The containment of paint chips has always been one of the main concerns for us at Recover. For years it was only because we didn't want to create a mess, we are there to improve upon your home. But now with the understanding of the dangers of lead paint we are that much more careful. We are a fully certified lead safe company and there are a few differences between working on a home with and without lead paint. In the steps below those differences are explained.
During this process we ask that you shut your windows and lock them to create a good seal, this will help prevent any water from reaching the interior of your home. Although usually not a drop enters the home, we ask that you look at each window sill to confirm this.
On homes containing lead paint we are not allowed to use a pressure washer to clean the areas we will be painting. We instead use a garden hose attached to the water spigot on your home and at the end of the hose is a lawn and garden sprayer.
The lawn and garden attachment increases the water pressure to help reach all areas of your home. Although quite a bit of dirt will come off of a house using water, water alone will not thoroughly clean a house of dirt and mildew. Over the years we have found that the best product to use while cleaning a house is common household bleach. In the picture you can see the lower clear reservoir, this is where the bleach is held. When water is run through this device a small amount of bleach is siphoned into the water stream. The bleach is diluted down to roughly 8% bleach to water, it is just enough to neutralize any mildew present in the areas to be painted but not enough to damage plant life in the surrounding area. We have never had bleach destroy a plant.
After the bleach and water mixture is applied we change attachments to an adjustable garden hose nozzle to thoroughly rise all areas. As noted earlier the bleach to water ratio is small when being applied to the house and in the rinsing faze the bleach is diluted down even further. The amount of water used while rinsing the house will remove any potential danger to the surrounding plant life.
On homes that do not contain lead paint we use a pressure washer to clean the home. Although now we are using substantially higher water pressure to, water alone is not sufficient. Once again bleach is used with the pressure washer in the same fashion as stated above. Bleach is siphoned into the water stream at roughly 8% and all areas are thoroughly rinsed, leaving all plant life unharmed.
In some cases scrubbing the house is necessary, an example is behind shutters where dirt tends to build up. Water pressure alone cannot take care of areas like this. Shutters are always cleaned on both sides, whether they are wood and we are painting them or vinyl and we are just removing them to paint the siding.
The first picture shows an example of exterior paint that has has released from the wood siding, losing the protective qualities of paint. At first glance it looks as though there are only cracks in the paint, leaving you to believe that the majority of the wood is still being protected. But look at the picture just below, it shows just how much of the wood was actually exposed to the elements. This situation is worse than having bare areas of wood on your house. These areas will trap moisture between the coats of loose paint and wood siding eventually causing wood rot. Although most areas of paint failure are easy to locate and fairly obvious, it's not always as it seems to be. Over the years we’ve become accustom to look for the not so obvious.
In the second photo one of the things that can bee seen is that the paint failed down to the bare wood. This is an example of a very common moisture problem in older homes. Older homes do not having proper moisture barriers installed and during the winter months moisture created from cooking, bathing and our breathing becomes trapped in the exterior walls. When spring comes, that trapped moisture saturates the siding and any paint that is not firmly adhered will fail. A way to determine if this is the case is to look at the back of a paint chip, there will be wood fibers stuck to the back side of the paint. The wood fibers show that the wood had such high levels of moisture it softened down to the point where the paint pulled some of the wood from the siding.
After thoroughly scraping we will prime all exposed wood. Once an area has been primed we sometimes see small areas where the water in the primer has caused more paint failure, these areas are scraped and primed again. As a rule we always look over primed areas before painting and touch up areas as we proceed.
it’s now time to apply the finish coat. There are multiple ways to get the paint from the can to the intended surface, and because each area of a house is unique and has different enviromental factors, more than one application method may be required.
One way is to use a sprayer to apply the paint. This method eliminates the need to have a full bucket of paint with you at all times. This is a more efficient way of working, eliminating all of the trips up and down the ladder going back to the work station to fill up your paint can.
Not all areas allow for the use of a sprayer, overspray is a major concern in spraying any material. We of course are very careful to make sure that surrounding areas are protected if a sprayer is to be used, but sometimes the use of a sprayer is out of the question. For instance if its too windy or a neighbors home is just too close to the areas we are painting.
In the cases where using a sprayer is out of the question, we will apply paint to a surface using a brush, and a roller in the larger areas like siding and wide trim boards.
Whichever initial application method used, be it a sprayer or a roller, a brush is then used to level the paint on the surface being painted. This insures that the paint being applied reaches all of the intended areas, filling all small cracks.
The use of a brush after first applying paint with a different tool is called back brushing. Back brushing is done in all circumstances, except when brush strokes are undesirable as in the case of aluminum siding.