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Exterior Preparation for Painting and Caulking

Exterior Painting

We take steps further than most painting contractors. This exterior home in Dillon, CO had been painted 3 years ago and the previous coatings were failing for what ever reason. Our preparation on exterior painting projects is time consuming and the results will last due to our efforts.

Our general exterior painting preparation procedure: Protect all landscaping and surfaces.
1. Pressure wash and use of mild green detergents (environmentally safe and non-caustic).
2. Scrap chipping paint.
3. Remove failing caulking.
4. Prime all damaged areas by hand. 2 coats as needed. Spraying primer on raw material does little good unless it is worked into the surface.
5. Caulk all seams.
6. Vaccum and sweep ground.

This home needed 10 gallons of primer and 26 tubes of Big Stretch caulking. The use of quality products at these elevations and exposure to UV light, wind, snow and rain is very important. We use only the highest quality products that are intended to withstand the elements. It is very important to apply future maintenence coats before your paint fails in order to save money on preparation.

A quick rundown of caulking products:
Basic DAP caulking (siliconized acrylic) – designed for cosmetic repairs and partially holds up to the exterior elements.
Powerpoint caulking (siliconized acrylic) – excellent product with good reviews.
Bigstretch caulking (siliconized acrylic) – Three times the price and the gold standard for acrylic caulks.

There are also a number of non-acrylic caulks – silicon, solvent based that are premium products that are used on commercial and industrial applications. These products usually cannot be painted over and work well on non shrinking / moving substrates. We have used silicon on windows, glazing windows, stone and masonry, metal, aluminum and plastic substrates.

Using the right materials with the correct application will allow your exterior to look brilliant for years to come.

Clear Coating Logs – Premier Finishes

Log Staining and Restoration.

The following is information regarding clear coat technology and products for exterior stain systems involving clear film-forming products. We recommend using clear coatings over most semi-transparent and transparent stains. The addition of a clear coat will allow multiple benefits, which we describe below.

Transparent stains and toners allow the wood on your home to look the most natural. However, having to re-coat every 2-3 years can become very costly to the maintenance of your home. The harsh elements at high altitudes can wear away stains in as little as 2 years and start oxidizing the wood, turning it black and breaking up the wood fibers. The additional of either a water born clear or an oil born clear over the stain will allow a number of benefits.

Essentially, a clear coat is a protective coat to block moisture and UV light from degrading your wood, discoloring the stain and destroying the fibers in the wood.
These products are intended to be applied over a number of types of exterior wood at large volumes. These products protect exterior wood much like a varnish protects your front door, lacquer protects your furniture and polyurethane protects your floors.

1. Brilliant appearance. Consistent sheen throughout.
2. Longevity of stain product – depending on the product and stain used, an additional 3-5 years could be added.
3. Maintenance coats – future coats will be more economical as only a clear coat will need to be applied in the future. Once the sheen starts fading it is time to re-apply.
4. Maintenance coats – only sides where the coatings sheen is fading can be recoated without having to worry about the color changing with additional stain coats darkening the wood.
5. There has been a strong demand in the industry for these products and the technology has advanced to make these coatings practical and economical.

1. Cost. These products are usually twice the price of a moderate to good stain. They can run upward to $90.00 / gallon. The additional labor in applying these coatings also adds to the expenses. I feel as though it is money well spent.

If you are looking for a premium appearance and less maintenance to your home, clear film forming products are your best option.

Wood Fogging and Dying – Part 1 (samples)

This sample section of tongue and groove wood walls was conducted to determine an appropriate tone and color for a large residential remodel project.

The original oak wood was too light for the design team and we were contracted to solve the problem of darkening all the trim, doors, tongue and groove and windows in this 5000 square foot home. A daunting task to say the least. Stripping the wood was not cost effective nor was gel staining this large volume of wood.

Consulting with a master cabinet finisher and numerous experts, we concluded that fogging the wood with shellac based alcohol dyes was the answer. Our samples we sprayed were surprisingly versitile in tones and of higher quality than expected.

Our first issue was determining which solvent to clean the wood effectively and the second issue was the concentration of various solvents in the shellac dye. It took about 3 days of trial and error to come up with the right variables to achieve a new brilliant wood finish. The design team ended up going with the 7th sample (left to right).  We were confinced our finishing system would work on the large scale. Fogging wood, toning wood and glazing cabinets on a small scale was one thing, this was another.


 The outcome after numerous hours of work impressed our team and we were contracted to move forward. This job would take some 170 hours of cleaning the wood along with 3 weeks of a spraying by our master finisher and a helper to complete some 31 windows, 62 doors (jambs and casings) and 5000 + square feet of base and tongue and groove. Once all the kinks were worked out (which there were a handful) we moved along at a normal pace.

Deck Staining

There is not a more difficult surface to keep refreshed and new looking than a horizontal deck surface. It takes the use of high quality coatings and stains along with regular maintainence to keep your decking in tip-top shape. We have 13 years of experience staining exterior siding, decks, doors and furniture. We always consult with every client on the varying issues exterior woods can cause.

It takes constant maintenance…

Staining and finishing new wood is obviously the best way to finish correctly and allow for years of brilliance. Using a high quality stain and sealer designed for decks will work better than a general exterior stain. Previously finished exterior wood MUST be prepared correctly in order to get a new look.

Preperation – Cleaning the wood with a TSP solution or a manufactured wood cleaner and brightener is always the first step in preparing old wood. Pressure washing the solution and removing the dusted and flaking previous coat is also essential. Once the decking is clean and washed allow for the wood to dry.

Wood Types –

Cedar and Pine. A large majority of deck wood is composed of these species. Both woods are cost effective to build with and can be finished to a quality appearance. These softer woods will fade and change color with UV, water and mildew. Keeping a coat of sealer and stain on the surfaces every year or two will keep the finish looking nice.

Exotics – Mahagony, Teak and Ipe. We see a fair amount of decks built with these hardwoods in the mountain regions. Decks take a beating in the high country and these species of wood can withstand the elements like no other. Special attention needs to be taken when staining/re-finishing/coating a hardwood deck. The hardwoods require a special stain that will penetrate the dense molecular structure and dry evenly. These exotic stains contain high quality oxide pigments and the three following oils: Tung oil, Lindseed OIl and refined Paraffin. Using a high quality brush to apply these stains and wipe excess will allow for the wood to remain brilliant. Preperaring hardwoods for transparent stains takes a little extra work.

Finishes: Depending on the appearance you are looking for and the condition of the wood there are a number of options. Many of these finishes also come in Water-born and solvent based (oil) products.

Clear – Gives crystal clear protection without color, and allows wood to gray naturally.

Transparent – Offers maximum grain clarity with a hint of color; best for wood in excellent condition. By far the most popular finish.

Semi-Transparent – Gives moderate hide to wood grain with subtle color; best for wood in fair to good condition.

Solid Color – Maximum hide with an opaque finish; best for weathered wood or problem surfaces.

We will talk more in future posts about Exterior staining products. We look forward to working with you!

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