FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

  • Q Dreaded Paint Blister

    There are a few reasons you may get a blister on a new or newer exterior paint job. One reason is if the paint is applied within the dew point. You have probably heard a weather man mention the dew point and wondered what the heck is that or "why do I care about that"? The dew point is the temperature at which the moisture in the air will condense on a surface. Like moisture on the side of a cold beer glass. If you paint within the dew point the paint can't adhere to the painted surface because of that moisture so it cures to itself. It's just hanging there and will eventually form a bubble or bubbles.

    This is easy to avoid. Paint only when the exterior temperatures are many degrees above the dew point and not expected to drop into or below the dew point until the paint has had a chance to cure. This type of failure is common when exterior painting is done in the fall or early spring and the painter isn't monitoring the weather. If the painting is done in the fall you may not see the failure until next year in the spring or summer.

    The "dreaded paint blister" as I like to call them is when the blister is formed because the original coating fails after a new coat of paint is applied over it. Normally there are many older coats of paint and it is on a older home with cedar or redwood lap siding.

    There is no way to foresee this type of failure. These homes often pass through power washing without the paint coming off and there is no magic coating or primer to put on the home prior to painting to prevent this from happening. You just have to deal with it after the fact and here is how.

    1. Cut out the bubbles.
    2. Prime the area with an alkyd primer. I like XIM 400 white.
    3. After the primer has dried. I wait 24 hours. Skim over the area with a quality exterior spackle. I like MH Ready Patch.
    4. Sand the areas smooth and reapply more spackle if necessary.
    5. Prime again with the alkyd primer.
    6. Paint the areas again.

    I will paint the patched areas after they have been primed and then repaint that side of the house again so it has good coverage and blends in well.

    The "dreaded paint blister" is one of the last things I want to discover on a project. They can become very time consuming when fixed correctly.

  • Q Painting Terms

    Every industry has it's own language. The paint business is no different. If you know the language you can sound like a pro or at least understand one. The following painting terms can have you sounding like an expert in no time.

    Paint: Obvious. A combination of a binder, filler, pigment and a solvent. Can be water based, solvent based or a hybrid coating.

    Latex: Water based product. Latex is the term for a suspension of polymer particles in water.  Most common type of residential paint. Soap and water cleanup. Fast drying. External and internal use.

    Enamel: Traditionally oil based. Today many water based products available. The resin typically dries hard and glossy.

    Off White: Refers to the color. Any white but a pure white.

    Acrylic: Water based product. Dries quickly. Acrylic polymer suspended in water. Becomes water resistant when dry. Tough finish. The term is often used interchangeably with latex.

    Ceiling White: A flat white paint. Normally a brighter white with a thicker formulation (filler) to minimize splatter. Typically inexpensive product.

    Sheen: The gloss level of the paint. Flat, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss, gloss. There is no standard from one manufacturer to another.

    A five: Five gallon bucket of paint. Can also refer to a five in one. A painters tool.

    A single: One gallon of paint.

    Drop: Drop cloths. Used to cover the floor.

    Frame: The roller frame. A roller cover goes on it. 9" is most common.

    Pole: An extension pole. Used on the frame.

    Grid: The wire mesh that goes in a bucket to roll paint off of.

    Stain Blocker: The best are solvent based. Used to seal stains before painting.

    Cover: A roller cover. 9" in most common.

    Nap: The thickness of the roller cover.

    Primer: Applied to surfaces before painting. Promotes adhesion.

    Sealer: Applied to porous surfaces to seal or level the surface out.

    Cut In: Brush work. Running a paint line along the ceiling, baseboards, etc.

    Roll: Using a frame to roll paint on the surface.

    Lay off: A final roll in the same direction (usually down) to level the paint out.

    Picture framing: A noticeable band in the finish. You can see the cut line VS the roll.

    Hat Banding: Same as picture framing but only refers to the ceiling cut line.

    Dry Time: There are two types. Dry to the touch and dry to re-coat.

    There are a lot of painting terms. It is easy to take for granted that everyone know what you are taking about. These are the most common.

  • Q Common Causes For Painted Cabinet Failure

    We are often asked to fix a failed cabinet paint job. Here are the most common causes for painted cabinet failure and how you can avoid them.

    Number one: The painter doesn't know what they are doing. They know enough to be dangerous as they say. Just because you are great at painting a house exterior or interior doesn't give you the skills or experience to do fine finish work. There is a small number of paint contractors in the Omaha market qualified to do cabinet work.

    I have seen some pretty horrible stuff over the years. One of the worst was last year. The homeowner had purchased some fairly expensive cabinets for a new home. The "painter" went to town with a weenie roller. No sanding, priming, no prep at all. While I was looking at this mess, the weenie roller was still sitting in a half dry open can of paint. Wow. The homeowner stopped the process. The cabinets were a total loss. It would cost more to try to fix them then to purchase new ones.

    ***Check out the paint contractor. Be confident they know what they are doing.

    Another type of scary painter is the one that knows how to do it; but doesn't. They cut corners.

    For example: If the Paint Contractor is taking the doors and drawers to their shop to be sprayed but they are brushing/rolling the cabinet boxes in your home. They are only doing this because of the time and material costs involved to prep the cabinets to get them ready to spray. It does take time to prep it out right and it is a pain in the butt but the end results are worth it.

    I don't know how painters doing this type of work can explain it to their customers with a straight face. Do they honestly believe you can't tell the difference between a sprayed and a brushed finish? Really?

    Number two: Poor prep work. You should expect a lot of prep work. It takes days to get a decent sized set of cabinets ready to go. Lots of cleaning, masking, sanding, caulking, etc. Once the process begins you should expect sanding and vacuuming between each coat. Plastic barriers should be erected to protect against dust getting into the rest of your home.

    Number three: The choice of products used on your cabinets. This is critical. We use cutting edge primers and top coats. I would put our products up against anything out there. If there was something better I would use it. I am always on the lookout for something better.

    Bear in mind that the common causes for painted cabinet failure also applies to stained and lacquered cabinets too.

    There are many DIY projects you can do on your home. I wouldn't include painting cabinets as one of them. We are sometimes asked to fix those projects as well.

    These are the most common causes for painted cabinet failure. I guess it should be no surprise that when I go look at a messed up job the home owner often says the painter is out of business. Sometimes, on new homes, they say the same thing about the home builder.

  • Q Painting over Lead-based Paint

    Painting over lead-based paint is doable. It's also known as encapsulation. My favorite brand product for this is Insl-X lead block. It has low odor and can be re-coated with most products or left as the finish coat.It has an eggshell sheen.

    One interesting thing is it also contains "bitrex" a bitter tasting additive that makes eating paint chips less likely. I never have understood why anyone would eats paint chips anyhow but eh.

    The most important thing is to avoid any action that will put lead dust into the environment like sanding. If you do have chips of paint, dispose of them properly.

    Lead-based paint is dangerous. Always use a respirator, gloves and eye protection.

    If it looks like the paint is peeling or flaking off then encapsulation is probably not an option and you should contact a professional paint contractor to look at the job for you.

    If the paint you are encapsulating is in fair condition and you use a quality product like Insl-X you will get about 10 years out of the project based on wear and tear.

    The other option is complete removal of the lead-based paint and any other paint along with it. This is a job for the professional. They are time consuming and we don't do too many of them year to year. This one was done over about 4 weeks.

    This one turned out great!! We discovered beautiful cedar siding under many many layers of old paint. Painting over lead-based paint is sometimes an option. Sometimes it needs to be removed. Get the advise of a professional. Our estimates are free.

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