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On This Page:
Paint Thickness
Peeling or Rotted Hardboard Siding
Paint Peeling from Masonry
Blistering Paint
Hiring the Best Contractor
Did you know that if a coat of paint is too thick it could be harmful?  There is a limit to the number of coats of paint that a surface can support.  As the paint thickness builds up over time and the coatings get older, they loose their flexibility.  As the substrate expands and contracts because of temperature fluctuations or moisture, the paint film may no longer be flexible enough to move with the surface.  At this point, cracking or flaking of the coating usually results.  Too thick a layer of paint can also seal the surface causing the paint to blister, see blistering below.  It is not uncommon to put a coat of paint on a surface that appears sound only to have many layers of paint peel away.  Then the surface must be stripped.  (When this happens, more than one layer of paint will peel.  If only the last layer of paint peels, then there is a bonding issue.  Most likely, the surface was not properly prepared prior to the most recent coat of paint.)  The ideal thickness of a new coat of paint is about 4mm.


Why does hardboard siding peel and/or rot?  Hardboard siding is reconstituted natural wood.  It isPeeling Paint from Hardboard Siding fabricated by reducing natural wood to fibers, adding resins, and then pressing the fibers together into panels.  It can be either tempered or standard.  Tempered board is denser and has a higher moisture resistance.  Standard hardboard should not be used outdoors in areas where it will be directly exposed to the weather.  Peeling is often due to poor maintenance of the coated surface.  It generally originates at butt joints and drip edges.  Water contact directly with bare hardboard in these areas eventually penetrates into the board, which permeates and expands the compressed wood fibers in the board.  This leads to the board rotting.  The swelling process is irreversible, resulting in delaminating of both the paint film and the board.

SOLUTION:  Hardboard must be primed, if it was not primed by the manufacturer.  All joints or bare edges must be primed and caulked to avoid contact with water.  OSI Quad sealant is an ideal caulking to use on hardboard siding.  (OSI Quad sealant is used exclusively by Scott's Painting & Staining Inc. when any type of siding replacement is performed.)  Coated hardboard surfaces require regular maintenance to detect possible areas of deterioration or cracking before board failure occurs on a large scale.  Where cracking or peeling is observed, it MUST be scraped and sanded immediately, then primed, caulked if necessary, and top coated.  All loose paint must be removed, and the edges of the areas of good paint should be sanded smooth.  For more information about rotted hardboard siding replacement and getting money back from the manufacturer for damaged siding check out our rotted siding page.


Why does the paint keep peeling off of my masonry (concrete blocks) and/or brick?  A common cause of peeling paint on surfaces composed of mortar, brick, concrete, or concrete block isEfflorescence (Limestone) Causes Paint to Peel from Masonary efflorescence, where soluble salts are present.  When dissolved by water, they are carried to the surface and remain after the water has evaporated.  These salts can push paint away from the surface and peeling results.  You may also notice white raised lines on the blocks; these are the salts surfacing.  Efflorescence occurs on brick walls of new construction.  A common building practice is to treat new brick or concrete with muriatic acid, rinsing with water to clean away excess mortar.  Rinsing removes only those salts on or near the surface.  After painting, salts remaining within the bricks will absorb the moisture and travel to the surface, causing peeling.  Peeling can also occur when alkyd or oil paint is applied over unetched concrete.  Alkyd resins that come in contact with an alkaline surface form a soap film between the concrete surface and the coating, called saponification.  This will cause softness and loss of adhesion of the alkyd coating.

SOLUTION:  If efflorescence is evident, it must be removed before repainting.  First, remove all flaking or chalking paint from the damaged area by wire brush and power washing.  Fill cracks with masonry patching compound, latex concrete patch, or a caulking compound such as Vulkem 116.  If the surface is very porous, apply an alkali-resistant primer or block filler, such as Sherwin Williams Loxon Masonry Primer.  Cover with a latex paint such as Sherwin Williams SuperPaint or Duration.  To prevent recurrence of efflorescence on interior walls, the exterior walls should be sealed.  NOTE:  Extraneous water sources must be removed before painting (e.g. migration at ground level, often caused by poor drainage).


Why does my (lap) siding keep blistering?  Blistering refers to the formation of a blister caused by vapor expanding between the coated surface and the paint film.  Due to humidity, construction defects, orBlistering Siding (generally cedar lap siding) lack of effective vapor barriers, moisture condenses on or saturates wood siding.  Lower humidity and high temperature generate pressures within wood and on adhesive bond of the coating as trapped moisture evaporates.  Solvent-based coatings (oil-based products) are most susceptible.  Fresh blisters are filled with water.  As the surface dries, water evaporates, but the paint film does not recover.  Blistering is accelerated by the swelling effect of moisture on wood.  Continued swelling and contraction between day and night humidity and temperature variations weakens adhesion.

SOLUTION:  If blistering was caused by moisture, a number of solutions exist.  Repair loose caulking and install vents or exhaust fans.  If the home has lap siding, install siding vents.  Vents or fans allow moisture from in the house to evaporate before penetrating wood siding.  This will minimize future blistering problems.  If you have lap siding, painting wedges can be driven between the layers of lap siding.  This allows a ventilation-gap for moisture to escape.  This solution solves problems where many layers of paint have completely sealed the bottom edges of the lap siding to the following piece of siding.  Scott's Painting & Staining Inc. can install these wedges prior to painting, if so desired.  Sand and scrape peeling paint to bare wood.  Prime exposed areas and repaint.  If large areas of paint have blistered and need to be removed, high-pressure washing or use of a heat gun will speed the process.  Heat blisters develop in FRESHLY (within the first few days) applied coatings only.  When broken, they don't contain liquid and are not associated with a surface defect that requires remediation.  These blisters may be removed by scraping and sanding.  The surface should be recoated under more favorable conditions.


How do you know if you have found the best contractor?  Great painting contractors make painting projects easier.  Here are some suggestions for successfully hiring a contractor:

As interior and exterior painting continue to be among the most common household remodeling projects, more and more homeowners hire professional painting contractors.  According to the National Decorating Products Association, nearly half of all architectural paint sold is purchased by professional contractors.  Choosing a reputable contractor is a very important decision homeowners must make.  It is wise for a homeowner to do some simple homework before signing a contract.  Local paint stores can provide names of reputable and reliable painting contractors.  They want their customers to not only be happy with their paint, but also with their contractor.  After checking with the paint store, start asking friends, co-workers and neighbors.  Most paint contractors know that if they do a good job, there is no better source of new business leads than a happy homeowner.  After assembling a list of few possible contractors, itís time to investigate the contractorís abilities.  Think about the following questions:

    Is the contractor well established?
    How long have they been in business?
    Can they provide proof of insurance?
    How many homes have they painted?
    What type of paint do they use?
    Are they members of the Better Business Bureau?

In addition to quality of work, several basic business questions also should be asked.  Homeowners should always make sure the contractor has workerís compensation and liability insurance.  If not, the homeowner may be responsible for injuries that occur on the job.  The most important step is the one most often omitted, always check references.  Ask all references whether the job was finished on time and within budget.  Also, ask if they would use the contractor again.  Finally, put all terms and suppliers in writing before the job is started.  Try to determine if there is something that each contractor does differently.  Does one specialize more in an area that is important to you such as siding replacement or faux finishes.  After all of the "interviewing" is completed try to determine which contractor best fits your needs.  Remember that you get what you pay, for so unless you want a quick and shoddy paint job, consider what you are getting and not who is the cheapest.  To see some references for Scott's Painting & Staining Inc. check our references page.