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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Here is a picture of the colorants leeching through and making a stain mark.
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Here is what the house looked like after we did a final walk through. The homeowner was pleased and so were we.
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What is Paint Leeching

I had a rare occurrence at a high profile job. We finished and the job looked spectacular. I did a normal final walk around and didn't find much of anything that my painters needed to touch up. A few days later (perhaps 4 or 5 days later) I got a call from the homeowner that there were stains all over his paint job. He had guessed that it was tannin from the cedar wood but the wood was old and I used a primer followed by two full top coats so I was skeptical that it could be tannin and after looking it over I was very doubtful because it was not in one confined area but all over the shake siding. After looking at it more closely and getting the Benjamin Moore Rep involved ( I used Benjamin Moore's Arbor Coat in a Neutral Base) we found out it was Surfactant Leeching.

Surfactant Leeching happens when the colorants in the paint take a long time to dry and end up raising to the surface of the coating and making a temporary stain mark. This cleans up with a cloth and some water ( and actually goes away on its own) but can cause a headache. It normally happens when the paint manufacturer uses a deep base (because a lot of colorant is added and thus takes longer to dry. The other circumstance that makes it happen is if you have a lot of rain shortly after the application or it is too cold. In this particular job we followed the manufactures recommendation regarding application temperature and technique (as we always do) however a day or so after we were done it rained harder than it had all year. I think that this rain (that went on for 2 days) caused the top coat to dry more slowly and thus produced the Leeching Colorants. We cleaned it up with some slightly damp cloths and the homeowner is sleeping easier. Of course we didn't charge for the extra cleaning. Even though the leeching would have gone away on its own, we'd rather have a happy customer with a perfect looking house then squabble over a few hours of cleaning.
Always apply products under manufacturers suggested temperatures and humidity and you should be fine. In the even you experience a rain storm 2 days after you finish and your paint starts looking funny. It is probably leeching and can be wiped off or will go away on its own.

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Primer and top coat v 2 top coats over the factory primer

Q: If my hardboard or hardie plank comes with factory primer should I still prime it in the field.
Y: Yes- If you want the job to last a long time (perhaps 15 or 20 years) before it is ready to be re-painted then I would recommend using a top quality exterior primer followed by 2 top coats. Factory primers a thinned down, and while then tend to cover all areas, they do not have the body that a quality exterior field applied primer has. A quality field applied primer dries down to a higher millage and thus will give you better hide with the top coat, easier coverage with the top coat, better adhesion with the top coat and a more flawless finish.
One other aspect that is often overlooked is the fact that after installation of any type of siding there will be hand marks, factory oil marks, packaging marks, dust from saw blades, dust from the air and a host of other things that should be washed off. Even after washing, there will still be dust from the air and un-primed caulking lines so you are better off using a primer in those instances anyway.

Call Complete Custom Painting for a free estimate

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Peel away at a large job

When should I use a chemical stripping agent like Peel Away on my cedar shake or siding?

Answer: When your old siding has so many coats that you can not effectivley scrape them, scuff sand them or use a orbital sander without damaging the contour of the grain. Here is a house in Hopkins in a very high profile neighborhood where the homeowner decided he wanted the shake to look like new. The wood was in good condition and the normal scuff sand, spot prime and top coat paint job was not going to cut it. We used 30 or more gallons of peel away and it removed the paint down to the bare wood or primer. I suspect there was between 6 and 10 coats of paint on it. When we are done I'll post more pics but I can see already its going to look like new.

Here you can see that the peel away stripped it down to the bare wood in many areas and only left a very thin coat of primer in the areas where it did not bring it down to bare wood. After a prime and top coat it will look like new.
Call Complete Custom Painting for a free estimate
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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Is a 50 dollar gallon of paint worth it?

Q: Should you use some of the higher end paints that range from 40 to 50 dollars per gallon in your house?
A: Depends on the surface, depends on your objective, but in most cases, its worth it.

You should avoid spending a lot of money on top coat paints in the following circumstances
1. Vaulted walls that will never be touched and will likely never be dusted.
2. Selling your house.
3. Apartment turn work.
4. Renting your house.
5. Ceilings.

