Exterior painting can develop some problems over time from the elements like colors that gradually get lighter or faded in appearance. The environment is loaded with particles of dirt and they can begin to adhere to the painted surface over time. These are common problems that can easily be solved when you know how. The following are a couple of troubleshooting tips for handling these paint problems.
Sometimes over time an exterior painted surface will begin to form a fine chalky powder that is referred to as ‘chalking’. Chalking is actually a way that paint cleans itself but when the white powder forms on the surface it means that the paint pigment binders have been worn down by the elements. Extended exposure to direct sunlight, especially in the hotter climates, and excessive rainfall causes a paint failure of this type. Flat paints that are really light in color, especially if they are of a lower quality and oil based, will have an elevated level of what is called pigment extenders. The problem with chalking is it can run down off the painted surface onto other areas and cause a stain. If the surface was not sealed properly before the paint was applied or if the paint was thinned out too much this condition will be the result.
To solve this situation, repainting will be necessary. To prepare the surface before applying more paint the caulking should be treated like it was dirt and thereby removed by either scrubbing or power washing. A cleaning solution containing trisodium phosphate is necessary and then must be followed by a clean water rinse. If any of the caulking has run onto the brick, this can be cleaned with a solution specifically created for masonry cleaning. If this does not work then a professional can come in and clean the bricks.
Faded paint or paint that lightens over time is usually because the paint base used for mixing the color was not designed to be tinted with white. Choosing the correct paint for mixing your color choice is imperative.
Another common problem that occurs with an exterior painted surface over time is the collection of dust and dirt particles from the environment that looks like mildew. The semi-gloss or satin paints that are a lower grade are especially known for collecting environmental debris. Heavy rain can cause the soil to splash up against the siding or exhaust from vehicles and other air pollutants can land on the painted surface. This needs to be cleaned well before applying new paint or primer. A detergent solution applied with a scrub brush and then washed off with a garden hose is usually sufficient to clean the surface for repainting. If this does not work then a power washer will have to be used. To avoid this problem in the future, using a higher grade higher gloss paint will be more likely to shed any dirt floating in the air. The flat paints are more porous and more likely to absorb dirt particles. A higher grade of paint may be more expensive but in the long run will cost less if it lasts longer.