Sunday, January 18, 2009

Siding Stain Question

Q: I have a house with cedar siding [horizontal with vertical trim] that is about 13 years old -- I'm the second owner. I'm having the exterior restained. I had wanted it to just age but apparently I should have had it restained. I finally got a painter who seems very professional but I am not sure of what product to use. The back section gets lot of sun so I want good UV protection and I understand a solid stain will hold up much better. Two sides of my house get a lot of sun with no protection from trees.

There are two products that I am interested in. Olympic makes one and Sikkens makes the other. They are both a combination of acrylic and alkyd. There is a big price difference because the Sikkens is priced higher to begin with, and the store won't give my contractor a discount [I live on an island]. The competing building supplies store selling Olympic products will give him a discount.

I've been trying to find a comparison on the web between Sikkens Rubbol and Olympic Solid Color Stain but I've had no luck. My painter normally does not use these products. If you would be able to advise me I would be very appreciative.

British Columbia, Canada

A: Thanks for the email! Here in the midwest, there aren't a lot of homes that have your type of siding. Most of our stuff is little more than painted cardboard! I have done several of these projects, though. Honestly, if you really want it to last, use the Sikkens. There's a reason it's more expensive. With a properly prepared surface and proper application, you should get a couple of extra years out of the finish. It actually comes out costing a little less in the end since you'll use less labor in the long run.

Cedar siding will always be prone to a little peeling, at least that's been my experience. Keep your color as light as you can, dark colors absorb light and heat which will cause them to bubble and peel more readily. There are just so many places for moisture to get in, you can't keep is sealed. Moisture will try to escape THROUGH the siding when it warms up, causing the finish to release. Just be prepared for a little touch up every now and then and you'll be fine. Good luck, let me know if you have any more questions. Thanks!

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Popcorn Ceiling Painting

Question: We have popcorn ceilings throughout our house. Is it possible to paint them, if so, how?

A: Of course you can paint them! You just have to be careful while doing it.

The absolute best way is to use a paint sprayer. Unfortunately this just isn't an option for most people. The problem with rolling the paint on the ceiling is the moisture from the paint can cause the texture to release from the ceiling. You can be rolling along and all of the sudden the texture will wrap around your roller. Not only does it get texture in your paint, but it leaves a big bare spot on your ceiling!

There are special foam rollers that are designed specifically for rolling paint on this type of ceiling, but I have bever personally used them. I don't know if they are any better or worse than a standard roller cover.

If you choose to roll paint on your ceilings, plan on applying two coats. Don't let the roller or ceiling become too saturated with paint. Allow the first coat to completely dry before applying the second coat, this will reduce the likelihood of the texture coming off.

If your ceilings are stained you may need to prime them first. Water stains just need a little Kilz from a spray can. If you home has been smoked in for years and years, you may need to roll Kilz on the entire ceiling as the stain will continue to bleed through several coats of paint.

I like to use a low grade flat white paint. Cheap paints are clay based and dry much more evenly that acrylic paints. This is about the ONLY place where I recommend this type of paint!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Painted Shutter Question:

Q: Our home is only 3 years old. We have plastic shutters on the front of the house, which faces south. The paint our contractor used is coming off in big strips. My husband checked at several stores, and they tell us there is not really a paint that will weather properly. Is there some sort of base coat that we can use to help the paint stick to the shutters?

A: Shutters are a wonderful accessory to most homes, heck some look naked without them! I am going to have to disagree with the stores your husband visited. The problem with your shutters lies in the prep work, which is usually the reason for paint failures.

To fix the problem, remove the shutters from the home and scrape off as much of the paint as you can. I'll bet most of it will come off. The more paint you can remove, the better. Wipe all exposed surfaces of the shutter with a liquid deglosser, somtimed called "liquid sandpaper," which you can find in most paint stores and some home centers.

Once you have finished this prep work, you can paint the shutters with 2 coats of your favorite 100% acrylic exterior latex paint. I like a satin finish because it looks better and will resist fading much longer than a flat paint. Your new finish should look great for several years.

Just remember: on dark colors, you WILL notice color fade sooner than if you were to use lighter colors.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Red Paint Nightmare!

Question: We have an entry wall about 15 feet by 20 feet over a stairway and it is curved. My husband recently painted it a deep red. We have painted it 5 times and it still looks smeary! Now we are going to change it back to a buff color. It's been a nightmare! My question is, can we remove the curved bannister? I think it would be a lot easier to paint without the handrail, but several people tols us they are very fragile.

A: Deep colors, especially reds, can be very difficult to work with. Believe it or not, 5 coats of red paint is about average! It's best to use one or two coats of red or grey primer before applying two to three coats of your red eggshell topcoat. It is also important to keep a "wet edge" between the cut in and the roller work. Areas like the one you are describing are best tackled by two people working together.

There should be no problem removing your curved handrail. These are custom made on site with thin pieces of wood glued together along the actual curve. I would not recommend removing the brackets from the wall unless you plan on replacing them. Just remove the rail from the brackets. The handrail may be a pain to reinstall, however. It will be bulky, but with the help of 2 people you should be able to get things all lined up. Don't tighten the mounts until you you have them all lined up first.

Basement Wall Painting Question:

Q: My stone basement walls are covered with a substance that looks like stucco, which is flaking off. What paint should I use after I scrape off all the paint and stucco:

A: This is a common problem with stone or block basement walls. I would guess the paint is flaking because moisture is leaching through the stone. Many places sell warer-repellent paints, but I've had good luck with UGL's Drylok. This latex waterproofing paint comes in white, but can be tinted to light colors and is relatively easy to work with. It is low odor, making in perfect for use in a basement where veltilation can be a problem. This product can also be used as a "primer" so you can paint over it with any color you like.

Drylok should be applied with a brush or a thick nap roller. It is a very thick product, so plan your product quantity accordingly. It is available at most hardware stores, paint stores and home improvement centers. Just make sure you remove all loose paint and texture before applying any finish.