Scratched/cracked exterior paint question


Old 06-25-04, 02:12 AM
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Question Scratched/cracked exterior paint question

The old paint on the old cedar siding on my house has a variety of damage, everything from hairline cracks to deep scratches (from tree branches, perhaps) to small dimples the size of M&Ms (cracked around the edges).
Here's the issue: the guy painting my house has done the absolute minimum possible amount of surface preparation, choosing not to even prime most of the cracks and scratches unless the paint scraped off easily or the wood was deeply gouged/scratched. Many places he refuses to do any prep work on have cracks or scratches that range from superficial (breaking the surface of the paint, common near butt joints), to those that go down to the wood (though the wood is not damaged or has only minor damage). In some places, the paint does not scrape off when you run a putty knife over it. In others, small flakes will come off just from running a fingertip over it.
Being a bit obsessive, I'm inclined to prime the minor and hairline scrapes/cracks just to be safe, lightly sand and prime the moderately deep ones and scrape, sand (putty if necessary) and prime the deeper ones.
Is he lazy, am I nit-picking, or both? Any suggestions or criteria for differentiating between necessary, desirable, optional and unnecessary surface preparation? If a scratch or crack goes down almost but not quite to the wood, is this just a cosmetic issue, or is this a potential future problem area that should be dealt with (even if it's just with a bit of primer or a light sanding)?
Thank you.
Old 06-25-04, 07:11 AM
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Taylors, SC
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If the paint will come off with scraping, it should be scraped back to the solid paint. Bare wood needs primer. Otherwise mechanically sound paint needs only to be thoroughly cleaned. A solution of bleach 25% in water with some Tide does an excellent job of removing grit, grime, chalking paint, and mildew. All failed caulk needs to be replaced, nail heads need to be sunk and puttied. At a minimum, the house should be washed before painting and bare wood primed.

It might have been a good idea to cover what was to be done when this job was in the negotiating stage.

Hope this helps.

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