Generally those circumstances call for yearly repainting so it makes sense to use a cheap paint. Or a surface that will never be touched. In the case where the surface is never touched you can use a paint with a high solids content (which generally makes it cheaper) and it will hide imperfections. Use a cheap flat paint and with extremely high "hide-ability," and your high walls and ceilings should turn out nice.

I believe it is worth spending more money on top coat paints in the following circumstances:
1. You generally care for your home and keep it tidy
2. Any type of millwork or cabinetry to be painted
3. Kitchens, Bathrooms, Stairwells and areas where hands touch walls
4. Any circumstance that you want a lower VOC content is a good opportunity to use a few brands in particular that are top quality
5. You are paying a professional and not doing it yourself so you may as well just spend a few extra dollars and not use the cheapest guy only because he is using cheap paint.

In general I am a fan of using the best paints available and generally would recommend steering clear of paints that are extremely cheap.
Moreover, I would strongly recommend using the very best primers in any circumstance where more than one coat is needed.

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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Keep the roller wet

I was asked by a homeowner why subtle lines appeared in the wall as they looked down it at an angle (the lines were the same width as a 9inch roller).
The reason is because they did not have enough paint on the roller (or on the wall). This happens when the roller is old and dry and some of the paint has hardened and only the paint on the outside of the roller is coming out. This also happens if you have a 1/2 inch roller and you are not loading your roller enough. There is a simple rule that you can follow. Load the roller with paint immediately if it leaves a bare mark and don't press the roller in to the wall. A roller is not a presser. The lines in the wall show up because you may be pressing too hard against the wall and as a result the outside edge of the roller is leaving a wet line (the inside of the roller is getting dry because you are pressing)
I always recommend a 3/4 inch roller if you are using flat, eg-shell or satin sheen (especially flat or eg-shell). It stays wet longer and if you roll through the finish enough you'll get the same finish as a 1/2 inch roller anyway. Save yourself some time, go with a 3/4 inch roller and keep it wet. Clean it well if you plan to re-use it.

Complete Custom Painting

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Peel Away 1 and should you consider insulation when considering painting?

A great way to remove multiple layers of paint on historic cedar is with the peel away system. I was a little skeptical because of the time involved but depending on the value of the house, the historical nature of the siding, and some other variables, peel away is often times a good option.

If it is time to to paint and you have a historic house or beautiful cedar siding with multiple layers then you will probably be faced with the choice of replacing the cedar or painting it. If you decide to paint you CAN make it look new and without flaw. Only by removing almost all of the old coating is this possible but you may consider some other variables.
1. How is the insulation in the house?
If the insulation is crummy and you are faced with the decision of replacing or painting then you may want to consider replacing as the leading option because when you rip off the old siding you can upgrade your insulation (killing 2 birds with one stone so to speak)
2. What is the profile of the siding?
Some historic properties and houses have a 2 or 3 inch reveal on the cedar siding. You don't see this very often because it is extremely expensive to both buy and install. So if you like the look, have quality insulation and don't want to spend a fortune, then using Peel Away followed by a quality paint job could be the best option.
3. Do you have lead based paint? Peel Away may be a great idea if you have lead based paint. Peel away requires the applicator to be fully covered and also meets the requirement of "working wet" which is one of the requirements of using lead safe practices on the job site.
4. What do your neighbors have? If you live on Summit ave and have cedar, and so does every other house, then you will probably not want to switch over to vinyl (I don't think you can anyway) but the general point here is to consider the area.

A quality exterior paint job on wood can last a long time, but you have to be willing to take the time to do it right, use quality products and work with someone who knows what they are doing.

Complete Custom Painting

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Time to maintenacne Sikken on the wood siding or cabin

How to Restore a Sikkens Cabin
When it comes time to restore your cabin and you had previously used Sikkens 3 coat system you should consider a few things.
1st- Note that you already probably have 1 stain coat and 2 top coats of Urethane on the wood. (Thats one coat of Sikkens Cetol 1 and 2 coats Sikkens Cetol 23) and therefore have almost 3 times as much product on then if you would have just used one coat of a semi-transparent oil stain/sealer
2nd- Consider that if you put more of the same product on before stripping it will get darker.
3rd- While you can use Sikkens "Maintenance Coat" on the wood that is not peeling, any area that has peeling or excessive mildew underneath the existing finish will not look new once you use the "Maintenance coat" It will look spotty.

