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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am bidding on an exterior job but have run into a situation I've never encountered before. The numerous aluminum window frames all have a white, chalky film on them. They are not pitted at all -- just chalky. From what I can tell the frames are aluminum and were not painted previously. (House was built 22 years ago.) The owner wants the frames painted but I'm not sure that is the best route.

Under any scenario, the frames need to be cleaned -- soap and water, or do I need to use some special solution to completely remove the chalky substance?

After cleaning, can the frames be protected without having to paint them? Some sort of clear coat? I ran across Everbrite in my initial research - would that be a viable option?

If painting is the best solution, I'm thinking I would need to clean, then scuff-sand with 120 grit, then prime with an adhesion primer and then topcoat with an oil-based enamel. Make sense?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks NCPaint1. I was thinking the cleaning process would have to be more involved. We'll clean the window frames first then pressure-wash the home.

The homeowner is OK with painting all of the frames (28 of them) but I am concerned that she won't be pleased with the result since, in my experience, these never look real clean once they have been painted. Here in Austin we almost never paint these but, when we do, it is to address ones which have been previously painted and are now peeling/cracking.

I think I'll propose we clean them all but only paint one frame which is out of the way and let her decide if she really wants to paint the rest.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks rohit123 - That is an interesting approach. I guess it depends on how the frames look after cleaning. The windows are about 24 years old, so I suspect they will be dull and inconsistent looking. But they are not pitted (at least the ones I could look at up close) so if they do clean off OK and the resulting color is acceptable, applying a protective coating which would avoid painting is an attractive option.
 

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Thanks rohit123 - That is an interesting approach. I guess it depends on how the frames look after cleaning. The windows are about 24 years old, so I suspect they will be dull and inconsistent looking. But they are not pitted (at least the ones I could look at up close) so if they do clean off OK and the resulting color is acceptable, applying a protective coating which would avoid painting is an attractive option.
A painter that wants to avoid painting?
That's interesting.

Somebody call Bill, the gatekeeper.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I understand the skepticism. But the prospect just wants the windows to look good. If I can deliver a solution which saves the prospect money and meets their primary need, even if that means my bid is lower because I'm not suggesting we paint a bunch of windows needlessly, then the likelihood that I will get more of the prospect's business and referrals increases markedly.

I do try to think like a "homeowner" (HO) when I discuss projects with prospects. Austin has lots of painters. Letting prospects know we have their best interests in mind is a way to differentiate us from the pack.
 

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bern said:
I understand the skepticism. But the prospect just wants the windows to look good. If I can deliver a solution which saves the prospect money and meets their primary need, even if that means my bid is lower because I'm not suggesting we paint a bunch of windows needlessly, then the likelihood that I will get more of the prospect's business and referrals increases markedly.

I do try to think like a "homeowner" (HO) when I discuss projects with prospects. Austin has lots of painters. Letting prospects know we have their best interests in mind is a way to differentiate us from the pack.
I like that attitude. I'm a believe in saving the customer money when feasible.
It gives you a competitive edge to be more efficient.
I tried to spiff up some faded clad windows with armor all, and a few others. Nothing really worked how I wanted and I gave up trying.
 

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Bern, please post pictures so we could give further analysis of this caulking on old aluminum windows.

I see your play. Save the client money now and then make more from future work and good will.

What other value add scope reductions do you use?
 

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I just finished up an exterior repaint where we also painted the window frames because the windows were chaulky.
After the pressure washing > we sprayed some Richards- Multi Surface Primer/Sealer > then sprayed two coats of Richards- Signature Series Satin. :thumbsup:
http://richardspaint.com/products
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks for posting the pictures, Mixalot. Is the one with your hand visible an "after"? If so, looks like you guys did a nice, clean job! That is encouraging as we have shied away from painting frames which were previously unpainted (except for the original factory finish) because all of the ones we've seen which were painted did not look sharp.

We primarily use Sherwin-Williams and Benjamin Moore -- haven't run into Richards before -- but as NCPaint suggested previously, any good acrylic should suffice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Seattle - I meet with the prospect today to go through the various aspects of her bid. She is considering several different projects. Assuming she goes with us, I'll definitely take before and after shots and let y'all know the approach we ended up pursuing.

I take a very "low pressure" sales approach and tell prospects that, as a homeowner myself, I try to avoid paying for services which result in a low value impact. Painting the interior of closets is a good example - they add to the cost and the homeowner seldom feels great about how good the interior of the hall closet looks! Ceilings are occasionally another area I point out. Sometimes prospects want a bid on painting "everything" in a room but when I ask how they like the look of their ceiling, they might say something like "I never really notice it." In those situations, I might suggest that the ceiling be viewed as an option (unless I feel it is particularly dingy or its color will clash with the new wall or trim colors) as a way to reduce costs.

Whether the prospect agrees or disagrees with my suggestion, my sense is it puts them at ease and helps them view me more as a partner rather than a vendor.
 
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