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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Measure Moisture on any exterior painting project

Q: If the the bid prices appear the same, what can I ask to help in choosing a painting company for my exterior painting project.?
A: Ask them how long they plan to let the surface sit after they wash it before they apply the primer/paint? Their answer will let you know if they are qualified to paint your house or building

A crucial step in an exterior painting or staining job is making sure you have a clean surface. After the scraping/sanding/grinding and other prep work usually comes the washing. Depending on the surface you can use a gentle hose wash with some detergent or a power washer with a higher psi in some commercial settings.
In most cases water is involved. After the surface is clean but before you prime (or paint) you are absolutely going to want your painting contractor to measure the moisture level in the surface. When I first started I had heard through others in the industry that the general rule of thumb was to let wood surfaces sit in warm sunny weather for 5 days to a week before coating and composite or concrete surfaces sit for the same. Since I wasn't sure one way or the other, I purchased a moisture meter. I figured I needed one to measure moisture for deck staining anyway. I was pretty surprised what I found. Concrete, while it may appear totally dry may have too high a moisture content to paint. The same is true for wood. Never assume because the surface has sat in warm weather for a "general" amount of time that it will be dry and ready to paint. Any painter or painting company should always test the surface with a moisture meter.

Back to the original question. If you are having a painting bid and ask the painting contractor how long they are going to let the surface sit before they paint and they tell you that they have a set amount of time and don't need to test the surface for moisture, then throw their proposal out.

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