Top 3 Problems with Exterior Coatings and Paints

03/25/2013 | By Christopher Curtland

Perform due diligence on your next project to avoid common issues

Performance tests – like this one that involves scoring an X on the coated surface, covering it with tape, and pulling it off – verify that adhesion occurs and should be done at the beginning of any project.
Credit: BASF

While recoating your exterior may seem simple on the surface, it’s actually a complicated process that requires specifications, ratings, and tests. When you cover existing problems without remedying them first, you could be painting yourself into a costly corner.

If you avoid the three most common problems with coatings, your job could last for 10 years or longer – and then you’ll feel like painting the town red.

1) Improper Surface Preparation
The first step in picking your next coating is to analyze the current situation.

“Product selection really depends on the building you have, substrate type and condition, and long-term goals,” says Brock Osborn, business development manager of reStore, the restoration program of Sto Corp., a cladding and coating systems manufacturer.

“Regardless of substrate type – EIFS, stucco, or masonry – make sure the envelope is sound,” adds Leta Hardy, vice president of business development for Valcourt Building Services, a waterproofing and restoration firm. “Don’t skimp on making it watertight first and foremost. That will help you reach your goal for longevity.”

Cracks indicate the possibility for moisture penetration and must be sealed. It only makes sense to use a coating if the envelope is waterproofed and repaired. “You’re looking for a pinhole-free finish,” explains Hardy.

An equally important consideration to the substrate is the existing coating, which may not always be the right material to use again.

“People tend to fall back on what’s easy, and that’s going out and throwing on another coat of whatever’s already there,” explains Osborn. “Applying layer after layer will make permeation fall to zero, and you reach a tipping point where water vapor can’t pass through and you start to see blistering and bubbling.”

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