Looking to tackle an outdoor painting project? Good for you. However, nothing is worse than dedicating hours and energy to your paint job, only to find out you’ve hit a big fat fail: peeling and flaking paint, wrinkling, blistering, and hideous “alligatoring,” where paint cracks open in a pattern that resembles a reptile’s scales.
Below are a handful of tips to avoid these epics fails, courtesy of Debbie Zimmer, spokesperson for the Paint Quality Institute.
Properly prepare the surface. It was Ben Franklin who said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail” — apt advice for almost everything, including painting. Good surface preparation is essential if you want to avoid the nightmare of early paint failure. So, before ever picking up a brush or roller, be certain that the surface is sound and clean, with no sign of loose or peeling paint. Prime any bare or unpainted wood or metal. Only then should you begin to apply your paint.
Invest in top quality paint. If the surface has been properly prepared, the best way to protect against frightening failures is to use a top quality 100% acrylic latex paint. “This type of paint will tightly adhere to the surface below, but remain flexible enough to expand and contract when temperatures rise or fall,” says Zimmer. By investing in top quality paint, you’ll get an extremely tough and durable finish that will keep the demons of paint failure at bay.
Work with high quality brushes and rollers. The best quality tools permit you to apply a thicker, more uniform coat of paint, one that offers maximum protection against forbidding failures. Choose brushes with split bristles of multiple lengths that are packed tightly together. And, when working with latex paint, use brushes and rollers made of synthetic material, which are better at holding their shape to give a better result.
Apply paint only in moderate weather. When applying any exterior coating, avoid working in spine-chilling temperatures. They’re uncomfortable for you…and, they can have dire consequences for your paint. Paint forms the best protective film when it isn’t too cold or too hot outside, and when the wind isn’t excessive. Still days with temps above 50 degrees F. are ideal.