Concerns about preparation of aluminum sided house by paid painters

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Old 08-22-18, 06:49 PM
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Concerns about preparation of aluminum sided house by paid painters

My son has engaged a contractor to paint an aluminum sided house in Columbus, Ohio. I was at the site today and talked with a painter who was working alone at that time. I asked whether power washing had been done. He said he had washed with an electric washer, which, according to him, is less powerful than a gas powered washer and was chosen to avoid hitting the metal siding corners and possibly causing them to come lose or off of the house. We did ask that washing of corners be carefully done because a few lose corner pieces had been detected. Otherwise, extra precaution was not requested for the regular siding covering the walls.

While at the site today, I swiped my fingers across a small area on the south-facing back side of the house. The pigment residue the came off and appeared on my fingers seemed quite heavy. I showed this to the guy who allegedly had used the electric power washer on that back wall. Another person, apparently a supervisor, was present at that time. The worker said he would go over that wall again tomorrow before painting. But, he also said that, even after a washing, lose pigment will remain on the surface of the walls.

The photo shows my fingers after I swiped the wall; I believe my swipe spanned not more than 1 foot in length, swiping horizontally across one siding "board".

I have painted brick and wood siding in the past but I never painted metal except for the two steel 1-car doors on my garage. I painted them about 29 years ago when they were new. I have not repainted them but I have washed them a few times. When I did this, I could see a milky coloration of the water that ran off the door. And, after the washing, a swipe across the doors would yield little or no pigment coming off and sticking to my fingers.

So, I'm very skeptical about what this painter is trying to claim about a significant amount of pigment remaining after washing being normal. Am I right in being doubtful about what I've been told?
 
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Old 08-23-18, 02:17 AM
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Did he use any cleaner along with pressure washing? Pressure washing alone rarely removes all of the chalk, even using a good detergent like TSP often isn't enough ..... but that much chalk isn't acceptable!

Either an oil base primer or adding Flood's EmulsaBond to the first coat of latex will combat any remaining chalk. I prefer the latter. The problem with painting over chalk is that latex paint won't adhere long term.
 
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Old 08-23-18, 04:03 PM
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Some aluminum siding has paint on it that is just completely chalky. Doesn't matter how much you scrub it or the method you use, it will come off on your fingers just like that. It's because it's probably 50 yr old siding and the original finish.

If you want to test that theory, just take a wash cloth and start scrubbing a spot off. Rinse it when you think you did a good job. Then once its dry run your fingers over it again and see how much chalk comes off on your fingers.

I bet you could scrub the siding until you are down to bare metal and it will be chalky the whole way.
 
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Old 08-24-18, 03:02 AM
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More than once old aluminum siding has been washed and left bare aluminum. All old paint jobs will turn chalky if they see enough weather. Oil base coatings are able to penetrate thru the chalk and achieve decent adhesion but latex coatings can not. It's always best to remove all the chalk you can! Adding Flood's EmulsaBond to the first [or only] coat of latex will insure that the latex will create a bond thru the remaining chalk. How much EB to add to the paint is relative to how much chalk is remaining.
 
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Old 08-25-18, 02:39 PM
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Thanks for the replies. As implied in my initial post, my son is the owner of the property. Unfortunately, he now lives in another state and could not be present during the house painting. So, acting on his behalf, I had to interact with the painters. And, apparently, the cost of this paint job was on the low side since my son wanted to keep the cost down. So, when I would press the primary painter on the issue of removing more chalk, he would tell me he had used the pressure washer to clean - in fact, allegedly gone over some sections twice - and that spending more time would result in an increase in the cost (to my son). In addition to having to bicker with the primary painter on this issue, a supervisor from the contractor for whom painter was working made visits to the site and I pressed the issue with him. He told me the Sherwin Williams paint they were using was specially formulated to adhere to surfaces with some dead paint remaining from old paint. So, the job is completed and I guess time will tell whether they were telling the truth.

If I were going through this situation again (assuming I were the property owner) and I were fully involved in the negotiation with the primary contractor, I think I'd press hard on this point. And, if I still did not reach a comfort level with them, I'd either search for another contractor or rent a power washer and do the cleaning.
 
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Old 08-26-18, 02:54 AM
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I'd inquire at SWP about the paint they are intending to use. I'm not aware of any latex paint that will adhere long term over chalk but if EmulsaBond is added, that gives the latex what it needs to adhere. It's possible they've come up with new coatings/formulations since I retired ..... but I'd want to hear that from the SWP rep, not just the painter/contractor! I've seen a lot of siding over the years that was painted over chalk [either ignorance or not caring] Those houses are difficult to repaint because you'll scrape off the peeling paint, go to repaint and more will peel [either then or later on]
 
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Old 08-29-18, 01:26 PM
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I'd inquire at SWP about the paint they are intending to use.
The supervisor said the SWP dealer told them the paint is safe to use on chalky surfaces. I did not contact a SWP dealer to confirm this. Even though the painting is done, I might visit a dealer and ask about this. I'd probably be visiting a different dealer than the one they used. Would be interesting to see whether I would get the same story from a different dealer.
 
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Old 09-04-18, 01:20 PM
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Listen to your gut on this one and get rid of this guy.... Trust me, no one at Sherwin told this guy it's OK to paint chalky surfaces. Virtually every paint application spec, from every paint manufacturer in the universe says to remove chalk before painting. Why? ...because paint, especially latex paints, won't stick to chalk. Talk to SW, if they say otherwise, tell them to consult their own paint problem solver (which says to remove chalk). Correction: Latex paint will stick to chalk. it's just that the chalk won't stay attached to the surface, and when it breaks free (as it always will), it will take the latex paint off with it (with the chalk firmly attached to the backside of the paint chips). This "contractor" is a scammer.

Someone mentioned Emulsa Bond - made by Flood Company. I would typically recommend it as a last resort, and it does work by giving latex paints oil base characteristics - which is to bind loose chalk and dust to the surface, creating a more stable foundation for paint to adhere to. For extreme chalkiness, as is shown on your fingers, I'd mix the first coat 50/50 with a good quality latex house paint - apply, and allow 24 hours to dry. Apply second coat full body (do not mix Emulsa Bond in with second coat). This will create a reasonably long lasting finish that won't pop off 'cause some idiot either won't do what's necessary, or doesn't know what to do - regardless, the result - to you (and your son) - will be the same either way - next year you'll be trying to get this guy to come back and fix what he caused....and he won't.

PS - I live near Columbus...go talk to the people at Creative Paints - or the PPG guys, either of them will steer you in the right direction and recommend a real painter that should fit your budget.
 
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