Low Moisture Content is Crucial for a Long Lasting Paint Job
May 23, 2013 by Jason Matthews
I was recently providing an estimate in for an exterior paint job that was badly peeling. The homeowner had recently painted his historic home in North Webster and did not understand why it was peeling so badly. This was a failed paint job and I see the symptoms all too often. The most common reason for failed paint jobs like this is that the moisture content in the wood was too high when the paint was applied.
It is unfortunate that so many people cover the beautiful wood siding of their historic homes with aluminum or vinyl siding. The argument is that manufactured siding is easier to maintain over the long-term. But if the paint job is done well on wood siding, it can last 15-20 years.
The advantages of traditional wood siding are not just aesthetic - though this is a major consideration for historic homes. Homes with traditional wood siding also hold their value longer. In some historic districts, homeowners may not even be allowed to cover wood siding over.
The key to maintaining a quality paint job on a home with wooden siding is to do it right. A thorough preparation job and using the right kind of primer and paint are crucial. But in all my years as a professional painting contractor, I have learned that the most important thing to create a long-lasting, quality paint job is to be sure that the moisture content of the wood is below a certain level before applying paint.
One reason this issue comes up so often is that some methods of pressure washing can force a lot of moisture into wood fibers. Since anyone can buy a pressure washer and go into business for themselves, it is no wonder that we see improper techniques causing moisture to get deeply embedded in wood siding.
Our foremen extensively train each of our employees in proper pressure washing protocol. This training includes set up, care and protection of your property and proper technique. When pressure washing, techniques such as the distance from the surface, proper pressure, tip size and differences between water temperature can make a huge difference. Our painting professionals understand the importance of preventing moisture from getting deeply ingrained in the wood.
It is also critical to allow for sufficient drying time. Before an application, we use a special gauge to measure moisture levels at multiple locations on your home. Obviously, in Northern Indiana, southern exposure will dry faster than the north side of a home. We take great care to be sure that the moisture content is below a specific threshold before we will apply paint. That is why we are confident offering a three year warranty on our exterior paint jobs.
A long-lasting exterior paint job is possible for homes with wooden siding. Unfortunately, people often lack the tools or do not understand the importance of checking the moisture content first. If you want a long-lasting residential paint job, contact Matthews Painting for a free quote.