With Halloween just around the corner, and colder weather to follow, time is getting short to complete your outdoor painting projects. Go about them the right way and you’ll be treated to years of problem-free paint; but throw caution to the wind, and your new paint job may soon trick you by giving up the ghost.
Fortunately, it’s not terribly difficult to avoid scary paint failures – frightful outcomes like peeling and flaking paint, blistering, wrinkling, and hideous “alligatoring”, where the paint cracks open in a pattern resembling scaly reptilian skin. You can put your worst fears to rest by following a few simple guidelines:
Properly prepare the surface. Ben Franklin once said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail” — apt advice for everything, including exterior painting. Good surface preparation is essential if you want to avoid the nightmare of early paint failure. So, before you apply the finish coat, make sure the exterior surface is clean and sound, with no loose or peeling paint, and prime any bare or unpainted wood or metal. Get specific advice for different exterior surfaces elsewhere on our blog.
Invest in a top quality exterior paint. Assuming that the surface has been properly prepared, the best protection against frightening failures is to use a top quality 100% acrylic latex paint. This type of paint adheres tightly to the surface below, yet is flexible enough to expand and contract when temperatures rise or fall, making it extremely tough, durable, and long lasting. Investing in top quality paint is, quite simply, the best way to ward off paint-problem demons.
Use high quality brushes and rollers. The best quality tools allow you to apply a thicker, more uniform coat of paint, offering maximum protection against forbidding failures. Choose brushes with split bristles of multiple lengths that are packed tightly together. And, when working with latex paint, be certain to use brushes and rollers made of synthetic material, which will hold their shape better.
Paint only in moderate weather conditions. Avoid spine-chilling temperatures when you apply any exterior coating. They’re uncomfortable for you . . . and they can have dire consequences for your paint. Most coatings form the best protective film when it isn’t too cold or too hot outside, and when the wind isn’t excessive. Favor days that are above 50 degrees F. and you’ll get a durable paint job that is degrees better!
So, if you’re thinking about doing some exterior painting this fall, don’t be spooked by possible paint failures. Simply follow the advice above and you’ll find that your worries were just harmless hobgoblins, and nothing more!