Thursday, November 11, 2010

Special Post #2 - Primer and Paint

Hello everyone!

Now that we're almost done with the house painting (for this season anyway) I thought I'd do a special post in regard to the primer and paint we choose to use.

While growing up I learned that there are certain things one must never skimp money on; some of those being jewelry for the wife, life insurance, and exterior primer and paint for your house.

What motivated us to seek out the best paint and primer, for us anyway, was peeling paint on fishscale attached to a house recently painted.

A few years ago, about the time we bought this house, a friend of ours, and her husband, bought an old 'fixer-upper' in the country. Part of the rehabilitation was the scraping and painting of the fishscale on the house. Unfortunately the paint on the fishscale started to pop and peel not too long after painting. We did not want this to happen to us.

So the research started in earnest.

We have literally spoken to some of the top people in the field of historic house siding restoration, replacement, prep and painting as well as up-keep. We spoke with restoration specialists ranging from those who are working on Madison's Montpelier all the way to one who deals with restoration at the White House. Most of those we spoke with though were house painting and historic house restoration specialists as well as old house nuts like us.

Two of the best on-line articles we referred to often were the following:

A Pro Confides His Best Tips for Painting Exteriors


Peeling Paint Looks Shabby

The first one was our play-book. We did almost 100% of what was in the article in order to prep the house.

The second is by and far THE best article I've ever read on why paint peels. In totality it explains why you must remove all the old paint you can; so if your looking at painting - read this article!!!

About the only thing we did not do, that both articles mention, was some form of oil conditioning before priming. The reasons we chose not to do this oil conditioning can be boiled down to two reason - condition of the wood and the desire NOT to use oil based paint.

After speaking to a few pros, especially Mr. Leeke (who wrote the second article), it was determined the wood siding and trim on our house just did not need this treatment. Our house is sided in Ceder and holds up fantastically to moisture, rot and insects.

Also, the oil conditioning treatments can take up to two weeks, if not a month, before drying enough to allow painting. Also, the only treatments we could find (other than making our own) required priming with oil based primer.

Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to use oil based products on a house to get a great finish. Do some research; as long as your primers and paints are based on 100% acrylic resins your finished paint job will be just as good as, if not better than, the oil based product jobs.

Oh, by-the-way, one thing some paint dealers are not telling people is that oil based paint products are being phased out of production and are even illegal in some parts of the country. Because of this you will have lots of dealers, and painters, push the product.

After a TON of research, and all those conversations, we decided on a primer many people have never heard of - XIM Peel Bond. You can read more about it here.

As their logo states "When Ordinary primers Are Not Enough".

This stuff is great but a takes some getting use to. It goes on a milky white color but dries clear. When it's clear it's ready for the top coat.

Check out the video!

This is what the Peel Bond looks like going on.

And here it is dry. The 2/3rds of the clapboard that looks 'shadowed' is actually the dried Peel Bond.

Interesting thing is is that it feels kind of like plastic!!

We have had a lot of people watch us paint and think that the house paint is the primer - they can't see the Peel Bond!!

The part I think I like best about the Peel Bond is that it has an elastomeric property that allows it to move, bend, and swell with the house without cracking.

Since the outside of the house is primarily made of Ceder we did need to add a 'bleed control' to help keep the tannins in control. "WHAT? A 110+ year old house still has tannin bleed?!" Yes, the 110+ year old ceder still 'bleeds' when wet. It's not as bad as the new clapboard, but it did bleed in spots.

Luckily XIM also produces a product to help - Bleed Control 100TM.

There is one slight pitfall to using this additive - the primer/paint must be used within 24 hours or you run the risk of it going bad. Evidently it develops a rubbery cottage cheese type consistency if not applied. There is a contractor out there that learned this lesson the hard way. He bought 15 5-gallon buckets of Peel Bond and added the Bleed Control in order to save time down the road. A few days later, when he opened the buckets, the Peel Bond looked like cottage cheese made of rubber. Oh well, he should have read the instructions, it is clearly mentioned!

Now, as you all now, we have some crown moulding on the house we can not match and want to retain. It has weathered badly and has a lot of pitting and corrosion in spots. Once again XIM came through with the product to help us out - Trim Magic.

This stuff is just like the Peel Bond but is thicker and is an ultra high build filling primer.

In layman's terms, the Peel Bond was as thick as pudding and the Trim Magic as thick as custard.

Unfortunately not many people in my area have heard of the XIM products. However, when anyone, contractor or home owner, came to take a look I told them all about it.

Any of you out there looking at painting I highly suggest you check out the XIM products.

Now for the paint.

After just as much research we decided on going with Valspar Duramax with Crosslinking Ti3 Technology.

The coverage is exceptional and applies very well. Because of this we have not had to use near the amount of paint we first thought we would need to.

For general information on Valspar Duramax go here.

For the product datasheet go here.

In making our decision the three main aspects of Duramax that we were sold on are - triple resistance against mold, mildew and algae growth; maximum UV protection; and a lifetime warranty.

However, THE #1 seller for us is that the Duramax paint is an elastomeric paint. In other words, it will bend, stretch, and contract with the house without cracking, splitting or peeling. This elastomeric aspect goes hand-n-hand with that of the XIM peel Bond.

Unfortunately most people do not take into account that a house WILL move with the seasons. If you do not use primers and paints that will move with it the paint job will fail.

Lets get back to the 'exceptional coverage'. Part of this can be attributed to all the prep work as well. I can't stress enough the attention that needs to be paid to the prep work. All too often people just concentrate on priming and painting without much thought to prep. Without proper prep a paint job is doomed to failure.

I will admit though, even with all the research, all the prep work, the use of XIM products and Valspar Duramax, we are still worried that our paint job could fail.

Till next time...



ctlafler said...

Paint and prep choices are tough on an old house. Sounds like you really did your research and found a good combination for yours!

Our 96 year old house was painted by the previous owners right before going on the market. They went with one of those cheap painting crews - the ones that power wash, don't scrape, don't prime, and start painting before things are dry. By the next year, paint was peeling off in chunks.

Meanwhile, down the street, another Old House had been done properly in a dark grey color: wash, scrape, prime, two coats of paint.

During our second year, while debating what to do, a severe hail storm hit. Insurance would cover a new roof and half the house painting. (whew!)

Checked Consumer Reports and such. We also asked around and found out what they used on that house up the road (MoorGuard): two years on it looked like it had just been done the week before. Perfect hold, no cracking, no fading.

We ended up deciding on the Benjamin Moore Alkyd Primer Stain, topped with two coats of their MoorGuard exterior paint (after proper surface prep).

The alkyd primer is thick and a bit harder to work with than regular paint, but when it gets on a surface, it soaks in and STAYS. (Any surface. Including skin. Takes a couple days to get it off.)

The paint is a dream to work with. Goes on smoothly, coats well, dries nicely.

It's not cheap (we cringed every time we needed just one more gallon), but we're VERY happy with the quality.

Two years on for us now, and it looks as good as if it just went on. (The house down the street? Still looking perfect at 4 years.)

Kate H. said...

I noted the price the painter in the This Old House estimated for having a large Victorian house totally scraped and repainted. Yikes! You're certainly getting your money's worth out of your long months of labor.

Does your concern that your new paint job might peel anyway arise from the worry that you might have overlooked something? Or is it just superstition?

Larry said...

Heya Kate -

I'm a worry wart - plain and simple.