Regular Exterior Paint Problems

Selecting a Color Scheme

An effective color scheme can draw attention to your property’s best architectural features and minimize its defects. When selecting colors, start with the colors you can’t change: the roof, brick facing, a stone foundation or chimney. Look for paint shades that match or harmonize with these colors. Most NZ buildings have three basic color components:

  • Body color. Pick this first. It should either contrast with the roof color or, to make an integrated whole of a smaller house: be a variation of it. A light color makes a small house appear larger. A dark color can bring a big, rambling house into proportion. Painting an odd-shaped porch or ugly garage door the same as the body of the house will visually integrate the awkward features.
  • Trim color. This usually is applied to fascias, soffits, cornice moldings, window frames and sashes, door frames and porch railings.
    To downplay part of a house that is flawed: sagging fascia boards, paint it the body paint color. White window frames seem bigger and brighter. Accent color. A contrasting color that highlights special features is most effective when used sparingly. Often only the front door and shutters are painted with the accent color. Many paint manufacturers have inter-active Web sites that will allow you to test color combinations on your computer screen before applying them to your house.
  • Bold Color. A bold color scheme draws attention to the various architectural details. Here several accent colors were used to increase eye appeal and make the entry to this house more inviting.
  • Subtle Color. A monochromatic color scheme helps unify the different elements of the house. A light color helps a small house appear larger.

Problems & Fixes

  • Alligatoring and checking. If paint has many reptilian-looking inter connected cracks, the outer coat has not adhered properly to the paint beneath. It could have been applied to an incompatible paint, a badly prepared surface, a not-yet-dry first coat, or too many layers of paint may have built up over time.
    Solution: Strip to raw wood and reapply primer and paint.
  • Blistering and Bubbling. If bubbles form under paint, open a blister. If it reveals raw wood, moisture has worked its way under the paint and you should check for sources of water, such as leaky gutters, missing caulk, or winter ice darns, and fix before repainting. If the opened blister reveals paint, the temperature was too high when the topcoat was applied. Solution: Sand and repaint.
  • Chalking. Most exterior paints are formulated so the surface gradually breaks down into a powdery chalk that takes dirt and grime with it when rain washes it away. This feature keeps the paint looking clean. Chalking surfaces, however, will not hold new paint. Solution: Scrub a chalking surface with detergent and rinse well before repainting.
  • Flaking and Peeling. If the paint simply didn’t stick, the surface might have been dirty, it might have had too many layers of paint already, or the wrong type of paint may have been used. On masonry, flaking can be caused by alkali leaching into paint. Solution: Strip to the surface, clean carefully, and reapply appropriate primer and paint.

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