General Painting Guide

Identify any existing or potential problems as outlined in this article. Remedies provided are guidelines and should not replace a manufacturer’s specification or guarantee.

Ensure all surfaces have been cleaned with a solution of TSP, household bleach and water. This provides a clean surface for painting and helps to kill the mildew spores that may remain after washing. (See Mildew – Remedies for recommended procedures)

Ensure that pressure washers are set no greater than 500 pounds per square inch (psi). Use of higher pressure could result in damage to wood fibres or create moisture problems. Both may affect the performance of a new coat of paint.

Remove all loose paint by scraping and sanding or by using organic strippers. Consult your local paint store expert for options.

Note: The restoration of heritage homes at times involves removal of materials that may be hazardous to your health. Before sanding or removing old paint, it is best to ensure that proper safety equipment is being used. I recommend reading Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s pamphlet “Lead in Your Home’. A copy can be obtained by calling their Victoria office at (250) 363-8040 or by calling your local CMHC office.

Fill any holes in wood smaller than ¼” with a flexible filler such as linseed oil putty. For larger imperfections, it is advisable to use a non-shrinking two-part epoxy-based filler.

Use exterior primers to prime bare wood prior to applying a topcoat. Most exterior oil-based primers contain resins that allow some penetration and breathability. They are more flexible than interior types and may also contain stronger mildew-cides and fungicides. They are a good choice for blocking out stains such as cedar tannins that may leach through water-based coating.

Apply a topcoat of either a high quality acrylic or oil-based paint. The 100 percent acrylic paints are considered to have more flexibility, are able to breathe and have a longer life when exposed to direct sunlight. On the downside, they tend to be less abrasive than oil-based paints and are not recommended for areas where pooling water may accumulate (e.g. window sills).

Follow the coating manufacturer’s recommendations for regular maintenance.

While these general guidelines apply to most paint projects, you may be faced with problems that require more attention. The following are the challenges faced at the beginning of many paint projects, plus the recommended remedies.