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Earth Sense: Be careful with choices for re-painting house
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These last spring days are a good time to check on the status of the paint protecting the house siding.

Vinyl and brick don’t need painting. But other common types of siding need protection, whether it’s made of wood, thin concrete boards (“Hardiplank”) or pressed hardboard, aka Masonite.

The upward transition from one board to the next is worth a close look. If the paint skin has cracked in that area, a pathway for moisture and insects is forming. Numerous cracks, and paint peeling off the boards in some places, suggest that a re-paint job is in order.

The local stores can match paint colors to a high degree of accuracy. If the whole house isn’t being re-painted, areas can be patched in that way. However, it’s best to use the original brand again if it’s known. 

Manufacturers use different kinds of pigment. We switched to a higher-grade brand, and in spite of several thorough attempts, the store consultant wasn’t able to produce a 100 percent match. On the other hand, it turned out that the more expensive brand did a better job covering the boards and was easier to apply without drips.

Another problem with paint match-ups is fading. A close look will show that an older paint coat is close to its original color on the north side of the house. The south side, however, is likely to look somewhat bleached or washed out.

Years of bombardment with ultraviolet rays from the sun will do this even to the best of paint coats. For patching, then, a sample should be taken close to where the repair is being made. If opposing sides of the house are to be patched, it can be necessary to buy the paint in two slightly different tints.

High-tech promises made by the colorful posters in the stores, showing happy families in front of perfectly groomed homes, should be taken with a grain of salt. The traditional method of applying primer before the final coat(s) is still valid. Even for patch jobs, I’ve found that a layer of primer, applied to the cleaned and scraped original paint, will go a long way toward making the new coat last as long as possible.

Even though the most expensive paint isn’t necessarily the best, you’ll see a significant quality difference between the cheap and the higher grade types.

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