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When the paint is peeling, bubbles are popping up like moles, the wood is starting to get damaged; its time to repaint the exterior of your house.

The questions that always pop into my mind when I come to look at your house are: What products were used when the house was painted?  What were they made out of? Were they made to last?

A good foundation is the beginning of every building project, and paint is no exception. The exteriors of houses in Seattle have a wide range of sidings, and on houses over fifty years old there might be six to ten layers of paint dating all the way to the day the house was built.  The foundation of paint begins at the layer of material between the subwall and the siding.  The siding material is next, with a range of woods and shapes.  The primer meeting the bare wood is the first line of defense, and on older homes that have not had restoration work done the primer could be as old as the house.  All successive layers of paint rest upon the bond of these materials.

Basic Prep for the Exterior

The EPA has outlawed the use of grinders and heat guns where lead is present, so we are limited to the use of carbide bit scraping tools where lead is present. Following the new guidelines and still providing a quality paint job has become more challenging. We are adapting to these new rules by implementing the following process for exteriors where there is failing paint:

• When the estimate is done a lead test will be conducted on a failing surface.
• We will document and file the information with the EPA if results are positive.
• The foreman of each crew is certified by the EPA to work around lead.
• All current regulations will be followed.
• Prep of the house will be done via sharp carbide scrapers and light hand-sanding.
• All paint chips will be caught and disposed of.

Our process for prepping an old house with lead based peeling paint is as follows:

• First we scrape all the failing areas, catching the chips with plastic tarps installed at the base of the house.
• After scraping we will then pressure wash the house; this keeps the chips from spreading into the yard.
• After pressure washing, we come back and lightly hand-sand the exposed wood, easing the edges of old and new surfaces.
• Lastly, primer will be applied to all bare and fresh surfaces.

If you desire a smoother look, cosmetic spackling is available. After scraping, light hand-sanding, and primer we apply exterior grade spackle at sanding scars to ease the edges and conceal imperfections. Then the spackle gets sanded and primed again.

If no lead is found then we can use more aggressive paint removal tactics such as grinders and heat guns. We will still catch as much of the sanding dust as possible.