Solving Paint Failure

Three summers ago, I got a call from Bruce Irving the former producer of WGBHʼs This Old House who had remembered me from the days my company had worked on “The Salem House” in 1995. He was at wits end with a clientʼs exterior cedar siding that didnʼt hold paint. Recently, the house had an extensive renovation that included new exterior siding and had been painted twice in the past four years by two different painting contractors and each time catastrophic paint failure occurred within the first year. I visited the site and witnessed the paint lifting from the siding like birch bark as if the house hadn’t been painted in decades. I met the homeowner and learned that both painters who had done the previous work were established and reputable painting contractors; they had primed with an oil primer and finished coated with a solid latex stain–the recommended products for this type of siding. Looking for a solution, I consulted with Shawn Clark, a respected paint expert and coatings consultant, and within moments of examination he had discovered wood fibers adhering to the primer coat and from this he inferred that a layer of dead wood fibers on the surface of the siding was causing the paint to fail. The solution was to remove the paint and sand off the layer of dead wood fiber to create a solid substrate. Upon further discussions with the homeowner, I learned that the siding on the house was installed in late November and the building contractor had left the siding bare for six months allowing the surface to develop a crust of dead wood before the initial paint application. The homeowner, for his own assurance, called in the Cabot Stain rep who took a paint sample off to the Cabot paint lab. The Cabot technicians confirmed that the paint failure was caused by a layer of dead wood on the substrate. After acceptance of our proposal, we strip sanded the siding of the complete house before moving on to the final coatings. Now three years later, the house looks like it was just painted, the adhesion problem is solved, and the solid stain is holding up beautifully.

Just last week, I encountered the same problem on wide red cedar shingles. With confidence I offered a proposal to the homeowner. The owner awarded us the job and we are comfortable standing behind the work. At McManus Painting we seek to discover the remedies to paint problems before we start. With thirty four years experience we have seen a lot of what can go wrong. Our goal is to prolong the beauty and durability of our work, guaranteeing your satisfaction. Each project is handled individually. We choose the products and techniques designed to give the best results.

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