Paint application challenges
As a homeowner, you take pride in maintaining your beautiful living space. Proper paint surface preparation and application is a must to keep your home looking its best. May your paint job remain great looking for many years to come!
A quick inspection and a few simple maintenance steps will keep your new paint looking fresh and addy ears to the life of a professional paint job.
Inspect your paint coating at least once a year. Paint maintenance can help you extend the life of your exterior paint and ultimately save you time and money.
Dealing with mildew and mold
Exterior paint can support mildew growth, particularly after the paint has weathered a few years. Mildew will most likely occur on northern exposure and in shaded and damp areas. When you discover mold or mildew, call your painting contractor, or do as follows:
- Protect plants and grass.
- Use a brush or garden sprayer to apply water and household bleach to the mildewed area, plus a one-foot margin.
- Wear eye and skin protection and a respirator.
- Allow the mixture to remain on the surface for fifteen minutes.
- Rinse off or power-wash the area thoroughly.
Dealing with dirt and chalk
Airborne dirt can accumulate on paint and discolor it. Soil can then become a fertile food source for mildew. The chalky pigment can be released from the paint film as it weathers—fading colors and causing a streaky rundown. Both soil and chalk can be removed by scrubbing or power washing.
- Scrubbing is done with a mild detergent and a scrub brush, followed by thorough rinsing. Don’t use harsh alkaline cleaners, as these can reduce the gloss of alkyd and some latex paints.
- Power washing is a quick way to put a shine on your house at a fraction of the cost of repainting. When power washing, do not lift paint or damage the substrate. It is an aggressive cleaning method and should be used at most once or twice yearly.
Watch out for cracking and peeling
Checking for this exterior paint condition and catching failures early is essential. You will minimize subsequent, more significant paint failures. Examine the paint closely for cracking and peeling, and repair immediately.
- Check for open joints around doors, windows, and trim. Fill with good-quality caulking compounds.
- Peeling often starts on windowsills and surfaces painted in darker colors. Scrape and sand loose material, spot prime, then touch up.
Here are a few interior paint maintenance tips that can help extend the life of your new interior paint job and ultimately save you time and money.
Dealing with dirt
Interior paint typically gets dirty: handprints around switches and knobs splash in kitchens and bathrooms, marks on hallways and corridors, and soot accumulates above electric lamps and other heat sources. While changing color is always a good reason for repainting, covering over the dirty paint is often avoided or postponed. Removing dirt before it accumulates improves the appearance and reduces the chances of it getting permanently embedded in the paint film.
Check for dirt periodically. Assume it will be in and near cooking areas and all locations at hand height. Always initially clean the surface with a mild detergent with a sponge or a soft cloth. Resort to harsher cleaners only when necessary, recognizing that alkaline cleaners can dull the sheen or gloss of oil-based paint. Abrasive cleaners will burnish nearly any color and dull the luster of satin, semi-gloss, and gloss products. Washed surfaces should be rinsed thoroughly because residual cleaner can interfere with the paint adhesion applied later.
Watch for mildew growth on painted surfaces that tend to be moist; this includes laundry and basement areas, bathrooms, and kitchens. Mildew should be treated and removed, never painted over.
Apply a water and household bleach mixture to the mildewed area using a rag or sponge. Wear eye and skin protection and a respirator. With colored paints, do a test area first. Protect the floor and nearby articles. Allow the mixture to remain on for twenty minutes; add more as it dries. Rinse off the area thoroughly.
Stopping the paint sticking (blocking)
Sometimes painted surfaces adhere to each other, like a door and jamb. The painted surfaces are most likely returned to service before thoroughly drying the paint. Dark color paints tend to block more than light colors or white stains. Glossier paints block more than flat paints. Warm and damp conditions increase the tendency to stop and applying pressure increases blocking.
Always allow ample time for the paint to dry before returning the painted object to service. If blocking is observed, rub talcum powder or candle wax onto both surfaces to alleviate sticking. The plasticizer in gaskets used in windows and doors can soften latex paint and cause sticking. This is problematic with new gaskets and with dark-tinted paints. Minimizing this includes waiting several weeks to paint a new installation, using light or white color, and applying talcum powder or candle wax to the gasket and paint.