If you consider those things, the correct solution is to Strip those areas that show excessive peeling (from wall to wall) (they are normally the sides of the house that get the most sun) and use the "maintenance coat" on the sides that are not, but have only lost some of their luster.
Sikkens is a great looking product, but needs a maintenance coat to keep it from peeling. If it gets to the point of peeling it is a little harder to strip than a one coat oil based stain (of course because it is 3 coats) but I would strongly recommend fully stripping it anyway because then you won't end up having a bunch of darker and lighter spots all over the wood where some areas that were peeling only have one coat of stain and the areas that were not now have 4 or 5 or 6 or 7........

Call Complete Custom Painting for an free estimate
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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Twin Cities Metro Painters- Quality

There are many different ways to paint a house. There are normally only a few different ways a quality painter would do it.

A lot of times I run into houses where the previous painter didn't take the time to prep the surface correctly or make a perfect cut mark and I instantly think that the homeowner must have done the work. In most cases my suspicions are correct but in some cases the homeowner informs me that it was "professionally painted." I always find sloped paint on roofs in gables where the homeowner would never look or can't see from the ground. The back side of a chimney is another area that I see a lot of crummy work from either homeowners or previous painters.
This brings me to my point. If you hire a painter, the minimum standard should be that the job look good. In my early years this was the only goal. The more experience I've gotten has made me become more picky and I really think its important to start telling homeowners and customers the benifit of a higher sheen products that achieve better durability. It requires that a painter know how to back-roll correctly (which requires more skill than you may think on high walls) and also requires quality primers and the correct millage applied on the top coat, but the end result is something that will look good and last longer. Higher sheens do tend to reveal more imperfection (especially on scraped wood) but the longevity you will get out of the paint job is worth it and it should look good anyway.

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Different ways to restore old painted wood siding

Q:How should I paint my previously painted exterior siding?
A: Depends on the desired outcome.

There are different ways to prepare to restore old painted wood siding.
Here are a few:
Gel Stripping agent
Angle Grinder
Orbital Sander
Sanding Sponge
Sand Blasting

The level of finish you would like will determine the process.

Every year I run into multiple projects on houses that have multiple coats of paint where the previous painter scraped the peeling or flaking paint, scuff sanded the edges, spot primed the bare wood and re-painted. This is fine but normally it hinders you from using a higher gloss paint (because the scrape marks will show up) and normally is the minimal expected from a painter. A step up from that would be using a orbital sander after the scraping to get a more polished sanding job. Better yet would be to take a angle grinder with a sanding attachment and fully sand any peeling areas back to the closest board cut so you have a perfect finished look. A few draw backs to the angle grinder and orbital sander are that they remove the vertical texture in a shake and they create a lot of dust. Another draw back may be that while some areas are peeling and will be fully sanded to ensure a perfect finish, the areas that are not peeling decide to peel the following year. To ensure the most durable, flawless finish the the painter needs to remove ALL of the previous coating. This can be done by Sand Blasting or extensive sanding/angle grinding. You should consider the project, talk with a qualifed painting contractor and decide which option is best for you. You'll probably not sand blast the 150 thousand dollar split entry but may want to consider it on the 1 million dollar house.
Be aware of Lead Based Paint Laws, Risks and Requirements

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Friday, January 29, 2010

Water-based Paint over Oil Based Paint

Should I paint over a oil-based enamel with a water-based enamel ?

Sure. The new water-based enamels look a lot like the oil based-enamels that you are covering, They dry faster, do not amber over time and provide a durable finish. You'll want to be aware of a few things before starting however.
First, it is recommended that you use a bonding primer after a generous scuff sanding. Oil enamel tends to dry hard so you want to make sure you knock-down the sheen of the oil coating prior to priming. If you are looking for a quick fix and a matching coat (and don't want to go through the process of 1 coat of primer and 2 top coats) you'll want to aggressively sand the coating. Using a bonding primer will save you some time in the sanding department, but will cause you to have to use 2 top coats instead of one matching coat (Because you'd be going from a flat primer to a satin or semi-gloss enamel) If you only want to use one top coat to "clean up" make sure you sand the previous oil enamel aggressively to ensure proper adhesion. Also clean it fully by first vacuuming everything then wiping it with a rag or tac-cloth. I'd also recommend and lead testing kit and a 3M respirator prior to starting the sanding if the wood-work was painted in the 70's.

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