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Old 05-12-2015, 11:52 AM   #1
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Question Having issues getting primer/paint to adhere to old wooden lap siding

Hi all! First post and a little introduction here. I rehabilitate and renovate old historic homes and then retain and manage them as rental properties. Been doing it for about a dozen years now. I handle every aspect from the exterior painting, to the interior painting, down to the clogged toilets, and management duties. Painting seems to take up most of my time though

I have had one property, and now a second, that has given me all sorts of headaches with trying to get primer/paint to adhere to some of the old wood lap siding. The first property I have painted going on three times over the last eight years. Now a second property is having the same issue and this property is a TALL two story historic Victorian house and is not something I want anything to do with painting every couple years.

Here's what I have going on. The paint and primer on these two homes comes off in as large as hand sized chunks at a time. The paint and the primer are both coming up leaving more or less just the wood siding underneath. The common thread with the old lap siding of the two homes is that they were both covered by aluminum or vinyl siding previous to my paint attempts. At both of the properties some of the wood siding was replaced, and the paint adheres to the new siding without any issues, it's just the old siding that is giving me issues. I've tried several different types of paints and primers, oil, latex, ect, but the problem persists. I also tried using a sander to score up the siding a bit opposed to just scraping, but again the problem persists. Spraying and brushing seems to yield the same results as well. I've never had any similar type issues happen at any of my dozen or so other properties.

I'm about to start painting the larger home for a second time in the last two years and was wondering if anybody has ever run into the same issue before and if so what kind of solutions were you able to come up with? I really want this to be the last time I paint this home for some time. I can take and post some pics if needed. I'm starting to wonder if I may be having some excessive expansion/contraction issues with the old siding now that it's becoming re-acclimated to the environment. If that's the case is just a matter of using a bunch of super thin coats? Are there any prep techniques or products that anybody can recommend that may help solve the issue once and for all? Any input would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 05-12-2015, 12:57 PM   #2
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If you're applying over previous coatings and the paint is peeling off in large chunks down to bare wood, it could be any number of reasons, most commonly due to:

-Poor adhesion of previous coatings, likely when acrylic latex paints were applied over multiple coats of oil-based alkyds, although just as likely that insufficient prep was the cause.
-Moisture, either intrusion from the outside or moisture trying to escape from inside.
-Excessive build-up of coats, (although this might be less likely since the home was covered with vinyl or aluminum siding.

The list goes on, but more than likely, it's one or more of the above. No real way to accurately diagnose from a computer monitor. All you will get is a list of what it, "could be", not what it is.
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Old 05-12-2015, 01:01 PM   #3
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Is this happening everywhere or only in select areas? I tend to suspect moisture issues when I see this but it could have several causes as Troy mentioned.
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Old 05-12-2015, 02:08 PM   #4
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I think moisture is the most likely culprit.
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Old 05-12-2015, 06:34 PM   #5
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I'd right away suspect it was cedar and what others who know have said a moisture problem of some sort.

And ur mention that both houses had at one time been aluminum sided over- well your finding out why.
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Old 05-12-2015, 06:45 PM   #6
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Are the clapboards caulked or painted closed on the bottom of each run?
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Old 05-12-2015, 09:03 PM   #7
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My best guest would be vapor movement. I would try going with something that is going to allow vapor movement. It could be peeling for a number of reasons though, if it was my rental house I would tear the siding off and replace it with vinyl. Vinyl is cheap

https://www.calgarypropainting.com/blog/index.php
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Old 05-13-2015, 01:40 PM   #8
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Thanks all for the numerous quick replies!

To answer the several questions. I don't believe the bottom side of the siding has been caulked, or at least I didn't caulk it or remember it being caulked during the initial painting. I believe that is pine siding if my memory serves me correct.

I wouldn't be surprised if moisture is the issue though. At the two story house I'm about to paint we were battling windows of only having couple day work weeks due to trying to dodge the rain while all this was going on. The siding had only been exposed to the elements for maybe a couple weeks at most after the overlaying siding was removed, perhaps the original siding may have sucked in some moisture laying under the aluminum siding for all that time. The siding is definitely not soft to the touch or scrapes off real rough as extremely wet siding would, but that doesn't mean that it's still not holding in some moisture I suppose.

Unfortunately I cannot go back with any type of overlaying siding again, the home is in a strictly coded and enforced historic district, and replacing the remaining siding is not in the budget at the moment. My only real option is to paint again and try my best to get it to last as possible.

Anybody have any recommendation on any particular products to use? I'm assuming that an oil based primer would be my starting point due to its inherent superior penetration capabilities. Maybe two light coats of primer and two light coats of paint?

Thanks again!
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Old 05-14-2015, 01:16 AM   #9
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Identify the problem
Make necessary repairs
Then choose products based on what the problem was.

Go buy a Protimeter, (moisture meter).

If not, you're just spinning your wheels.
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Old 05-14-2015, 08:24 AM   #10
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As I read it, the old wood is not holding paint well, whereas new siding is. To me that does not sound like moisture issues because if it were, the new siding would also not hold paint.

As many of us have realized, old weathered wood does not hold paint well. The "dead" fibers on the surface of the wood are not suitable for paint bonding.

Couple of solutions:

1) Sand the wood until you reach better fibers - below the weathered gray.

2) There are penetrating low viscosity 2 part epoxy wood restorative primers. My brother mentioned one by Smith's, he bought it at Tool Haus. There are others brands and all are expensive, but they work.



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Old 05-14-2015, 08:53 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daArch View Post
As I read it, the old wood is not holding paint well, whereas new siding is. To me that does not sound like moisture issues because if it were, the new siding would also not hold paint.

As many of us have realized, old weathered wood does not hold paint well. The "dead" fibers on the surface of the wood are not suitable for paint bonding.

Couple of solutions:

1) Sand the wood until you reach better fibers - below the weathered gray.

2) There are penetrating low viscosity 2 part epoxy wood restorative primers. My brother mentioned one by Smith's, he bought it at Tool Haus. There are others brands and all are expensive, but they work.
I wonder if the new siding got back primed? That could explain the difference

If the older siding had been caulked along the bottom edges or painted enough times to seal them, that could lead to those areas being more prone to peeling.

As a recovering scientist, I'm still always looking to see patterns, even in paint failure. Sometimes it's faulty drip caps over windows; sometimes it's the lack of a bathroom exhaust fan; or recently removed trees; a blocked gutter; ice dams. The list goes on and on.
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