory based primer should be spot primed during surface preparation.

New masonry is high in alkaline content and can include surfaces like brick, concrete, block, stucco, cement, and plaster. Testing the pH content of the mortar, and the masonry, will indicate if the masonry has cured enough and is ready for painting. The pH content needs to be below 9 before masonry is ready to be primed or painted. Always check with a local paint dealer or contractor when considering painting masonry. A salty looking substance that develops on weathered masonry, caused by moisture, should be scraped off or removed with a wire brush. It is important to use a top quality primer and paint, that is alkaline resistant, when priming new masonry to avoid peeling. Preparation, allowing the proper curing time, and selecting the proper primers and paints will insure a longer lasting and durable paint life.

Metals surfaces include iron, aluminum, galvanized iron and steel, and wrought iron. New metals can contain surface oils if they have not had adequate time to weather. If at all possible, let new metals weather for a minimum of six months. If there is no time to allow for weathering, clean with a solvent to remove oil treatments that might be present. Painting over oil treatments will cause adhesion problems. These surface oils can react with paint and cause peeling. Watch for surface oxidation. Surface oxidation can be cleaned with steel wool. Any rust that appears on metals can be scraped down to bare metal, or treated with a hardening chemical. Properly prepared metal surfaces should be primed with two coats of either a top quality breathable rust inhibited alkyd primer, or top quality acrylic latex rust inhibited primer, and finished with one coat of a top quality acrylic latex finish paint.

Natural Wood Siding and Decks
Exposure to weathering conditions, mainly water and the ultraviolet rays of the sun, for two months or more causes wood surfaces to change. The colours of new wood can begin to turn yellow or brown, and then to a silver gray. Simultaneously, the surfaces will develop cracks, the wood grain rises, warping occurs, and nails begin to loosen. Whenever discolouration appears, clean the surface with a deck brightener based in sodium percarbonate, and a pressure washer. Let the surface dry for about two weeks, and apply a coat of a top quality water repellent stain or preservative. However, if the weathered look is desired along with the protection, a bleaching oil, bleaching stain, or weathering stain is recommended. Top quality water repellent stains and preservatives are essential for repelling water and resisting weathering, and are most affective when the wood is dipped into them, or the stain is applied with a brush. Homeowners should always be careful of overstaining. Overstaining will cause the finish to build up. It produces a film on the wood surface that will eventually peel, blister or crack, and become waxy and slick. Usually, one coat is all that is needed. If a second coat is required, make sure the first coat has soaked in good, and wipe away any buildup or puddles when applying the second coat. All purpose water repellents and sealers are designed more for masonry, and should never be used on wood surfaces.

New Wood
It is highly recommended that new wood be primed and painted immediately. New preservative treated wood can not be painted without proper aging, because the preservatives will react with paints and cause wide spread peeling. Preservative treated wood can be stained with specially formulated preservative treated wood stain. Paints should be applied when the wood is dry. Woods like redwood and cedar are prone to "tannin bleeding." Tannin bleeding is the result of natural dyes that extract themselves from the woods. These dyes are water soluble and will lead to discolouration of latex primers and paints. Top quality alkyd based primers work extremely well in preventing this type of bleeding and should be finished with a top quality acrylic latex finish paint.

Vinyl Siding
Vinyl expands and contracts with the changing weather conditions, and normally contains a very slick surface. Good adhesion is essential for the smooth and slick surfaces that vinyl siding provides. Never sand, scrape, or cause any other abrasions to a vinyl surface. Never paint vinyl darker than the original colour because dark colours absorb heat and could cause the vinyl to warp. Top quality acrylic latex paints can be applied to vinyl surfaces once they have been properly washed of debris.

It is not recommended to paint over wallpaper. Painting over wallpaper can cause the surface to form large blisters that may or may not recede, which can cause major surface preparation problems. Wallpaper should be removed with a wallpaper stripper, or vinegar, that has been mixed with very hot water. The wallpaper that is to be removed should be soaked with the solution of choice so the paste under the paper will breakdown, allowing the wallpaper to be removed. Wallpaper steamers are also good for removing wallpaper. Once the wallpaper is removed, the surface needs to be cleaned of any excess paste, repaired where applicable, lightly sanded, and primed with a top quality alkyd stain blocking primer. The priming is necessary to seal any paste that may have gone undetected. Any undetected paste that is painted over will react with the paint and cause it to crack. Homeowners considering a wallpaper project should always prime or apply a good coat of sizing to the surface before applying wallpaper. This will allow for easy removal of the wallpaper in the future. If the surface is not properly prepared before wallpaper is applied, future removal of the wallpaper and surface repairs will be extensive.

When painting paneling, you first need make sure the surface is cleaned and free of dirt, dust, etc. Then score the surface with sand paper, a sanding block, or steel wool. Caulking and filling cracks is optional. Once all of the surface preparation is complete, apply one good coat of a stain blocking primer to prevent the paneling from bleeding through the finish paint. When the primer is dry, apply two coats of your selected finish paint.