Exterior Painting: 4 Surface Prep Steps Your Painter Shouldn’t Skip

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Exterior painting is the best way to restore the visual appeal of your exterior and keep your siding protected against the external harsh weather elements. If you’re planning to sell your home anytime soon, a fresh coat of exterior painting will instantly boost your home’s curb appeal, and increase your home’s value. It will help you sell the home faster, and at a handsome price tag.

Having said that, if you’re hiring a professional painting contractor, it’s important to understand that surface preparation is an extremely essential part of the process. Without proper surface preparation, the paint may start to peel, flake, crack, and bubble sooner than it should –primarily due to poor adhesion.

With that in mind, below are some of the most important exterior surface preparation steps that your painter should probably never skip.

Cleaning
Your exterior siding collects dirt, dust, debris, grime and organic growth over time. Painting over an insufficiently cleaned surface sets a stage for the onset of premature paint failure. Your painter should typically pressure wash the surface to get rid of all the surface and deep-seated dirt before painting. If there is any attempt to cover up dirty spots with paint, you’re probably dealing with the wrong painter.

Paint Stripping
This may or may not be necessary depending on the current condition of your siding. If the exterior has lots of peeling, cracking and flaking paint, the painter should strip it off completely before applying a new coat of paint. Painting over failing paint only postpones the total paint failure for a few months or weeks. The old loose paint layer will eventually come down with your newly applied paint.

Sanding
Sanding primarily serves to get rid of any rough surfaces to create an even, smooth surface for improved paint adhesion. If paint stripping was done, sanding will help smooth out the rough paint edges that might otherwise pierce through your newly applied coat of paint. Ideally, the painter should sand off any loose old paint and particles for an even paint finish.

Priming
Most DIY painters tend to make this mistake –skipping the primer. Nearly all exterior painting situations require the use of a primer as the first coat before paint is applied. Paints typically don’t stick well to bare surfaces, but they stick pretty well to primed surfaces. The primer essentially improves paint adhesion, and that directly translates to a highly durable exterior paint job.

The primer also covers and seals in any stubborn stains and old dark paints that might otherwise show through your new coat of paint. Consequently, this means improved paint coverage and the potential of using fewer paint coats to achieve the desired coverage. This is particularly important if you’re transitioning from a dark-colored paint to a light-colored paint. So if your painter is skipping the primer, they should have a special reason –request them to share it.

Watching the Surface Dry
This simply means your painter should not paint on wet surfaces or surfaces that are not completely dry. As hinted above, painting on wet surfaces often leads to premature paint failure with signs of paint bubbling, peeling and cracking showing up within a few months.
Most professional painters know this, but a few might want to hurry things up a little bit and end up painting over partially dry surfaces. Ideally, after pressure washing, the surface should be left to dry completely before priming. Additionally, each coat of the primer and paint should be left to dry completely before adding another coat.

The Bottom Line

Most professional painting contractors already understand the importance of thorough surface preparation and the above steps. But some might want to take shortcuts in an effort to keep the project costs down, at your expense. So when you receive a painting estimate, request the painter to take you through their surface prep process.

If you haven’t found a reliable painting contractor yet, Aspen Painting would love an opportunity to be your favorite painting contractor. We offer professional residential painting services in areas of Horsham, Ambler, Dresher, Ft. Washington, and Blue Bell. Simply book a FREE estimate below or call us today on 215-773-8422 if you need any more information.

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