A paintbrush in time...

The Old House Web

Note: The following information is used with permission ofServiceMagic, which provides free contractor recommendations from its database of 40,000 home improvement contractors & real estate agents. 

paint cansHouse painting is time consuming and messy if you do it yourself. Hire a contractor, and painting is expensive. No wonder homeowners often seek to put off painting for just one more year. But such delays can prove costly.

New houses often are built  as quickly and economically as possible, and frequently receive a quick single coat of paint without benefit of primer/sealer. It is not unusual for a new house to need repainting within three years, or to find areas that were missed entirely by the house builder and never protected. Wood that is starting to split, or that is unprotected cannot be ignored. Wood that is not protected by paint or sealer will absorb water and begin to rot, making it necessary to replace the wood entirely.

On the other hand, acting as soon as minimal damage is discovered will save the wood. Minor, surface wood damage can be wire-brushed to remove the loose, flaking paint, primed to seal and protect the wood, and painted with a top quality paint. A good re-paint ca last years longer than the original job that came with the new house!

Once you've made the decision that re-painting is needed, take time to examine other trouble spots and damage. The key to a lasting paint job is careful surface preparation. This means correcting problems, rather than simply painting over them. Even if you are hiring a contractor to paint your house, you will know -- and specify in writing -- how the house will be prepared and how any damage will be repaired prior to painting.

Examine the wood trim around windows and doors

Trim that has not be properly caulked and sealed will eventually begin pulling away from the body of the house. Nail heads that were not primed before painting will rust and pop. Such damage must be corrected before painting. Ignore such moisture intrusion problems on the outside of your home, and eventually the inside will suffer. It will only be a matter of time before you see damage such as water or mildew stains on the drywall, behind wall coverings or in the carpet.

Trim that is cracked or warped will need to be replaced to ensure a tight fit against the house. All nails that are popped or rusted must be reset, and finally, windows should be thoroughly caulked, sealed, and primed.


Photo:Paint Quality Institute

New and old homes alike can suffer from chalking. It is caused by poor surface preparation, failure to prime, or using inferior paint or interior paint for an exterior application.  Often such homes will have a fine powder residue on the siding. Painting over this problem will cause even bigger problems. The new paint will peel off in sheets. You will need to remove all the old and new paint by scraping and sanding, re-priming and re-painting, a considerably more expensive proposition than treating the problem correctly in the first place.

You (or your contractor) need to scrape any loose paint, wash the house and treat for any mildew, and then prime the house with a good quality oil-base or acrylic latex primer. The top coat should be a good quality paint made with acrylic binders for proper adhesion.

For more stories on The Old House Web on house painting, follow this link.

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