It's a homeowner's nightmare: you invest your time and money in a new exterior paint job on your house, and two years later it is cracking, showing the first symptoms of peeling and flaking. Why does paint peel and crack like this, and is there anything you can do about it?
There are two main factors that contribute to early paint failure, but only one of those factors is under our control. The weather is the primary reason that paint fails, and unfortunately, it is out of our hands. Ultraviolet rays from the sun cause paint pigments to fade. The sun's radiation will also eventually break down the paint film, causing chalking. The greater enemies, however, are moisture and temperature change, which cause building materials to expand and contract. These shifts cause stress in the paint, weakening the bond between the paint and the substrate and starting the hairline cracks that quickly grow bigger.
The second cause of early paint failure is poor application. Some of these problems would include:
- Application is too thin (not enough coats)
- Paint is applied over dirty or peeling paint (and cannot adhere properly)
- Choice of paint (cheap paints with inferior binders & pigments, or using oil paints when you should use latex)
If your paint is failing, the only option for restoring and protecting your home exterior is to scrape off the failing paint and prime the surfaces for a new coat. The paint removal can be accomplished with a wire brush and putty knife, but goes more quickly with a pressure washer. Take care not to damage the surface by using too much pressure or getting too close.
In order to prevent premature paint failure, Painters USA recommends the following procedures:
- Always prepare your surfaces properly. Make sure the surfaces are clean, dry and sound (not dirty, peeling, wet or rotting).
- Always use high-quality paints. Most of the cost of paint goes into the raw materials, meaning premium paints are more expensive because they have more of the vital compounds that make a paint keep its color and integrity.
- Don't stop at one coat. Since you have put all the time and money into putting on one coat, do a second one at the same time. This will provide a far superior paint performance, extending the life of the paint by several years.
- Take the time to enjoy the new paint. Ok, so this doesn't really improve the paint performance. But it does make the whole experience much more worthwhile!
Painters USA is a residential painting contractor, serving the Chicago community. Based in Wheaton, we serve the surrounding suburbs of Lombard, Elmhust, Bolingbrook, Naperville and Oak Park. We also go further afield, to Aurora, Batavia, Joliet and more!