3 Mistakes Commonly Made in Exterior Painting

3 Mistakes Commonly Made in Exterior Painting

We live in a fast-paced society.  We enjoy instant communication, fast-food restaurants and 5-minute banking.

In our rush for immediate results, we sometimes overlook details and neglect important processes.  When painting the exterior of your home it is critical to adopt a process-oriented mindset.

If you want a long-lasting paint job, slow down and pay attention to the details.


Here are 3 mistakes to avoid when painting your home’s exterior:


Mistake #1: Not sanding loose and peeling paint

 When your home’s paint is peeling, you should allow adequate time to properly prepare the surface with electric sanders.

Many homeowners (and some contractors) believe that pressure washing will remove all the paint from the surface.  This is false.  Pressure washing removes dirt, mold, mildew and extremely loose and flaking paint; however, it is not a substitute for sanding.

Some painting contractors may suggest that light scraping will remove all the paint from your home.  Scraping is important for removing chips of paint that have already separated from the surface; however, it will not seal loose edges or level out variations in mil-thickness.

When there is visible paint peeling, sanding is a vital step in preparing the surface for re-paint.  I recommend asking your painting contractor specifically how many man hours of electric sanding they plan to perform on your home.  This will help you gauge their attention to detail and the level of preparation work they plan on providing.


Mistake #2: Using fast-drying oil-based primers


Every year new paint products hit the marketplace.  Product development in our industry is often based on “ease of use.”  The easier it is to work with a coating or the faster it dries, the more likely painters and homeowners will want to buy it.

In the world of exterior paint primers, faster is not always better.  The new generation of alkyd-based and alkyd-modified primers dry much faster than ever before but they also do not penetrate as deeply into bare wood.

This negatively affects adhesion and anchoring, giving you a less stable substrate for future layers of paint to stick to.

Basically, always use the “slowest-drying” oil primer that your paint manufacturer sells.


Mistake #3: Not using the highest-quality material


This may seem obvious but I meet dozens of painting contractors and hundreds of homeowners every single year who have made the mistake of not using premium material.

As a homeowner, when you pay a contractor to paint your house, 80%-90% of the cost is generally associated with labor.  The cost of the material is an extremely low percentage of the overall job.

This means that on a $5,000 painting project the cost of using premium paint instead of contractor-grade paint is only a few hundred bucks!  A few hundred dollars for potentially 5+ years of additional longevity on an exterior paint job is a huge long-term deal!

So why do people still choose to buy a $25/gallon of paint (which will last 4-5 years) rather than a $50/gallon of paint (which will last 8+ years)?

Oftentimes, homeowners simply trust that their painting contractor is using the best possible material.  I always hear clients say things like this: “You are the expert, so I will use whatever you think is best…but I want to make sure it is Benjamin Moore.”  When I ask which line of Benjamin Moore they want to use, I often see confusion.  When I tell them that I can buy a gallon of Ben Moore for $7 or a different gallon of Ben Moore for $75, they look even more confused.

To avoid getting the $7 gallon, these are a few quick tips:

1)      After you decide on a paint manufacturer (Sherwin-Williams, Benjamin Moore, PPG, California, Behr), call the company directly and ask to speak to a representative assigned to your state.  Explain the details of your project to the manufacturer’s representative and ask them for their recommendations for longevity.  Ask them what their warranties include and exclude and ask them if they would write a warranty letter specific to your home if you were to buy all the paint from their company.

2)     Ask your painting contractor about the differences between different manufacturers and different grades of paint within each brand.  Again, ask them what their warranties include and exclude.

3)     Make sure your contract specifies not only the manufacturer (i.e. Benjamin Moore) but also the specific product line (i.e. Benjamin Moore Exterior Aura).

4)     Make sure that your contract specifies all of the material used on the jobsite.  You want the highest-quality primer, caulk, wood fillers, glazing, etc.

Navigating through these common mistakes can add years of additional life to your painting investment.

When you want quality and transparency in planning and executing your paint project, call us and let us help you.


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MDF Painting & Power Washing, LLC
  • 500 W Putnam Ave, Ste 400a
    Greenwich, CT 06830
  • 203-542-9547

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