Archive for August, 2012

Part 2 of Exterior House Paint

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

3.    Color Selection:

This can be the fun part of your painting project.  It can also be quite confusing.  If you do not have an idea of what color to paint, we recommend hopping in the car and take a drive through some new housing developments.  This can show you several ideas of what colors appeal to you.  When going to the paint store, be disciplined and choose a few cards that fit into your plan.  Once you have your color narrowed down to a couple colors, purchase a test quart of each color to be placed on your home for viewing.  The paint color will look different at your location than it will at other locations, so it is important to use this step to truly get a good idea of how a color looks on your house.  We suggest painting 2’-3’ wide section of the home, top to bottom, in an area including a portion of a window.  This will allow you to test trim colors next to the siding color.  Repeat as needed to find just the right combination.

4.     Paint:

When painting you will have 2 options; Paint with a brush and roller, or Paint with an airless sprayer.

Paint with Brush & Roller:

When painting with a brush and roller, plan to work from top to bottom, left to right (for right handed) or top to bottom, right to left (for left handed).  With lap siding you start by painting the bottom edge of the lap first.  Then, roll the paint on the face of the siding and back brush to spread the paint evenly across the surface.  Use long brush strokes and work with the grain of the wood.  (for shingles work up and down). For sheet material siding such as T-111, start by brushing the groove then roll at top and work your way down.  Work in approximately 2’ section and paint top to bottom, for single story home. For two story houses, work from top to middle of home, then work from the middle of home to bottom.  Make sure you paint small enough sections that you are able to keep a wet edge, i.e.; the paint just applied is still wet when returning to apply the paint next to it.  You need to overlap your roller strokes 50% to give good coverage.

Painting with an airless sprayer:

When painting with an airless sprayer you will want to cover all windows and doors with paper and/or plastic.  I like to cover all my windows and all but one door the day prior to painting.  Leaving the one door will allow access to entering and exiting the home.  For painting day rent a good quality sprayer.  For novice users, start painting the least seen side of the house.  This will give you a little practice prior to painting the more visible areas of the home.  While painting, paint top to bottom, left to right (for right handed) and top to bottom right to left (left handed).  Always back roll the home using a quality roller cover and an extension pole to ensure proper penetration, adhesion, and even distribution of the paint.


 ___ BRUSHES                                                                                    ___ SANDPAPER

___ ROLLERS                                                                                      ___ MASKING TAPE

___ ROLLER KITS                                                                              ___ PAINT PAILS

___ PAD PAINTERS                                                                         ___ CAULK

___ TRIM TOOLS                                                                              ___ PAINT THINNER

___ DROP CLOTHS                                                                           ___ PRIMER

___ ROLLER FRAMES                                                                      ___ SCRAPERS

___ PAINT TRAYS                                                                             ___ PAINT

___ EXTENSION HANDLES                                                            ___ RENTAL EQUIPMENT

 Have a great project!

Exterior House Painting

Monday, August 20th, 2012

Thinking about painting the outside or your house?  This is a project that a moderately handy person can do.  However there are some tips and tricks we can offer.  Here are some suggestions and tips on how to take your project from start to “finish”.

1.     Inspect:  You have decided that it is time to paint the house so now is the time to take a look around your home to evaluate its condition.  Make sure that:

  • Gutters and down spouts are in good condition and attached securely.
  • Caulking around windows and doors is in good condition.
  • Siding corners and seams are sealed properly.
  • You note any paint peeling, fading, stains showing through paint.
  • You note any dry rot, damage, or loose nails that need repair or attention.

Keep in mind that water is the main cause of paint problems, so if there is damage around windows, doors or gutters, etc., look to see how moisture could be causing the problem.  It could be poor ventilation.  On a lap sided home the gap between laps is the vent system.  Over multiple paint jobs, this commonly gets painted shut, and you start seeing peeling outside kitchens, or bathrooms or any room that creates humidity in the home.  Consult your paint store for ways to solve this issue. 

