Achieving a perfect spring paint job

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Well, here we are, its spring once again! So get out the paint buckets or better yet, let a contractor get out his paint buckets for you. Spring is the best time of year for painting, as everybody knows, isnt it?

The answer is, only if you take precautions as with any other time of the year.
Here are some points to ponder.

Today was a beautiful day, perfect for painting. I have a porch just begging for a new coat of paint. Im looking forward to it. I hated to have to explain to my foreman that we werent going to paint today because the temperature is going to drop to the low 40s this evening. We could use a low-temperature paint on the ceiling and trim, but the oil primer and oil paint for the porch floor would be destroyed by the low temperatures. But isnt destroyed an exaggeration? Not if you believe the manufacturers advice written on every paint can.

In fact, half of every job in America that looks terrible after a short time is attributable to improper application of paints. I became totally convinced of this when discovering that after stripping eight different homes in this area of all their paint and preparing the surfaces according to the manufacturers directions, the paint on all of these homes did not peel at all. Its an incredible feeling to pass these homes many times each week and see them looking so pristine. Its almost difficult to believe that homes can stay looking this good.

Heres how to achieve a perfect paint job:

1) Unless the temperature is 50 degrees and above all day (24 hours) dont paint without using a low temperature paint and even then, the temperature must not dip below 35 degrees. Start late (around 10 a.m. and finish early (4 p.m.) with these low temperature products.

2) If it rains all night, dont paint the next day, and with torrential rains, allow two or three days drying time.

3) Check for chalking on the surfaces to be painted. If the chalk comes off on your hand and covers your hand as well, it must be cleaned (power washed for siding and sanded well for trim), then primed with chalk resistant primer before painting.

4) If you see alligatoring and/or checking (lots of cracks checking cracks look like lines, alligatoring like criss-cross lines), its time to remove the paint.

5) Finally, inspect to see that all gutter systems are working properly, so that excessive water isnt running onto your beautiful new paint job, and while you are at it, make sure that bushes and tress are not rubbing up against the house. The excess water from these plants will rot the wood and paint in no time.

Terry McEnaney lives in Del Ray and is owner of Just Right Painting.

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