Published on April 17th, 2013 | by Henri


Old house paint peels after repainting

Q.    Last fall we had a contractor remove the aluminum siding from our 70-year-old house. The siding had been installed over 30 years ago, before we owned it. On the west and north sides, the original paint was in good condition. There was much peeling on the other two sides.

The original wide clapboards appear to be cedar in good condition. The contractor scraped and painted the house with a Glidden latex paint. Six months later by late winter the house paint began to peel. First in sheets, now it tends to be in smaller areas.  Much of the peeling was the original paint affixed to the new paint. There are continuing cracks in the paint and peeling. Any suggestions before we have the contractor repaint?

A.    It sounds as if the original paint had a weak bond with the clapboards, and cedar is a hard wood to paint successfully. Perhaps too much time elapsed between the installation of the siding and the painting; the wood had become contaminated with air-borne pollutants and there may have been many dead fibers from exposure to the elements. Or no primer was used. The added weight of the new coat of paint was too much and a feeble bond broke.

It will take examination under a microscope by an experienced person to identify the cause of the failure. But it sounds as if all paint will have to be removed to obtain a successful and lasting job.

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