2.     Prepare:  It can not be stressed enough that preparation is the biggest key to a successful paint job.  This will depend on the findings during the inspection phase of the project.  It is recommended to start your preparation by correcting any problems found in the inspection phase; reattach the down spout, re-nail the gutter, replace dry rot, insert siding wedges, etc.

For peeling paint you can start with pressure washing the house.  This will remove any loose pieces of flaking paint.  Then you need to scrape the peeled areas with a wire brush and/or scraping tool to remove all loosely adhered paint.  “Feather” sand the edges that are left exposed.  This is where you sand the edges of the paint to smooth the appearance.  If you can see the ledge where the old paint has been removed you will still see it when you have painted over it. “Spot” prime anywhere you have removed the existing paint.

For fading or oxidized paint:  Fading is usually caused by oxidation of paint.  Oxidation is the result of normal erosion of the paint over time.  You can see oxidation by wiping your hand across the surface of the faded paint.  If you have white powder on your hand, this is the result of oxidation.  New paint will not bond well if you do not remove the oxidation.  You can start by pressure washing your home.  This will wash the oxidation off and create a surface that will allow new paint to bond.

Stains bleeding through paint:  You will occasionally see a stain showing through the existing paint.  This is typically a water spot from moisture getting in the wood, or tannin bleed.  You can use exterior latex stain block primer prior to painting to prevent the stain from showing through the new coat of paint.

NOTE: Any time you pressure wash your home, you should allow enough time for it to dry prior to painting.  When pressure washing, you impregnate the substrate with moisture that needs to evaporate.  This could take 5 – 7 days depending on temperature and humidity, and time of year

“Next up will be Color Selection, Paint and Materials Check list”

Deck Refinishing

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

Deck refinishing is a home project that I believe that can be done by anyone that is mildly “handy.”  Decks need maintaining.  It just takes getting a little familiar with the process.  First you will want to inspect the deck.  You are looking for boards that may need replacing, or are loose and need fixing, and you will make a determination about the condition of the boards.  There is a range of board conditions, from pretty good condition, just need to clean it up; to weathered gray with grooves and mildew, needs to be stripped.  We will address ways to help with whatever stage your deck is in. 

You may have heard people talk about just pressure washing the deck and putting down stain to finish their decks.  This is a pretty common way to attack this type project, however a pressure washer can dig deeper into the wood than you might like and cause visible lines in the wood.  Plus, impregnating that much moisture in the wood will raise the grain of the wood, and create a bit of a furry texture. 

If your deck is in pretty good shape and you just need to clean it up a bit, we do offer a product in our Restore-X® product line called Deck Cleaner.  This does a nice job of killing light mildew, and cleaning the surface.  To start this project, you will use your garden hose to moisten the deck.  Roll on a liberal amount of the Deck cleaner and let it set for about 15 minutes allowing it to break down the dirt and mildew.  Lightly agitate with a stiff bristle push broom.  Rinse deck with garden hose.  The Deck Cleaner is not harmful to grass or foliage, in fact it will act as a plant food for broad leaf plants.  You will want to rinse off any plants or grass, as if the product sits on the plants in the sun, it may burn the plant.

If your deck is in more need of attention, our Restore-X® line offers a Finish Remover product as well.  The process for using it is the same as the Deck Cleaner.  Moisten deck prior to application of Finish Remover.  Apply liberal amount of Finish Remover and let sit for about 20 to 30 minutes.  Spritz the deck with water occasionally so the Finish Remover does not dry on deck.  If it dries, it is not working.  After about 15 minutes use a stiff bristle push broom to agitate surface.  You will see if the product has taken off the surface of the wood, to expose the clean wood.  If the product needs more time to work, sit back and relax and allow the product time to do the work.  Recheck about every 5 minutes until satisfied with appearance, then wash off with garden hose.  Like the Deck Cleaner, the Finish Remover is not harmful to grass or foliage, in fact it will act as a plant food for broad leaf plants.  You will want to rinse off any plants or grass, as if the product sits on the plants in the sun, it may burn the plant.  At this point the deck wood will look nice.  If you like the appearance, you are done with the stripping process.  If you would like to lighten the color of the wood, you can use our Restore-X® Wood Brightener.

