Perhaps nothing can improve the beauty of your home as effectively as a new paint job. Whether your home was painted or stained, there is a lifetime to these products. What happens when you wait too long to repaint? Major damage!! Your siding, the sheathing beneath it, and insulation within your walls – as well as structural members – may all become damaged or destroyed by allowing a home to open to the weather. Especially here in Maine!! Repainting and maintaining your roof are perhaps the two single most important things you can do to preserve your home. When it’s time to repaint (typically, every 5 to 7 years - but some do get lucky and make it to 10!), you want to be sure that it’s done RIGHT!!
First and foremost, a professional paintjob must start with the correct preparatory work! Shutters and/or decorations will be removed before starting, and deck furniture removed. Before a brush can touch the work, the siding must be clean and in sound condition. On homes built before 1978 and after, the standard way this is accompolished is by pressure washing the structure. This removes dirt and loose paint, and gives the new paint an ideal surface to adhere to. On homes built prior to 1978, recent EPA regulations require that special ‘capture procedures’ be used to catch paint chips if the home tests positive for lead paint...it is often assumed that lead paint exists on pre-1978 homes. I do not pressure wash homes that contain lead paint, simply because the water is so difficult to contain! On these homes, I elect to wet-wipe and rinse areas which may have mildew issues or other dirt problems, using a bleach solution. A contractor must be certified by the EPA in order to disturb lead paint on or in a structure!
If I have discovered any areas of damaged or rotten wood not observed during the estimating process, I will inform the homeowner to see if replacement is something they would like me to take care of. At this stage, it’s a great idea to take care of these things before they become major issues!
Next, a good paint job requires the painter to go over every square inch of the paintable surfaces, looking for loose paint. These areas are scraped and lightly hand-sanded. The aim of this prep work is again to provide a solid substrate for new paint to adhere to, and also to soften the areas where paint may have peeled over the years. Bare wood is primed with either an oil-based primer, or a new, water-based product which many painters here are using to promote better adhesion. When the primer has dried, a good painter will go around the home before painting and search out gaps or ‘ugly spots’ which require caulking. Excessive caulking, such as under normal clapboards, is not recommended since it can become messy-looking and perhaps seal the home too tightly, keeping moisture trapped within.
Once the prep work has been completed, a topcoat of a quality exterior paint or stain (think Sherwin Williams, Benjamin Moore or the like) is applied using a professional-grade brush. I rarely spray – occasionally I will spray stains, or barns, but I feel that a brush gives much more consistency to the final results. Consistency in application ensures that each area of the home will ‘match’ all of the others, and a careful watch is kept to prevent any runs from forming!
At the end of the job, the homeowner is encouraged to inspect my work, and anything they may not be satisfied with will be brought up to the standards of our contract. The site is cleaned, my things are packed, and I’ll see you again in 5, or maybe even 10, years!
So, why choose a professional painter over the fly-by-nighter or college kid who might save you a few dollars in labor? Simply because we have EXPERIENCE with the products we use, the surfaces we encounter, the tools and the methods required to obtain great results! Small errors at one phase of the job can compound to ruin the final results; and this happens easier than one may think. You are paying good money for the services rendered by any home improvement company…shouldn’t you get your money’s worth? Not hiring a professional could cost you more in the long run, especially with the liablity that working on lead based paints brings…so, Go Pro!