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This article desribes and illustrates common building exterior & interior painting mistakes, describes how to diagnose paint failures on buildings, and outlines a procedure for diagnostic field inspection & lab testing of failed painted surfaces. We include photographs of paint failures on buildings and more photos of forensic paint laboratory examination of samples of failed paint useful to assist in diagnosing the probable cause of each type of paint failure. Our page top photo shows a horrible paint job on a building exterior: the painter simply painted over loose, alligatored paint.
For a description of proper painting procedures see PAINT SURFACE PREPARATION. For a detailed guide to selecting and using exterior paints and stains, readers should also see PAINT & STAIN GUIDE, EXTERIOR. Also see PAINT FALURE, DIAGNOSIS, CURE, PREVENTION and PAINTING MISTAKES for details of paint failure cause, diagnosis, cure and prevention. Odors from paints and low-VOC or zero-VOC paints are also discussed at ODOR DIAGNOSIS CHECKLIST, PROCEDURE. Also see Volatile Organic Compounds VOCs.
Green links show where you are. © Copyright 2013 InspectAPedia.com, All Rights Reserved. Author Daniel Friedman.
Experts representing paint manufacturers see many field failures of painted surfaces, often arising from a common cause. But getting a clear answer from these professionals can be tricky: the painting contractor is their customer, not the building owner. Therefore, while most paint failures are due to poor surface preparation or painting in improper conditions of temperature or moisture, the "expert" may be reluctant to say so.
Importantly, other paint failures are due to construction errors, building ventilation or vapor barrier errors, building leaks, or improper maintenance. It is important to understand why a paint failure occurred before re-painting a building. Otherwise the expense of a new paint job may be wasted.
"Improper or inadequate surface preparation is by far the most common cause of house paint failures such as blistering, peeling and staining. If the new paint is separating from the old coat of paint, it is most likely due to chalking or some contaminant on the old paint that prevents the new paint from penetrating and binding to the old painted surface.
If the peeling failure is down to the bare wood, it is most likely that the problem is a result of too much moisture within the wall, forcing itself out, taking the entire paint film with it."
"Over 65% of all paint failures can be attributed to poor or improper surface preparation. Two of the major causes of paint failure on exterior wood surfaces are either moisture passing through the substrate from the interior, or exterior sources of moisture getting behind the paint film. Temperature and humidity have major effects upon drying and ultimately upon the characteristics of the paint film. These effects will always determine the actual appearance and performance of the paint itself.
Paint should be applied at temperatures of 70o F, (21o C), ideally, plus or minus 20o F (12o C) - unless product specifications state otherwise. A surface should not be painted if its temperature is within 5o F of the dew point or the relative humidity is above 85%." -- PPG Exterior Failures.
The follow sections of this document form a checklist of building and site conditions leading to paint failures (such as peeling paint,
blistering paint, chalking paint, cracking or alligatoring paint, or bleeding and stains through paint--terms defined below). The focus is
on failures of painted wood surfaces on building exteriors but the paint failure diagnostic procedure can be
generalized to other surfaces inside and out.
BAD PAINTING SURFACE PREPARATION - 26 Painting Mistakes That Mean a Bad Paint Job with a Short Life - causes of early paint job failure
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