Restore-X® Wood Brightener is my favorite stage of this process.  You apply the Brightener with a roller, and sit back and watch the wood lighten for about 10 minutes.  Then simply rinse.  This product also is safe to use around plants and foliage.

Then comes the hardest part of the project.  WAIT.  That is right, wait.  Since you have just introduced water to the wood, the wood has soaked it up like a sponge, and needs to dry out before you seal / stain it.  Wait 3 – 5 days in real dry warm weather, and 5 – 7 for dry moderate weather.  Due to the nature of evaporation, the sun will draw the moisture in the wood up and out of the wood.  If you seal it too quickly, you will trap some moisture in and that will lead to mildew.  Once wood is dry, you will be ready to seal / stain.

Restore-X® Penetrating Wood Deck Finish is a water reducible deck stain and sealer.  It is available in colors to accent your décor.  Apply the PWD Finish with a brush, or roller, starting at one end of a board and following the grain to the other end of the board.  Apply enough that the stain will absorb into the wood without creating puddles.  This is a penetrating product that is not intended to create a film build on top of the wood.  If you get puddles, brush them out so product is absorbed, or excess product is removed.  Excess product may cause  the product to peel.  Also, just a friendly reminder from someone that has done this, plan your staining strategy so you are able to escape the deck when done.  Do not stain yourself into a corner.  Let deck sit for 24 hours before allowing normal traffic on the deck.  Light traffic will be okay in 6 to 8 hours.

Wood as a Substrate

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

Wood is a dynamic substrate. The selection of a species and more importantly, how it is prepared prior to and during the finishing process, has a major impact on the final product. Unlike metal, various factors, characteristic of wood in general, can and does affect the final outcome of the finishing procedure. Only if these factors are taken into account during the finishing process, can acceptable results be achieved.

 Color:  Most finishing operations utilize stains to change the color of the wood. Stains generally enhance grain definition of the wood as well as highlighting the character of the substrate. They are essentially transparent. With this in mind, it is important to remember that the color of the wood will have an impact on the color after staining. For example, staining a piece of white oak (greenish-yellow) versus a piece of red oak (reddish-brown) with the same stain will result in two different end colors. This can and often does occur on even the same species of wood. There are ways to minimize color differences of the wood but must be taken into account as added steps in the finishing operation. As much as everyone has tried, there is no such thing as a magical stain that will provide a consistent color on substrates which vary in color.

Moisture Content:  As mentioned above, wood is dynamic in that it “moves”. It will absorb or release moisture until it reaches an “equilibrium” with ambient conditions. Ideally, moisture content should be around 6-8%. When wood absorbs moisture, it swells. It shrinks when it loses moisture. Generally, moisture content isn’t looked at until a problem occurs. In a perfect situation, moisture is controlled in a finishing plant but this is often the case.

Excessive moisture in wood can cause problems such as poor stain acceptance, yielding a mottled or blotchy appearance. It can also result in poor adhesion of the clear coats. Very dry wood can also result in poor stain appearance (dark) as well as clear coats which soak into the wood too much, resulting in poor film build.

Temperature:  Temperature is very important not only with the paint but the wood as well. As relatively thin coats of material are applied, the ambient temperature of the wood can be rapidly transferred to the coating. Obviously, cold substrates may cool the stain/coating rapidly and impede penetration of stains or cause flow issues with the clear coats. Cool coatings may slow dry which may cause poor sanding characteristics which may result in an overall unacceptable finish. At the other extreme, the wood being too hot, stains may dry too rapidly, resulting in mottled appearance or in the case of wiping stains, may not wipe at all. Clear coats can heat up, thusly lowering the viscosity which can reflect too much flow, i.e. sags and puddling.

In an ideal world, the board surface temperature (BST) should be between 65-75°F.

Wood Density:  The density of the wood can have a profound effect on how stains/coatings will perform on the substrate. The problem is that the density can change even on the same piece of wood. Stains may “over penetrate” on porous wood or puddle on dense wood. There are some tricks to minimize porosity differences but they are time consuming and often labor intensive. Wood selection is the easiest way to minimize it but often times is not practical.