If you’ve spent either the money to have your home painted professionally, or the time in doing a good job yourself, you want those efforts to last.
So, as the warm, dry days approach, this provides the perfect opportunity to get out and see how things are holding up.
A regular check-up will catch any problem early, making for an easier fix. Letting problems go unchecked will decrease the time between paint jobs and open the door for potentially greater problems. However, catching problems early can easily extend the life of the paint by several years.
This is particularly important for all of those Greater Victorians with older homes.
While the tools and materials needed will vary on individual circumstances, possible materials you may need are:
- Paint scrapers
- 80-100 grit sandpaper
- Power washer-around 900psi- or a garden hose with a sprayer attachment.
- Soap, T.S.P, water, bleach (Safety equipment: Gloves, protective eyewear, plastic sheeting)
- Paintable acrylic caulking with silicone
- Oil-based primer
- Paint and related tools
Homeowners are encouraged to do a walkabout at least once a year looking for peeling paint signs, affecting the appearance and affecting the protective barrier, helping to seal from the elements. Other areas to look at are the horizontal surfaces in your home, such as stairs and window sills that may often be cracked, worn out, or need caulking.
Look at the elements in your garden that could compromise paint, such as plants and shrubbery growing up against the house, which can cause moisture problems that promote peeling paint.
Wash and Go
Perhaps your walkabout has netted no problem spots, but your home just isn’t looking as bright as it once did. While paint, especially oil-based paint, will fade over time, sometimes all that is needed is a simple wash and rinse.
In addition, proper cleaning can also help remove any mold and mildew.
The key, especially with older homes, is not being too aggressive in your cleaning, especially if you’re using a power washer. No more than 900-1000 psi is sufficient to avoid damaging the paint.
To clean the surface, use a solution of two tablespoons of T.S.P (trisodium phosphate) to four liters of water, then wash clean with a scrub brush on a pole. For a milder cleaner or clean, shiny surfaces, T.S.P will dull; simply wash with dish soap and water solution, and rinse well.
If mold or mildew is present, you’ll want to use a bleach solution of one-third cup of dish soap, one quart of chlorine bleach, and three quarts of water. This is a strong solution, though, so be sure to wear gloves and eye protection, and don’t forget to protect plants below with plastic sheeting.
If, during your walkabout, you’ve come across peeling paint, taking it quickly will help the job manageable. Begin by washing your home as described above and let dry for at least a week.
Next, thoroughly scrape away loose paint and then sand to prepare the new paint’s surface properly. Feather sanding, where the paint edge is blended into the surface, is a personal preference but generally not needed.
Now, prime the surface with an oil-based primer, then top with two coats of paint. Oil-based primers are best because they penetrate the wood and seal in any tannins in the wood that can cause yellowing and staining. The oil primer will also allow you to convert from an existing oil-based paint to latex paint, which is now common.
If you are unsure whether the existing paint is oil or latex, dap a clean, white cloth in nail polish remover and gently rub the surface in a circular motion for five to ten seconds. If the paint feels sticky and tacky and some paint has transferred to the cloth, it’s latex.