Repainting exterior: painter says don't prime?

ChanticoAugust 24, 2005

Hi, I'm new the old house forum, hope this is the right place to post this! Our house is 45 years old, with painted wood board and batton siding. The old paint is in fair shape, with no peeling, only a little checking in a few spots, and a few areas where you can sort of see the wood through it. No idea when it was last painted, probably 15 or so years.

A highly recommended painter looked at it. He said he would not prime first, because paint sticks really well to paint. He would powerwash the surface to remove the oxidation on top, and put the new paint directly on, only priming those areas where you can see the wood showing through. For the areas with checking he would sand and prime.

I was surprised about the primer issue. I want this paint to last fifteen years. I had been under the impression it would be best to prime the whole thing first.

My questions are:

1) is it normal to not prime in these circumstances?

2) since the old paint held up so well and is probably 15 years old, does that mean it was oil based? If I'm putting latex on top, doesn't that mean I need to prime first?

Thanks so much for any advice you can give!

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Paint will be applied in successive layers to the exterior of a house, and it will eventually reach "critical thickness," that point where the surface forces causing the paint to curl away from the siding exceed the forces holding the paint film flat against the siding. In other words, peeling paint.

When critical thickness has been reached, all you can do to correct the problem is remove the old paint, and then apply new paint. Paint removal is time consuming and therefore very expensive, so, painters learn to be conservative about applying paint, using the minimum amount to accomplish the job at hand.

You might ask your painter what type of paint he intends to apply, and why he feels that an intermediate layer of primer is not necessary.

1 Like    Bookmark   August 24, 2005 at 11:49AM
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I don't know. I would think you would prime first, though Eric does have a point. Eric, don't you think that a layer of bin or something would add some stability w/out adding thickness?

    Bookmark   August 24, 2005 at 12:22PM
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Eric has always kept me in the right direction. I have to add that I am a confirmed stripper in this house because my paint shows ever type of crackling, alligator, etc. to indicate that the paint is failing. Some layers appear much thicker than others, though all are failing.

Why don't you get two more bids and compare the assesments of your paint and the price to do a lasting job?

    Bookmark   August 24, 2005 at 12:35PM
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Thanks everyone for the responses! Eric, that is really interesting info about the "critical thickness", what amazing things I learn on these forums! This painter has been in business for a long time, with a great reputation, so he probably is of the school of using the minimum amount to accomplish the job, as you said.

I will ask him what kind of paint he would use. He already told me the reason he wouldn't prime was because he didn't think it was necesarry because the exsisting paint was still in pretty good shape, but for a few places, and that in his words "paint really sticks to paint".

I think I have what I need to proceed now. I'll get another bid and if the recommendations match up I'll go with the first guy.

You guys are great, thanks so much!

- Chantico

    Bookmark   August 24, 2005 at 4:16PM
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We only prime the bare wood, indoors or out. We do extra prep if it's latex on oil.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2005 at 8:11PM
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GaleForce, by "extra prep" for latex on oil, do you mean sanding and priming the whole thing? -Chantico

    Bookmark   August 25, 2005 at 8:41AM
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My house has orginal 1928 split cedar shakes.

I had some really weathered shingles on the south side, they looked way more worn than the other sides of the house.

We primed the whole house with a tinted primer - I'm glad I primed those weathered shingles, the topcot came out really nice over those primered shingles.

I think sometimes it's important to prime weathered wood.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2006 at 4:37PM
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So what is the final answer? Should I prime over existing exterior paint or just paint over the paint? Also, how many coats of paint do professional painters usually put on the exterior of a house-one or two. Finally, has anyone reglazed windows and if so, is it difficult or something I can do myself?

    Bookmark   January 18, 2009 at 12:30AM
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When painting the exterior of a house do most professionals use brushes or a sprayer? Also, if it is lap siding (I think that's what it's called) should it be brushed or sprayed?

    Bookmark   January 18, 2009 at 12:33AM
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Christopher Nelson Wallcovering and Painting

You said originally that the painter was highly recommended with a great reputation. He will know if it were oil based paint and how to deal with it, also the priming issue. Sometimes you just have to trust the professional.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2009 at 5:00AM
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Cross posting is discouraged but I would also post this on the paint forum. Been awhile since I hung out there but there used to be a couple of fairly experienced "paint" guys. You could also ask at Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore stores.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2009 at 6:36AM
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You can put latex over oil But not oil over latex.
What NEEDS to be prime is bare wood AFTER it's been sanded.
What needs to be sanded is any wood that is greyish in color or has checking.
Primer sticks best to clean wood. Paint sticks best to a prepainted surface, hence the use of primer or the practice of painting over paint.
IMHO spraying paint is a huge waste of time and paint. In no way does it matches the kind of job or quality you get from hand painting.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2009 at 2:09PM
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We had ours all redone all primed.Looks good.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2009 at 4:33AM
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Sherwin Williams Duration exterior house paint doesn't require a primer even on bare (sanded) wood. Works great.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2009 at 9:41PM
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My garage was in a similar state...I pressure washed the whole thing and used Behr's Primer/Paint all in one paint (don't remember the real name). It turned out great and hasn't pealed after the first year. Many people say Behr is not the greatest paint, but it's done well so complaints so far

    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 4:04PM
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B-I-N is formulated for interior applications, and does not possess the same weathering properties as a conventional exterior primer. Exterior use is generally limited to spot priming of knots in bare wood.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 9:20PM
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