Common Questions When Considering The Painting Of The Exterior Of Your Home.

Common Questions when considering the painting of the exterior of your home.

When first speaking with customers regarding the exterior paint projects on their home these three questions are always top of mind.

  • To Brush or Spray (exterior of the home)
  • Caulk or Not to Caulk (siding joints)
  • Satin or Flat (sheen for exterior siding paint)

With this in mind and spring painting possibly in your sights within the next few months we thought we may try to shed a little light on these questions.

To Spray or To Brush?

The Paint Quality Institute, suggests “Both spraying and brushing are fine, so long as the paint is put on at the proper spread rate (sq. ft./gallon). Spraying will provide a smoother appearance, and less chance for mildew to get into brush marks and grow. With spraying, the painter has to be careful about getting a full coat onto areas that are next to areas that won't be painted, so careful masking must be done.”

We believe, like most things in our painting projects, necessary preparation work is most important. For example, The paint failure we see mostly today, with Hardi-Plank siding in Bedford, is “chalking”.  You can tell if you have chalking failure simply by taking your hand and gently rubbing some of the more faded areas of your home’s exterior surfaces.  When you remove your hand, if you have a fine, light colored, powdery residue on your palm, your home is chalking. This is normally how all paints wear over time, and is considerably better than peeling.  However, if the home is not given a thorough pressure cleaning the chalk failure will remain and no paint will adhere to these failed surfaces.

When painting homes in the Edison area we will use a combination of spray, brush, and roll applications.  Most home’s boxing (or soffit areas) will be sprayed, while all windows and other areas are masked with plastic. The siding is then sprayed from the top to bottom.  Following the removal of all plastic and masking all other areas of the home’s trim, windows, and doors are painted by brush or roll techniques.

To Caulk or Not to Caulk Siding Joints?

The James Hardi Company’s “HardieZone® System: HZ10® Care and Maintenance Guide” for Hardi products explains that during the installation of Hardi-Plank (hardi-board) that it is not necessary to caulk between the butt end joints of the siding during initial installation.  There is a protective moisture barrier beneath the siding that will protect from water intrusion and caulking is unnecessary at the joints.

This is however a common practice and most homes in Bedford have their “butt end joints” caulked on the siding upon initial build.  This is more of an aesthetic value for a smoother appearance of the siding. The challenge is that unless the boards have been secured by face nailing at the butt end joints, the boards will shift with the changing temperatures, we experience here in NJ, and as the caulk hardens it will become inflexible and crack.

We use a 60 year warranty elastomeric caulk but continue to see caulk failure after only a few years at these butt end joints. It is our recommendation not to caulk butt ends of siding, during the repaint process and to remove the currently failing caulk for longer durability and aesthetic appeal.  All other caulk joints on the home should be re-caulked where failure has occurred.

Satin or Flat Sheen on the Siding

This can be both an aesthetic as well as durability question.  Most of our customers feel the look of Flat sheen on their home is more elegant and appealing so they choose Flat, over the durability factors of a Satin sheen paint.

Satin will provide a more durable barrier with the sheen and stand up better to the NJ sun.  Satin sheen will also allow the water to wash off of the surface better and be more of an obstacle to water adhesion decreasing potential for mold and milder.  When satin sheen paint begins to fail the sheen will first disappear and it will likely perform similar to the flat sheen over time. This usually takes two to three years to occur here in NJ.

But in the end it all comes down to choice.  My preference has always been Satin sheen for siding, but my wife prefers Flat sheen.  When we paint our home it is always Flat!!