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Exterior Painting FAQ

1) How do you remove exterior alligatoring?

Description:
Alligatoring is patterned cracking in the surface of the paint film, resembling the regular scales of an alligator.

Possible Causes:
Application of an Extremely Hard, Rigid Coating (Such as an Alkyd Enamel) Over a More Flexible Coating (Such as a Latex Primer)
Application of a Top Coat Before the Undercoat is Dry
Natural Aging of Oil-Based Paints as Temperatures Fluctuate (The Constant Expansion and Contraction Results in a Loss of Paint Film Elasticity)

Solution:
Our painters remove alligatoring by scraping and sanding. They then prime the entire surface with high-quality oil-based primer and paint with a top-quality exterior latex paint.


2) How do you remove exterior cracking and flaking?

Description:
Cracking and flaking occurs due to the splitting of a dry paint film through at least one coat, which will lead to complete failure of the paint. Early on, the problem appears as hairline cracks; later, flaking of paint chips occurs.

Possible Causes:
Use of Lower-Quality Paint with Inadequate Adhesion & Flexibility
Over-Thinning or Overspreading of Paint
Inadequate Surface Preparation
Application of Paint to Bare Wood without First Applying a Primer
Excessive Hardening and Embrittlement of Alkyd Paint as the Paint Ages

Solution:
Our painters remove loose and flaking paint with a scraper, sanding the surface and feathering the edges. If the flaking occurs in multiple layers of paint, we apply filler to all necessary area. We also prime bare wood areas before repainting. Use of a top quality primer and top coat should prevent a recurrence of the problem.


3) How do you stop exterior house peeling?

Description:
Peeling results in loss of paint due to poor adhesion. Where there is a primer and top coat, or multiple coats of paint, peeling may involve some or all coats.

Possible Causes:
Excess Moisture Escaping Through the Exterior Walls (More Likely if Paint is Oil-Based)
Inadequate Surface Preparation
Painting Over a Dirty Surface (Wax, Mildew, Grease, Chalk)
Use of Lower-Quality Paint
Applying an Oil-Based Paint Over a Wet Surface
Earlier Blistering of Paint (See Blistering)

Solution:
Our painters will prepare surface by removing all loose paint with scraper and sand rough edges, and apply appropriate primer. Repaint with a top quality acrylic latex exterior paint for best adhesion and water resistance.


4) How do you remove exterior wrinkling?

Description:
Exterior wrinkling presents as a rough, crinkled paint surface when paint forms a "skin."

Possible Causes:
Paint Applied Too Thickly (More Likely when Using Alkyd or Oil-Based Paints)
Painting a Hot Surface or Painting in Very Hot Weather
Exposure of Uncured Paint to Rain, Dew, Fog or High Humidity Levels
Applying Top Coat of Paint to Insufficiently Dried First Coat
Painting Over Contaminated Surface (e.g., Dirt or Wax)

Solution:
Our painters scrape and sand substrate to remove wrinkled coating. They then prime all bare wood and repaint, applying an even coat of top-quality exterior paint. We apply all paints at the manufacturer's recommended spread rate (two coats at the recommended spread rate are better than one thick coat). When painting during extremely hot, cool, or damp weather, allow extra time for the paint to dry completely.


5) How do you eliminate exterior mildew?

Description:
Mildew presents as black, gray, or brown areas of fungus growth on the surface of paint or caulk. Mildew forms most often on areas that tend to be damp, and receive little or no direct sunlight (walls with a northerly exposure and the underside of eaves are particularly vulnerable).

Possible Causes:
Use of a Lower-Quality Paint, Which May Have an Insufficient Amount of Mildewcide
Failure to Prime Bare Wood Before Painting
Painting Over a Substrate or Coating on Which Mildew Has Not Been Removed

Solution:
Our painters treat the mildew by applying a mixture of water and bleach, at a 3:1 ratio. We leave this mixture on the surface for 20 minutes, applying more as it dries, and then rinse the area. We then apply an exterior latex primer, followed by a top-of- the-line exterior latex paint.


6) How do you remove exterior chalking?

Description:
Chalking results in formation of fine powder on the surface of the paint film during weathering, which can cause color fading. Although some degree of chalking is a normal, desirable way for a paint film to wear, excessive film erosion can result from heavy chalking.

Possible Causes:
Use of a Low-Grade, Highly Pigmented Paint
Use of an Interior Paint for an Outdoor Application

Solution:
Our painters remove the chalk residue using soap and power washing equipment. If noticeable chalk is still present, we apply a quality oil-based sealer (or comparable sealer for masonry), then repaint with a quality exterior coating. If little or no chalk remains and the old paint is sound, no priming is necessary.


7) How do you remove exterior blistering?

Description:
Blistering is the formation of bubbles resulting from localized loss of adhesion and lifting of the paint film from the underlying surface.

Possible Causes:
Painting a Warm Surface in Direct Sunlight
Application of Oil-Based or Alkyd Paint Over a Damp or Wet Surface
Moisture Escaping Through the Exterior Walls (Less Likely with Latex Paint Than with Oil-Based or Alkyd Paint)
Exposure of Latex Paint Film to Dew, High Humidity, or Rain Shortly After Paint Has Dried (Especially if There Was Inadequate Surface Preparation)

Solution:
Our painters remove the source of moisture by scraping, then sanding. They then repair loose caulking, prime bare wood, and repaint with a quality latex exterior paint.


8) How do you prevent exterior poor alkali resistance?

Description:
Poor alkali resistance results in color loss and overall deterioration of paint film on fresh masonry.

Possible Causes:
Oil-Based Paint or Vinyl Acrylic Latex Paint Applied to New Masonry That Has Not Cured for a Full Year (Fresh masonry contains lime, which is very alkaline. Until the lime has a chance to react with carbon dioxide from the air, the alkalinity of the masonry remains so high that it can attack the integrity of the paint film.)

Solution:
Allow masonry surfaces to cure for at least 30 days, and ideally for a full year, before painting. If this is not possible, our painters apply a quality, alkali-resistance sealer or latex primer, followed by a top-quality 100% acrylic latex exterior paint. The acrylic binder in these paints resists alkali attack.


9) How do you remove exterior surface leaching?

Description:
Surface leaching results from a concentration of water-soluble ingredients on latex paint, creating a blotchy, sometimes glossy appearance, often with a tan or brownish cast. This is more likely with tinted paints than with white or factory-colored paints.

Possible Causes:
Mist, Dew, or Other Moisture Drying on the Painted Surface Shortly After It Has Dried
Painting in Cool, Humid Conditions or Just Before They Occur (The longer drying time allows the paint's water-soluble ingredients — which would normally evaporate, or be leached out by rain or dew — to rise to the surface before the paint thoroughly dries.)

Solution:
Avoid painting in the late afternoon if cool, damp conditions are expected in the evening or overnight. If the problem occurs in the first day or so after the paint is applied, the water-soluble material can sometimes be rinsed off rather easily. Fortunately, even more stubborn cases will generally weather off in a month or so. Surfactant leaching should not affect the ultimate durability of the coating.


10) How do you prevent exterior paint incompatibility?

Description:
Exterior paint incompatibility can result in loss of adhesion where many old coats of alkyd or oil-based paint receive a latex top coat. This may cause the old paint to "lift off" the substrate.

Possible Causes:
Use of Water-Based Latex Paint Over More Than Three or Four Coats of Old Alkyd or Oil-Based Paint

Solution:
Our painters completely remove the existing paint and prepare the surface — cleaning, sanding, and spot-priming where necessary — before repainting with a top-quality latex exterior paint.